I Was a Zombie for the F.B.I.

Year Of Release: 1982
Running Time: 105 Minutes
DVD Released By: Rykodisc
Directed By: Marius Penczner
Writing Credits: Marius Penczner
Filming Locations: Memphis State University, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Starring: Larry Raspberry (Ace Evans), John Gillick (Bart Brazzo), James Raspberry (Rex Armstrong), D.M. Coger (KZMB Cameraman), Richard Crowe (Bush), Allen French (Marshall 1), Laurence Hall (Bert Brazzo), David Hyde (Zombie), Tony Isbell (Mins), Lisa Dean Jones (Clinic Nurse), Greg LeMay (Marshall 2), Glenda Mace (Jennifer), Jennifer Malolepsy (Little Girl), Paul Malolepsy (Little Boy), David Mayo (Hank Tilson), Tom McCrory (Marshall 3), James Ostrander (Carlton Cruckshank), Richard Ranta (Chief Controller), Chris Schadrack (Insp. McGraw), Christina Welford (Penny), Alan Zellner (Dr. Frank Kaufman), Ken Zimmerman (Mr. Carson)

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Alternate Titles: I was unable to locate any alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Many of the people in this film only ever did this one particular film. Several have extremely limited credits aside from this, but for most of the cast, this was their one big thing. Even writer / director Marius Penczner is only credited with this film and one other project entitled ZZ Top's Greatest Hits in 1992.

Cast of Characters

Rex Armstrong: I don't know why, but all through the movie I kept thinking that this guy should have been Ace Evans and the guy playing Ace should have been Rex Armstrong. The names just don't fit these guys. We need to swap them around. Anyway, he's a straight laced FBI agent hell bent on saving the world from alien zombie Health Cola. Naturally he's got a hot reporter chick girlfriend and a bulletproof pocket protector. What FBI agent would be without those?

Ace Evans: Ace is Rex's partner and a pretty straight laced guy in his own right. He seems like he'd be more of a swinger in his off hours though. Not much to say about him except that he helped out Ace and made the world safe once again for the consumption of Health Cola.

Bart Brazzo: "Jerry I just can't take the stress anymore! What if she doesn't like me? What if I don't like her? What if she's fat? Oh wait, I'm fat! What if she doesn't like me because I'm fat? What if she doesn't like guys who are balding. My parents are driving me nuts asking me questions about her! Oh god Jerry, you gotta help me!"

Doesn't this dope look like George Castanza from Seinfeld? He's basically scumbag criminal #1. The only reason I didn't call him that is because he actually has a name. This guy has no moral character whatsoever and doesn't care who he stabs in the back. He makes a deal with the aliens that I didn't really understand all that well but basically revolves around him stealing the formula for Health Cola that the aliens wanted for whatever reason. You know that stuff you step in that dogs leave in the park? That stuff you have to scrape off your shoes because it smells really bad? Basically, that's this guy in smooshie form.

Bert Brazzo: This guy would be scumbag criminal #2, only he also has a name. This is Bert's less intelligent, more thugish brother Bert. He didn't have much of a part in the movie other than following Bart around, sucking gas through hoses, beating people up and getting airsick and puking in barf bags. Pretty exciting huh?

Dr. Frank Kaufman: This guy had the fakest looking hair and beard I've seen in a really long time. He's the doctor who figures out that Health Cola is responsible for turning people into zombies and that he was immune because of an increased heart rate which basically destroyed the zombie action of the cola. See, our good doctor here has a bad ticker, even though under all that hair he looks like he's probably in his mid 20's. He takes nitro pills for his condition, which keep his heart rate up and make him immune. Sadly, it didn't make him immune from getting a scalpel in the back of the head and then having his skull opened up and his brain partially extracted so they could hook electrodes to it. Sorta makes that bad ticker look like not such a bad problem after all now doesn't it? Perspective is a beautiful thing.

Penny Carson: Why does this woman have a bandage over her nose? Because she has a habit of sticking it where it doesn't belong. But hey, she's a reporter right? That's what she's supposed to do. Well that and giving us something nice to look at on screen in this sausage fest of a movie. She's Rex's girlfriend, and thankfully she's not the dopey "scream and fall apart" kinda chick. She actually helps out and doesn't get in the way. She's even got the cajones to pick up a gun and put a bullet through Alien Dork #2's head! Now that's one tough broad! Might want to remember that Rex the next time she tells you to pick your socks and underwear up off the floor and put them in the hamper where they belong. She don't take no lip.

Carlton Cruckshank: This guy is your basic corporate scumbag who doesn't care about anything but how this is all affecting his profits. He's the head of Health Cola and all he wants is for the FBI to get the formula back and for all these problems to just disappear. He's only in the movie for one or two scenes, so I've probably already said more about him than he deserves. Let's just move on.

Alien Dork #1: This guy is basically the leader of the two alien dorks, though alien dork #2 doesn't seem to appreciate his position of authority all that often. He's got all the personality of a piece of wet cardboard, so it's easy to see why he's not the charismatic leader that inspires the loyalty of others. Basically, he and the other alien dork have this plan to zombify the entire world by altering the formula of Health Cola. Why? Beats the hell out of me. Two alien dudes having a world full of zombie slaves seems a little excessive. Now if it was me, I'd just slip the cola to about ten hot chicks and get myself a little harem, and then maybe to a bank manager as well so I could score me some major wads of cash. I know it doesn't sound like a big ambitious dream, but at least I'd be happy.

Alien Dork #2: This guy is kinda the lackey of the two aliens. I think he secretly wants to be in charge though and is just waiting for the right moment to ace the leader guy and take over. Not that there's much to take over since it's just the two of them, but it's the principle of the thing! Basically, if there's any thuggery to be laid upon someone, it's usually this guy that ends up doing it.

The Z-beast: This is the two alien guys' pet. Not overly cuddly, but good for disposing of those unwanted extras who would otherwise just hang out by the catering truck sucking down salisbury steak and mashed potatoes all day. "What??? The monster ate a couple more extras? Man that's a shame. I guess I'll just forward their pay for today's shoot to their next of kin. That is, if their next of kin are living in my pockets. Booyah!"

Screen Shots

"Is that your hand on my knee?"

Hey, I didn't know Rosie O'Donnell was in this movie. I think Barbara Streisand is in here later somewhere too, but I'm not sure. Boy, she sure looks happy for a change.

Oh come now. We're only eight minutes into the movie. It hasn't had time to be that boring yet. Oh well, I guess this schmuck just has a low tolerance for boring movies. Either that or the guy next to him floated an air biscuit and it stunk so bad it knocked him out cold. Or maybe he's not asleep. Maybe he just got bored with being tied to that chair and he's trying to look down his shirt to count his chest hairs. Or maybe...wait...now I'm getting bored. Maybe I better move on...

Jimmy discovers the joys of the espresso enema. I think I need one too. So far this movie's putting me to sleep. Come on now Jimmy! Quit hoggin' that hose!

(Reviewer's Note: I don't know what this guy's name really is. I just looked at him and the name Jimmy popped into my head. I guess I could come up with a full name for him. How about Jimmy "The Nozzle" Berkowicz? Yeah, that'll work. He was just an extra anyway, so it doesn't really matter what we call him.)

"My god he looks hot when he's sleepin'. The rumpled clothes, the drool paying around at the corners of his mouth, that manly body scent that only sleep can bring. Oh man, if he only knew..."

Ok dude seriously. When you wipe, you're not supposed to shove it in all the way up to your elbow. There's this thing called hygiene, it's really cool. Now go wash them filthy hands, and don't worry about putting the towel back when you're done. Just burn it or something.

"Man, how the hell did I end up here? Last thing I remember, I was at Rollo's party and he slipped me some of that funny lookin' weed he found down by the nuclear plant. Now I wake up in a town full o' white folks walkin' around like a bunch of burpin' zombies. I needs to get myself back to Brooklyn pronto. Anyone usin' this car? No? Mind if I borrow it? No? Well right on!"

"Oh my god, I'm sitting next to the girl of my dreams and now, of all times, I have to fart. Ah crap, I'm on a metal chair too. Come on Joey, squeeze your cheeks together. You can hold it. Maybe I should try to get up and walk away. No, if I do that it'll probably squeak out when my butt's right by her head. Boy wouldn't that just be my luck? What am I gonna do? Hey wait, what's that smell? Did she just fart? Yes, I think she did! Now maybe I can let mine go and she won't notice. How'd she get it out though without making any noise? Was that actually her or was it that scuzzy lookin' guy behind her? Hmmm, maybe if I cough or something I can one-cheek-sneak it and no one will notice. Here goes... Cough...cough, cough. Hey wait, nothing came out. Where'd it go? Buuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrppppppppppp!!!!! PHEW! Ok, I'm just gonna go crawl in a hole and die now. I kinda hoped I'd get to touch a woman before I died, but oh well."

"Oh my god, watching lab rats do it is SO hot! Now where did I leave that box of Kleenex and my dixie cup?"

I knew Barbara Streisand would show up in this film sooner or later! Sing us a tune Babs! No wait, on second thought...don't. By the way, you got something on your chin. Oh, you were just in the back with the casting director? Well, that explains it.

Best Quotes

Ace: "Will you get a load of these patients here to see the doc? This place looks like the casting office for Psycho."

- Ace and Rex popped into the local doctor's office to talk to the doc about the case. - (Reviewer's Note: Man, if Psycho had people in it like the people that were sitting in the doctor's office in this movie, it would have been the greatest horror film of all time! What a bunch of freaks!)


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I was a Zombie for the F.B.I.
Ace and Rex do battle with the dreaded stop-motion Z-beast!

Summary and Conclusion

Due to some bad circumstances in my life, this review took me just absolutely forever to get through. I got to a point where I basically couldn't even bear the thought of sitting down to work on it anymore because the movie was absolutely boring the hell out of me. As I finished off the last third of the movie yesterday though, I realized that a huge part of why it was boring me to tears was that I was working on the review and watching the movie in little spurts. Five minutes here, eight minutes there...then I'd get bored and stop and go do something else. So basically, for months I thought this was one of the most boring, mind numbing films ever created. Then as I watched the last third yesterday, I realized that the reason it was so boring is because I didn't watch the whole thing in one go. Basically, when I review movies, I watch them and work on the review at the same time, stopping to take screenshots and what not and get them into the review as I'm watching. Well with every other movie I've ever reviewed, this hasn't been a problem. For some reason, with this one it was. Watching this movie in spurts makes it seem like the most boring piece of crap ever. But if you watch the whole thing all at once, it's actually a pretty cool movie and a whole lot less boring than it seemed while I was working on the first two-thirds of the review.

The story basically goes like this... A couple of aliens come to Earth and take over a Health Cola bottling plant, changing the formula of the cola so that everyone who drinks it becomes a zombie under their control. They enlist the help of the Brazzo brothers to help them in their quest to zombify all of humanity. Since the brothers are both total scumbags, they cut a deal with the aliens and help them out with their plans. The brothers are actually more in it for themselves though and end up turning on the aliens more than once. Two FBI agents are assigned to get back the stolen Health Cola formula and to save the world from whatever is going on at the Health Cola bottling plant. Also thrown into the mix is a nosy reporter and a doctor who looks like he's a wolf man standing under a full moon. The story is rather simplistic and more often than not somewhat confusing, but it still manages to be fun despite those shortcomings.

Now there's a couple of things about this film that made me knock off a bee and a half off my rating. The first, and most annoying thing was the horrible music. Looped drum beats and crappy sounding electronic music play in the background of almost every scene. Even in scenes that are heavy in dialogue, it just keeps running, and more often than not, becomes a huge distraction from what people are saying. There are even times where it's louder than it should be and the dialogue is quieter than it should be and the music ends up stepping on the dialogue somewhat. Everything was so great about the look of this film, that having that kind of crappy looped music in the background rather than going for authentic 50's style b-movie music really detracted from the whole 50's feel of the film. The other reason I knocked a bit off the rating is because some of the plot is somewhat confusing and the pacing is rather slow throughout the first half of the movie. The confusing plot doesn't matter so much, but the slow pacing really sort of makes the first half of the movie drag. Fortunately, the pacing eventually picks up, and things get a lot better in the second half.

Where this movie really shines is in its look. The filmmaker, Marius Penczner, did an outstanding job in making the whole film look authentically old. Everything from the cars to the clothes to the electronic devices and anything else you can think of. The only thing in the movie that kind of ruined that effect was the zombie ball thing which looked like computer animation. The ball should have just been a ball on a string or something to maintain the whole integrity of the film's look and feel, but fortunately you don't see it all that often so it's not that big of a deal.

The acting in this film ranges from way cheesy to pretty decent. The actors all did a pretty decent job in re-creating the feel of the 50's b-movie acting style, which basically completed the feel of the film. If things had been wrong with the look of the film, or the feel of the acting, it would have ruined the whole effect of trying to make it look like an old 50's b-movie. Fortunately, all the elements were there and it presented itself as a complete package of old time style and cheesy goodness.

This movie has somewhat of a cult following, although I must confess I had never actually heard about it before Mr. Penczner sent me a copy to review. I debated whether to review it here or in Rogue Cinema because I don't really like getting into movies that were made in the 80's, but since this one was an homage to the great b-movies of the 50's and it was made at pretty much the top end of what I consider my year limit for reviews on this site, I decided to review it here. I think that was the right decision. This movie is begging to be goofed on while you watch it, and if you watch it with a bunch of friends and some quality alcoholic beverages, I can pretty much guarantee you'll have a good time.

B-Movie Central's Rating: 3½ Bees

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