DVD Review: I Was a Zombie for the FBI

‘I Was a Zombie for the FBI’ (1985) in its DVD version is a reworking of its earlier self and now plays like a Kolchak episode on acid. This has been remastered and edited, new shots have been included, the sound has been tweaked, the effects tinkered with, and a whole new musical score added to make full use of its new Dolby Digital 5.1 option. Marius Penczner gives us a black and white toe tapping homage to the days of old where the G Men were tight lipped and the women were dames and even throws in an alien or two.

‘Zombie’ is a fun film, but one you need to be in the right mood for. It has all the markings of the 50’s TV cop shows it deliberately resembles and enough of the E.T. savvy to appeal to fans of ‘Plan 9’ to ‘The X-files’. Not being familiar with the original version of the movie that played on cable it’s hard to make greater comparisons than that of the above, it’s a shame too that this could not included in a format that is so accommodating. A little grumble I know, so lets start speaking of what we do actually have…

The brazen Brazzo brothers are America’s most wanted, now captured and being transported by plane on a fateful stormy night, a mid air collision with a UFO stops their journey dead in its tracks. Flaming wreckage litters the surrounding area of Pleasantville, a happy peaceful little town and home of Uni-cola, a drink that is a healthy part of life.
Amazingly the hardened crims have not met their untimely end, now working with a pair of sinister aliens they are providing the muscle for the outer worlds nefarious goal. World domination is again the name of the plot, this time by tampering the secret formula of Uni-cola itself, turning the populace into zombies, doing the bidding for the alien invaders. How can a dastardly plan of mind control ever succeed using the country’s most popular carbonated drink ? Is this a nod to modern day consumerism ?
Don’t fret ! G Men Rex Armstrong (Larry Raspberry) and Ace Evans (Larry’s cousin James Raspberry) are on the case, square jawed and hard as nails, these lawmen don’t let their man get away. Strange things are in the night and a hostage situation breaks out at the bottling plant, and Rex’s dame, the plucky reporter Penny Carson (Christina Welford), is one of the unlucky taken.
Time for a show down !
We don’t have ray guns, but what we do have is the zomball, a glowing sphere with a mind of its own and making zombies at every spinning turn, and the Z-Beast, both of these are nasty weapons in the alien invaders arsenal. The latter stays in the shadows while munching away on some hapless human for its dinner until the final confrontation when we are delighted with a wonderful retro stop motion reptilious monster harking the hey day of Harryhausen. This is another nod to the director playing and paying homage to his source material.
Shoot outs a plenty while zombies are being made out of the town’s inhabitants, time is not on our heroes side, but will law and order save the day ?

The movie has had a crisp transfer onto DVD, now utilising title cards to give it that serial feel and the use of grainy and lined stock footage only enhances its 1950’s smirk. This is accompanied by the director in an audio commentary, which is like a low budget film school in its own right. The menus, like crime files are a nice touch and the extras (some dating from the 80’s) are pretty good, especially a look at the stop motion effects work on the Z-Beast. Both the commentary and the deleted scenes give you an idea of what went before.
Now back to the grumbles, sorry, but while the new music works to some level you cannot stop to think what a more period score would have been like, perhaps it would not have given the movie its light hearted tone that brings a smile from start to finish, perhaps it would have made it a too serious affair… I guess I’ll never know.
‘I was a Zombie for the FBI’ is available now via Amazon, and as of yet there has been no UK release date given.
Don’t forget to drink Health Cola, it’s good for you !
You can read more about the DVD in our database.
Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.