AWESOME-tober-fest 2014: Zombie Nightmare (1987) movie review

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Yesterday you saw the ad for the flick, Zombie Nightmare from 1987.  It starred Adam West, Tia Carrere and Jon Mikl-Thor.  I’ve loved the look of that ad since I first saw it in Fangoria so I decided that it was going to be this week’s Fangoria Movie Friday review.

Zombie Nightmare poster

The only thing I’ve ever seen on this movie was yesterday’s home video ad. I remember the image vividly from when I bought the issue. So, since I’m filling in holes in my cult horror movie watching this month, I decided to track down this movie and give it a watch.

The premise is simple enough.  A guy is run over by a bunch of teens in a sports car and killed.  He is resurrected as a mindless zombie by a voodoo priestess in order to get revenge on all the teens that were in the car.  Bloodshed ensues.

It stars Adam West and Tia Carrere, so this should be 100% a winner.  And I mean that in the most B-movie awesome way.  Now that I’ve watched it, what did I think?  In a nutshell it’s a bit disappointing.  There’s definitely some high moments here and there.  The aesthetic is early Troma, as it seems with all the movies I’ve picked this month.  Not a whole lot of gore, surprisingly, but a metric ton of cheese.  Production values are on par with something like Street Trash but that movie was endlessly more fascinating than this one.  Do I recommend?  Hmmm, not really.  I don’t plan on watching it again, even though it amused me a bit during my viewing.  Another movie this reminded me of was Hard Rock Zombies which I reviewed last year for AWESOME-tober-fest 2013.

Let’s look at some of the more choice moments of this movie.

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And the movie begins, and we see that right away, this movie has the potential to be several different kinds of awesome. Adam West in a schlocky zombie movie? Yes, please? Tia Carrere?! Yes! And maybe she’ll get topless for her kill scene.  Those are the thoughts running through my head when I see the title cards.

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Wait…slick back hair, tight t-shirt, cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve.  Did I put on The Outsiders by mistake?  Is Leif Garret going to show up in a letter sweater?

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Oh, I see. Those greasers are here to endanger that young lady. And the husky, sweat panted dude is going to do something about it.  And that something is participate in the most ridiculously choreographed fight scene I’ve seen since Miami Connection.  Yes, husky sweat pants actually does spin around with the guy on his shoulders.

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On the left we see the boy watch his sweat panted father fight the bullies and then he watches as one of the greasers pulls a blade and knifes his father in the kidneys. The boy then watches his father bleed out on the grass. Fade to black. Then we return from what I now assume was a flashback because there was no title card. And we see that the young boy is now grown up and apparently the lead singer of Pantera.  And taking steroids.

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Okay, I know that Pantera bit was a joke, but let me drop some knowledge on you. When I watched this movie that jacked up guy with metal hair looked familiar but I couldn’t place him. Then it hit me. That guy up there is, in fact, Jon-Mikl Thor, the lead singer of the heavy metal band THOR. And this cover is the cover to his second album in 1977.  I knew this because my dad actually owned this album (ON VINYL) and it’s not one you forget easily.

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Mr Thor runs to the local quick stop to grab some medicine for his mother and on the way back is run over in one of the more gloriously awful scenes I’ve seen since Troma came along. Seriously, it looks BAD. And for some reason the director decided to slow the footage down so you can see just how awful it really is.  Oh, remember that he’s holding a baseball bat here.  It becomes important later.

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Thor’s mother, who is apparently friends with a voodoo priestess, gets said priestess to resurrect her son as a zombie bent on revenge.  Oh, I see, actually listening to this terrible dialogue the voodoo priestess is also the little girl who was saved by husky sweat pants up there.  And husky sweat pants is Thor’s father.  Okay.  Wait……what?

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Here you go. Some gratuitous Tia Carrere for you.

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Yep. This is an actual shot in the movie. And they show it for at least 30 seconds. More than they EVER show Tia Carrere.

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The guy that was driving the car that ran over Thor is kind of a douche bag who drives a red Porsche 944. Which is kind of the douche bag of Porsches.  He also goes a bit crazy because he actually enjoyed killing Thor and wants to do it again (kill other people, not kill Thor again).  The DBag here is played by Shawn Levy who has become a rather prolific producer/director in Hollywood.  He’s directed movies like all three Night at the Museums, Real Steel, Date Night, The Rocker and both of Steve Martin’s Pink Panther movies.

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Sidenote: I love vintage signage like this in movies. LOVE IT.

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So zombie Thor is let loose on the town to kill all the people that were in the car that ran over him.  And for some reason he continues to carry his baseball bat around (did you remember that from before?). And he actually tries to kill people with the bat.  Like actually swinging it around and trying to hit them.  Instead of, you know, EATING THEIR GODDAM BRAINS.  However he is a voodoo zombie, which does have different rules than the walking dead, but a zombie with a baseball bat?  Weird.

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And nearly 48 minutes into an 89 minute movie, we get its top billed actor, ADAM WEST. And he’s playing his best Burt Reynolds.

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Then we get one of the more awkward “white people dancing” scenes I’ve ever seen.

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A zombie walking around at night in the woods.  In the mist.  Yep, they checked off like 4 tropes in this one scene.

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In the finale we get some shenanigans with Adam West’s character. We learn *SPOILER* he’s actually one of the bad guys*SPOILER* just as the zombie shows up to kill him. And what does West’s character do? He shoots the zombie.  With a gun.  IN THE BACK.  Has no one in a zombie movie ever actually watched a zombie movie?!

So that’s Zombie Nightmare.  It’s shlocky and weird.  I enjoyed watching it but I just don’t think I can recommend it.  Go back and watch Street Trash.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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3 Responses to “AWESOME-tober-fest 2014: Zombie Nightmare (1987) movie review”

  1. This post is why this blog is incredibly aptly named. Simply awesome.

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