Tales From the Quadead Zone (1987)
Director: Chester Turner
Stars: Shirley L. Jones, William Jones, Doug Daverport
The end of Awful Movie Month is upon us, and that means that I couldn't hold off watching this immortal bastard son of cinema any longer.
I had seen director Chester Turner's other movie, Black Devil Doll from Hell, and while it was a bit unnerving to watch, I had seen worse. I guess Turner is a time traveler and has already read this article, because he went back to 1987, grabbed his camcorder, made Shirley L. Jones stop soaping up her boobs, and made this monstrosity.
The movie starts with one of the worst opening songs in the entire history of cinema. The worst part is, it started to become catchy the more I heard it. Now it won't leave my head. Why do you hate me so much, head?
So Shirley L. Jones is washing the dishes (she's on credited as "Bobby's Mother") when a mug near a candle with a Madball stuck in it (I'm serious) starts to float. Mom chastises her invisible dead son and asks if he wants her to read him a story. He responds by blowing a fan in Jones' face and going "hushushushushushushush".
A little sidebar here, why does Jones look like she's having an orgasm on the set of a hair commercial whenever Bobby "speaks"? It's extremely disturbing to me. This happens at least ten times over the hour and two minutes running time.
So Bobby materializes a book out of thin air called Tales from the Quadead Zone. I'm not sure what the hell the quadead zone is, but I bet it's sandwiched between the Negative Zone and the Fuck is This Shit Zone.
So now I realize I'm not only watching an awful movie, it's turned into an awful ANTHOLOGY movie. Bad anthologies are always the worst, filled with stories full of padding and morons talking endlessly. I decided to review each of the "Three" stories (One story I consider half a story since it centers around our storyteller) and let you share in my pain.
Food For ? or We're too Stupid to Cut Sandwiches in Half
This story concerns a family of eight who only ever has enough food for a few. The guy at the supermarket must be a real asshole to knowingly sell these people food that won't feed all of them. But then again, I have to side with him when you see these morons can't come up with the brilliant idea of cutting four fucking sandwiches in half.
Dad rings a stupid bell and proceeds to do one of the worst prayers I have ever seen. Love that the dad couldn't even say a prayer without sounding like he was reading a script. "Give us this day our...uh...*looks*...daily bread". Great job Pops, God ain't impressed.
Next day, and same shit happens. Only their giant hillbilly son has had enough of the bell and returns with a shotgun, killing three family members so everyone could eat. Mom didn't seem too upset, but it was hard to tell with her drawn in eyebrows.
Then they cut to stills of the remaining family members. Two of them are shot in the face and chest respectively, while Ma and Pa Kettle "lives high on the hog in witness protection program". Their words, not mine. Shotgun Sammy, we are told, dies in the state gas chair. I'm not sure what the hell a gas chair is, but it must stink to high heaven. He who dealt it, will always have to smelt it.
That's it. Ten minutes. This wasn't a story, this was a situation! Who would tell their child, albeit a dead one, about a guy shooting family members for food!? It used to be "Goodnight Moon", now it's "Goodnight, and Go Fuck Yourself Moon".
Brothers or Fucking Clownshoes
Some guys break into a funeral home to see where their acting careers ended up. I keed I keed. They break in there to steal a body. Do they need a fourth for poker? No, seems it's the brother of one of the three guys, and he wants to enact some revenge on his dead sibling first. But first, lets have some champagne! I'll have the cup shaped like a titty. Damn, the brother got it first.
After his two friends leave, Ted starts berating Dead Fred for all the time he fucked over Ted with his father. Guess Dead Fred broke up Ted's marriage so he could have her. But after telling her he only wanted her to fuck with Ted, she blows her brains out. Ted was planning Dead Fred's murder, but Fred's heart beat him to the punch.
Ted takes his revenge by dressing Dead Fred up as a clown and burying him in the basement. Really weak plan B there, Ted. But I can't be too mad at Ted, because his infectious laugh fills the room for a good five minutes.
So some spirit (Fred? A Demon? Manute Bol?) enter Dead Fred, and now he becomes Undead Fred. He goes after Ted in the basement speaking in an unintelligible voice and kills him with a pitchfork. As my wife pointed out, there never seems to be a shortage of pitchforks in a suburban dwelling. Because farm equipment and soccer moms go well together.
This one seemed to have a story, but it was padded out to twenty minutes with talk talk talk and more fucking talk. I didn't need to know every grievance Ted had with Fred. I am curious about why "12345" is spraypainted on the wall of the basement. I'd like to think it's Ted's way of remembering his luggage combination. By the way, I love that Ted loves this one shitty painting on his wall so much, that he had to buy an exact duplicate and hang it right beside the original.
I wanna take this moment to talk about just how awful the audio is in this movie. The soundtrack is at a constant level (too damn loud) while mics are randomly put on different people at any time regardless if they are speaking or not. Even when they do speak, you can't understand half the words that are coming out of their mouths. I'm sure they aren't saying anything intelligent, but I'd like to know SOME of what was said.
Unseen Vision or Don't Harass Me About Our Dead Kid, Asshole
So we've come back full circle as the last story involves Bobby and his mom. She's just about to read another story when either her husband or ex shows up. Either way, this is revealed to be Bobby's dad. Mom ain't happy to see Daryl, and Daryl ain't happy to see his former ol' lady has been reading shitty stories to some butt prints in a chair. He lets her know that he cares deeply for her, and although he misses his son as well, that she should start the grieving process and learn to let Bobby go.
I'm kidding. He wacks her across the head with the book and start beating her with it. They struggle until Mom grabs a knife and starts stabbing Daryl. Curse words are yelled, and Mom mentions something about a "last dance" which I assume isn't that Pearl Jam cover song from years back. Mom goes to see Bobby in the bedroom, but Daryl lives long enough to call the cops.
Two cops that even Barney Fife would have called fucking wimps show up and they arrest Mom. But before they go, Mom asks to use the bathroom. Like morons, they let her. She then proceeds to slit her own throat in what may be one of the better disturbing images I saw out of this film. No, the dead guy from story two who looked like a bunch of playdoh mashed up into one weird color I like to call 'blech" doesn't count.
So Mom's dead. 21 hours later...why 21 I don't know, she strolls back to the house as a yellowish ghost, and she reads Bobby another awful story...this time about what just happened 21 hours ago. "Hey kid, you wanna hear about how I crapped myself after slitting my own throat?!"
While close, this isn't the worst movie ever made. At only a little over an hour long, this felt longer than all three Lord of the Rings movies put together. Extended versions. But as bad as this movie was, as much as I tore it a new asshole, I have an odd admiration of Chester Turner. I might even watch a Tales From the Quadead Zone 2 if he makes it. Maybe. I'd need a lot of booze.