Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ZOMBIE HIGH (1987) (Blu-ray Review)

Label: Scream Factory 
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 91 Minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Mono 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director: Ron Link
Cast: Clare Carey, James Wilder, Richard Cox, Kay E. Kuter, Paul Feig, Scott Coffey, Sherilyn Fenn, Virginia Madsen

Synopsis: Virginia Madsen (Candyman, Sideways) and Richard Cox (Cruising) star in this humorous thriller about the bizarre happenings that occur in a prestigious boarding school. It seems to Andrea Miller (Madsen) that the upperclassmen act like robots. They're the perfect students – dedicated, involved and loyal. Their clothes are perfectly pressed and their hair is perfectly styled. It seems that the teachers have something to do with this ingratiating behavior. And when Andrea, the new kid at school, sees her friends turning into clones, she starts to suspect the worst.

Zombie High (1987) had a few things going for it from the start, for one it features the very attractive Sherilyn Fenn from Twin Peaks and Boxing Helena, plus it also stars Virginia Madsen (Candyman). The movie is a variation on The Stepford Wives taking place at the prestigious Ettinger Academy where Andrea Miller (Madsen) has won a paid scholarship. Adrea's excited about the opportunity but her clingy jock-boyfriend doesn't want her to attend the school, fearing she will fall for one of the silver-spooned preppies, but he's so wrong, she actually falls for the moody biology professor Dr. Louis Philo (Richard Cox).

Anyway, it turns out that the school is a strange place all the way around once you get past the ivy league exterior. Any students who shows a lack of proper study habits or counter-culture influence winds up transformed overnight into straight-A study nerds in blue blazers. At the heart of the transformative weirdness is the elderly Dr. Beauregard Eisner (Kay E. Kuter) and his quest for immortality, a byproduct of which leaves the students mindless study-drones, with the faculty and staff harvesting brain-serum which prolong their own lives.

Honestly, by the end of the movie I felt as if I was becoming a mindless drone myself, this is the worst kind of low-budget b-movie, a boring one. Madsen is decent in the role, she's a capable actress but she cannot save the movie alone, the script is awful and there is zero atmosphere to be found, the movie might have gotten by on a weird sense of creepiness if it had any.  The precious few interesting aspects of the story are never fleshed out decently and the whole affair screams amateur hour from start to finish. If you can imagine a hybrid of the superior The Stepford Wives (1975) by way of the Australian movie Strange Behavior (1980) and you might have an idea of what maybe this could have been with a little inspiration, but this movie has none to offer. 

The Blu-ray from Scream Factory prents the movie in 1080p HD widescreen and is sourced from a clean print, the image lacks depth or fine detail but looks acceptable, looking soft and anemic at times. The English DTS-H MA Mono 2.0 comes through clean, optional subtitles are provided. The only extras is a trailer for the movie, leaving me to surmise that no one involved wants to discuss this blemish on their filmography. On one hand I applaud Scream Factory for rescuing this one from the vault obscurity, on the other hand I will never watch this movie again, there are too many other better movies out there to discover, this is not one of them, I love bad movies, just not the boring ones. 2/5