Zombie High (1987) Poster

(1987)

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5/10
It was a student film
golfgirlgolf24 October 2006
If you read the biography of Aziz Ghazal (writer/director) you'll glean that a lot of the work and equipment on this low budget film was provided by and done by USC film students.

Editors put in temporary music (they could not afford to pay royalties for) but fell in love with it and insisted on sound-a-likes instead of original music. The songwriters Richards & Rocco, did a brilliant job of being musical chameleons at the behest of their employers. (Of note, the first two words of the seminal track "Kiss My Butt" are "Kiss It" - not "kick it" as another reviewer opined.

The film wasn't ever intended to be campy but came out that way due to the poor production values, bad writing and acting.
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4/10
Not exactly ripe for rediscovery.
Scott LeBrun5 February 2016
The lovely and appealing Virginia Madsen stars here as Andrea, a young woman who wins a scholarship to a snooty prep school, which has only recently begun accepting female students. Her boyfriend Barry (James Wilder) has his misgivings about this institute of higher learning right from the start, but she tries to make a go of things. She eventually discovers that there is a sinister plot being engineered by the faculty, who are turning their students into emotionless automatons.

The student film "Zombie High" is hard to completely dislike, but overall it misses the mark. An odd, awkward horror comedy, it's nothing more than a minor variation on the old "Stepford Wives" theme. Its attempts to be irreverent are sometimes amusing, but more often than not, they fall flat. It's got a few action sequences, but nothing terribly impressive. The makeup effects are basically adequate. There's an omnipresent rock soundtrack to sort of make things interesting.

The performances are better than the material deserves. Also starring are Richard Cox ("Cruising") as a nice guy professor, Kay E. Kuter ('Green Acres', "The Last Starfighter"), who gives the best performance in the movie as the diabolical Dean Eisner, future film director Paul Feig ("Bridesmaids"), who has his moments as the aggressive, amorous Emerson, the extremely foxy Sherilyn Fenn, Scott Coffey ("Satisfaction") and Clare Carey ('Coach', "Waxwork").

At least "Zombie High" manages some poignancy in its final act. It needs to get a demerit, though, for including one of the worst closing credits rock songs that this viewer has ever heard.

Four out of 10.
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Not bad.
bigpappa1--226 June 2000
Virgina Madsen ( looking a bit too old for her role ) stars as a student at a prep school who discovers that the staff is stealing brain tissue from the students and using it to keep their youth. The idea is nothing new, but the film is given decent treatment and remains entertaining for most of its running time. The ending feels rushed though, but it is nice to see a zombie film with only mild violence that manages to scare and entertain these days. Rating: 6 out of 10.
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"So when did you become an expert on prep schools?"
Backlash00726 December 2004
Zombie High is a movie that is absolutely all over the place. It can never decide if it's going to play it straight or play it for laughs. It never finds an even tone and it's a disaster of a horror film. The plot should sound familiar: A new student at a prep school finds that her fellow classmates are being brainwashed to be the perfect students. Ever hear of Disturbing Behavior? Well, it stole Zombie High's storyline...and vastly improved upon it. So, yes, the title is misleading. Very misleading. There are no actual zombies and they aren't even in high school. Virginia Madsen proves that she can carry a movie, but she can't compensate for the horrible music choices in the film and car chases that come out of nowhere. Go watch Disturbing Behavior instead.
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5/10
What a prom!!!!....
FlashCallahan21 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Andrea goes to a previously all-male boarding school on a scholarship.

She begins to separate herself from her boyfriend in order to devote more time to her new environment, and the director of the Ghostbusters reboot.

Over a course of time she notices that more and more students have lost their individuality, and approach their activities in a lifeless and automatic manner.

Eventually a diabolical plot fostered by the faculty begins to emerge........

The first thing you need to know about Zombie High is the fact that the film features not one Zombie. It's about the undead, and if it were called Vampire High, it would have suited the film better.

And to be honest, it's not a very good film. We get to spend the entirety of the film following Virginia Madsen being stalked by one of her lecturers, and then having her jealous boyfriend come and go, just to give her a hard time about her faithfulness to him.

Paul Feig pops up as a styles/screech type character, but he soon just becomes an afterthought.

But there are a few moments that redeem the film, even if they are amusing for the wrong reasons. The prom scene is laugh out loud funny, and the look on the singers face is priceless when he sees the way the guests are dancing.

And the final five minutes where the tutors are desperate for the serum, and they run down to the basement where Andrea is and the next thing you know, they are all wearing really bad Halloween masks.

