I Was a Teenage Zombie (1987)



(director: John Elias Michalakias; screenwriters: James Martin/Steve McCoy/George Seminara; cinematographer: Peter Lewnes; editor: John Elias Michalakias; music: Jonathan Roberts/Craig Seeman; cast: Michael Rubin (Dan Wake), George Seminara (Ed Gordy), Steve McCoy (Mussolini), Peter Bush (Rosencrantz), Cassie Madden (Cindy Faithful), Ken Baggett (Kevin Kramer), Lynnea Benson (Hilda), Allen Lewis Rickman (Lieberman), Kevin Nagle (Bird), Robert C. Sabin (Chuckie), Ray Stough (Lenny), Steve Reidy (Policeman); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Richard Hirsh/John Elias Michalakias; Horizon Releasing; 1987)

“A real scream.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A campy punk horror treat from director John Elias Michalakias that is a real scream, especially if you don’t take the plot explanations seriously and roll with the gory fun stuff as tongue-out of-cheek humor.

It’s not as well presented as American Werewolf in London, but it’s in the same camp when it comes to spoofing teens.

A group of four nerdy Woodbridge High School seniors, Gordy, Chuck, Lieberman and Rosencrantz, and one jock, Dan Wake (Michael Rubin), and one leather-jacketed motorcycle boy, Bird, want to score grass for the upcoming spring dance, but the town is dry. Into the town arrives the sleazy older tough-guy drug dealer Mussolini, or Moose (Steve McCoy) as he prefers, who needs quick cash to pay off his mob bosses for a bungled drug deal that sent the dope to the wrong town. Coming up with grass that is mixed with toxins, he sells a pound of it to the desperate Gordy. Wanting his money back, Gordy is instead given a beaten by Moose as he proclaims that this isn’t a supermarket. Gordy’s pals are outraged and attack Moose with baseball bats. Thinking they killed him when he accidentally slips on a banana peel, they are about to dump his body in the nuclear contaminated river but he regains consciousness and attacks two of them. Dan saves the day by conking him on the noggin with his Louisville Slugger, as if he were Mickey Mantle. They then dump Moose in the river, but he returns as a zombie. He is alive and with super strength only because of the radiation, but when the radiation wears off he’ll return to the dead. With his faced darkened in a grotesque green shade, Moose seeks revenge on his murderers and begins picking them off one at a time. The first vic he rips out his tongue and then rapes and mutilates Hildy, as she was doing the dirty with the nerdy and cowardly Rosencrantz in his father’s car. When Dan, the only hope the boys have of stopping the zombie drug pusher, gets killed, they dump him in the river and he also becomes a zombie with the strength to take on Moose and save their hides. At the spring hop Dan shows up with the girl of his dreams, Cindy Faithful, and when Moose shows his slime-ball self they fight it out to the bitter end.

It’s low-level stuff, but I found it enjoyable and felt the good vibes as it made no pretenses to be anything but what it was–an amateur film meant as a goof. To top off the sight gags, there was the bouncy music from groups like The Fleshtones and Los Lobos.


REVIEWED ON 5/19/2005 GRADE: B  https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/