Jerry falls in love with a stripper he meets at a carnival. Little does he know that she is the sister of a gypsy fortune teller whose predictions he had scoffed at earlier. The gypsy turns him into a zombie and he goes on a killing spree.
A marine biologist, a dolphin trainer, a research scientist, and a local sheriff try to hunt down a large sea monster, a shark/octopus hybrid, that is devouring swimmers and fishermen off a south Florida coast.
Beatnick Jerry takes his girl, Angie to the carnival. Angie wants to go see the gypsy fortune teller, Jerry does not but relents. After visiting the fortune teller and hearing bad news, Jerry goes alone to see Carmelita, the dancer (the fortune teller's sister). He is invited backstage and is mesmerized into becoming a psychotic killer. Angie, and Jerry's best friend Harold realize something is amiss when Jerry tries to kill Angie. Written by
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Mike Nelson: "He WON'T go to sleep if you keep slamming the Steadicam against his forehead!"
This is a fascinating artifact from another era of pop culture; From the convoluted title (complete with "!!?" at the end) to the open mike "Amateur Night" numbers to the horribly muddled sound recording to the goofy throwaway dialog to the discombobulated ending to the paper-thin plot, this one has to be seen to be believed.
You know the old saw about a movie being 'like a train wreck - you can't look away'?? Well, imagine if a school bus ran into the train wreck and a 727 crashed on top of it and then a herd of lemmings swarmed over the smoking remains on their way to go over a cliff. And then the Jolly Green Giant picked up everything and threw it over the mountain range and into the next state.
The movie piles one jarring, disorienting choice after another in rapid succession. First 'Jerry' rubs boogers out of his eyes on camera, then 'Harold' is jamming our ears with his Lithuanian/Chicano accent, and then 'Angela' throws off the composition of an entire scene with her Mile High Beehive of Hair, following which a bunch of 'dancers' perform bad choreography with all the precision of a dance recital for kindergarten girls, and then some dick-weed who can't carry a tune in a bucket sings the most insipid love song in the history of music while strumming a guitar that sounds like a ukulele. Then Elizabeth Taylor spins a pinwheel to make Jerry commit badly staged murder to cover up the fact that she threw acid in the face of a lumpy alcoholic, following which Jerry dreams that he got his face painted at a Renaissance festival and leaps about like a Thompson's Gazelle while a montage of women point and laugh at him. Then a mechanical wind-up monkey shrieks that we should "GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!!!" and a bunch of people who previously got acid thrown in their face and were drawn by the Rat Fink Hod Rod guy and have apparently been living on Angel Dust and Pop Tarts break loose and rampage through an Inuit/Swedish/African dance revue until the police come and shoot everyone, including Jerry who also had acid thrown in his face just before the titular 'zombies' got loose. Oh, and there's no moral, THE END.
I'm making the movie sound more coherent than it really is.
And yet, the whole mess is somehow entertaining and amusing, and I ended up being glad I saw it. If I were to meet Steckler (unlikely), I'd shake his hand and comment on how weird the movie was and ask him "WHAT THE HELL WAS HE THINKING?" when he made it.
MST's riffs on the movie are inspired and their version is worth getting hold of. But the movie stand on its own as a lunatic pinball of weirdness, careening randomly off the walls of our expectations of pop culture.
See it if you have a fondness for silly stuff. Otherwise, stay far, far away.
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