Zombie Nightmare (1986)

Zombie Nightmare (1986)

Zombie Nightmare (1986)

As much as I appreciate Zombie Nightmare for connecting with the zombie’s Haitian roots and using a Motorhead song in the opening credits, there is just no redeeming this piece of trash.

Zombie Nightmare is a Canadian film that was written by David Wellington and directed by Jack Bravman. It enjoyed only a limited release in the US.

Despite having Adam ‘Batman’ West as the highest billing actor on the credits, it is Jon Mikl Thor who is the lead in this 80s horror. Jon Mikl Thor was a Canadian bodybuilder, writer, musician, and led the metal band THOR in the 1970s.

Although he did not write or direct the movie, Zombie Nightmare is like a weird passion project for Jon Mikl Thor, who plays the movie’s main character, wrote the movie’s score, and curated its soundtrack full of hair metal so terribly 80’s that the aerosol and hairspray practically fume out of the screen.

The movie follows Thor’s character Tony, who is killed in a hit and run by a bunch of drunk teenagers, as he is brought back as a zombie to get vengeance on the shitty teens who murdered him. Thor was able to become a zombie because his mom was owed a favor by an old Haitian medicine woman whom her husband prevented from being raped and was then subsequently killed by one of the attempted rapists during Tony’s childhood.

Zombie Nightmare (1986)

Rape plays a sickeningly important role in Zombie Nightmare as it is not only the event that instigates the entire plot, but is used later to demonstrate the transformation of the teen driving the car that killed Tony into a total monster. I’m not one of those types that insist that certain things can’t be depicted on film or that film of a bygone era adhere to our less sexist standards, but I think we can all agree that rape is a subject that should be handled with much more tact than a movie entitled Zombie Nightmare will allow.

The movie also promises Adam West, who is the top billed actor and plays a corrupt police chief who was one of the attempted rapists of the Haitian woman, but doesn’t introduce him until 45 minutes into the movie and has him appear in maybe three scenes; this isn’t to constitute Adam West blue balls as an equivalent to mishandled rape, just to say that the 80’s were clearly not a good time for the Batman.

Zombie Nightmare (1986)

It almost isn’t worth talking about the form of this movie, because anything the takes so many opportunities to interject totally rad music videos to totally-not-dated-music featuring the same four shots of a snot nosed murderer/soon-to-be rapist into the action clearly has no concern about form. Even with that, is it too much to ask to have people’s eyelines match-up in shot/reserve shot conversations? Unless you’re Martin Scorsese, you are required to have eyelines match-up, and director Jack Bravman is no Martin Scorsese.

The zombie makeup caked onto Thor makes him look more like a mummy with frostbite than a creator of the undead. If the word Zombie is the first thing people know about your movie, your zombie effects better be on point and better than a man running around with a baseball bat and a mask made of play-doh.

Zombies are the ideal creatures for low-budget horror filmmakers; all you need is a house, a field, and then you can just dump all your money into making your monsters look as decayed and wretched as possible. But when you set out to make a zombie movie and put more effort into creating your soundtrack than designing you main zombie, your priorities are in the absolute wrong place.

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Written by: JJ Perkins