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Friday, April 19, 2019

Teenage Zombies (1959)

Well we had some Teenage Werewolf and Teenage Frankenstein action so why not zombies? With that in mind I bid you welcome to the wonderful world of writer/director Jerry Warren. While Roger Corman might have been one of the best low budget filmmakers of the fifties and sixties Warren was one of the worst! So why am I reviewing one of his movies? I suppose I have an unhealthy interesting in brain cell destroying cinematic disasters. With that in mind let’s talk some Teenage Zombies.

Some kids are hanging out in a malt shop that actually appears to be a couple of tables in a warehouse. They decide to go water skiing, except for one unlucky fella that has to go horseback riding with his best girl. The kids that go out on the boat end up on an island that is home to a creepy scientist lady and her hunchbacked assistant. She locks them up and hides their boat so that they can’t tell anyone that she is there. Later we find out that she is experimenting with nerve gas that will turn the population of America into helpless workers there to serve their Commie overlords. Yeah this is a communist plot to take over America without having to nuke it! The horseback riding kids go looking for their friends and things get crazy from there.

This story doesn’t have enough meat on the bone to sustain even the short seventy-minute-long runtime. We get scene after scene of the kids walking around the island while the generic canned music blares over the “action” that is only interrupted occasionally with dialogue attempting to explain the plot with varying degrees of success. The plot to enslave the population by an “Eastern” power is explained pretty well. But the gas and how it is supposed to work is contained in dialogue delivered in monotone by the actress that portrays the mad scientist. Though at least she is able read her lines without stumbling over them like most of the rest of the cast does.

The Hunchback is pretty cool looking
So far, we have a movie that drags and dialogue that is tripped over by a cast of actors who are either reading off of a cue card or stumbles over every third of fourth word they tried to memorize. What else do we have? Well the hunchback is sort of cool looking and likes to stare at the girls creepily. We also get a guy in a gorilla suite that gets to beat up some commie spies, which was also sort of fun. Neither of these are enough to save the movie or make it watchable.

It has to be clear that I can’t recommend this movie. It is miserably slow and tough to get through. Now here is where I’m going to be honest. I watch this movie every few years knowing how bad it is. For me there is a certain nostalgic feeling as I grew up with Teenage Zombies being in regular rotation on my local horror hosted late shows. While the movie is terrible, I have fond memories of it being goofed on by the different hosts as well as all the people I’ve watched it with in the past. I figured I should say something in case one of you regulars noticed that I keep watching a movie I claim to dislike. In conclusion stay the hell away from Teenage Zombies.



© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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