Peter’s Retro Movie Review: Zapped! (1982)

May 1, 2012

Zapped! (1982) - Movie Posterby Peter Nielsen

Barney and Peyton are two normal high school boys who are about to have their everyday lives shaken up a little bit by a science-project gone wrong. Barney is experimenting with some sort of growth formula for plants and he also has two mice he uses in different experiments. Nothing harmful, of course!

One involves giving one of the mice a little drink of Jack Daniels to see how that affects its underwater swimming abilities. I fail to see the significance of this particular experiment, but then again, I’m no science-student. Peyton is his photographer friend who basically tries to bed every female in sight and even bangs the principal’s secretary. He also wants to strike it rich (who wouldn’t?) and has his fingers in everything from gambling to growing marijuana.

Barney is played by Scott Baio (Joanie loves Chachi, Happy Days, Charles in Charge) and Peyton by Willie Aames (Charles in Charge, Eight is Enough). Both of them has mainly worked in television and come to think of it, so has most of the primary cast. Bernadette, Barney’s love interest, is played by Felice Schachter from The Facts of Life. And the voluptuous blonde, Jane Mitchell, is Heather Thomas from the hit TV-show The Fall Guy.

The principal of Emerson High, Walter J. Coolidge, is played by Robert Mandan whom I mainly know as Chester Tate from the TV-show SOAP, but he also starred in Three’s a Crowd which was a direct continuation of the successful sitcom Three’s Company with the late, great John Ritter.

Things are about to pop out!

Things are about to pop out!

One day, one of Barney’s experiments literally blows up in his face and he passes out on the lab-floor. Later when he finally wakes up and walks home, his parents thinks he’s started using drugs, because he’s been acting a bit strange lately and the dazed state he returns in doesn’t actually help in convincing them otherwise either. But the explosion HAS changed him and all of a sudden he’s able to move objects with his thoughts. Peyton immediately sees ways to make money off of this ability, while Bernadette wants them to study it, to find out what he’s actually able to do, scientifically.

Now, this wouldn’t be a proper 80’s teen comedy if we didn’t have naked breasts, now would it? And them being boys, of course shirts and bras pop open from time to time. Naturally with the help of Barney’s special ability! Especially in the prom scene which has some mayhem almost á la Stephen King’s Carrie, but without the blood, the deaths and the terror naturally! Instead, we get naked people a-plenty running around aimlessly.

The Principal and Rose at the Prom.

The Principal and Rose at the Prom.

And it also wouldn’t be much of an 80’s movie if it didn’t have some kind of musical montage… So cue up the music, would you? We see the affection grow between Barney and Bernadette in one such montage which finally culminates with a love-making scene. It’s actually kind of sweet!

Zapped! is a movie I hadn’t seen in a VERY long time before deciding that it might actually be fun to re-watch it again. I mean, it’s been more or less 28 years since me and Michael rented the damn thing on VHS, so I only had vague memories of it. We were only 15 or 16 years old at the time and as I remember we had a blast watching it. Ok, so I kind of knew it wouldn’t be as good as it was the first time we watched it, but with that in mind it turned out to be a pretty decent comedy after all. Childish, yes, but still… Granted it wasn’t a laugh out loud kind of movie, but I still got a few good chuckles out of it.

Scuba-diving under the influence!

Scuba-diving under the influence!

Interestingly enough, I didn’t find the main story as funny as the side-story involving the principal and one of the teachers, Rose Burnhart, played by Sue Ane Langdon (Without Warning, A Guide For The Married Man). He has placed a personal ad in the paper and anxiously awaits an answer.

When he finally gets one and a date is arranged he’s all nervous and jittery. He arrives at the decided restaurant and, not knowing what she looks like, starts checking out the ladies. When he finally finds out who she is, he’s in for a surprise. Yup, it’s Rose! They’ve had a good eye for each other for some time, but never had the courage to say anything, so on this date they go all in! At the restaurant! Under the table! This scene is one of the funniest in the entire movie, mainly because Robert Mandan and Sue Ane Langdon are hilarious here.

After-sex giggles

After-sex giggles

I have to mention two other names here too. Playing the voice of reason, Coach Dexter, is Scatman Crothers (The Shining, Silver Streak), but maybe voice of reason is stretching it a bit, since he hides whiskey in Barney’s lab, smokes weed and has an eye for the ladies. He’s also constantly moaning about the fact that his wife won’t let him eat salami because it’s bad for him. This makes him sad because, apparently, life’s not worth a damn without salami.

Fans of 80’s teen comedies will most definitely recognize the actor who’s only seen in a very small part in the brief roulette-scene. I knew who it was even before I set eyes on him, just by the sound of his voice! I even said his name out loud… Eddie Deezen! Don’t know who he is? No? Go check him out immediately!

So if you haven’t seen Zapped! before, it’s worth at least one viewing and if you HAVE seen it, well… it wasn’t bad the second time around either. Oh, and by the way? The exorcism-scene was kind of funny too!

Until next time my friends… Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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