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The Laughing Dead (1989)

 -  Horror
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Ratings: 4.0/10 from 183 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 6 critic

Zombies, demons, and a mad doctor await a bus-load of folks looking for a tour of Aztec ruins. Father O'Sullivan is a Catholic priest who has lost his faith in God and who cannot forget the... See full summary »


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Title: The Laughing Dead (1989)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Sullivan ...
Father O' Sullivan
Wendy Webb ...
Premika Eaton ...
Patrick Roskowick ...
Larry Kagen ...
Krista Keim ...
Gregory Frost ...
Raymond Ridenour ...
Ryan Effner ...
Joey Acedo ...
Policeman #1
John Anthoni ...
Acolyte #1
Hank Azcona ...
Police Sergeant
George Barnett ...
Policeman #2
Edward Bryant ...
Bus Driver


Zombies, demons, and a mad doctor await a bus-load of folks looking for a tour of Aztec ruins. Father O'Sullivan is a Catholic priest who has lost his faith in God and who cannot forget the nun with whom he once had an affair (and a son). O'Sullivan serves as tour guide for archaeological student Cal, New Agers Wilbur and Clarisse Lemming, runaway Laurie, and tourists Dozois and Frost on a bus trip to Mexico. No one is more surprised than O'Sullivan when his love, Tessie, also boards the bus with her bratty son Ivan. In Mexico, Cal reveals his knowledge of a crucial ancient text, just in time for the Day of the Dead festivities. Meanwhile, evil Dr. Um-tzec is planning an apotheosis for himself that will culminate in his incarnation as the Death God, and what he needs to accomplish this is the hearts of sacrificial children ... lots and lots of hearts. While Father O'Sullivan grapples with the emotions of seeing Tessie again, he is approached by Dr. Um-tzec to perform an exorcism; but ... Written by Fiona Kelleghan <

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Also Known As:

The Laughing Dead  »

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Did You Know?


Somtow Sucharitkul (Somtow Sucharitkul) was a very accomplished musician; the tunes and arpeggios he plays on the piano are performed by his own hands (no stand-in required). See more »


A poster shows an image of Chichen Itza over the word Oaxaca. Chichen Itza is located in the state of Yucatan. See more »


Father O'Sullivan: Have you heard of Tourette's Syndrome, DOCTOR Um-tzec?
Dr. Um-tzec: I am a doctor of divinity.
See more »


Referenced in There's Nothing Out There (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Poor horror movie is fun if you know the background
6 August 2003 | by (South Miami, Florida, USA) – See all my reviews

The delights of this movie lie in the fact that so many of the characters are played by writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror rather than by professional actors. Somtow's talents as a popular writer are hardly in evidence here, though he is clearly a gifted musician and composer; that really is him playing the piano. The scene in which he rips out the hearts of children one after another is hilarious rather than grotesque. Tim Sullivan brings as much soul-tortured emotion and dramatic range as he can to a silly script; his flailings and roars while being possessed are delightful. Gregory Frost, whose fiction is noted for comedic rage (much like the work of John Cleese and Carl Hiaasen), exudes a haughty if inexplicable fury at everyone around him, while real-life jokester Raymond Ridenour has a great time being himself (while named for science fiction editor Gardner Dozois). Larry Kagen, at the time a bookstore owner,is fervent and rather sweet as a doting husband who rises above his wife's attempts to henpeck him. Krista Keim, as his wife, is totally believable as a crystal-worshipper; according to Frost, she really did believe in the powers of crystals at the time the movie was shot. Premika Eaton delivers every line poorly and was cast because she is Somtow's sister, not for any innate talent; she is, however, pretty. Ed Bryant, a great favorite among horror fans, steals every scene he appears in; Sullivan reports that they had to shoot the 'great big armadillo' scene several times because the two of them couldn't stop laughing (and adds that Bryant was squicked by the scene of his own death). Tim Powers is barely visible as a zombie; look for his red flannel shirt in the zombie scene near the end.

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