Sunday, January 29, 2017

Teenage Zombies

Director - Jerry Warren (Frankenstein Island, Man Beast)
Starring - Don Sullivan (The Giant Gila Monster, The Monster of Piedras Blancas), Katherine Victor (Gargoyles, TaleSpin), and Steve Conte (Bewitched, Face of the Screaming Werewolf)
Release Date - 1959
Genre - Sci-Fi/Horror
Tagline - "Young pawns thrust into pulsating cages of horror in a sadistic experiment"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     Revenge of the Virgins was not the sleazy western I was expecting from Vin Syn.  The film made me think it was going to be the sleaze I am accustomed to with Vin Syn but in a western setting.  I was wrong.  The film was more like a low budget western with topless Indians.  No real sleaze other than the topless Indians which was actually done tastefully.  The female Indians are beautiful, don't get me wrong, but they were done as a way to be authentic and primal not sexual.  The next film in the set was Teenage Zombies.  This is one movie I had heard about before.  It is one of those classic b-movie monster movies from the golden age of drive-ins.  I was excited to check it out but I was a little bummed it was in the comfort of my own home and not out in a field somewhere with a speaker hanging on my door glass.
     The film follows a young couple who are looking for their friends when they failed to pick them up from horseback riding.  They had went water skiing earlier in the day so the young couple fear that they may have capsized or broke down on the water.  The visit the sheriff who sends out a search party with no luck.  The couple search the water for themselves and discover a small island.  On the island they find a mysterious woman who is secretly a scientist and has been conducting experiments on those unlucky enough to visit her island.  Now the young couple find themselves on the wrong side of her experiment.
     I wasn't expecting much from Teenage Zombies but I was excited to see it nonetheless.  I have seen it countless times as part of all night creature features and monster marathons with other classics like Last Man on Earth, House on Haunted Hill, Night of the Living Dead, and the like.  The acting in this one is not bad at all but there was several scenes where I couldn't help but laugh at their reactions to certain situations.  They needed a little more direction and understanding of how the scenes were set to play out.  The story for this one is nothing new.  By 1959 the mad scientist doing experiments on the innocent was already a cliché but very few mixed with it the voodoo zombie angle.  This could have been fun but was never fully explored or actually explained.  Finally, those of you with an eye for blood will not find any here.  The film is pretty tame in respects to horror in a modern sense.  It does have a gothic look and feel but is more campy sci-fi more than anything.  Overall, Teenage Zombies is definitely a definitive example of a 1950s b-movie.  I would have loved to see this at an actual drive-in just for the experience but the film is not that great.  Easily forgettable.   

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