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Zombie Nightmare

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604 - Zombie Nightmare
Air Date November 24, 1994
MST3K Director Trace Beaulieu
Movie Director Jack Brauman/John Bravman
Year 1986
Cast Adam West
Jon Mikl Thor
Tia Carrere
Manuska Rigaud
Frank Dietz
Preceded by 603 - The Dead Talk Back
Followed by 605 - Colossus and the Headhunters

"Wait a minute, guys. Tia Carrere is in this movie. We may actually have to pay attention."
  — Crow

The Movie



Adam West in Zombie Nightmare

Canada, 1986. Mild-mannered Tony Washington (a name so un-Canadian as to boggle the mind, eh?) played by rock musician, body builder and Valerie Bertinelli stand-in Jon Mikl Thor), glistening with body oil and flashing a nipple here and there, lives a blithely happy-go-lucky existence playing softball, buying Provolone for his Mom and foiling convenience store stickups. One night, a cadre of overprivileged, thrill-seeking teens, dominated by Jimbo, a 98-lb, spaghetti-hurling sadist with "frosted Farah Fawcett hair" accidentally runs him down with someone's daddy's Mercedes and flees. And so Tony departs this vale of tears. Or does he?

"Think I'll walk down Certain Doom Lane"

Instead of summoning an ambulance, Tony's vengeful, wig-wearing mom invokes a figure from her past, local voodoo sensation Molly "Am I overdoing this?" Mokembe (Manuska Rigaud) to exact justice. (In the film's opening scene, Tony's father is killed heroically defending the teenaged Molly from a racially-tinged, broad-daylight likely rape-murder by none-other than Jimbo's dad). Molly leverages her "dark powers" (which include the ability to control electronic garage doors sans remote) and a whole mess o' candles to transform the dead Tony into a disfigured, much taller zombie bent on dispatching the remorseless teens, one by one - with extreme prejudice.

After the first grisly zombie execution, the police become involved. "Twelve-year-old" detective Frank Dietz is put on the investigation under the not-so-benevolent command of corrupt, bitter, cynical police veteran Captain Tom Churchman (Adam "I'm Batman" West) who, it turns out, conceals a dark secret involving the Washington family in his past.

Zombie nightmare

Tia Carrere in Zombie Nightmare

Can the police stop the zombie before he kills again? Will the guilty, at last, be punished?

All drama, such as it is, transpires against the backdrop of the throbbing, inflamed metal rock and weary disco pop music dreck of the era, including the bands Thor, Fist (Servo: "I saw Fist when they opened for Badfinger"), Motörhead, Death Mask, Girl School and similar eternally memorable acts.

Don't miss the breakout role of the medical examiner, played by the Penguin.


The Episode

Host Segments


The SOL crew uses black magic

Prologue: Crow and Tom are Secret Service agents "protecting" Mike. Of course, they inflict more injuries than they prevent

Segment One: The Mads are really into voodoo, so they send a voodoo kit to the SOL. Mike, Tom, and Crow use black magic to do nice things for people. First, they give Jimmy Carter a hug. Then they give NPR’s Cokie Roberts a scalp massage. They then use it to taunt Dr. F.


"You know what me and Frank are into this week? Vodoo!"

Segment Two: Crow is sitting, reading quietly and enjoying chocolates, when suddenly Tom runs him down with his little red car, paralleling the action of the movie.


Mike and Servo put on Crow's Batman play

Segment Three: The bots are enjoying a hot tub until Mike surfaces wearing a snorkel mask and bearing a fish on a spear.

Segment Four: Crow has abandoned his Batman play, but he forgot to tell Tom and Mike, who are in costume. Tom doesn’t want to take his Batman costume off, as he believes it gives him special powers.

Segment Five:Mike and the bots have written letters to Adam West. Frank has inadvertently turned Dr. F into a zombie, and doesn’t know how to reverse the spell.

Stinger: As the voodoo priestess finishes her incantation, the zombie screams.

Other Notes

Guest Stars


  • Comedy Central held this episode back from television broadcast while showing it on their "Fresh Cheese" tour, in which premiere episodes of CC programming were screened on college campuses across the country. This episode finally made its TV debut in the latter half of the season during the 1994 "Turkey Day" marathon.
  • Mike and the Bots use their voodoo kit to give Cokie Roberts a scalp massage. Right before "Movie Sign" Mike makes a voodoo doll "dance" while he and the Bots hum the theme music for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."


