The Video Dead
|The Video Dead|
|Directed by||Robert Scott|
|Produced by||Robert Scott|
|Written by||Robert Scott|
|Edited by||Bob Sarles|
|Distributed by||Embassy Home Entertainment|
The Video Dead is a 1987 horror comedy film written and directed by Robert Scott and starring Roxanna Augesen. The screenplay concerns a paranormal television that causes zombies from a never-ending film to enter the real world. The film was released direct-to-video and has been re-released several times since then.
An unsolicited television is delivered to a writer's house. The writer discovers that the only program the television is capable of picking up is a seemingly endless, plotless, black and white zombie film titled Zombie Blood Nightmare. Despite unplugging the television, it reactivates and spawns the film's zombies, who attack and kill the writer. The next day, the delivery men arrive to claim the set, realizing it was meant to go to the Institute for Paranormal Research; they find only the body of the writer, bound in his front hallway and dressed in party clothes.
Three months later, teenagers Zoe and Jeff arrive at the house ahead of their parents, who are moving back to the United States after years abroad. Jeff befriends dog walker April and she accompanies him home, where the dog she is watching escapes into the woods. The dog comes upon the zombies that escaped the television set and have since been living in the woods. The zombies kill the dog, meanwhile Jeff and April are searching for it and later find the remains. The zombies follow the pair back to the neighborhood.
That afternoon, a man named Joshua Daniels comes looking for the television set, claiming he bought it at a yard sale and mailed it to the Paranormal Institute after it killed his wife. Jeff turns him away but later that night discovers the television set, which has mysteriously migrated to the attic. A bizarre woman briefly appears on the set, beckoning to Jeff, before a man appears and kills her, revealing her to be a zombie. The man, who calls himself "The Garbage Man", says the only way to prevent more zombies from appearing is to tape a mirror to it.
The next day, the zombies kill April's father, his maid, and their next-door neighbors before laying siege to Zoe and Jeff's house. Jeff, Zoe, and April barricade themselves along with Joshua, who has returned to reclaim the television set. Joshua explains the psychology of the zombies: realizing that they are in a liminal state between life and death, the zombies kill humans out of envy. They are repulsed by mirrors because it reminds them of their own hideousness, and attack when they sense fear. The zombies can be tricked into believing they are dead by wounding and then dismembering them, but they must be left unburied. They can also be destroyed by trapping them in an enclosed space, which causes them to enter a psychotic state and cannibalize one another.
Despite the fortifications, a zombie breaks in and incapacitates April. Zoe and Jeff lock the zombie out of the house after it leaves with April's body. The next morning, Joshua and Jeff head into the woods to hunt down the zombies. Joshua sets traps and takes up a sniper position while using Jeff as bait. Using a bow and arrows, they shoot and incapacitate all the zombies but one, whom they pursue. Joshua is killed, and Jeff gets trapped in a shed, where he discovers April's dead body. The lone remaining zombie wakes the others from their delusions of death and kills Jeff as he decapitates it.
The remaining zombies return to the house, where Zoe is alone. Remembering the zombies only attack when they sense fear, Zoe invites the zombies in, and they become docile. Zoe discovers a mirror on the basement door, tricks the zombies into entering the basement, and they go berserk. After they consume each other, their remains are sucked back into the television, and Zombie Blood Nightmare finally ends.
Sometime later, Zoe's parents come to visit her in the hospital, where she is being treated for post traumatic stress disorder. They unwittingly bring her the possessed television set from the house, hoping a familiar item will aid her recovery. After everyone leaves, the television plays Zombie Blood Nightmare again. Zoe looks at the screen in horror as one of the zombies within the TV looks directly at her and starts growling. The screen then goes black before we hear Zoe scream.
- Michael St. Michaels (Henry Jordan)
- Thaddeus Golas (Deliveryman #1)
- Douglas Bell (Deliveryman #2)
- Al Millan (Taxi Driver/Undead Ironhead)
- Roxanna Augesen (Zoe Blair)
- Lory Ringuette (Mover #1/Undead Half Creeper)
- George Kernan (Mover #2)
- Rocky Duvall (Jeff Blair)
- Sam David McClelland (Joshua Daniels)
- Jennifer Miro (The Woman)
- Vickie Bastel (April Ellison)
- Libby Russler (Maria)
- Garrett Dressler (Mr. Ellison)
- Melissa Martin (B-Movie Housewife)
- Cliff Watts (The Garbageman)
- Patrick Treadway (Undead Jimmy D)
The Video Dead was released direct-to-video. Embassy Home Entertainment released it on VHS in November 1987. The film debuted for the first time in widescreen format on MGM HD on November 1, 2009. Scream Factory (a division of Shout! Factory), released the film in a special edition DVD and Blu-ray combo-pack in a double feature with the 1986 film TerrorVision on February 19, 2013.
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David Maine of PopMatters wrote that it "contains a few suspenseful scenes and some over-the-top moments, and might be of interest to zombie fans or zombie completists". Adam Tyner of DVD Talk called it "essential viewing for fanatics of off-kilter '80s horror". Patrick Naugle of DVD Verdict wrote, "The only thing The Video Dead has going for it are above average make-up effects for a film of this ilk." Bruce Kooken of HorrorNews.Net praised the non-traditional nature of the zombies and wrote, "All the zombie lovers in the world need to see The Video Dead. It is a great 80s zombie incarnation filled with little gems of humor that all fans of the genre can find entertaining." Writing in The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, academic Peter Dendle said, "This unsung zombie adventure is a nice surprise, offering gripping action as well as thoughtful meditations on zombies."
- A short review at the House of Horrors.Com
- "Video Dead". TV Guide. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
- Stevens, Mary (1987-10-30). "Creepy Videos Bring Home Halloween`s Menacing Mood". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
- Buckley, Heather (2009-11-13). "The Video Dead (Almost) on DVD". Dread Central. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
- Barton, Steve (2012-11-20). "Official Blu-ray Specs for Prison, TerrorVision, and The Video Dead". Dread Central. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
- Maine, David (2013-02-25). "The Campy and the Horrible: 'TerrorVision' and 'The Video Dead'". PopMatters. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
- Tyner, Adam (2013-02-10). "TerrorVision / The Video Dead (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
- Naugle, Patrick (2013-03-03). "TerrorVision / The Video Dead (Blu-ray)". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
- Kooken, Bruce (2012-06-11). "Film Review: The Video Dead (1987)". HorrorNews.Net. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
- Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. pp. 177–178. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.
- "Top 10 Most Awesome Chainsaw Scenes in Horror History!!". Bloody Disgusting. 2010-02-14. Retrieved 2015-02-16.