“That was a strange tale, wasn’t it, Bobby?”–Shirley L. Jones in Tales from the Quadead Zone
DIRECTED BY: Chester Novell Turner
FEATURING: Shirley L. Jones, Keefe L. Turner
PLOT: A woman reads her invisible child two stories from a book entitled “Tales of the Quadead Zone.” In one, a redneck family never has enough food for everyone at the table to eat, until one of the clan figures out a solution. In another, a man retrieves his dead brothers’ corpse in order to ritually abuse it.
- Chester Turner’s 1984 movie Black Devil Doll from Hell was originally written as one of the segments in this anthology film, but was expanded to a full-length feature instead. A remnant of that intention may linger in the theme song, which claims that “dolls will kill…”
- Although they did almost all of the technical work themselves, Turner and Shirley Jones made up fictitious names for the camera and sound credits so the crew would seem larger than it was. Turner is still credited with direction, writing, music, special effects, and editing.
- Most of the cast and crew have surnames of either “Jones” or “Turner.”
- Disappointed after receiving less than $1,000 from the distributor of Black Devil Doll from Hell, Turner and Jones decided to sell copies of Tales from the Quadead Zone themselves. They traveled to every video store they could find within a 25 mile radius of Chicago selling their tapes.
- After completing Quadead Zone, Turner quit filmmaking (because he hadn’t made any money at it) and started a construction business. For two decades he was unaware that his videotapes were being bootlegged and circulated among a small cult of trash-film devotees. (One original VHS copy of Quadead sold for $1,300). Internet rumors circulated claiming that Turner was dead, but Massacre Video’s Louis Justin eventually tracked him down by calling every Chester Turner for whom he could find a telephone number.
- Turner has publicly stated he’s interested in making Tales from the Quadead Zone 2 and Black Devil Doll from Hell 2 (for which he’s already written a script—it’s subtitled “The Goddoll” and will be a spoof of The Godfather).
INDELIBLE IMAGE: The corpse dressed up as a clown. Who dresses up a corpse as a clown? What makes the scene especially unforgettable is the basic chroma-key technology used to depict an orangish-red blob of pure spirit entering the dead body.
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: What the heck is a “quadead” zone? A zone with four dead people in it? You’ll have no more clue after watching the movie than you did before, but you will at least understand that any film made by the unique Chester Novell Turner deserves a name that doesn’t make sense. Turner’s two-movie horror universe is a world of puppet rapists, killer rednecks, undead clowns and invisible child ghosts, shot through a camcorder lens, acted out by friends and family, and accompanied by a homemade Casio keyboard score that frequently drowns out the dialogue. Of his two brain-damaged films, Tales from the Quadead Zone earns a slight edge over Black Devil Doll from Hell, mainly because it’s a half-hour shorter, and features a broader range of non-actors engaging in awkward pauses in more varied environments.
Scarecrow Video’s trailer for a screening of Tales from the Quadead Zone
COMMENTS: The credits and theme song really tell you what you’re getting into with Tales from the Quadead Zone. With the unmetrical opening Continue reading 166. TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE (1987)