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I Lost On Jeopardy… – The Video Dead (1987)


The Video Dead is a low-budget zombie shocker that unlike many other films in the same genre, does the unthinkable by being original and doing something new. It might not look all that good due to the special effects that border between shoddy and not bad and there is a lot of supposed humour that fails to hit thanks to a script that could have been vastly improved, but there is a little bit to love despite those elements that work against it.

It all begins with the arrival of a television that also happens to be a gateway for the undead, a portal through which zombies can pass through and that is exactly what they do. For those that get in their way, it does not end well and when it comes to Zoe and Jeff, while it might seem quite fantastical to them, they realise they will have to somehow fight back against those creatures or suffer the same fate as those around them.

Watching this, one cannot help but find it laughable and that is also the key to watching this film because if the audience were to take it seriously, a good time would not be had. As silly as it is and there are some truly ridiculous moments like the undead bride in the kitchen and characters that appear for a one-off appearance for whatever reason and then are never seen again, it still manages to hold the attention of the viewer, not because it is any good but simply for the fact that it is just so crazy.

As for the good to be found, the zombies are different than the normal shambling, rotting, wanting to eat brains type of creature. These particular monsters still believe that they are alive, unaware that they are trapped in a sort of un-life and as such, they keep trying to do the things they did while still alive which is where a lot of the unintentional or intentional laughter comes from. The old ‘destroy the brain’ routine does not happen to work for dispatching these monstrosities, but there are other ways as like showing them a mirror to convince them that they are in fact dead or trapping them in an enclosed space so that they go dormant. Writer director Robert Scott should be applauded for doing something different than the norm as it definitely adds a little tension to the proceedings as well as some added horror. These are not zombies that will go down easy and that should frighten anyone who encounters them.

Some movies never make it to the big screen and usually for a good reason. When it comes to The Video Dead, it was probably a blessing but for all of its faults, it does a good job of creating a new mythology for the venerable creatures and it is something more filmmakers should try to do when creating works of their own.

2.5 out of 5

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