This week, Jeremy Morrison returns with a review of one of our favorite and often overlooked films from the 1980’s “Zapped.” Hitting Blu-ray from the good folks at Olive Films, the films stars Scott Baio, Willie Aames, Scotsman Crothers, Heather Thomas and more!
First, a quick synopsis: When a lab accident leaves high school student Barney Springboro (Scott Baio, TV’s Happy Days and Charles in Charge) with telekinetic powers, it’s a comic free-for-all in Zapped! Encouraged by his friend, the hormonally minded Peyton Nichols (Willie Aames, TV’s Eight is Enough and Charles in Charge) 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! co-stars Heather Thomas (TV’s The Fall Guy) as Jane, the cold-as-ice high school beauty; Felice Schachter (TV’s The Facts of Life) 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.
Actors: Scott Baio, Willie Aames, Scatman Crothers, Robert Mandan, Heather Thomas, Felice Schachter
THE REVIEW: 1982’s “Zapped!” Is a fun, light hearted comedy that delivers big laughs while not taking itself too seriously. The films ability to maintain its charm for over 30 years is as impressive as its practical fx work. A lot of times in Hollywood you’ll see a big hit influence every film to follow in its genre for years to come. More often than not this is a tired practice of “they did it and made money so we should too!” and it is depressing to navigate the minefield of shit execution in films that would be better off left to their own devices.
Then there is the exception. In 1981 “Porky’s” hit cinema screens across the nation and Hollywood said “hey, people like tits!” Apparently that included the makers of Zapped!, as according to IMDb Trivia, they went back and reshot some stuff to incorporate some fun nudity. Now I don’t know if this helped the films box office take, but I do know that it helped secure this Scott Baio vehicle as a cult film that graced many a small screens.
Aside from the skin, this isn’t THAT website, this film is a blast! Baio and Willie Aames are paired many years prior to their time spent on “Charles In Charge” and we’re the better for it. These two have a great dynamic that honestly could have launched them into a then modern day comedy team reaching the levels of The Two Corey’s. The film also features Scatman Crothers as the high school baseball coach and overall nice guy roaming the halls lecturing the fellow faculty on why they should let kids be kids.
One of the more surprising aspects of the film is how well the slapstick teen comedy meets Carrie turns out. And yes, the third act finale is basically Carrie with boobs and butts. And I’ll add no boobs or butts were fictionally harmed in the making of this picture.
The Olive Films disc features a wonderful 1080p transfer that really shines. The disc is bare bones, but who cares. In a world where I prefer to stream my movies, I’ll happily pick up a bare bones disc from Olive Films any day of the week.
THE VERDICT: Telekinetically throw this film into your shopping cart and enjoy some classic 80s goodness.
Jeremy Morrison – Staff Writer
Co-creator/host of the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, film reviewer, screenwriter, Jeremy has more than eight years experience in television and film production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. J-Mo lives by one motto: #wecantallbezacksnyder