Tales from the Quadead Zone (1987)

Run Time - 62 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Robert Firsching

African-American filmmaker Chester N. Turner's ridiculous independent horror film Black Devil Doll From Hell -- about a frumpy middle-aged churchgoer who has wild sexual relations with a possessed voodoo doll -- has become a much sought-after item in cult video circles, but the director's follow-up is perhaps even worse. Shirley L. Jones, the star of Turner's previous film, returns to read a pair of horror stories to the ghost of her dead son, personified by a wobbly floating coffee cup. Jones also stabs her abusive boyfriend to death with an obviously phony knife and does the expected amount of time-killing housework (Black Devil Doll was notoriously bogged down by endless shots of Jones in the kitchen, as is this film). The first story concerns a redneck family which begins to kill each other when their food supply runs short and, while poorly done, is not bad or funny enough to have much interest for cult viewers. The second tale, however, is rich with the quirky incompetence which viewers might expect. It concerns some young men who steal a corpse from a funeral home so that the deceased's brother can re-bury him in a clown suit. Naturally, once the suit is in place, viewers are treated to the ludicrously incongruous sight of a black zombie clown on a bloodthirsty rampage. These two stories and the wraparound murder tale concerning Jones and her violent revenge on her abuser consume a mere 64 minutes of screen time, yet seemingly last for several hours, as the director and collaborator Keefe Turner (who also team up to sing the theme song) appear to have actually regressed in ability in the three years since their achingly dull debut.