Zombie Nightmare is a 1987 Canadian horror film starring Adam West and Jon-Mikl Thor, a follow-up of sorts to Thor's Rock & Roll Nightmare.
Our film opens in a time supposedly in the 1960s or so, showing us a softball game led by a beefy guy named Bill (played by writer John Fasano). Bill's the center of activity in the community, and he's even brought his family (wife and young son Tony) to the game. Unfortunately, a couple ne'er do wells are also in attendance and decide to stalk and assault Molly Mokembe, a young Haitian woman (played by Manoushka). Bill stops the crime in progress, saving her, but the two thugs fatally stab him and flee, all in front of his son.
Flash forward to the present day, and Tony is all grown up (now played by Jon-Mikl Thor), playing softball on the same field. That evening, he becomes a hero in his own right, foiling a convenience store holdup. Unfortunately, as he walks outside, he's the victim of a hit and run courtesy of a bunch of idiot kids, one of whom is the son of the thugs that killed his father.
Aggrieved, his mother decides to go for extrajudicial justice, calling upon Mokembe to do some form of voodoo to catch the (presumably unknown to her) culprits. This results in the animation of a zombie whom gradually hunts down not only the kids but the two thugs from the beginning of the movie... one of whom is now an upstanding pillar of the community!
Like The Horror of Party Beach and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?, this is another movie gadding about calling itself a horror musical, but unlike those two, it's got even less on which to stake the claim; there is plenty of incidental metal music on the soundtrack, but no actual musical numbers. Oh, and Adam West is in it, too. Neat, huh?
This film contains examples of the following tropes:
- Anti-Hero: The zombi-fied Tony and Molly the Hollywood Voodoo lady. Also; Frank the Jerkass detective.
- Ass Shove: The fate of Jim Batten, courtesy of Tony's baseball bat.
- Asshole Victim: Nobody mourns when Jim Batten is killed. That includes his parents, according to the cop (an old friend) that told them.
- The Bad Guy Wins: If you consider the zombie murderer the villain, as the zombie attacks stop right after the zombie finishes killing everyone he had been raised to kill.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: Jim keeps bragging about his cock size, making one wonder if he's Compensating for Something.
- Bitter Sweet Ending: While a few sympathetic characters do die (usually as collateral damage or by the real doomed villains), the primary target of the zombie are a bunch of Bad Guys like a corrupt Police Chief and a group of young delinquents led by an annoying psychopath Jerkass...who all get dispatched.
- BrotherSister Incest: Jim claims that he wanted to have sex with his older sister.Waitress: I'm old enough to be your big sister.
Jim: Hey, that's cool, I always wanted to make it with my older sister!
- Canada, Eh?: Park Harpell is in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal.
- Cassandra Truth: The cops on scene practically roll their eyes at the waitress' story that a giant was the killer, despite having something as impossible as a body impaled by a baseball bat as their victim.
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Churchman flat-out ignores the coroner's report and tells the press that the first zombie killings were a drug-induced murder/suicide.
- Dirty Cop: Captain Churchman, and maybe most of his police department.
- Downer Ending: There's probably four surviving named characters, though you might consider this the Villain Protagonist variant, as the zombie was sent in response to terrible misdeeds, and it explicitly spares the most innocent and uninvolved characters (even if one of them still gets tossed around).
- Dragged Off to Hell: Churchman
- '80s Hair: Jim and Tony.
- Fanservice: The hot tub scene. And Tony's nipple-revealing shirt.
- Fate Worse than Death: Churchman begs Frank for a Mercy Kill while being Dragged Off to Hell, but Frank decides not to shoot him.
- Food Slap: Jim throws a handful of cold spaghetti in his mother's face during an argument.
- For the Evulz: The apparent motivation for Molly being attacked in the first place, and the later hit-and-run.
- Groin Attack: Subverted. Tony attacks a thief with his groin.
- Hollywood Voodoo: Pretty much the extent of the "voodoo" in this movie is Molly putting on skull make-up and bringing someone back as a zombie to avenge their killers.
- Idiot Ball: The incredibly violent suspect at the police station somehow fails to be restrained by three or four officers. Captain Churchman exacerbates the situation by kicking the perp, enraging him.
- Improbable Use of a Weapon: One of the kids is not beaten by a metal baseball bat, but impaled by it. Huh?
- Jerkass: Jim Batten, and Capt. Churchman to an extent.
- Kill 'Em All
- Large Ham: Shawn Levy as Jim Batten. Adam West.
- Look Both Ways: Subverted. Tony is looking straight at Jim's car as he walks into an unlit street in the middle of the night and still doesn't seem to see it until it's too late.
- Misplaced Retribution: The zombie is sent after those who killed him (and his father). While Churchman and Jim's father were both actively involved in the assault on Molly, Jim's passengers didn't do anything except be in the same car that killed Tony. They're generally miserable people, but they had no agency in the killing (and are varying levels of shaken up about it unlike Jim), while other unrelated characters who got in the way were spared (it also makes the other armed robber look like a Karma Houdini by comparison).
- Neutral Female: The lead's mother in the opening segment.
- The blond chick from Jim's gang, too. She's the only one who seems to have a conscience by feeling even the tiniest bit guilty about running down Tony. Yet for some reason, she receives the most brutal death out of any of the gang.
- Neutral Male: Frank.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Both characters helping someone in trouble get killed immediately, one as a direct result of the helping, and the other by getting caught in a hit and run shortly afterwards.
- Police are Useless: Churchman is more interested in closing cases than solving them. Frank at least tries to do a proper investigation, but he's not very good at it.
- Rape as Drama: And the abuse heaped on the victim by the police.Frank: But you went into the alley with him.
- He later harshly instructs the uniformed police, "Get her outta here."
- The Sociopath: Jim Batten, to the point that he's just a flat-out psychopath.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: Tony successfully stops an armed assault and walks away, unlike his father. And then he's immediately killed by an unrelated car. In a bit of an exaggeration, everyone in the movie just knows he's dead immediately, even the reckless driver who wasn't paying attention in the first place (they only doubt it when they don't see anything in the paper). It's to the point that Tony's friends don't even bother calling an ambulance, and simply deliver him to his mother's lawn under a sheet.
- Too Dumb to Live: Being rock-stupid makes it laughably easy to get killed by a zombie. Here are good ways, demonstrated by three particular brain donors:
- Pass by the exit sign when being pursued by a zombie. Also make sure to stop while still in the same room as said zombie.
- Sit in your car, and don't turn it on. Also be sure to leave the door wide open.
- Hide behind a window.
- Two-Person Pool Party: Peter and Suzie strip down to their underwear and climb into the hot tub at the health club. However, their intimacy is interrupted by the appearance of the zombie. According to the janitor, this little celebration (the hot tub, not the zombie) was traditional after their tennis matches.
- Useless Protagonist: Presumably, Frank ends up being the hero, through no extraordinary effort of his own. He was at least correct that the murders weren't caused by a common street thug.
- The Unintelligible: Molly. One line sounds like she's saying "feel again the worm."
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Tony's mother features consistently in the plot and at first kicks off the whole zombie thing by calling in a favor. She eventually disappears from the movie, however, and when Molly dies making sure that Churchman is dragged off, it's treated like the entire affair just wrapped itself up, even though a primary instigator is still out there.