Zapped Again! (1990)

Own it!

review by Scott Hamilton and Chris Holland
See also:


Prom Night IV

Getting In

Zapped Again

Lava LampLava Lamp

Our rating: two LAVA® motion lamps.

Zapped Again
Jeez, how many times has this
happened to us?
We wish we could say that Zapped Again! is a film that began as another movie and was shoehorned into the format of an existing franchise, as we suspect of Prom Night IV. But alas, the plot is so inextricably woven around events from the first Zapped! movie that it is obvious that someone actually set out to make a sequel. Following in the footsteps of Barney Springboro and his pals, the underdog nerds of this teen titillation flick will discover the formula that unlocks the telekinetic powers in the human brain. What do they do with this power? Rip the clothes off each others' bods, of course!

Zapped Again! declares its intentions in the opening scene: our protagonist, Kevin (Todd Eric Andrews), arrives home to find a mysterious and scantily-clad babe hanging out in the apartment he shares with this mother. After a few weakly tendered questions, Kevin succumbs to the charms of this beautiful stranger until his mother arrives upon the scene -- and he wakes up to face his first day of school. A dream sequence designed for gratuitous nudity? We say thee nay!

Zapped Again
Few people can claim to be in high school
while collecting Social Security.
Kevin is nothing like his predecessor; we guess that the makers of this film didn't want their hero to be a nerd like Baio. So what we get is a standup comic who looks like David Spade and clowns around like Robin Williams on lithium. This isn't a bad thing: Andrews is more energetic and entertaining than Willie Aames and Scott Baio put together. Andrews spends a lot of time mocking his high school environs, but bends to the demands of his character -- a class clown schmuck who is sympathetic to the plight of the oppressed Science Club and its nerd-chick leader, but really wants to date the Homecoming Queen.

Being the new kid in school, Kevin tries hard to find his niche. His first move is to antagonize the aforementioned Homecoming Queen, Amanda (Maria McCann) and her boyfriend, Wayne (Reed Rudy). Quickly labeled an outcast, he then finds his level with the members of the Science Club and particularly their leader, Lucy (Kelli Williams, aka Lindsay Dole of The Practice). Unfortunately, though Lucy is quickly falling in love with Kevin, he still has eyes for Amanda.

Zapped Again
"Oops. Better put these back before
Worf finds out we were here."
Coincidence follows coincidence until Kevin discovers some bottles of a liquid labeled "Relaxo Prune Juice -- property of Barney Springboro" stashed in the wall of the school's science lab behind a portrait of Einstein. Inevitably, Kevin is force-fed the stuff by Wayne and his crony, and shortly thereafter he discovers the amazing powers the stuff has bestowed upon him. Mind over matter is a particularly handy ability, especially when your major goals in life are to lift women's skirts and defeat the popular kids in the annual "Penguin Race."

Wait a cotton pickin' second! While Barney Springboro was the name of the hero (ugh... the word turns to ashes in our mouths) in the original Zapped!, we would have to question whether the people who wrote this Zapped Again! even saw the earlier movie. Barney was granted the powers by a magic elixir, but its creation was accidental. It seems extremely unlikely that Barney could have figured out the actual recipe, and even if he did, why would he have put the magic mojo into bottles of prune juice? Sure, it's a warrior's drink and all, but besides Michael Dorn, can you name another person under 50 who actually drinks it? It was Barney's father who drank prune juice in Zapped!, not Barney. Let us not even discuss the fact that the lab in Zapped Again! is clearly not the one from Zapped!

Zapped Again
This guy thinks he's either
the Rock or Johnny Bravo.
The film plays out all of the usual stupid cliches of its genre, even if it is a particularly late entry. Amanda discovers she's not in love with Wayne after all, Kevin explores his true feelings for Lucy, and an outrageous plan to frame Wayne for food poisoning succeeds even after Kevin admits that he was the true culprit. What an insipid mess.

With the exception of Andrews, the cast doesn't do much to help the lackluster script. Sue Ann Langdon returns from the original Zapped!, although this time her love interest is the school's coach, as lovingly rendered by Lyle Alzado. You remember Alzado: the pro footballer who ruined his career with steroids before turning to Hollywood as an alternative source of funds, and later died of brain cancer? No? Well, he was in a lot of movies between 1987 and 1992, and his attempts to act in this direct-to-video teeny-bopper were the source of more than a few laughs during our screening of Zapped Again. The "teenagers" in this flick are the usual assortment of twentysomething community theater players. Reed Rudy, in particular, looks as if he could give Caroline Munro a run for her money in the "oldest actor ever to play a high school student" contest.

Zapped Again
Poor Linda Blair. She's either possessed by
the Devil, stalked by a maniac, or teaching Home Ec.
Curiously, the makers of Zapped Again did manage to procure cameo appearances from b-movie vets Linda Blair and Karen Black. Black shows up briefly as a substitute teacher, and Blair's character is a former classmate of Barney's who now teaches home economics at the school. For those of you who keep track of such things: yes, Blair is victimized briefly by Kevin's telekinetic skirt-raising antics.

Some of our more cynical readers will now ask why we gave Zapped Again that second lava lamp. Maybe it was the higher count of nude scenes. Perhaps it was Andrews' enthusiastic performance. Maybe it was the presence of a plot that did more than simply move us from tit flash to tit flash.

Or maybe it was just that Scott Baio and Willie Aames were nowhere to be found.

Review date: 09/21/1999

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* Though frankly, we suspect a butt-double. If it is indeed Blair's tush in this sequence, we give her kudos. Still, what post 1950's home-ec teacher ever bothered to wear a garter belt to work? Go back!