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Teenage Zombies (1959)

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The Big Bluff

Released in 1959: There is a mad female scientist on an island off the California coast that is paid by a foreign government to turn Americans into zombies.

Directed by Jerry Warren

The Actors: Don Sullivan (Reg), Katherine Victor (Dr. Myra), Steve Conte (Whorf), J.L.D. Morrison (Brandt), Brianne Murphy (Pam), Paul Pepper (Skip), Mitzie Albertson (Julie), Jay Hawk (Morrie), Mike Concannon (Sheriff), Nan Green (Dotty), Don Neeley (Major Coleman), Mitch Evans (gorilla), Chuck Niles (Ivan).


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It is the summer of 1959, and your choices for going to the movies with your best girl might be Ben Hur, or the Hitchcock thriller North by Northwest with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint, or maybe Some Like it Hot, with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. It's a warm Saturday night, and all of your teenage friends are going to the Drive-In Theater instead of the local cinema. At the Drive-in the movies aren't as well known, but you have the 'privacy' of your car to watch the movie with your best girl, and you want a movie that might scare her into clutching you tight with fear. Hey, did you see that movie listed in the newspaper this morining? The advertising tag line said, 'See Teenage Girls Thrust Into the Weird Pulsating Cage of Horror!' - Wow, that looks like just the thing. So you and your best buddy call your girlfriends and invite them to the Drive-In Saturday night for some thrilling and scary movies.

In 1959 wanna-be actors and directors discovered that it didn't take a fortune to make a movie, and lots of aspiring independent film makers sought fame and fortune by making their own movie. And the Drive-In theaters were hungry for movies, any movies - the kids were not the movie critics that their parents were, they were just out for a good time, and a movie starring teenagers like themselves was just the ticket.

In this 1950's scary movie, we find four teenagers out for a day of water skiing and a picnic on an island that they just learned about. But on this island, there is an evil woman scientist that is creating a pill, or a gas, that will turn ordinary humans into zombie warriers for an evil government that wants to conquor the United States. The four teens get captured by her zombies and are put in prison cells in the basement of her laboratory. There are two more teens that search for them when they don't return to the local malt shop that evening. So we have six teenagers in peril from an evil lady scientist and her master zombie Ivan, a corrupt Sheriff that is helping the mad scientist, and a couple of foreign government agents that are trying to get the mad scientist to hurry her experiments so they can attack America. Oh, and we also have a zombie gorilla, I think Gorillas must have been thought of a terrifying beasts, more so than lions or other wild animals, because they keep cropping up in horror movies of the period. Now you know that these young plucky teenagers will eventually beat the bad guys, and although their girl friends have been turned into young teen zombies, they will discover the antidote and turn their zombie girlfriends back into happy go lucky teens. Grab your white kernel popcorn, and your best girl, and sit down for a teen movie that you might enjoy . . . or maybe you and your girlfriend will just enjoy the time together, pretending you are sitting in the back seat of a '57 Chevy on a warm Saturday night in 1959.