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Video Dead, The - VHS - Medusa Home Video Print E-mail
User Rating: / 5
Written by Jay Creepy   
Friday, 01 August 2014
Severed Cinema VHS Review

The Video Dead VHS Cover Art From Medusa Home Video on Severed Cinema

AKA: El video de la muerte, La muerte viaja en video, Video Dead, Ta video zombi, Zombie – Blood Demons

Directed by:
Robert Scott
Written by:
Robert Scott
Produced by:
Robert Scott, William S Weiner
Cinematography by:
Greg Becker
Editing by:
Bob Sarles
Music by:
Leonard Marcel, Kevin Mcmahon, Stuart Rabinowitsh
Special Effects by:
Wes Takahashi, John Countryman, Dale Hall Jnr, Patrick Denver
Rocky Duvall, Roxanna Augesen, Jennifer Miro, Sam McClennand, Victoria Bastel
1h 26min

Distributor: Medusa Home Video

We do review a fair amount of 80's large box VHS ex-rentals for the additional joy of trailers. Some forgotten gems crop up. I don't usually mention trailers on a review but for this Medusa one they're so cool. Sweaty good guys and bald bad guys thrash it out to loud rock scores in Eye of the Tiger (bet you can't guess the theme tune to this Gary Busey Mad Max clone?), White Phantom and No Safe Haven. Lady Beware crops up, and then Vincent Price mixes in with Clu Gulager and Rosalind Cash for From a Whisper to a Scream. After that mash up of epics, how can a film live up to itself now? Easily, because it's The Video Dead, that's why. Once a Holy Grail for zombie collectors everywhere, this movie has only recently emerged onto Blu-ray and DVD, wherein before you had to find the tapes, or put up with a 'Red Edition' dubbed German language only release.

The Video Dead is everything which is mid 80's trash horror -- Gore, noise, nonsense, bad acting and awesome cover art. Rent it and laugh at what you're seeing. It's a straight to video fest of pure awesomeness.

Hi-Lite Delivery just happens to drop off a crate at the home of freshly woken Henry Jordan, a reclusive writer who lives by some pretty deep woods. “I haven't ordered anything other than pizza in the last six months.” he says. Regardless, it's been paid for so he accepts it. Finding it's a TV set, he's unimpressed. Whilst typing that evening, the TV switches itself on, blasting out a cheap flick called “Zombie Blood Nightmare.” Each time Henry switches it off, it comes back on. He unplugs it.

As Henry sleeps, the film shows again, still unplugged. A zombie turns to the screen and presses its head, trying to get out. The television erupts in tons of 80's lightening effects and out pops a few zombies who trudge across the living room on their way upstairs to Henry's bedroom.

The order was mixed with the Institute for the Studies of the Occult. Hi-Lite return to Jordan's house full of apologies. Finding his door open they peer inside and Henry Jordan is dead.

Three months later, his house is sold and the first arrival from the new family is big haired Zoe Blair. She starts unpacking and is soon joined by wise ass younger brother, Jeff (played by Rocky Duvall. With a name like that, cult stardom should have been a dead cert. However nothing exists on this lad anywhere on the net other than “actor known for/has been in/etcetera The Video Dead. Great). Mum and Dad Blair are out of the country until the next week. Neither Jeff nor Zoe can act; Jeff being the worst at delivering his stagnant lines. Unfortunately, he's our main character.

One day a man called Joshua turns up in a cowboy hat to represent the fact he's travelled all the way from Texas to pick up the accidental delivery. “See,” he tells Jeff, “It looks like a normal TV set, but it isn't. More lives will be lost if it isn't found.” Jeff shuts the door on him and shakes his head, bewildered.

It turns out the TV is in the attic. As Jeff combs his hair downstairs, he hears a woman on the set (played by Jennifer Miro, of the punk band The Nuns and the sad Dr. Caligari remake from '89) saying, “Make love to me Jeff.” He brings the television down. “Oh great, now we have three,” complains his sister. “Wonder if this is the one he meant.” Jeff ponders.