So it's not a wonder that this film is long forgotten, but them again, these cheesy eighties horror films always have some redeeming factors
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1/10
Not a high school, a college. Not zombies, more like lobotomized preppies.
mamamiasweetpeaches8 March 2005
I love '80s movies. I love Horror Movies. So when I saw an old VHS copy of ZOMBIE HIGH starring Virginia Madsen I thought "Why haven't I ever seen THIS before?" I wasn't missing much. Although the title is ZOMBIE HIGH I don't think this is set at a high school. It looks like a college to me. Virginia Madesn plays Andrea who has been accepted in a fancy schmo yuppie school much to the chagrin of her local public school boyfriend. He pleads with her to switch back to the local Towny school, she refuses. When she meets the Rick Sprinfield-esque professor she's smitten with him. Surprise surprise, the Prof is smitten with her as well. But she's smart enough to know students shouldn't stoop their teachers. What she isn't aware of is that the teachers in this school are doing experiments on the brains of the students to make them obedient geniuses. (Think THE STEPFORD WIVES and DISTURBING BEHAVIOR). Andrea starts to get wise to this when the rebellious spiky haired leather jacket-wearing guy who hates the school and authority all of a sudden shows up at school in a suit spouting pure genius. As time goes by more and more friends who were fun loving seem to be listening to Classical music, dressing like they're going to church and being good little boys and girls and studying their toots off. This film had one funny scene: at a school dance the zombie-fide students are dancing robotic-ly together in box steps. A sassy funk black band playing the dance breaks into a wild song (much to the dismay of the all-white faculty) and the zombie students STILL do their slow manic box steps! Alas the film needs more jokey shots like that. It isn't funny enough to be fun and it isn't serious enough to be scary. The soundtrack...trying to sound like wanna-bes staples from the '80s like THE GO-GOS and JOURNEY is God awful. Particularly bad is the end song that is a blatant rip off of THE BEASTIE BOYS party anthem FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY. It starts off with the familiar "YEAH!....Kick It!" and launches into a song called, I kid you not, KISS MY BUTT(!) I actually went online to see which came first, this song or the BEASTIE BOYS one. Surprise surprise...The Beasties did there's first! I usually don't notice stuff like this but the editing was terrible. The movie wants to be quirky and fast paced so it has choppy MTV editing that takes you back and forth between scenes. Very annoying. If you must see a Horror Movie starring the lovely Virginia Madsen rent CANDYMAN instead.
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4/10
Slightly Disappointing
Uriah4313 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This movie begins with a young 18-year old high school student named "Andrea" (Virginia Madsen) being dropped off at a prestigious prep school known as "Ettinger Academy" by her boyfriend "Barry" (James Wilder). And while Barry isn't too happy with the idea, Andrea is ecstatic at the opportunity that's been presented to her. Unfortunately, things aren't quite what they appear to be as there is definitely something odd with her fellow students. Now, although the movie title might cause some people to expect a film about brain dead sub-humans who feast upon human flesh, I should probably warn viewers that the "zombies" in this movie aren't the typical "Romero" type who have come into being due to a virus. Neither was there any black magic or voodoo involved in the creation of these "zombies". Such things weren't needed when there was something much more practical—medical science. At any rate, rather than disclose any more of the movie and risk spoiling the film for those who haven't seen it I will just say that I found it to be slightly disappointing for several reasons. First, although it had a decent cast I don't think any of the actors were given a script which worked to their advantage. Likewise, the comedy was flat and the horror was non-existent. Additionally, even though Sherilynn Fenn (as "Suzi") fit the part of a high school student I can't honestly say the same for Virginia Madsen. Put quite bluntly, she was a bit too mature for the role. That said, all things considered I rate the movie as slightly below average.
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6/10
Decent, Not Wonderful
gavin69424 June 2013
A woman goes to previously all-male boarding school on a scholarship. She begins to separate herself from her boyfriend in order to devote more time to her new environment. Over a course of time she notices that more and more students have lost their individuality, and approach their activities in a lifeless and automatic manner.

The most notable thing about this film is the pairing of two cult actresses: Sherilyn Fenn ("Twin Peaks") and Virginia Madsen ("Candyman"), as well as producing legend Cassian Elwes. Beyond that, the movie is largely forgettable.

