This column looks back at the vast pop culture wasteland we as a society leave in our wake. It spotlights the odd, weird, forgotten and yet totally awesome games, movies, comics and television shows that we here at Strange Kid’s Club believe deserve to find a new audience or get re-discovered by their original one. Join me for this look back at some forgotten favorites.
Zapped! is an interesting animal. It was released in 1982 and stars the future Charles in Charge leads, Scott Baio and Willie Aames. On the surface, it’s your typical teen sex comedy about a geeky kid that gains telekinetic powers during an accident in the science lab. He and his best friend then use those powers to wreck havoc on their fellow students. It’s a good premise, but there’s so much more going on here than just that.
First and foremost, this movie is somewhat a parody of Carrie. If Carrie had been a comedy starring a boy, it would have been Zapped (the climax of the movie has Barney go nuts with his powers at the Senior Prom). But not only is this movie poking fun at Carrie, it spoofs several other geek properties like The Exorcist, Taxi Driver and Star Trek in many different scenes. Plus, Zapped’s cast has several actors you should remember that were in other geeky movies. Oh, and it also features Heather Thomas’ breasts. Well, kind of. I recently discovered that the breasts in the movie that look like Thomas’ are in fact body doubles. Thomas refused to bare her bosoms for the betterment of all mankind, but despite this disappointment, she gets very scantily clad in a few scenes.
Let’s put Thomas’ breasts (or lack thereof) aside, and take a look at the geektastic cast. First off, we already know we’ve got the awesome Baio, Aames and the smokin’ hot Heather Thomas (again, I can’t emphasize this enough, the woman is HOT). Also in this movie, and you may miss them if you aren’t paying attention, are these guys.
Starting from left to right, we have Susan Ursitti who is probably best known as Boof in the first Teen Wolf movie. Next we have Corinne Bohrer who has been in a crap ton of stuff like Police Academy 4, Vice Versa, The Flash TV series, The Powers of Matthew Star, Joy Sticks and Veronica Mars. Next we have Merritt Butrick who, along with having one of the most ridiculous names I’ve ever heard, also played Dr David Marcus in both Star Trek II and Star Trek III. That’s right, Capt Kirk’s son is in this movie and he’s playing the high school punk rocker. And last, but certainly not least, is Mr Eddie Deezen who has played the titular nerdy guy in nearly everything; Grease, Grease II, War Games and Midnight Madness as well as voicing the awesome Mandark in the cartoon Dexter’s Laboratory. This cast is a veritable cornucopia of 80s awesomeness.
Speaking of Kirk’s son, there is a cool little nod to Star Trek in the beginning of this movie. Right after Baio discovers his powers, he makes a model space ship fly around the room. Here’s the model spaceship.
Does it look familiar? It should, the model is a kit bashed Millennium Falcon and USS Enterprise. They attached the Falcon as the saucer section of the Enterprise. While the model is flying around the room, you even see poorly costumed actors portraying the crew of the Enterprise. A nice little wink to the audience considering they have Kirk’s son in the movie.
So, the gimmick level is high for this movie. Is it any good? Well, my nostalgia tells me the movie is awesome. So I watched it again this past weekend to get a fresh perspective and I have to say, it holds up. It’s clever and funny and I enjoyed watching it. It doesn’t hurt that Heather Thomas is so friggin’ hot she nearly melts the screen. So give this movie a try, I really think you’ll enjoy it.
And for those that are brave, and want more Zapped! zaniness, there was a direct-to-video sequel in 1990 called Zapped Again! The only returning cast member from the original movie was Sue Ane Langdon who played the English teacher, Miss Burnhart. The story continues a few years later at Emerson High. A new kid finds Barney’s telekinesis formula hidden in the walls of the science lab. I guess we assume Barney was able to synthesize the chemical that gave him his powers and, for some reason, instead of taking it with him and marketing it, he hides it in the walls for someone else to find. The formula works for the new kid, but it’s only temporary and he has to keep taking the formula to renew his powers. Wackiness ensues. As does a very mediocre sequel. Like I said, it’s only for the hardcore Zapped! fans (are there any out there?) and there is no one in this movie quite as hot as Heather Thomas (did I mention Heather was hot?).
And to close out this article, speaking of Heather, here’s some choice shots of the lovely Ms Thomas from the original movie. You can click them to make them BIGGER. You’re welcome.