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Zombie Nightmare (1986) - Blu-ray Review

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Zombie Nightmare (1986) - Blu-ray Review

3 beersHeavy. Metal. Horror.  Rock on!    

I don’t know about you but a longhaired GIANT zombie, wearing gray sweats and a navy hoodie, stumbling through a recreation center swinging an aluminum bat sounds all sorts of crazy fun to me.  The zombie eventually corners the blonde woman he’s chasing down and, rather clumsily, knocks her head off with the bat.  But that’s AFTER he checks to make sure he hasn’t damaged the beam in the rec center that he accidentally hits the bat with.  Deadly and considerate!  Hilarious. 

Head banging horror at its slow-paced clumsiest!  There’s really no better way to describe this Canuxploitation cult title that many have ripped apart.  At the video store, it was always off the shelf.  That might have been due to its funky fresh cover art.  I can tell you that it wasn’t because of its content or its pretty bloodless kill scenes, yet the film soldiers on.  Maybe it's the inclusion of Adam "this case is closed, Frank" West.    

Opening with Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades”, the film gets off to a blistering start with a voodoo ceremony in which a dead dude is brought back to the land of the living.  Fast-forward to a thwarted rape attempt in which one woman’s savior is brutally stabbed and you have the makings for a low-budget schlock monster throughout director Jack Bravman’s Zombie Nightmare.

But, even those stitched-together scenes aren't the real beginning of this metal-headed horror title.  You see, after the death of his father, Tony (Jon Mikl Thor) starts pumping iron and swinging baseball bats.  With a quick cut, we see this traumatized boy standing at the scene of his father’s murder become a muscle-bound teenage baseball player and, after forgetting groceries for his mother, winds up saving a corner market from an inept robbery. 

Tony is a shredded beast (although, Thor hilariously can’t act) and, in quick fashion, scares off a couple of dipshit robbers from stealing his provolone.  Mama wouldn’t like that at all.   As he happily carries his groceries home and swings his bat, his life takes a sudden turn for the worse.

In a freak accident, he is the victim of a hit and run by a group of inebriated teens - Bob (Allan Fisler), Amy (Tia Carrere), Jim (Shawn Levy), Peter (Hamish McEwan), and Susie (Manon E. Turbide) – in a fast-moving car.  Poor Tony! 

But Mama, who finally has her provolone but has been robbed of her son, calls in a favor to the woman her late husband saved at the beginning of the movie.  Ah, it’s all beginning to make sense!  It is then that we realize that the dude at the beginning of the movie getting resurrected is, in fact, Tony!  OH MY GOD!  The spiraling connections are blowing my mind!

Call it trash cinema.  Call it a precursor to flicks like I Know What You Did Last Summer, but this no-brainer revenge slashers all sorts of killer crazy.  With the grocer still present, the plan for Tony’s resurrection is plotted out and this pissed-off zombie is handed his aluminum bat with which to seek out his killers.

Dun-dun-dunnnnn!  These bad-mannered teenagers are in for it.  When not hanging out at Twist and Crème and posing on the hoods of their sports cars, they get picked off, one by one, thanks to a very undead Tony who swings for their necks with his lucky aluminum bat.    

Granted a theatrical release in the United States by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, Zombie Nightmare slashes its way onto blu-ray thanks to the remastering efforts of Code Red.  The film is punctuated by heavy gallops of cheese, crummy performances (read as: hysterical), and lots of girl-fronted heavy metal artists give us some solid headbanging tunes, but its attempts at sexual innuendo is beyond laughable.

Don’t go into this one expecting any tension either.  A dull game of awkward tennis leads to a passionate kiss and then a trip to a pool for a bit of a dip.  And the sound of a pair of Velcro shorts being opened is as sexy as it sounds.  Speaking of sexy, that moustache Adam West sports in this one as a burned-out captain of the local police force is all about the good and groovy times.  He’s anti-vigilantism, letting detective Frank Sorrell (Frank Dietz) handle the investigation into all the “teen” deaths by himself; no room for any capes and cowls here.

Swinging for the undead fences, Zombie Nightmare isn’t quite a homerun, but it does manage to clear the bases.

Zombie Nightmare (1986) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
89 mins
: Jack Bravman
John Fasano
Adam West, Jon Mikl Thor, Tia Carrere
: Horror
A chilling blend of American Graffiti and Psycho.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You cut-a the hair; you lose-a the strength."
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 24, 2015
Synopsis: After a young man is killed by a gang of rampant teenagers, he is resurrected by a voodoo priestess so he can avenge his death.

Zombie Nightmare (1986) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red
Available on Blu-ray
- November 24, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: None
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Code Red presents Zombie Nightmare with a 1080p transfer that is all sorts of saturated and pristine.  Occasional pops appear, but never as many as you might expect from this low budget flick.  With a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 audio track, the film looks and sounds pretty solid.  It is filled with fine grain textures and some of the scenes are a bit soft.  Banding issues are scant and, while some discoloration is noticed, reel change markings are also low.  Overall, this is as satisfying brand new HD widescreen master from Code Red.



  •  Fans get an audio commentary with Writer John Fasano, And Stars Jon Mikl Thor & Frank Dietz.  It is all sorts of awesome as they discuss their memories of the film.

Special Features:

On top of the audio commentary, we also get a retrospective about the making of the movie, the chance to watch the movie in Katarina’s BUCKET LIST MODE!, and a NEW interview with director Jack Bravman.

  • Remembering Zombie Nightmare
  • NEW Jack Bravman Interview
  • Katarina's Bucket List mode

Zombie Nightmare (1986) - Blu-ray Review

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