Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lifeless Execution: "I Was a Teenage Zombie" (1987)

This silly Troma-like horror comedy has a stupid energy all its own.

A group of guys led by hunky Dan (Michael Ruben) and goofy Jimmy Kimmell look-alike Gordy (George Seminara) decide to buy a quarter pound of marijuana for the big spring dance. They get some stuff sprayed with pesticide from Mussolini (Steve McCoy), and confront him when the pot makes them sick. Mussolini slips on a banana peel and dies (or so the boys think). They try to throw him in the recently contaminated river, but he wakes up and promises revenge. Dan hits him with a baseball bat, then toss him in the drink, and they go back to their normal high school lives. Dan has the hots for Debbie Gibson look alike Cindy (Cassie Madden), but becomes tongue tied whenever he is around her. Speaking of tongues, Mussolini comes back to life and pulls the taste organ out of one of the group. Mussolini also rapes and kills one of their girlfriends, and the guys set a trap for the zombie.

Mussolini kills Dan, so the guys throw his body in the river. He comes back to life in time for the big spring dance. Being the walking dead complicates his date with Cindy, and the whole thing boils down to a gory finale at the dance.

The rest of the gang of guys are so unmemorable, I could not tell them apart. This was filmed in 1987, and features Duran Duran jokes and a soundtrack by the Violent Femmes and the Smithereens. The money used to get these groups' songs would have been better spent on the production itself. The film is funny in a dumb way, and the film makers should have gone for a higher brow screwball comedy. Instead, the comedy here is boring. The gore scenes are few and far between, including the old talking disembodied head, which is the actor sticking his "decapitated" organ through a hole in a table.

The gore effects are weak. The editing is sloppy. The jokes are old. The acting is bad. The direction is standard. The script is half baked. And yet the film is so awful, it is entertaining.

I do not mean in a "so bad it's good" way, but in a "so mind alteringly awful, it's watchable in its own mindless way" way. It is ugly, dumb, still bad, and not easy to block out of my memory. (*) out of five stars.