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The Rewind Zone: Not even your TV is safe in “The Video Dead”

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Rewind Zone

The idea of zombies coming out of a TV to decimate their victims is one of my favourite concepts from a horror film. Big-box television sets are what we grew up with in the 80s and to incorporate horror in the mix equals a fun time!  TVs are integral to our horror movie viewings, so director Robert Scott was onto something when he created mirror-hating zombies to increase our deepest fears… or entertain us, depending on how your brain works!

The opening scene from in The Video Dead  includes the hootie tootie disco cutie Greasy Strangler star himself Michael St. Michaels. What a gem this man is! I admire that he was also brought in last minute to replace one of the zombies for the ending of the film, and it’s incredibly noticeable! He is also seen using a typewriter which is the same one Robert Scott used to write the script. It’s the little things that count to me!

The Video Dead includes interesting human and zombie characters. The main teenager in the film, Jeff (played by Rocky Duvall), must have known he wasn’t proficient in his acting skills, as this was the only movie he was ever in. I find his acting abilities wildly adorable in their awfulness. However, in his defense, I’ve seen much worse! His sister Zoe, on the other hand (played by Roxanna Augesen), did a pretty good job for her only film credit. The blonde sexy lady who comes out of the TV, who looks like she could be Hatchet-Face from Cry-Baby’s long-lost daughter, astoundingly succeeds in turning Jeff on. Luckily, he’s 16 and his boner is able to see past her atrocious performance.

I read that all the zombie’s backstories were written but were not included in the film. Even though we didn’t get a chance to see this, Robert Scott managed to portray each zombie with particular attire and demeanours that could imply what lives they lead before their demise. There’s a zombie bride, who is reminiscent of the zombie in The Newlydeads, and her husband are probably my favourite zombie couple in a movie! They stuff a woman in a washing machine and the joy in their rotten faces is a delight! There’s a blue zombie who had drowned, a burned zombie who’s missing an arm, a serial killer zombie, and all the wrinkly toilet paper painted zombies who are all equally awesome in their own unique way!

Honestly, there’s not much to the plot and it’s high on the cheese scale, but the gore is in The Video Dead just another aspect that makes it so genuinely low budget 80s and I cherish these kinds of movies. Blood spews from the TV after a zombie gets his arm cut off with a hatchet, a zombie’s face boils and melts, another starts eating a fellow zombie’s decapitated head, but I must commend the chainsaw scene, it’s truly amazing! However, I’d really like to know what they used for that weed. I’m willing to bet it was taken from someone’s mom’s spice rack!

The Video Dead teaches you that if you want to make a horror movie but don’t have a lot of money and don’t want to disturb the public, just shoot it in your house and in the woods! The fact that the crew and actors all had regular day jobs and had to film on weekends makes it even more adorable.  Robert Scott wanted to do a sequel but declined when offered the same budget, but I am here to let him know that if he initiated a crowd funding venture, I would certainly contribute!

The Video Dead has always been one of my favourite 80s low budget horror flicks because it embodies precisely what the 80s looked and felt like to me. It’s a well sought after VHS that I’m certain will be in my possession one day and the high price is worth it alone for the cover. When I’m watching The Video Dead it makes me feel like I’m back in my friend’s orange carpeted, wood panelled walled basement, immersed in a bowl of popcorn, so not much has changed in my life!

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Yasmina Ketita
My name is Yasmina and I am the co-host of Witch Finger Horror Podcast. My love for horror and VHS was established while growing up in the 80s. My admiration for the 80s and horror movies has compelled me to speak out about all the glorious aspects of this time and these movies on my podcast and also through writing. The 80s are my favourite decade for horror because it spawned a new generation of incredible practical effects, amazing VHS cover art and most importantly, provides nostalgia. Watching 80s horror movies comforts me in a sentimental way as if being back in those movie rental days.