By Dan Kinem
What do you get when you mix three teen TV stars: Scott Baio (Happy Days, Charles in Charge), Willie Aames (Eight is Enough), and Felice Schachter (Facts of Life), with weed, alcohol, telekinesis, and horniness? You get Zapped!, one of the most fun teen sex comedies of all-time!
Barney (Baio) is a geek who has never had any luck with the ladies. He is the school’s leading scientist who experiments with mice in mini underwater diving suits and grows flowers for his principal. He’s never even be concerned with the females, but with prom quickly approaching, he must nab a babe or else his parents and friend will die of embarrassment. His best friend is Peyton (Aames), who can get any girl in the school, except for the one he truly wants, the currently-in-a-relationship, ridiculously attractive cheerleader, Jane (Heather Thomas, two years prior to her cocaine addiction). There’s also their baseball coach (who isn’t allowed to eat salami because his devil wife thinks it causes cancer), brilliantly played by Scatman Crothers, and Bernadette (Schachter), a girl who obviously has the hots for Barney.
One day, while Barney is experimenting with his mice, Scatman comes in and spills some weed juice into Barney’s potion, then Peyton comes in and dumps some alcohol in there. Somehow, whatever this potion is + weed + alcohol = telekinesis juice, because not only does a mouse get the ability to move stuff with his mind, but when Barney clumsily knocks the beaker off the table, he becomes infected as well. Zany hijinks ensue. The End.
Just kidding. That review could easily suffice if this were any other movie but Zapped!, because Zapped! takes zany hijinks to otherworldly levels of zaniness once believed not achievable. Think Porky’s II: The Next Day, Screwballs, a little bit of The Three Stooges, and you mix it all up with the final ingredient… Lloyd Kaufman’s brain. That’s Zapped! in a taco shell.
The second he realizes he has telekinesis, Barney goes around making ventriloquist dummies hump his mother’s leg, getting boners in class after he rips a girl’s blouse off, rigging baseball games so he hits homers, and making his father toss prune juice in his own face. It’s what Alex Mack would have done had she been a dude and a couple years older.
One of the film’s best zany moments happens when Barney is laying around making some weird half-Millennium Falcon, half-Enterprise toy fly through a fish tank. Now, the scene would have been cool enough, but this film takes it to the next level, having Spock and Kirk appear inside the toy and fly right into Barney’s dog’s mouth (watch the video below and be amazed).
The movie’s greatest scene, though, is easily when Barney burns all of his weed and the smoke engulfs Scatman. Scat’ begins hallucinating that he is riding bikes with Albert Einstein, then his wife comes riding behind them on four black stallions; She pulls out a rocket launcher that shoots salamis at him. It’s pure zany brilliance.
Throughout the film, Bernadette and Barney realize they are perfect for one another, but that’s only if Barney will stop using his powers for bad. Peyton keeps getting him into all kinds of sticky situations, whether it’s trying to get Jane to date him or to gamble against Jane’s boyfriend, nothing goes right for them. Bern’ does give up the snatch when Barney works his magic. No, by “magic” I don’t mean his smooth moves, I mean his actual magic. He moves both Bernadette and a bed into the lab and they do it on top of the experimenting table. He even uses his mind to make her remove her own top!
When it finally comes time to go to prom, Barney’s mom attempts to have an exorcism on him (ZAY-NEEE), which causes him to be late to the prom, but when he gets there all hell breaks loose. Peyton is about to get his ass beat by Jane’s boyfriend, so Barney steps in by causing a tornado to rip everyone at prom’s clothes off. It’s insane. Everyone is naked, flying around, bouncing off the walls. It’s hilarity defined. It also finals unveils Jane’s glorious rack. Sadly, after watching the film, I realized that was a body double’s titties and not Heather Thomas’. I am now dead inside.
If that wasn’t crazy enough, the film ends with a twist. During the tornado, Barney gets hit by a fire hose nozzle, this knocks him unconscious and when he wakes up he can’t move anything with his mind. That doesn’t last long, though, because one minute later him and Bernadette are literally flying through the air like Superman. Credits.
I cannot tell you how fucking amazing this movie is. It has everything you’d ever want. There’s tits, Scott Baio, and hijinks. The music is also top-notch 80s cheese. The film was directed by Robert Rosenthal, who sadly only worked on a few movies, all of which look amazing (Malibu Beach, which he directed, and The Van, which he wrote, are both on my “Must Watch” list now). There was a sequel that came out in 1990 called Zapped Again! It does use some of the same characters, like the teachers at the school, but all the kids are new. I know I own a copy, so when I find that, look out for a review! If it’s even half as good as this movie, it’ll be a blast. Do not sleep on this cult classic, it truly deserves to be seen by everyone.
The film was released through Embassy Home Entertainment, who was one of the most popular companies of the 1980s, releasing everything from Slumber Party Massacre to Blade Runner. Most of their tapes were put out in slipcases, but they also released a small number of clamshells, which are now highly coveted and seem to be strangely harder to find than they should be (like Humongous, Escape from New York, and Swamp Thing). In fact, I don’t even know all of the movies released in a clamshell. I do know that Zapped! was the fourth one put out and is the best release there is for the film. There was a DVD release, but it is utter trash and features a hideous cover with no special features. If you can find this tape, snatch it up instantly.
The full movie has been uploaded to YouTube, but I doubt it will be on there very long, so act quickly.