Scream Factory takes us back to school with the release of 1987’s Zombie High on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack. Director Ron Link helms a the horror / comedy written by Tim Doyle (Big Bang Theory), Independent Spirit Award Nominee Aziz Ghazal, and Elizabeth Passarelli. Actress Virginia Madsen (Candyman, The Haunting in Connecticut) and Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart) are joined by Paul Feig, who went on to make a name for himself by directing Bridesmaids and the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot.
In Zombie High, it seems to Andrea Miller (Virginia Madsen) that the upperclassmen of her prestigious boarding school 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.
The “zombies” in the movie resemble the unfortunate folks in The Stepford Wives and Disturbing Behavior more than the lumbering walking dead we associate with the use of the descriptive name. We don’t see anything resembling a zombie until the third act. Even then, the “monsters” aren’t mindless brain eaters. They’re just aging and decomposing at an increasing rate.
The biggest surprise for me was seeing Kay E. Kuter in Zombie High. After doing some research on the actor, I realize he was in quite a few genre films over the span of his career like Star Trek, Warlock, Charmed, and more. However, I’ll always remember him as the alien leader Enduran in one of my favorite sci-fi films of the 1980s, The Last Starfighter.
I was a bit disappointed in the lack of bonus material for Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Zombie High. I’m so used to every one of their releases being packed full of bonus material, that when it doesn’t happen it’s a big letdown. All we get here is a theatrical trailer for the film.
Zombie High is rated R for violence, gore, profanity, sex-related dialogue, adult situations, smoking and drinking, and frightening and intense scenes. Surprisingly for a genre movie from the 1980s, no nudity or sex is found. Even the violence and gore is minimal. There are a few sequences where zombielike individuals decompose in an accelerated manner on screen and there’s some visual ooze and goo.
Although the title is a bit misleading, Zombie High is a fun trip back in time to the late 1980s. All the cheese and camp you could ever want in a cult classic horror film from the era is found here. It’s also a cautionary tale warning youth to avoid becoming one of the mindless consumers and taking your life into your own hands. There’s a lot more to the movie than what we get on the surface.
Zombie High is available now in a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack.