Monday, December 12, 2005

Zombie Nightmare-1986

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Jack Bravman spent the late sixties producing a series of saucy exploitation flicks (beginning with Sex Family Robinson (1968.) It only makes sense that his career would amass to a series of bad horror, in the middle of which sits Zombie Nightmare. Written by David Wellington (who went on to direct television), this movie suffers in so many areas that it’s hard to know where to begin, should one really begin at all.

What’s most annoying about it is that it starts out so strong. Picture this, if you will: Ignore the voodoo snippet from later in the movie (placed here as if to whet your appetite to the zombie madness to come) and you have Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” screaming at you…up comes a bad 80’s digital thumbprint, and then in flailing red letters, the name of Adam West. For just a brief moment, you almost think that this was a good decision. Then you realize, before the opening credits are even over, that the film has just shot it’s wad and it’s almost pointless to go on. But you do, because you are obviously a sadist.

Tony Washington seemed like a good kid, he and his mother watching his father play a little softball with the community. It‘s the 50‘s (or so I think…the only way you can tell this information is coming to you via a flashback are the outfits that the thugs are wearing…greased hair, rolled jeans and black Con All-Stars, despite the short-80’s-shorts a ballplayers is wearing) and in come the token kids-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks. For no reason other than they are bad, racist kids, they attack a local black girl walking down the street. Luckily, the game is over and Mr. Washington and his family are nearby. Mr. Washington (John Fassano, director of Rock and Roll Nightmare (1987) and Black Roses (1988)…yes, the horror/metal connection goes deeper) confronts the thugs and ends up knifed. Okay, so we know it’ll be a revenge story. Great.

Flashforward. Tony (John Mikl Thor, who also scored this film, not to mention scoring, writing and acting in Rock and Roll Nightmare…I told you so, we are now entangled in the web that is bad horror/metal movies…and much later scores and plays a part in Graveyard (2003)) is now I high school student (which according to how time usually plays out, might make him approaching his forties. He looks good!) and despite his metal hairdo, seems like a good, All-American kid. He goes grocery shopping for his mom, and even saves convenient store clerks (named “Mr. Peters”, with thick Italian accents) from vicious ruffians. That is, until he is run down in the street by a carload of idiot teenagers. Oops.
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Of course, the by-standers do the most obvious and logical thing and that is to drop his lifeless corpse off at his moms, rather than take him, I don’t know, to a hospital. She, wracked his grief, also does the most obvious and logical thing, She calls on Molly Mokembe (Manuska Rigaud), aka “Girl Harassed by thugs those many years ago,” to pay back a favor. Rigaud may just be in the running for worst voodoo priestess interpretation, with her wild hair and her jittery-voice, accompanied by a wicked underbite. It’s sometimes difficult to make out what she says, but I think I got the most important bits. Something about “revenge” and a “state between life and death” and needing “the blood from de live an-nee-mal-l-l.”

Anyway, Tony (or “Thor” as I like to call him) rises, screams and is handed a baseball bat, which he uses to beat the bloody hell out of his victims, among other means to kill.) He is clad in what he was wearing when he was killed himself, a black hoodie, a pair of grey joggers that appear to be pulled up to his knee, set off by a striking pair of very white socks, pulled all the way up, and some white tennis shoes. I have a feeling that this is the way Thor dresses, even when he’s not on a crap-zombie-movie set. Also, for whatever reason, after death, his hair is suddenly short. But then, continuity is not one of the strong points here.

God, I could go on and on about what is horribly wrong with this film, but then I wouldn’t be able to tell you about Adam West. Not that it matters. West plays Captain Tom Churchman, a cop with a shady past, who likes to harass other cops, namely Frank Sorrell (Frank Dietz.) Sorrell is guilty of actually trying to solve the murders of the idiot teenagers. West is a long way away from his Batman past, and even further away from what is hopefully a better zombie movie, Voodoo Island (1957), where he plays a Radio Operator (unaccredited, of course.)

Is there anything else redeemable, or even interesting about Zombie Nightmare? Well, depends on if you’re a big Tia Carrere fan (yes, Cassandra Wong of Wayne’s World (1992).) Here you get to see her act catty, bitch and moan and then get wasted. Hoo-rah.

Taglines: “Her power goes beyond life... his rage survives even death.”
“Your worst dreams are about to come true!”

Directed by Jack Bravman
Written by David Wellington
Produced by Shledon S. Goldstein, Eleanor Hilowitz, Charles Storms

Adam West .... Capt. Tom Churchman
Jon Mikl Thor .... Tony Washington
Tia Carrere .... Amy
Manuska Rigaud .... Molly Mokembe
Frank Dietz .... Frank Sorrell


Anonymous Term papers said...

this movie suffers in so many areas that it’s hard to know where to begin, should one really begin at all.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Movie Bullstuff said...

I've begun, et al, wasted in Tia's semi-Asian sleek presence (amongst other amenities). Here are the details :

Yes, I stole your image, but I figure we're working from the same pool; a wonderfully diseased pond of images.
i.e. my own particular review

4:06 AM  
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