The 1980's introduced fans to a new sub-genre of horror. Killer televisions. Paving the way for The Ring, David Cronenberg introduced video tape horror eroticism with Videodrome and Tobe Hooper proved there is nothing good to watch when a station signs off in Poltergeist. Hollywood was determined to make us fear our beloved televisions. In a strange way, it worked. In the odd event that I come across TV snow I immediately think, "they're here".
The Video Dead may have got lost in the shuffle with the aforementioned big budget "killer TV" movies. Taken at face value, it's no more ridiculous than Poltergeist. A mysterious television releases a legion of the living dead on whomever is in it's possession.
In The Video Dead, brother and sister Jeff (Rocky Duvall) and Zoe (Roxanna Augeson) move into a house and await their parent's return from an overseas trip. While unpacking, Jeff discovers a television in the attic. Pleased with his find, he puts the TV in his room. That night, he turns on the TV and is greeted by a sexy lady who tells Jeff she has been waiting for him. Much to Jeff's surprise and delight, she emerges from the TV partially clothed and looking for action.
Mr. Cronenberg. Your royalty check is in the mail. I promise.
Before all of Jeff's video eroticism can come true, the woman is transported back inside the television. Jeff only has a few seconds to consider rubbing one out before a not-so-sexy man appears on the television and warns Jeff he must hide the television. Obviously freaked out, Jeff obliges but not before awakening the legion of zombies. And by legion, I mean 4 or 5.
The zombies in The Video Dead are of the lowest quality. Their "makeup" is on par with zombie masks purchased at a Walgreens. For the first 30 minutes of the film, director Robert Scott does his best to make the zombies appear gruesome. Over time, this must have become an impossibility as the The Video Dead makes an abrupt comedic change. Bride and groom zombies complete with tux and wedding gown roam the town. The violence becomes silly. Really silly. The main characters also take a cartoonish turn at one point hunting zombies with a bow and arrow.
What started out as a well meaning low-budget zombie movie turns into a boring horror comedy without any sense of direction.
Seriously. Watching these leg spin around in the washing machine is the highlight of The Video Dead.
To make matters worse The Video Dead makes no attempt to follow traditional zombie rules. As mentioned previously, zombies die by being shot with a bow and arrow. And while it can be exuded that the zombies come crawling out of a television instead of a grave, these zombies aren't in search of human flesh. Oddly enough, not a single zombie in The Video Dead attempts to eat or bite a living human. Rather, the zombies are out to kill fulfilling the prophecy "when there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth... and try to shove you into a washing machine".
Should I have expected something more? Probably not.