Zombie Nightmare (1986) 1 brain1 brainhalf brain

Zombie Nightmare is one of those films that does not fit the mold cast by Romero but is undoubtedly a zombie film. It hearkens back to the zombie films of yesteryear, where the zombie (yes, just one in this case) is brought about by voodoo instead of radiation, or green slime, or huffing formaldehyde. The zombie is Tony Washington (Canadian bodybuilder and rock performer Jon Mikl Thor), raised from the dead by longtime family friend Molly Mokembe (Manuska Rigaud). Tony's dad saved Molly from being assaulted at the expense of his own life when she was a tennager, and Tony's response was to grow his hair long and work out until he had freakishly muscular arms. (Jon Mikl Thor has won both Mr. Canada and Mr. USA titles.) Tony gets killed in a hit and run, and Molly resurrects him as a favor to his mother, to exact revenge.

This film is pretty cornball, but it's fun to watch. It's got Adam West as a police captain, Tia Carrere in an early role as one of the people involved in Tony's death, and lots of touches from the 80's, including the hairstyles and music. The film will never scare you, but there is a vicarious thrill in watching Tony kill off his enemies, and their various reactions as their friends keep turning up dead.

Some have argued that Tony isn't really a zombie, since he's too intelligent. He stalks his prey and uses weapons more like a Michael Myers–type killer than a zombie. At first this made sense to me, but then I thought, the original zombies, working in the cane fields and sugar refineries of Haiti, used farm implements and got around fine on their own. Why shouldn't Molly be able to give her zombie similar abilities? He's still undead, and not his own master (although he would probably want to take revenge anyway), so he's still a zombie.

This isn't a great film, but it's fun and nostalgic. Watch it if only to see Adam West in a mustache.