This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (February 2018)
Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Jerry Warren|
|Produced by||Jerry Warren|
|Written by||Jerry Warren|
|Edited by||Jerry Warren|
|Distributed by||Governor Films Inc.|
|April 16, 1960|
Teenage Zombies is a 1960 black and white horror science fiction film written and directed by Jerry Warren and starring Katherine Victor, Don Sullivan, Chuck Niles, and Warren's then-wife and production manager Brianne Murphy. Warren even wrote the screenplay for the film under his pen name Jacques Lecoutier (which he frequently misspelled in the credits). Film historian Bill Warren wrote "This dreadful, leaden and depressingly cheap film does have one unusual....aspect: it was actually made by Jerry Warren in its entirety."
The film is about a group of teenagers who are marooned on an island inhabited by a female mad scientist, her pet gorilla and a zombie slave named Ivan. She traps the kids in a cage down in her laboratory, plotting to use them as subjects for her zombie-making experimentation, so she can test out a drug she is working on for an unnamed foreign nation.
Although the film's credits include a 1957 copyright statement for G.B.M. Productions, the film was not registered for copyright at the time of its release. The film was released on a double bill with Warren's The Incredible Petrified World on April 16, 1960.
While taking their boat out for some water-skiing, a quartet of teens named Reg (Don Sullivan), Skip (Paul Pepper), Julie (Mitzie Albertson), and Pam (Brianne Murphy) accidentally discover an island run by a mad scientist named Doctor Myra (Katherine Victor) who, backed by foreign agents from "the East", intends to turn everyone in the United States into mindlessly obedient zombies.
The teenagers are captured by the hulking, bearded zombie Ivan (Chuck Niles) and imprisoned in cages down in Myra's basement, but the boys manage to escape, planning to find a way off the island and then come back to rescue the girls. When a couple of their young friends arrive with the local sheriff to save them, he turns out to be in league with Myra and has been supplying her with victims for her experiments.
A complicated fight scene serves as the climax, in which a previously zombified gorilla arrives just in time to attack Myra's henchmen and allow the teens to escape. They find Myra attempting to steal their boat and manage to capture her for the police. After they are safely back on the mainland and the proper authorities informed, it is implied that the teens will receive a reward for discovering the island and will have an audience with the President of the United States.
- Don Sullivan as Reg
- Katherine Victor as Dr. Myra
- Steve Conte as Whorf
- Brianne Murphy as Pam
- Mitch Evans (aka Evan Hayworth) as the Gorilla
- Chuck Niles as Ivan the Zombie
- Paul Pepper as Skip
- J.L.D. Morrison as Brandt
- Mitzie Albertson as Julie
- Jay Hawk as Morrie
- Mike Concannon as Sheriff
- Nan Green as Dotty
- Don Neeley as Maj. Coleman
Actress Katharine Victor said Jerry Warren "discovered" her when they met by chance as he was preparing Teenage Zombies in mid-1957. She was surprised that he gave her almost no directorial help while they were making the film. Evan Hayworth (listed in the cast as Mitch Evans) said he played the gorilla wearing a cheap rental costume.
Famed L.A. disc jockey Chuck Niles appeared as Ivan the Zombie in the film. He later said ""I was just walking around like Frankenstein, that's all, no lines, just 'gluergugluergu,' and I'm pretty good at that.....the movie was just terrible". Bruce Eder of Rovi wrote that lead actor Don Sullivan also appeared in two other 1950's cult films, The Giant Gila Monster and The Monster of Piedras Blancas.
The film's poster promised "Young Pawns Thrust into Pulsating Cages of Horror in a Sadistic Experiment", but film historian Bill Warren said "It's doubtful anyone expected much more than the dreck they got....it's not just bad, it's terrible".
- Warren, Bill (1986). "Keep Watching The Skies Volume 2". McFarland & Co., Inc. ISBN 0-89950-170-2. Page 768
- "Teenage Zombies". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
- Warren, Bill (1986). "Keep Watching The Skies Volume 2". McFarland & Co., Inc. ISBN 0-89950-170-2. Page 767
- Warren, Bill (1986). "Keep Watching The Skies Volume 2". McFarland & Co., Inc. ISBN 0-89950-170-2. Page 445
- Warren, Bill (1986). "Keep Watching The Skies Volume 2". McFarland & Co., Inc. ISBN 0-89950-170-2. Page 446
- Landsberg, Mitchell (17 March 2004). "Chuck Niles, 76; Voice of L.A.'s Jazz Radio" – via LA Times.
- Warren, Bill (1986). "Keep Watching The Skies Volume 2". McFarland & Co., Inc. ISBN 0-89950-170-2. Page 447
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