Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Teenage Zombies

Hello again Sporefans. This week we have a quickie review of "Teenage Zombies". This movie was a gift that I recieved from one of The Damned which came in a 2 pack with "Teenagers from Outer Space". From the looks of the 2 pack I deduced that way back in 1959 people feared teenagers. I guess 1959 isn't too different from today in that aspect.

I like how the cover proclaims this movie to be a "cult classic" despite the fact that I've never heard of a cult that revolved around this movie.

Teenage Zombies tells the story of 4 teens, 2 guys and 2 girls, who go boating and explore a small island somewhere in the un-named body of water near the un-named town in some state in the U.S.A. The island happens to be the home of the evil Dr. Myra and her zombie horde. You can tell that she's evil because A) she's an adult and B) she's a brunette in a 1950's B-movie. Also, the zombies are a good hint that's she's up to no good.

Once discovered, Dr. Myra sends her zombies after the teens, and sends some more zombies to steal their boat. Now it should be noted that the zombie horde is only in 1 scene, shot from afar, and are just walking from one place to another on this island. After that, there's only one zombie: Igor. I'd like to tell you more about Igor, to give you a better picture of his hopes, his dreams, and his life before being turned into a zombie; but unfortunately the script just says "Igor: a zombie". Expect this type of depth for the remainder of the movie, in pretty much every aspect you can think of.

Igor: a zombie. Please also note that while the shot is in color, the movie is in the original black and white format. If they touched up the film quality and re-edited the sound this movie could be a piece of crap.

Now, I want to be clear on something. Way back in the day, before the 1968 movie "Night of the Living Dead", most movie zombies were portrayed as people who's mind were blank or controlled. They were not popularly undead until after Romero changed the zombie movie genre. Another great example of zombies pre-Romero was the 1941 movie "King of the Zombies", which I should review sometime. So the zombies of "Teenage Zombies" are not dead, they're just brainless. But why would anyone want to make people brainless? Why?

Because they're Un-American. That's why!

It seems that Dr. Myra is working for some foreign power who wants to take over the U.S. by making everyone mindless slaves. They commission Dr. Myra to develop some type of nerve gas pellets that make people into zombies. The pellets prove untrustworthy, but when they do work they make someone into a permanent zombie, like Igor. When the agents from the evil government show up and demand results, Dr. Myra suggests that they use a gas agent instead. The gas would make more people into zombies, but could be counter-acted if a skilled chemist got a hold of it. Which is good, because no one in 1959 would sit through the movie if the teenagers were made into permanent zombie slaves of a foreign power.

At this point there's a quick cut to some government men talking of government things. Things like, "Hey, did you know that there's some zombie making doctor planning on taking over America somewhere in the Mid-West experimenting on teens?" And government man 2 says something like "Yes, but we've no idea where the lab is, so we can do nothing. The only thing we can do is prepare for the worst. Maybe we could save 20% of the population." Don't worry, you never see these guys again in the movie. I don't even know why this scene was here. Its probably some statement about impotentce, but only Jerry Warren knows for sure, and he probably took that secret to the grave with him in 1988.

Anyhoo, Dr. Myra, with 4 teens in her custody and while being pressured to test this new gas by the evil agents, decides to test the new zombie gas on... a gorilla. Yeah. Once the gas hits the angry ape, its bedtime for Bonzo. Meanwhile, the 2 guys escape from their cage. Using their limited brain capabilities, they somehow convince the girls (who are in a separate cage) that staying locked up in the evil science lab is a good idea. Then the "two yout's" go out and try to find their boat. The one they already looked for and couldn't find earlier in the movie. Good job guys.

Just before dawn, team brainiac decides it "sure would be a swell idea, gosh golly to build a raft" and escape from the island on it. Using some crap that they found on the beach and some twine, they kind of, sort of, fashion something that might be a raft if you worked on it with some real materials for 4-5 hours. Then they hide their shame in the weeds and head back to their cage, before Igor figures out that they're gone. It really says something that these two fear being outwitted by a brainless zombie.

So, eventually, the girls get turned into zombies. There's some fighting, some shooting, and somebody dies. The counter-zombie formula is found a few minutes later and the girls are normal again. So much for the teenage zombie aspect of teenage zombies. Eventually, the gorilla finds some of the anti-zombie formula and goes ape on everyone.

I can feel your pain, you know. Your sweet, sweet pain.

The teens escape back to the mainland and turn in the evil Dr. Myra and the only living agent left, and then, completely un-scarred from their ordeal, dash to the car parked out front and drive away to go horseback riding.

So ends the flat, unsurprising tale of "Teenage Zombies". I'd say that there was a surprising lack of teenage zombies in this movie, but after the lack of vampires in "The Malibu Beach Vampires" this doesn't seem so bad by comparison. If you're looking for a nice, safe, tame movie, this is the one for you. This movie is about as scary as a bowl of plain, butterless mashed potatoes. If you've got the time to watch this movie, you'd be better off getting an extra 73 minutes of sleep instead.


krishna said...

you know it sounds like scooby-doo gone wrong. plus there's no mysterious scooby snacks either...

Spored_to_Death said...

This movie pre-dates Scooby Doo, so if you want to get technical, Scooby Doo would be ripping off this movie. Also, as its a movie from the 1950's, there can't be any drug references, as it would be scandalous. So all mention of "Scooby Snacks" are out.