The Video Dead


When siblings Jeff and Zoe move into a new house they expect a few surprises, but nothing can prepare them for the surprise this house has in store for them, namely a cursed television set and the undead who exit its screen.

This is one of those movies that just screams out great tagline but what did they go with? “The living dead are here, and they’re lusting for blood…yours.” I would have used something that mentioned the television instead, something like “Didn’t your parents tell you television was bad for your health…” or “Don’t get too close to this T.V., it bites” but sure, I understand, they wanted to mention the zombies instead. Only problem is, their chosen tagline implies that their zombies actually want blood, which, as far as I could tell from the film, not a single one of them really did, they just wanted violence. They love to beat, strangle, and throw around, everything but draw blood, so if they wanted to go the zombie route for their tagline maybe they should have used “The living dead are here, and their lusting to kick ass…yours.” Seems just as good to me.

Our story begins with a famous writer and a mistaken delivery, a television set that was supposed to go to a museum of the occult is accidentally delivered to his house instead. Not really being a fan of television, the writer throws it in a room and forgets about it. That is until the T.V. spews forth a gang of zombies who promptly turn him into a work of designer art. Three months later and a new family has purchased the house, but since Mom and Dad are away it’s up to siblings Jeff and Zoe to get the house ready until their parents get back. While settling in, Jeff comes across the haunted television set, only now it’s been moved to the attic. Since he has no idea the set is really the gateway to some hellish dimension, he plugs it in and enjoys the fact that he just got a free television. This is where things get weird for poor Jeff, the television set does its mojo and before he knows it Jeff finds himself alone with a beautiful woman who has seemingly appeared out of nowhere. In a matter of moments the woman is back inside the television set and mocking the severe case of blue balls she just gave to poor Jeff. Her laughter is cut short by the “garbage man”, a mysterious being that patrols whatever world the T.V. connects to. It turns out that it’s his job to keep the undead of that realm from escaping into ours, but three months ago five zombies escaped his watch and have been hanging around in the woods nearby ever since. It’s now Jeff’s job to either kill them or get them back to the garbage man, and the only help he has is his 17 year old sister and an old fashion Texan who lost his wife to the accursed T.V. The trio must defeat the zombies or face…something, I’m not really sure what since the movie doesn’t really say, but it’s supposed to be bad so HA, there you go world…zombies gonna do something to you and you don’t know what it is. How do you like that?


{What I’m pretty sure the filmmakers were up to}

Okay, I’m going to stop there, never having a clear reason why stopping these guys was of such importance was just one of the many, many things wrong with this movie, most of them involved with the dumb story, a story that was completely ridiculous even for my taste and I’ve enjoyed some pretty ridiculous movies (The Incredible Mr. Limpet is one of my favorite films if that gives you an idea). I can give you a few examples of just how bad the story was besides the fact that you’re supposed to guess what the zombies want.

  1. The woman who appears to Jeff and is subsequently killed by the garbage man looks normal until he kills her, than she looks like a rotted ghoul. The garbage man explains that all from his realm can choose to look normal. Okay, than why in the hell do the ones who escape look and meander about like the dead when they can look and act completely normal, there by blending in with those around them?
  2. It’s said several times that these are zombies, even once mentioning their hunger for flesh, yet these zombies don’t eat people, they just beat the hell out of them, in one case even popping out of a washing machine before doing so (I just want to mention the washing machine as an added bonus to how bad this movie is).
  3. There are only two ways to kill this film’s zombies (something explained later in the movie). The first is to make the zombies “believe” they are dead. In other words, the zombies actually think they are still alive and if you attack them in such a way that they think they are being killed they will truly die. You can attack them with pretty much anything just so long as you make it seem like you truly are killing them. The second way is to lock them in a room with no escape. This will cause them to eat themselves for some reason I can’t really fathom. It was just really ridiculous. And just so you understand how bad this movie is let me give you another example related to this one. Any weapon used to attack the undead is supposed to kill them, yet before this fact is revealed there are a few instances of zombies taking on massive trauma (i.e. a flat iron embedded in the head) and not even being fazed by it.
  4. Lastly, just look at the story itself. Zombies coming out of the television to beat the living to death and wander about a little bit of suburban forest. That really sums it all up right there.

You should be able to see the pattern of how bad the writing for The Video Dead really is at this point and sadly, I’m not even done explaining why this one should rest in the dustbin of history for all eternity.


{Last time something similar appeared to me I was on some heavy medication, also something I’m pretty sure the filmmakers were dealing with}

The other ingredient in this film’s recipe for disaster is the makeup. The zombies here look bad and are poorly created. Anyone near a Halloween store should be able to create these very same zombies with under fifty dollars in their pocket, maybe even less if they were crafty. The few effects the film employs (remember, these zombies only beat you so they didn’t really need much) are horrible and yet another baffling example of filmmakers using effects that they couldn’t have possibly thought were going to be okay.


{Stumbling drunks or television zombies, there had to be a lot of alcohol going…I’m trying to force upon you exactly how fucked up the people who made this film had to be}

There is one saving grace that keeps this film from being a total piece of shit and that’s the acting. I won’t say these are great actors but they aren’t that bad either and while the story and dialogue are horrible, the actors do their best to make it work and I can’t help but applaud their attempt. Don’t get me wrong, it by no means makes this film watchable or even something to put on as background noise, but I still have to give credit where credit is due, and these actors did their best to save what was destined to be a disaster from the get go.


{The state your television should be in while this is in the DVD player}

If you have some masochistic need to punish yourself than by all means check this one out but I guarantee you that even a dedicated group of actors can’t save something this bad (it’s almost like fighting a three alarm fire with a blanket). Go ahead and test me if you want but don’t say I didn’t warn you.


The Undead Review


Directed By: Robert Scott (Ratdog)

Starring: Roxanna Augesen, Rocky Duvall, and Sam David McClelland

Released By: Interstate 5 Productions and Embassy Home Entertainment

Release Year: 1987

Release Type: Straight to Video

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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