Honestly, I think the worst part of the movie is the title. There is little inspiration that could have made such a bland title, and the film deserves better. Indeed, the first half exudes the 1980s horror sensibility and many fans of that era will like this one. It goes a bit downhill later on, but overall could have acquired a bit of a cult following with a better name and maybe a minor tweaking of the script.
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2/10
Stupid!!
lthseldy112 August 2001
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is really BAD. It's about a female that goes to a boarding school for all males and soon learns that everyone is nothing but preppy zombies that do nothing but study and act weird. Her boyfriend that tries to get her out of that school goes back and forth between her and her biology teacher that goes around stalking her as she keeps resisting him. The students as well as the staff are all over a hundred years old and this special serum is what keeps them alive and into zombies. towards the end the serum is discovered and the girl discovers the truth behind all the control of the zombie kids and turns to her boyfriend for help. Yes.... it is a rushed ending but I guess that after all that wasted money and time filming this piece of cheese they had to hurry up with an ending for makeing us wait for this crap to end.
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Not an undead film, but is that enough to condemn it?
deadguy-126 May 2002
This movie isn't bad for an 80's "school-based" horror film, but it's name is misleading. It has nothing to do with voodoo zombies, or undead zombies, and although it has a single scene which delivers something similar to those types of zombie flicks, it's just not enough for the hardcore undead enthusiast.

The "High" part of the name is misleading too. It certainly seems more like a College to me. That's why it scores so low on the star meter.. Most folks that are buying it now, are expecting a high-school invaded by undead folks, even the movie description doesn't really dispell this notion.

Why would folks choose such a misleading name? This should have been called "tranced college" or something, not "Zombie High"

In any event, if you're looking for undead folks, this is NOT the movie for you. However, if you like cheesy 80's teenage school rebellion films (complete with references to preppies, but little, or no drugs/alcohol) mixed with horror, this one is DEFINATELY for you.
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* * out of 4.
brandonsites198131 May 2002
Young woman (Virginia Madsen) wins scholarship to an all male prep school that is slowly going coed. However upon arrival, she notices that the students are acting weird, almost zombie like. As she investigates what is going on, she slowly learns the faculty is kidnapping the students and stealing there brain tissue so they can live forever. They then put a chip in the students mind that keeps them alive, but removes whatever personality they had before.

Slow moving horror film with a good score and appealing performances, but hurt by standard premise, routine direction, bad ending, no scares, and little humor.

Rated R; Mild Violence, Adult Themes.
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6/10
Mildly entertaining horror pic.
gridoon23 October 1999
"Zombie High" begins badly and the first half is kind of dull. But I was surprised to discover that it actually improves as it goes along, turning into a mildly entertaining little thriller. Its premise may be goofy, and it does require some suspension of disbelief, but so does the premise of the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" films, which share some common ideas with this one. The female cast is attractive, and Madsen's performance is way above average for this genre. Add a genuinely mad, determined villain and you have a more-than-passable film.
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7/10
Taken for what it is, it's an absolute lost gem
Mr_Ectoplasma21 December 2015
"Zombie High" has a too-mature Virginia Madsen attending a remote prep school to the chagrin of her bad-boy boyfriend; "So when did you become an expert on prep schools?" she asks over the opening credits. But once she goes to hit the books, it becomes all too apparent that something is off with the student body and the administration, who seem a bit too primped and erudite for their own good.

I had never heard of this film until Scream Factory resurrected it and put it out on Blu-ray for the first time this past week, and I'm glad it got to see the light of day, as it appears to have slipped through the cracks into '80s video hell. It apparently was a student film put together by a group of USC enrollees at the university's film & television department, but the production values don't really show—in fact, it is a rather glossy picture that looks like any other late eighties teen movie. It appears to be knocked quite a bit for the cheese factor, which I also find odd given that most, if not all, films in this vein liven up the kitsch.

The film is essentially an eighties teen retelling of "The Stepford Wives," and the title is a bit misleading when taken literally—there are no zombies here in the George Romero sense of the word, and while the crux of the entire film is cribbed from the wives of Stepford, it still manages to be a somewhat sharp and witty satire on the stuffy world of New England boarding schools. Sure, it's contrived, but what late eighties horror flick isn't? The script is quirky and the pacing is well done; the subplot between Madsen's character and the vampy, suave teacher comes off as a bit half-baked by the end of it, but he is essentially the through-line that ties the events of the picture together.

The acting here is really good, especially given that it is mostly delivered from film students and newcomers. Virginia Madsen is always a pleasure to watch, and possesses an old Hollywood look and performance style that seems to elevate any projects she's involved in; her role here as a young woman oppressed by forces around her precedes her not so dissimilar performance in "Candyman" a few years later. Cult icon Sherilyn Fenn, who we all know and love as Audrey from "Twin Peaks" also has a small role in the film as Madsen's roommate and peer; Paul Feig and Scott Coffey also have memorable supporting parts.

