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Zapped! (Blu-ray Review)

ZappedWhen a lab accident leaves high school student Barney Springboro with telekinetic powers, it’s a comic free-for-all in Zapped!  Scott Baio, TV’s Happy Daysand Charles in Charge) and Willie Aames, TV’s Eight is Enough andCharles in Charge) team up for this mental undressing adventure.  Zapped! co-stars Heather Thomas (TV’s The Fall Guy) as Jane, the cold-as-ice high school beauty; Felice Schachter (TV’s The Facts ofLife) as Bernadette, feminist class president, nerd and the girl of Barney’s dreams; and Robert Mandan (TV’s Soap) as high school principal Walter J. Coolidge.  Zapped! co-stars Scott Baio and Willie Aames would reteam on the small screen in the sitcom Charles in Charge.

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Film 

Barney Springboro has a mishap occur during an experiment in his laboratory leaving him with telekinetic powers.  Encouraged by his friend, the hormonally minded Peyton Nichols to put his powers to good use, Barney exacts revenge on school bullies, cheats a little at sports and improves his luck with the girls, culminating in a prom scene reminiscent of Carrie … with laughs.

Zapped! is indeed one of the many 1980s teen sex comedies.  So its fitting right there.  However, its actually a parody film too.  Its structured to be like Carrie, but features riffs on The Exorcist and Star Trek as well as many other hot topic films from around that time.  So, I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it has more that its trying to offer than just the boobie jokes and high school shenanigans.

Scott Baio is pretty solid here in the lead role.  What helps this through is that he’s all in on the silly role and winds up being pretty likeable.  Moreso than his male counterpart played by future Charles in Charge co-star Willie Aames.  Stealing this show for me was any time Heather Thomas took the screen.  She is a complete knockout and really can steal a frame just by wandering into it.  But, fun fact, she didn’t do any nudity for the film.  She has a body double.  Sorry fellas and fellettes!

Zapped! had some serious legs at the box office that are really unheard of today.  It opened to horrible reviews and under a million dollars.  That’d be DOA today.  But, the film wound up making 16 million when all was said and done in its box office run and became a hit on home video.  It then received a sequel 9 years later featuring a pretty much all new cast.  Its a funny film with some charm, but is indeed a sex comedy film, so if you’re not into those know that.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  This is a solid transfer here from Olive Films.  Detail looks pretty good and the image has plenty of clarity.  It carries a bit of a used print look to it which adds to some authenticity and charm.  It falls in line with your typical Olive Films look.

Depth:  Solid depth work.  Movements are smooth and cinematic.  Good spacing throughout.

Black Levels:  Blacks are solid with no crushing.  Details still come through on surfaces, hair and clothing in closer shots.

Color Reproduction:  There is a nice palette on display here with plenty of wonderful colors.  They’re held in a good natural life-like check though.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the film’s duration.  Details fare better in close ups with medium and far away shots prove smoother.

Noise/Artifacts:  This is pretty clean, includes some grain and minimal specs and dirt.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  Zapped! sounds as good as it needs to.  This lossless track does its best to balance the vocals, effects and score.  The low end stuff is very light at best, but still this track does enough to get the job done.  Its an 80s sex comedy we’re talking about after all.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear and sounds solid and analog sourced.

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Extras 

Zapped! contains no supplemental material.  Or as my friend said “The bonus is that you get to own Zapped! on Blu-ray”.

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Summary 

Zapped! is one of the more charming sex comedies with a likable protagonist doing the lurid things.  Its decently funny still, goofily dated and feature plenty of Heather Thomas (…and her body double)!  It looks and sounds good enough and the best it ever has on Blu-ray.  Unfortunately, the bonus material has all been zapped away, so you really gotta be a big fan of the movie to pick it up.  However, Olive Films has done a great job recently of pricing their titles affordably for pre-order and day 1 purchase.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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