Obscure References

  • "Pride of the Zombies!"

A reference to Pride of the Yankees, a 1942 biopic of baseball legend Lou Gehrig.

  • "Well, I'm sure strolling in Howard Beach won't be a problem!"

A reference to a racially motivated attack on two black men that took place in the Howard Beach section of Queens in 1986.

  • "A young Joe Pepitone ponders his fate."

Joe Pepitone was a first baseman and outfielder for the New York Yankees during the 1960s.

  • "The age of Aquarius!"

A reference to the song "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" by the 5th Dimension.

  • "These Young Life weekends are getting out of hand."

Young Life is a Christian youth organization.

  • "Hey, how come there's no pictures of Italians on the wall?"

Mike is parodying a line from the Spike Lee movie Do the Right Thing.

  • "It's the Kids in the Hall!"

The Kids in the Hall were a Canadian sketch-comedy troupe that had their own TV show from 1989-94. The footage, of asphalt and storefronts shot from a moving car, resembles the opening of their show.

  • "Boy, things have really changed since Vatican II!"

The Second Vatican Council (also known as "Vatican II") was held from 1962-65 and resulted in significant modernizations of the Catholic Church's doctrines and rituals.

  • "She's probably Missouri Synod, they're really hardcore!"

A reference to the Missouri Synod offshoot of the Lutheran Church.

  • "Is she playing tennis with Kraftwerk?"

Kraftwerk is a pioneering electronic music group from Germany.

  • "John Cage on the soundtrack!"

John Cage is an experimental music composer best known for his work 4'33", consisting of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of complete silence.

  • "Enya!"

Enya is a New Age musician.

  • "'Grady'! This fall on NBC!"

Grady was a short-lived spinoff of Sanford and Son revolving around the character of the same name.

  • "What is up with Mark Trail?!"

Mark Trail is a long-running comic strip set in a national forest.

  • "I see Garrison Keillor is laughing."

Garrison Keillor is an American author and humorist known for being the radio-show host of A Prairie Home Companion. Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota it airs across the states and usually provides music and comedy routines.

  • "This giant..." "Like L.T.?"

A reference to former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor.

  • "Stiv Bator is pissed!"

Stiv Bators was the lead singer of the punk band The Dead Boys.

  • "This scene was cut from 'The Program'."

The Program was a 1993 film about a college football team. A major controversy erupted when a few teenagers reportedly died imitating a scene in which a character lies down in the middle of a busy highway.

  • "Auditions for the band Fear!"

Fear is a punk band whose popularity peaked in the early 1980s. They played Saturday Night Live, at John Belushi's suggestion, and the mosh-riot that broke out resulted in several thousand dollars worth of damage to the studio.

  • "The Three Faces of Steve!"

A play on The Three Faces of Eve, a 1957 film about a woman with multiple personalities.

  • "I'm gonna go work on my 'M.A.N.T.I.S.' script!"

M.A.N.T.I.S. was a short-lived superhero TV series from the mid-1990s.

  • "Watchtoweeeer!"

A reference to The Watchtower, a magazine published by the Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • "The zombie drives a K-Car!"

"K-Car" is a catch-all name for the many vehicles that were built using the Chrysler K platform.

  • "'This spot reserved for Viper'?"

A reference to the TV series Viper, whose hero drove a Dodge Viper with high-tech weapons capabilities.

  • "Garrick Utley..."

TV journalist Garrick Utley was a frequent substitute anchor for "NBC Nightly News" during the 1980s and '90s.

  • "Miss Jane Pittman!"

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a novel in which a 110-year-old African-American woman recounts the events of her life, and was made into an acclaimed made-for-TV movie in 1974.

  • "Sniff....You were the bestest Batman ever!...Goodbye Cesar Romero!"

A dig at Adam West and his co-star from the original Batman television series; where Cesar Romero played The Joker rather than Batman. Cesar Romero also co-starred in a previous Mystery Science Theater experiment-Lost Continent. Romero died on January 1, 1994; in the same year as the original airing of this episode.

Video Release



Commercially released on DVD by Shout! Factory in July 2009 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 15, a 4-DVD set along with The Robot vs the Aztec MummyThe Girl in Lovers Lane, and Racket Girls.

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