Worst of the Worst

Shaun vs. The Video Dead (1987)


Directed by Robert Scott

Starring Rocky Duvall, Roxanna Augesen and Sam David McClelland

A haunted television set is delivered to the wrong house and a horde of undead are unleashed into our world.  It’s up to two teens to stop what’s happening with the help of the man who knows just how to get these dead bastards back where they belong.


A writer is delivered a television set one day, despite never ordering one.  The delivery guys are eager to drop it off since it’s all paid for, so the man takes it.  The weird thing about this set is that it only plays one channel, a black and white zombie film called “Zombie Blood Nightmare,”  over and over.  It can also turn itself on whether it’s plugged in or not.  Later that night, the TV turns on and zombies actually come out of the screen, kill the man and escape.


Laughing zombies aren’t scary. Or funny.

Three months pass and a new family has moved into the house.  Jeff (Duvall) and his friend Zoe  (Augesen) are confronted by a Texan named Joshua (McClelland) who says he bought a TV and hunted down where it ended up.  It was meant to be sent to the Institute for Paranormal Research, so you know the delivery guys did the worst job possible.  Jeff says he hasn’t seen the TV, but later on he comes across it in the attic.  It turns itself on and a seductive woman appears on screen, making contact with Jeff and comes out of the TV.  Before it becomes a porno fantasy, she’s pulled back in and killed, revealing that she was a zombie all along.  The man in the TV tells Jeff if he wants to avoid any undead coming out of the TV to put a mirror against the screen.  I think the acid is kicking in!


She’ll do more damage with her teeth than that chainsaw.

Joshua returns the next day to try to claim the television set while the zombies that got out return and start killing off the neighbourhood.  Joshua explains how the mirrors can stop the zombies (they’re so ugly they can’t stand to look at themselves) and they all set out to capture the zombies and scare them back into the TV.

The list of things I like about the movie is very short.  I liked the initial premise, it was goofy but I was on board with a cursed TV that spits out zombies.  More than five would’ve been nice. Some of the zombie designs look good while others look awful so that’s hardly a notch in the pro column.  The zombies kind of act like zombies…they didn’t screw that up.  Much.


“We’ll be right back after these messages!”

While I like the setup for the film, there’s very little pay off.  The film is portrayed as a horror/comedy so there are very few scenes that are played for scares, just for laughs, but man this movie isn’t very funny.  There’s never an explanation for why the TV only plays a zombie movie and spits out zombies; Joshua knows how to stop them but never divulges how it ever came to be.  The biggest sin is that the movie is just not entertaining.  If you’re the type to think any of this is funny, you’ll probably enjoy it more than I did, but as hard as the movie tried, the laughs never came.  Even the parts with the zombies, the parts you paid to see, are fairly lame since they’re trying to convince the viewer to laugh but this film is pretty far from being anything comparable to movies such as Evil Dead 2 or Dead Alive.


Story: 3 – Great set up but the movie goes downhill after the first ten minutes.

Blood: 5 – Zombies look appropriately gross and there’s the usual zombie stuff which looked alright.  Too bad there were only five zombies in the entire movie.

Nudity: 2 – A topless blonde comes out of the TV but turns into a zombie so that’s mostly a boner killer.

Overall: 2 – The Video Dead is Z-grade bullshit with the only good thing being the cover art to entice suckers to spend money on a movie that’s a disappointment on all fronts. 


-The film was made on weekends during the cast’s free time so it took over a year to make.

-Distributors wanted a bloodier zombie movie so they gave the filmmakers more money to film gory scenes to edit in later.

-Jeff Duvall was still in high school when filming his role. His drama teacher said he wasn’t right for the part and was surprised to learn he got the part.

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