Monday, May 14, 2012

Get In The Car, Witch

Before heavy metal knucklehead Jon-Mikl Thor amazed the world with ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE, the hilarious horror movie that he wrote, produced, starred in, and composed the terrible rock score for, he headlined the equally laughable ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE, which New World sent straight to video in 1987.

Just about every scene has something to crack you up, whether it’s the terrible acting (like the “mamma mia” Italian store owner or the coroner who sounds like Burgess Meredith attempting a Bogart impression), inept period setting (it’ll take you a reel to figure out the opening is set during the ‘50s), clueless plotting (when the hero is killed, witnesses drive the corpse to his mother’s house), or inept fight choreography.

A little boy watches his Good Samaritan father (uncredited co-writer/co-director John Fasano, who later wrote SNIPER 4 and ANOTHER 48 HRS) get killed while breaking up a rape attempt. He grows up to be Tony, an amiable, wheat-germ-loving musclehead played by the longhaired Thor. Seconds after beating up a pair of robbers, he is run over and killed by irresponsible teenagers, led by super-wimpy, super-mulleted “tough guy” Jim (Shawn Levy, who went on to direct NIGHT IN THE MUSEUM and DATE NIGHT!) and including sexy Amy (a teenaged Tia Carrere, whose role is undeserving of her third-billed status).

Tony’s mom runs to the local voodoo priestess, Molly Mokembe (Manuska Rigaud, who manages to eclipse all other awful performances to give the worst), who was the girl her husband saved from rapists thirty years earlier. Molly revives Tony as a zombie, and he roams the streets with an aluminum softball bat on a quest for vengeance against his killers.

Simply amazing and essential viewing for fans of Fasano’s ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE. Adam West (BATMAN) shows up 45 minutes in, smoking stogies and reading his script on-camera to play one of the cops investigating the killings. He sits behind a desk in his first scene, which is supposed to be a busy police station and slathered with riotously phony “clackety clack” typewriter sound effects. West is actually entertaining in a stupid role. Thor appears only as himself at the beginning and is being doubled by a smaller man in many of the zombie scenes. As for Tia, she’s a knockout and certainly competent in her first feature.

ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE shot in Montreal for very little money, almost none of which went for makeup and gore effects. Thor’s band, imaginatively called Thor, provides songs for the metal soundtrack, along with Motorhead, Girlschool, and several other rock groups. Credited director Jack Bravman’s career had been producing sex films in the 1960s. He basically directed scenes with West and Carrere, and Fasano did everything else. Either ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE is set in Canada, or the filmmakers do the worst job ever of disguising Canada as the United States. Also with Linda Singer, Hamish McEwen, Manon Turbide (who was set to perform the film’s lone nude scene until the filmmakers discovered she was fifteen years old), and clumsy Canadian dancing.

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