Friday, May 21, 2010


Out of the five billion colorless twats inhabiting the face of our planet, if each one that had a blog were to spontaneously combust the Earth would light up like Christmas. And Diablo Cody would probably be sitting on top of the glowing mess like Kali, drowning stars in the intellectual vomit that courses from her laptop.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the internet, it’s that mediocrity travels in massive shitting flocks. Nothing comforts a dullard more than an equally dim companion, for in the middling existence of others they find validation. Ignoring the qualities their limited means cannot achieve, instead, they glorify a lower set of standards. Like the fat chick who doesn't have the discipline to lose the weight, she'll simply find a set of FATTER friends so she'll look thinner by comparison. This is how the ordinary man gets his green light. Sadly, the deafening mass of back patters has gained momentum, shifting from mere spill to mainstream in just two decades.

Things seldom turn out as intended. VHS Summer sat idle for close to a month before I started posting reviews here. The user for whom this blog was originally created had hoped to make this her journal while studying my tape-trading hobby from an anthropological perspective. However, when her work schedule swelled, she no longer had the time she needed for the project. Unwilling to let the inflammatory banner go to waste, she suggested that I start using the blog for my own purposes. At first, the idea left a sour taste in my mouth.

There are thousands of uninspired cult and horror cinema sites, most propagated by the ease of internet self-publishing communities. Honestly, Blogspot and Wordpress practically make this shit down's syndrome accessible. This stuff is easier to use than a handicap parking space. You could have a gallon of water in your skull and still manage to develop a false sense of importance with relative ease in spite of any physical or mental limitations that may stem from your hydroencephalitis . That said, I had no desire to be lost between the sweaty folds of the obese Voltron that bloggers at large join to form. No sir, I was going to keep my proverbial hot dog out of that gaping hallway, thank you.

However, my fondness for discussing film on a casual level probably enhanced the limited appeal of managing a low-life blog myself, and I began examining the websites and blogs I’d run across while collecting data on my weekly VHS acquisitions. Upon closer observation, one glaring trend came to light. Most reviewing “bad movies” didn't seem to be motivated by altruism, but instead by ego. One particularly shitty take on “I Was A Teenage Zombie,” hosted by, was probably the impetus behind my first several posts here. The take was written by some shit-breather who basically used the movie to get his lame sense of humor over. The irony of honestly bad writing being used to put a bad movie down is pitiful, but attempting to build your brand at the expense of someone else's artistic effort is just fuckin' pathetic.

The writers at somethingawful epitomize everything that is wrong with the blogging community at large. They're lynching something for the sake of spectacle, to attract attention to themselves. They're sacrificing something completely innocent and damaging its reputation in the process, and all so they can build their own fragile egos up. I may occasionally bag on shit, but the primary motivation behind this blog isn't to sell you some z-grade personality or name. I'm not interested in celebrity. I'm simply trying to promote a fading segment of culture. It truly bums me out to see assholes who do not care about movies casually burying stuff like "I Was A Teenage Zombie" for little more than the approval of of a bunch of anonymous assholes who barely give a shit in the first place.

I’m the first one to admit that you don’t need to go to culinary school to justify the opinion that McDonald’s sucks balls, but there’s a big difference between cruelty and criticism. Labeling something as throw away just because it doesn't have multi-million dollar production values underlines a dangerous class-based mentality. People often perceive the under dog as an easy target, which is sad. A demonstration of power and cunning against a weak opponent only makes you look like a total pussy. If you've got something to prove, you should test yourself against the biggest dog in the yard. Go stick it to Michael Bay. Now there's a soulless asshole who, in spite of having more collateral than NASA, hasn't made a single good movie. Money isn't everything, people. Good art also requires ample brains and balls.

Speaking of which, in spite of the fact that this is an obviously low budget film, “I Was A Teenage Zombie” manages to create a couple of things that a lot of million dollar blunderfucks fail to conjure. Foremost, you can tell that the people making this film had a lot of fun doing it. Through it all, there is a spark of charm that creates a jubilant vibe. It takes a great deal of ingenuity to grow something so colorful from such meager seeds. There is a definite lack of intellectual prowess in most of today's mainstream productions.

A comedic ménage-a-trois of 1950s AIP horror, Romero's toxic zombies, and the bawdy humor of Porky’s, the film ultimately ends up feeling more like a Troma film that most actual Troma films do. There are a million bullshit Troma wannabes out there, though few manage to nail the Troma aesthetic like Michalakis did here. In fact, while recently re-watching this movie I couldn't help but wonder why Troma never picked this movie up. Coincidentally, director John Elias Michalakis worked on sound for The Toxic Avenger. Lloyd Kaufman’s name is even referenced as the spokesperson for the defunct Nuclear power plant that causes most of the havoc in the movie.

Despite a heady cultural blend, the story is pretty rudimentary, following a pack of soda shop delinquents who knock off a sleazy weed dealer when he refuses them a refund for bunk goods. The miscreants dump the body into the river, and thanks to a nuclear melt down upstream, the pusher is soon back on the beat with super human powers and an appetite for vengeance. After the psychotic zombie bumps off one of their own, the soda pop jerks push their friend’s body into the same irradiated waters in hopes of creating a last line of defense.

It’s ironic that a movie directed by a sound editor would have audio for shit, but otherwise this is a good low budget piece of film making that stands up to similar films of a larger budget from the same period. The main thing working against the film is the marriage of intentionally bad story telling with the low budget. The less savvy critic probably has a hard time distinguishing authentic mistakes from the film's occasional doses of self-deprecating humor.

The movie also has an amazing soundtrack, featuring Alex Chilton, The Smithereens, The Waitresses, and a title track by The Fleshtones, particularly notable for limited MTV rotation at the time.

There's little information about the movie's production, and even the IMDb page is riddled with misinformation. This was apparently the end of the line for most of the cast and the crew of this underrated cult gem. This one is worth a second look and easily attainable via Amazon.

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