Teenage Zombies

January 30, 2012 at 2:37 am (7 Heads, Teenage Zombies) (, , , , , )

Teenage Zombies – 1959 – United States

From Teenage Zombies’ bitchin’ poster: “Young pawns thrust into pulsating cages of horror in a sadistic experiment!” Teenage Zombies was produced/written/directed by Jerry Warren to double feature with The Incredible Petrified World (1958). The handsome hero, Don Sullivan, also stars in The Giant Gila Monster (1959). Already your mind should be reeling.

Teenage Zombies follows adult-looking teenagers who dig waterskiing and chilling at the malt shop. Boating to a mysterious island (“This will make a crazy spot for beach parties!”), they encounter a gaunt lady scientist and her hunchbacked slave. The scientist captures the teens in order to test mind control gas. An allusion to her masters “back east” reveals she’s a scummy Russian terrorist. A sheriff shows up to presumably rescue the teens, but actually he’s a traitor who provides the terrorists with “drunks and prisoners” for experiments. Imprisoned by black-hearted adults, the clean-cut teens rebel. They threaten their captors at gunpoint and turn the scientist’s own gas against her. After escaping the island, they meet an overjoyed C.I.A. man who even offers to introduce them to the president. The teens ride off in their convertible, happily waving their hands.

Teenage Zombies is very crazy. It’s obviously intended for a teenage audience. The few adults are strange and evil and only the teens can thwart them with youthful spunk and ingenuity. Plus there are all sorts of weird details tossed in. The perpetually sleepy-looking scientist wears a different elaborate evening dress each scene. One of the teens is a stuttering spaz who loves horseback riding. A killer ape pops in to wreck havoc. And there is no shortage of unintentional hilarity from awkward dialogue, logical leaps, and a limp-wristed wrestling battle between a young girl and a middle-aged woman.

Teenage Zombies is fun to watch. Without any technical merits, its extreme energy and absurdity keep it from being boring. The teenagers are also remarkably cool and easy to sympathize with as they symbolically fight adult supervision everywhere. This flick deserves huge recognition.

Rating: 7/10 Shrunken Heads. Check the radical poster below.

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