Teenage Zombies (1959) – Jerry Warren

Sometimes bad is so bad that it comes around to being good again, or at least unintentionally funny and enjoyable, and for me that is where the next title in DK Canada’s very enjoyable Monsters in the Movies book falls.

This one is just so laughably absurd, trying to marry the teen bopper genre to the worries about ‘eastern powers’ aka Russia, and zombies. The production is equally laughable, and the stilted dialogue just adds to the fun.

On an island that no one seems to have heard of, though it’s not so very far offshore, a group of teens who are interested in doing nothing more than water-skiing and leaving their picnic litter behind stumble into trouble when they encounter Dr. Myra (Katherine Victor).

It seems the good doctor is working for these unspecified Eastern powers to come up with capsules that when ingested will turn the decadent West into zombie-like creatures, little more than slave labor for their Eastern rulers.

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Initial tests have worked well, but when the teens stumble on to it, the doctor plans to use the capsules on them to perfect her serum. But our friends have help, it seems more of their friends show up looking for them, and finally pester the sheriff (Mike Concannon) enough to come and have a look.

This one is just so silly. It plays to the Saturday matinee crowd, and I’m sure even the youngsters who took this one in weren’t too bothered by it, and wanted to see the next cartoon instead. It’s a hoot of a film, and definitely not to be taken seriously. It simply wanted to cash in on the zombie craze while feeding into the fears that the Russians wanted to destroy the North American way of life.

Hilarity ensues.

Myra has an assistant zombie, Ivan (Chuck Niles) who simply stands around, hunch-shouldered with a vacant look on his face, manhandling the teens when they cause trouble, and generally just looks like a poor example of the shuffling dead.

But I knew this one wasn’t going to be a winner when I went into it. In fact, this is the kind of film that is ripe for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crowd. You just want to gather a bunch of friends and riff on it.

So if that’s our bag, definitely check this one out, otherwise, pick up a copy of DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies and find another zombie title to dig into. There’s tons of them coming up!

Find something macabre and bloody tonight!

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