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|Directed by||Robert J. Rosenthal|
|Produced by||Jeff Apple|
|Written by||Robert J. Rosenthal
Sue Ane Langdon
|Music by||John M. Keane
|Editing by||Robert A. Ferretti|
|Distributed by||Embassy Pictures|
|Running time||98 minutes|
Zapped! is a 1982 teen film sex comedy starring Scott Baio as a high school student who acquires telekinetic powers. The film is regarded as a parody of Carrie but also includes spoofs of The Exorcist, Taxi Driver, Star Trek and the 1969 Kurt Russell film The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.
Baio stars as Barney Springboro, a student/science lab nerd who is teamed up with his future Charles in Charge castmate Willie Aames. The usual high school stereotypes appear, including the feminist class president, played by Felice Schachter, the snobby cheerleader prom queen, portrayed by Heather Thomas in one of her earliest film roles, and her mean-spirited jock boyfriend Greg Bradford. Filling out the cast are the lovelorn maiden teacher Sue Ane Langdon, the befuddled principal Robert Mandan, the hard-drinking coach Scatman Crothers, and Baio's clueless parents Roger Bowen and Marya Small. Eddie Deezen has a cameo appearance, while Merritt Butrick plays the school punk.
Barney is a student/science lab nerd who obtains telekinetic powers after a lab accident. Along with his best friend Peyton Nichols (Aames), a wealthy playboy with a dirty mind, Barney uses his new powers to take revenge upon bullies, cheat at sports, and expose attractive female flesh, particularly the beautiful but snobby Jane (Thomas). After typical hijinks, including an episode at the prom strangely similar to the ending of Stephen King's Carrie, Barney comes to realize that the best girl for him is actually Bernadette (Schachter).
The film used several techniques to capture the feel of its high school setting for nostalgic fans. It was filmed in large part at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles with the students as extras. The story line rarely leaves the high school. The students talk mostly about social life and college plans, while the prom is in the gym. The senior trip is to the local amusement park. Of the major stars, however, only Felice Schachter was still a high school student when the movie was filmed. In fact, she missed her own prom to film the prom sequence in the movie.
The movie used a body-double for Thomas' nude scenes, as she refused to remove her own clothes; further controversy was generated when a complaint was filed by Thomas about a likeness of her head being pasted onto someone else's nude body.
Zapped! was made in 1981 by Embassy Pictures for $2 million and was released the following year, making less than $17 million in its initial release. Critics generally panned Zapped! for a weak story line and for relying on gratuitous nudity. However, over the years it sold heavily in videos and spawned a 1990 direct-to-video sequel, Zapped Again! (with only Sue Ane Langdon returning from the original cast).
The movie soundtrack was composed by Charles Fox and featured performances by Joe "Bean" Esposito ("Updike's Theme") and David Pomeranz ("Got to Believe in Magic", "King and Queen of Hearts"), which were big hits in the Philippines. A band by the name of The Twisters also played in this movie.
Awards and honors
Willie Aames was nominated by the Golden Raspberry Awards for "Worst Actor" for his performance in Zapped! but lost to Sir Laurence Olivier in Inchon. A notable edition of The Onion shows a tuxedoed Baio holding multiple Oscars, with the spoof headline "Zapped! Sweeps Oscars!"
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