Whilst sweeping the porch, his shock blonde haired teen girl next door neighbour, April, turns up walking Chocolate the dog. As they talk together, crap music plays and the dog runs off into the woods, face to face with a graphic zombie. They hear Chocolate howl. Jeff isn't so fussed. April explains, “You don't understand, he likes to chase skunks, then tries to mate with them. But skunks don't like to mate with poodles so they spray him, and then he gets really turned on.” Oh yes indeed, someone scripted that classic line, thanks Robert Scott who also directed. As they search, April fills him in on the history of his house. They find Chocolate dead, and all the while a zombie watches from a distance.

That night, Jeff switches on the flickery TV and sits back to watch Zombie Blood Nightmare. He simply cannot roll a proper spliff. It's a total failure on every level. Channel surfing, he finds the woman he heard previously, smoking and interacting in direct conversation with him. Appearing naked before him, they kiss, and then suddenly she's back on the screen laughing. Before Jeff can comprehend what's happening, a rugged fella is behind, stabbing her. He stares at Jeff and then shows Jeff the woman's fast decaying corpse. “They look just like you and I, but inside they have no soul.” This bloke is the Garbage man, it seems, because he cleans up “human garbage.” He says there's been an escape and tells Jeff to put the television in the basement and put the shiny side of a mirror up against it. Afterwards, the teen blames it all on bad weed until he finds the woman's clothes on the floor. Thus, he freaks out and follows the Garbage man's instructions, also fighting a crusty zombie hand that reaches from the screen to grab him. Jeff chops the hand off and feeds it down the sink waste disposal unit.

Then as another house not far away sleeps, the escaped zombies arrive, looking like The Misfits with Day of the Dead extras. They look frikkin' excellent. But then they try on wigs, and they sit at the table, and laugh at a blender. Okay, right, all this Return of the Living Dead Pt. II rubbish is forgiven as the housewife discovers them and is killed (not before slamming an iron into a zombie's head, smashing the skull.) He isn't too fussed though. The glasses-wearing husband gets it next. Guess what? A zombie wears his glasses!! ROTLDII???!! Aha, but that came out a year later, so who copied who? Who ripped awful comedy zombies from who? They move to the next house. I guess moths in the woods have left them rather bored, and they snigger all the more as people die. Is this dire comedy needed when your walking corpses look scary as Hell?

Soon our Texan stereotype returns to convince Jeff, April and Zoe that it's really happening. He knows what they are, they're the Video Dead and he originally bought the TV from a market. Discovering too late what was inside, his wife was killed. Meanwhile, a Misfits lookalike zombie manages to sneak a fainted April from the house and into the woodlands. Discovering this, Joshua decides the best idea is to sit it out until the morning when he and Jeff can take the weapons he has brought along, including a machete, bow and arrows, and a chainsaw (Jeff says, “My all-time favourite film is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre -- I seen it six times!”) out into the woods on a hunt to kill each creature. My Horror Soulmate pointed out how he doesn't sound very Texan, but more like someone forcing the accent.

Rat filled guts, bites, sliced off arms, this movie certainly isn't bone dry. The makeup and effects can be quite astonishing for the budget here and there. The Video Dead's big selling point is the jaw dropping artwork on the box (repeated for the Blu-ray release via Scream Factory double billed with Terrorvision). The detailed rotted cadaver reaching out from an exploding TV screen is without a doubt memorable. On the back the Medusa Video takes no prisoners. Eight pictures of zombies and deaths. Pure eye candy in the late 80's UK to a kid (like me) exploring the rows of tapes with his mother looking for a bloody good flick.

Down sides apart from the script and most of the cast’s acting abilities -- why for the first half of the film does ridiculous stupid music intrude nearly every other scene like a horror Beavis & Butthead episode? And why do we only see the Garbage man once? Why? Was he due for an unmade sequel? Cut out? Forgotten about? His brief glimpse had so much potential.

The cast were, and have remained unknown since. Most just have this to their credit or maybe three to four other low budget things. Victoria Bastel who played April, had a part in Abel's Bad Lieutenant though. The best thing is, like I said before, the zombies. They are the stars, even though they tend to piss about a lot. The Video Dead is a quirky little time filler with a few moments that makes the journey worthwhile.

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

The Video Dead Screenshot on Severed Cinema

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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