Originally titled The Incredibly Strange Creature: Or Why I Stopped Living and Became a Mixed-Up Zombie; you can see why they were forced to change it by Columbia Pictures. (Why Columbia would bother to threaten a lawsuit is an utter mystery.)This freaky little film with the famously unwieldy title was directed by the late Ray Dennis Steckler. Unemployed, free-wheeling Jerry (Steckler under the pseudonym Cash Flagg) and his "foreign" roommate Harold have fun with Jerry's well-to-do girlfriend Angela; he takes her to places she's never dreamed of — like the amusement park in Long Beach. Oh, and he's totally into that night club/strip joint on the carnival's main concourse, to Angela's ire. Oops. Unfortunately for Jerry, the stripper he's interested in is the sister of the film's Big Bad, evil fortune-teller Estrella, who keeps a harem of acid-deformed "zombies" in her place of business, attached to the night club on the carnival's concourse. Oops! Oddly enough, people keep tumbling onto Estrella's
"The Incredibly Strange Tropes Who Stopped Living and Became a Mixed-Up Index":
- Big Bad: Estrella.
- Blithe Spirit: The film tries to pass off its
hero protagonistmain character as this, but he mostly comes across as an irresponsible deadbeat.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Jerry.
- B.S.O.D. Song: An incredibly slow, heavily muffled version of "Rawhide," apparently. Uh, alright, then...
- Butter Face: Madam Estrella, while not ugly (except claimed in the movie), has a pretty nice body.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: The comedian in the nightclub is horrendous, especially his timing on the "my mother irons and my father steals" joke, which was really old even when this movie was made.
- Catapult Nightmare: Oddly enough, Harold catapults during Jerry's nightmare.
- Cats Are Magic: Drunkard dancer Marge Neilson sees a black cat in her dressing room, setting off the events of the movie.
- Death by Disfigurement: Every single one of the "zombies." Even Jerry, who's pretty much physically and mentally fine except for a little scarring.
- Developing Doomed Characters: The "zombies" of the title don't appear until the very end of the movie and then get killed before they can do anything.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Jerry's dream sequence.Tom Servo: I think I'm freaking out...
- Downer Ending: Jerry is shot and dies. The, er, end.
- Extreme Doormat: Angela is remarkably forgiving of Jerry after he tried to strangle her.
- Fanservice: Carmelita's striptease is the most notable scene, but really, the film seems more about just watching women sing and dance in provocative costumes than anything else.
- Femme Fatale: Carmelita the stripper.
- Gory Discretion Shot / Shadow Discretion Shot: Jerry's murders are depicted in this manner.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Estrella opens the door where the zombies she has created are being stashed. They get out with no fuss whatsoever and promptly kill her, Carmelita, and Ortega.
- The Igor: Ortega.
- Informed Attractiveness: Carmelita's cute and all, but she's not quite the ravishing seductress the movie wants her to be.
- An Insert: "So the director just filmed an 'open mic' night and made it half his movie?"
- Large Ham: Estrella.
- Long Title
- Monster Misogyny: Like many serial killers, this killer's targets are female (though he does kill a couple guys while he's at it).
- More Than Mind Control: Jerry seems pretty easy to hypnotize.
- NEET: Jerry is an unemployed slacker with no ambition to be anything else.
- Nice Hat: The carnival barker's straw boater.Barker: Oh, uh... I'll wash the dishes. [tips hat in a playfully rakish manner]
Mike: With my hat.
- Our Zombies Are Different: And by "zombie," we mean "acid-scarred hypnotized serial killer." Though, admittedly, hypnotized slave is more in-line with the popular idea of a zombie at the time. And save for Jerry (who uses a knife), their killing method is the same as every other monster from the era: Putting both hands around the victim's neck and bodily shaking back and forth until deadness ensues.
- Pinball Protagonist: Jerry. When he's not being hypnotized and controlled by Estrella and Carmelita, he's being otherwise useless. Neither he nor anyone else actually do anything to stop the antagonists, who do a good job bringing about their own downfall.
- Professional Slacker: Jerry.Jerry: "Her mother doesn't like anything, especially me."Harold: "Well, if you get a job or something, she might change her mind, you know?"Jerry: "A JOB?! Be a little discreet about that, will you, Harold? Somebody's liable to hear you. "Harold: "Well, you gotta do something, you know?"Jerry: "Why? The world's here to be enjoyed, not to make you depressed. That's what work does, Harold, it makes you feel depressed."
- Right Way/Wrong Way Pair: Jerry and Harold have shades of this. Jerry is a huge slacker who refuses to work and is a bit of an unfeeling jerk to Angela and women in general while Harold seems to be a nice, responsible, easygoing good guy who even suggests to Jerry that Jerry should get a job. Though it's unstated, it's likely that he owns the car and earns an income to pay the rent. Harold would probably be a much better boyfriend to Angela. Even Mike and The Bots acknowledge this.Mike: "Goofus & Gallant: The Movie!"
- Romani: It's never stated outright, but Estrella fits the mold in practically every way.
- She Knows Too Much: Marge, the drunken night club dancer, gets the ball rolling for her own murder when she accidentally stumbles onto Estrella's zombie harem. Later on another dancer, Stella, becomes suspicious of Estrella, and becomes her next target as a result.
- Shrug Take:Dancer: That's your idea of a big evening? I should slave over a hot stove cooking dinner for you?
Barker: Why not?
Dancer: [Shrug Take] Who's going to wash the dishes?
- Stop, or I Will Shoot!: As unarmed Jerry attempts to escape the police at the end of the movie, he climbs up a large rock face to escape. One of the police who's been chasing him can't be bothered to follow, and simply shoots him from ground level.
- Tarot Troubles: Along with performing a palm-reading and a crystal ball reading for the protagonists, Estrella also performs a tarot reading for the superstitious dancer Marge. Marge freaks out and bolts after drawing the Death cardnote , accidentally stumbling upon Estrella's "pets" and setting off the events that lead to her murder.
- Too Dumb to Live: Jerry. Knowing full well that something sinister happened to him in Carmelita's dressing room (although not quite remembering what), he goes to confront her, then — at her insistence — steps behind the curtain again without a second thought, allowing himself to be captured and hypnotized again.
- The Unintelligible: Ortega.
- Word Salad Title: Taken to its logical extreme.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Attempted, but it's hard when you only have four zombies.
- Zombies who get dispatched so quickly and easily after killing only a few people.