Haitian voodoo! Zombie revenge! Scumbag punks! Adam West!
What couldn’t you like about Zombie Nightmare?
Answer: A LOT.
This 1987 Canadian horror flick begins with little Tony Washington cheering for his dad at a little league baseball game. When it is over, Tony and his parents are walking home, only to stumble upon two young men attempting to rape a young Haitian woman. Tony’s father runs to the rescue, which proves fatal as he and his mother, Louise (Francesca Bonacorsa), watch him get stabbed from the street.
Fast forward to the 80s, and there’s Tony (Jon Mikl Thor), at the diamond and ready to bat. And, boy-oh-boy, has he grown. So grown, that when he is done with the game, Tony heads to the local grocer for a few things, and beats the hell out of two numbskulls trying to rob it. Unfortunately, Tony’s heroic praise lasts as long as his fathers’, when he is hit by some punks speeding recklessly (or purposely?) down the road as he heads home. And, thanks to poor editing, he lands in three different spots of the road… or sidewalk… oh, no, the road again. It didn’t take long for me to realize this flick was going to head south.
Instead of phoning the police, a small group of men PICK UP TONY’S BODY AND DRIVE TO HIS MAMA’S HOUSE. You know, because everyone does it…
Louise is so distraught, she too decides calling the police is not needed and instead, calls on the Haitian voodoo priestess, Molly Mokembe (Manuska Rigaud) to cash in her IOU she’s been holding on for years. That’s right. Molly is the young lady from 20+ years earlier. Unable to bring Tony back from life as the son Louise knows and loves, Molly proceeds with a ritual to temporarily reanimate him to seek the vengeance he justifiably deserves. And, everyone else goes about their day as if nothing happens. Reanimated corpses must pop up often here.
The next morning, the teens (Hamish McEwan, Manon E. Turbide, Tia Carrere, Alan Fisler, and Shawn Levy (Yes. Stranger Things Executive Producer)) notice there is nothing in the paper about the accident, leaving them both confused and elated. Jim (Levy), who was behind the wheel, felt it was thrilling and is looking forward to possibly killing him again. Nothing weird about that. At all. As if everyone expects the undead one way or another.
But, what do I know? Jim is a noodle tossing, moronic, teen psychopathic rapist-to-be.
That evening, Tony rises from his above-ground coffin bed. He looks, stumbles, and groans like the rejected son of Frankenstein’s monster. (Apparently, zombie Tony is not Thor, but Peewee Piemonte.) Holding in that inner zombie voodoo rage and onto a baseball bat (that magically disappears and reappears), he goes on a daily killing spree of revenge, as Molly’s puppet on some cursed invisible strings. After some mediocre deaths, zombie Tony eventually comes face-to-face with Detective Frank Sorrell (Frank Dietz) and Capt. Tom Churchman (Adam West). By the time it gets to that point, I’ve already yawned an obscene amount of times.
The editing is pretty bad. The sound effects are off. The acting is overall below average. The dialogue is annoying. The deaths teetered on OK – They were fairly basic slasher-style kills of neck breaking and face crushing, with only one that stood out: Impaled by aluminum bat. The only real joy I got from Zombie Nightmare, is its soundtrack, including the never overplayed Motörhead’s Ace of Spades to bring you in, with Knighthawk, Girlschool and of course, Thor.
The budget for this film obviously slides down the low scale. However, even with a small role from West and a pissed off zombie, it doesn’t appear on the ‘So Bad, It’s Good’ scale.
If you are a die-hard zombie fan, it may not completely kill you to give this one a whirl to at least say you’ve seen it, but it will kill the 89 minutes you’ll be wanting back.
Directed By: Jack Bravman
Written By: David Wellington
Starring: John Mikl Thor, Adam West, Frank Dietz, Tia Carrere, Shawn Levy