Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert J. Rosenthal|
|Produced by||Jeff Apple|
|Edited by||Robert A. Ferretti|
|Distributed by||Embassy Pictures|
|Box office||$16.9 million|
Barney Springboro (Scott Baio) is a high school science nerd at Emerson High who obtains telekinetic powers after a lab accident. Along with his best friend Peyton Nichols (Willie Aames), a wealthy playboy with a dirty mind, Barney uses his new powers to take revenge upon bullies, cheat at baseball, and expose attractive female flesh, particularly the beautiful but snobby Jane Mitchell (Heather Thomas). Barney comes to realize that the best girl for him is actually Bernadette (Felice Schachter), the school's nerdy class president who also becomes privy to his secret powers. After typical hijinks, the film's climax is set at the school's senior prom which Barney uses his powers to disrobe several people when he loses his self control, which is strangely similar to the climax of Stephen King's Carrie. After he gets hit on the head with a fire hose, he wakes up later and discovers that he no longer has his powers, to the dismay and relief of both Peyton and Bernadette. However, in the final scene it is revealed that this is a lie as Barney escorts Bernadette from the building and uses his powers to levitate himself and her away.
- Scott Baio as Barney Springboro
- Willie Aames as Peyton Nichols
- Felice Schachter as Bernadette
- Heather Thomas as Jane Mitchell
- Robert Mandan as Principal Walter J. Coolidge
- Greg Bradford as Robert Wolcott
- Scatman Crothers as Coach Dexter Jones
- Sue Ane Langdon as Rose Burnhart
- Roger Bowen as Mr. Springboro
- Marya Small as Mrs. Springboro
- Merritt Butrick as Gary Cooter
- Ed Deezen as Sheldon
- Corine Bohrer as Cindy
- Jan Leighton as Albert Einstein
The film used several techniques to capture the feel of its high school setting for nostalgic fans. It was filmed largely at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles with the students as extras. The storyline 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 film was shot. In fact, she missed her own prom to shoot the prom sequence in the film.
The film 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.
The film's soundtrack was composed by Charles Fox and Miles Goodman 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.
Zapped! was given a limited release on July 23, 1982, earning $823,548 in that weekend, ranking number 17 in the domestic box office. On September 3, 1982, the film was released wide and made $3,012,431, ranking number 4 behind An Officer and a Gentleman 's sixth weekend, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial's thirteenth, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High's fourth. By the end of its run, Zapped! grossed $16,897,768.
Baio remembered the film fondly:
Great movie. Loved it then, love it today. I get more people asking about that movie than anything, no lie. And I had a ball making that. A cute, fun teen movie, and it made money. And it had Scatman Crothers! He was a good guy, and supposedly he smoked pot every day. That’s what I was told, but I don’t actually know. But I got to work with Willie [Aames], and it was a great experience ... Good people, good crew, good director. 
Awards and nominations
Aames was nominated by for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor at the 3rd Golden Raspberry Awards for his performance in Zapped!, as well as his performance in Paradise, but lost to Laurence Olivier in Inchon.
Despite initially negative reviews, Zapped! became a cult classic, selling heavily in videos. In 1990, it spawned a direct-to-video sequel, Zapped Again! (with only Sue Ane Langdon returning from the original cast).
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- Will Harris, "Scott Baio talks Chachi, Bob Loblaw, and Howard Cosell", AV Club 3 April 2014 accessed 7 April 2014