Sunday, February 10, 2008


Probably going to keep this one short, since John Elias Michalakis's I WAS A TEENAGE ZOMBIE (a 1987 teen-comedy wannabe masquerading as a horror flick) is a mostly one-note affair devoid of any laughs, shivers, and whatever emotion teen romances are supposed to elicit. I remember catching this one year ago, when I was a teenage zombie myself, and hitting the Stop button after half an hour or so, far from impressed by its feeble attempts at humor. And while lately I've surprised myself by being disproportionately kind to movies of my youth, the only nostalgia I had rewatching ZOMBIE was when I remembered the spot where I initially called it quits.

Our heroes are a band of chuckleheads straight out of the 1980's Teen Comedies home catalog, including the requisite jock, nerd, sensitive guy, bad-boy, and sub-Belushi slob. But despite being from different cliques, they're all great pals, goofing off in class (like jumping out a window during study hall, woo-hoo!) and hanging out over milkshakes at the malt shop (a real pack of party animals, they are). When they buy a bag of weed off Mussolini, the local dope dealer (the late Ignacio F. Iquino, in a performance not competent enough to be good, nor broad enough to be funny) they make the major faux pas of asking for a refund when the "product" turns out to be up to snuff. Now, I'm not a connoisseur of the herb, but I'm pretty sure "all sales final" is implied in most transactions, and Mussolini seems to agree. He attacks the boys, who accidentally kill him and dump his body into a river polluted with toxic waste, thus setting the story proper in motion as the zombified Mussolini terrorizes the boys.

You may be wondering--my wife certainly was, before bailing for more constructive endeavors like playing The Sims--about the TEENAGE portion of the title, since Iquino clearly left puberty 'round the Kennedy assassination. Well, he eventually gets one of the boys--nice-guy jock Dan, who cleaned his clock earlier with a baseball bat--so his friends naturally dump him in the same river to reanimate him. (I'd like to take a moment to tell my friends: if I'm ever killed by a zombie drug dealer, please don't bring me back as the same; just kick the dude's ass, okay?)

Slow, boring, and painfully devoid of anything resembling entertainment, I WAS A TEENAGE ZOMBIE skimps on the gore as much as the humor; though, with a budget that probably wouldn't have Supersized an extra value meal, I doubt there wasn't a lot in the FX department they could've done. The cast is uniformly bland, though the actor who played Dan (Michael Rubin) kinda resembles a young DeNiro, if Bobby lacked any dramatic chops, anyway. I'd suggest passing on this one, though it may be of interest if you enjoyed stuff like Greg Lamberson's SLIME CITY (Lamberson served as production manager on this one) or the output--I can't really call 'em films--of Tim Kincaid; the late-eighties marked the end of the 16mm era of NYC-lensed horror films, and I WAS A TEENAGE ZOMBIE was probably played a part in its demise.

(No trailer, but you can enjoy the movie's rape scene--I don't know about you, but it's not a teen-horror-comedy without violent rape.)

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