Overall, "Zombie High" is a quirky eighties horror flick with tinges of teen comedy steeped in rather straightforward yet witty-enough satire. On one hand, I can understand some of the gripes people have with the film, but on the other, this is the type of movie that demands to be taken on its own terms, and in the world of late eighties thrillers (ala "Heathers"), this modest, somewhat silly horror-satire hits its marks—as a student film, I'd give it an A+. 7/10.
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Students act strange after brain operation.
BAS/NL4 October 1998
This film is according to me not only about zombies it is actually made by them. Unbelievbly stupid, boring, sick movie, made by and directed by zombies.
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7/10
road movie set in school
blacklobster9 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Yes they are real zombies and the term "high school" isn't used all over the world so it isn't a stupid title. A good film where.SPOILER WARNING- the parts of the brain removed to be consumed by the teachers is replaced with a crystal that needs to be played 50's music by radio from the campus in order for for their brains to function.

Ex-students reach the higher echelons of society such as Judges and politicians although this is a minor part of the story.

There is a good scene at the school dance where the students can't dance because they are zombies. The Frankenstein ball.

Why do people think that you can't mix comedy with horror? Maybe there are too many horrors that take themselves too seriously.
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5/10
you want a movie that's completely out there, here it is.
triple826 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Ohh I need to see this again! My buddy and I were reminising about bad movies that make good watching because their so bad their fun to pick on, which is how I thought to review this "movie". If you are indeed reading and maybe looking for a movie like that congratulations! You've found your pick in Zombie High!

I saw this a long time ago but really remember how ridiculous it was with the zombieized students and chaotic goings ons. Although, this is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, it's worth seeing for the pure entertainment factor(and really did not bore me at all-surprisingly not boring)which is at least one good thing I can say about it. This is pure camp but it's fun and funny and I need to find it so I can watch it again. If comedic camp is your thing you've found it here.
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4/10
Exactly where is this school located?
Coventry30 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
See, this is exactly what you should do in case you want to make an 80's horror fanatic very angry. You just give the false impression that he/she is about to watch a movie with plentiful of zombies and then subsequently you serve a movie that features absolutely … NO zombies! The friend who borrowed me his VHS-copy luckily warned me beforehand about the complete lack of zombies, but I can easily imagine that back in the eighties a lot of initially enthusiast zombie buffs were severely disappointed. It's actually a big shame because misleading titles and disappointed genre fans lead to negative ratings, even though "Zombie High" really isn't that much of a bad film. It's a fairly spirited and harmless little 80's horror-comedy that only features derivative story elements instead of horror or comedy, but at least it's never boring AND it stars two of my personal favorite B-movie actresses; Virginia Madsen and Sherilyn Fenn. Madsen, playing an 18-year-old student at age 26, is very happy when she gets selected as one of the first girls ever to attend classes in a prominent boarding school that previously was accessible for boys only. Her enthusiasm gradually turns into fear as she notices that her fellow students start losing their personalities, like they are being lobotomized or something. Andrea has a bit of a crush on her handsome biology teacher Mr Philo, but can anyone in this entire perilous school be trusted? In the subject line of this user comment I raised the question of where this titular school could be located. Deriving from the brief plot description, I think experienced thriller fans know exactly the school is located. Rebellious and headstrong teenagers transforming overnight into exemplar students? Doesn't it ring a bell? Could this school possibly be a little side- project of the chauvinist males of Stanford? The concept of "Zombie High" is a mixture between the 70's classic "The Stepford Wives" and the plot of a horror novel by John Saul which I believe was called "Darkness". Eventually it turns out that the teachers are over a century old and extract fluid from the student brains in order to stay young and virile. Apparently extracting brain fluids turns people into model citizens! I sure hope the government doesn't find out about that! Anyway, after a pretty dull and uneventful first hour, the denouement sequences are amusing and contain a handful of decent special effects. Director Rob Link attempts to maintain an atmosphere of mystery surrounding the school's dark secrets, but it's too predictable and commonly known.
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3/10
What's with the title!?
thatgayguymatt23 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Not a high school but some preppy college and no zombies (unless you count the old men who played the college's staff) but lobotomized students.

I only picked this up cause a favorite actress of mine Clare Carey is in it. Sadly she has a small part and plays her character using a very annoying accent.

Not much happens until the last 15 minutes of the film when our leading lady Virginia Madsen tries to escape and outsmarts the college staff and finds herself trapped under the school grounds or something.

No gore, no nudity, no real body count, there are one of two decent looking rotten corpses but that's it. Very similar to Disturbing Behavior.
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