Production Year: 1987
Release Date: 2/19/2013
Studio: Scream/Shout Factory
Collection Number: 1264
In the late 90's I had a goal, I was going to rent every single horror film Movie's ETC had to offer. This seemed a bit daunting as that place had to of had well over 300 nice horror themed VHS boxes ripe for the picking. While I never truly accomplished this task, I came pretty close. Movie's ETC Had a deal, two movies/two dollars/two days. Meaning for 6 bucks I could have a movie marathon every weekend, and for the better part of my mid teens I did. I saw a lot of movies during those years...Some would stick with me, some I'd try and forget, some I even eventually would buy once they started to liquidate their VHS stock. To this day Movies ETC is still flourishing even as places like Blockbuster are going belly up.
Getting to the point, one of my favorites from those years was The Video Dead. It was as cheesy as it was cool and at the time was a movie I'd never heard of, no major coverage from the horror publications. Years later (and much to my surprise) I found out this little film had a very strong fan base, I'm sure it was to the chagrin of many though, as I think this might be one of those movies you had to have loved as a kid/teen to really appreciate. Just to attest to the love of this film, one fellow fan went out of his way to create a page and a petition to get this one out on DVD. That same guy would host a fan art contest all of those years back which your's truly entered, in fact, I've still got a picture of what I did (though I'm not sure the actual piece survived.)
So, The Video Dead...The film starts with a pretty grisly scene. Somewhere in middle America a man excepts a mystery package. He opens it to discover a television, however this TV will only play one program, a movie by the name of "ZOMBIE BLOOD NIGHTMARE." As this film within a film unfolds it actually sends Zombies from that television's dimension into our own. The Zombies end up doing what most zombies do and kill the poor fellow.
If you've never seen this movie I bet you're thinking "wow, that movie sounds badass." Well guess what? That isn't even the whole movie, I just described the first five minutes. Yeah.
Eventually a new family will inhabit this small house and discover the TV. The family in question is a pretty common one in film-land, two parents who are conspicuously never there, an older college bound sister, and a curious wise cracking little brother. If that wasn't cliched enough just wait until you meet the rest of the cast, hell there's even an doom-preaching old man who warns the siblings! So as you can imagine (or assume, rather) the younger brother unwittingly unleashes a pack of ravenous zombies while watching the old tube TV.
The Video Dead has a lot of competition as far as 80's Zombie flicks are concerned, and while it may pale in comparison to some of the greats released that decade, it certainly deserves the treatment that Scream Factory has provided. It's hard to give an honest review of this movie as it's one I truly did grow up with, therefore my thoughts on it can be a bit one sided. To be fair, it has a lot of faults, it suffers from your typical horror cliches from parts of the story to some of the characters, along with a bit of bad acting thrown in. However, there's just something so cool about seeing a zombie rise out of an old broken television set. Something also has to be said about the zombies in this one, they look great! Dale Hall Jr. worked on a pretty tight budget but managed to create some pretty memorable make-ups.
So yeah, this movie has never won any awards, it never will. It really has split the horror community in half as far as those who love it versus those who hate it. I guess it's just going to have to fall into the "see it and judge for yourself category " As for me? Yeah, I love the film, I owned it on VHS and now I've upgraded to this blu-ray release.
As far as the disc itself goes Shout outdid themselves yet again, all of these years without so much as a simple bare-bones DVD release and here we are with a freaking blu-ray. Did anyone see this coming? Because I surely didn't. The film is paired with another forgotten (and much clamored for) movie TerrorVision, I'll be reviewing that one on a later date. I did preview it though and I can attest to the quality of the print. Both of these films are older low budget films, while they aren't demo worthy, they really do look and sound great. For those of us who were used to seeing these on a grainy VHS it really is like watching a completely different movie. The disc is loaded too, much to my shock. It's not that Scream Factory isn't known for that or anything, I was just surprised that that they could find so many extras to include. So to break it down with The Video Dead you're getting 5.1 audio, 2.0 audio, two commentaries, an interview with the FX team called Pre-recorDEAD, outtakes, two photogalleries, and a trailer. While I hate to sound greedy, one thing that really would have rounded out things nicely would have been a peiced together "Zombie Blood Nightmare" but I'm completely content with everything else they've thrown at us.
Another great release by Shout/Scream Factory to end my week, ain't life grand?