Looking back out at our previous post regarding VHS covers, what we have here is a movie that epitomized the art of cover...well, art. The Video Dead has gotten a huge following over it's 20+ year course due mostly to that amazing box art. I mean LOOK at it! A zombie tearing through a TV at you with blue lightning glittering behind it. The image up there is uber-mega-ultra high res for everyone's pleasure.
And not only is the art amazing, but this movie has the distinction of being the very first direct-to-video film, now a pretty standard practice. And the movie is a hell of a lot of fun too. I would say it's unlike the earlier Romero works because it lacks social commentary, but it does kind of, albeit accidentally I think. There's definitely some sort of too-much-tv-watching message that can be inferred. But that's not what we came to see now, is it?
The movie opens by ruining the excitement of getting mystery packages (maybe the unabomber ruined that already) by sending a posessed TV to the wrong address. Unfortunately for the poor sap who gets the package, a zombie movie is on tv rather than a bikini contest. Then off we go! Zombies bust out of what's a pretty awesomely titled movie in its own right, Zombie Blood Nightmare, and kill the guy. About 3 months later a new family moves in, and then they have to deal with magic TV. The story itself doesn't make much sense, like how do the zombies get out of the TV, where were they in interim 3 months, why don't they want to eat anyone's brains, how does locking a zombie in a basement with a mirror make it go crazy...
The Video Dead for me is one of those amazing Troll 2-like experiences with the perfect combination of dim witted story, terrible yet earnest performances by first time actors and its ability to keep all the fun on repeated viewing. I think this is what's lead to its pretty rabid fanbase, that has in recent months been revived in the wake of its killed DVD release this month. Myspace and Facebook pages have popped in support of the release and a recent cast reunion on the Diabolical Radio podcast have all been cultivating its cult status. The interview is great, documenting the process to get the movie on DVD and a ton of fun info and trivia about the making of the movie. Listen online at the link above or download here:
While The Video Dead is still crawling its way to a DVD release, make you go and sign up for the fan pages to get MGM moving it. It sounds like they've been supportive and are monitoring these pages frequently so go! Until it gets an official release, it's being put up on youtube in installments, currently only the first few are available, so subscribe to see the rest as it comes up, part 1 below: