Writer/director Justin Tanner's zany sendup of cheesy horror films premiered at the Cast Theatre in Hollywood in 1989 and continued its run for 10 years, becoming a cult hit. Viewing the vehicle for the first time, I found it to be a delightfully silly trifle that takes the audience on a campy, carnival fun-house sort of ride. Tanner co-authored this one-hour piece with Andy Daley. The setup—one could hardly call it a plot—brings a group of former college chums together for a reunion at an old house on a hill for a different sort of big chill than the one they expected. There have been suggestions of creepy goings-on at the house across the street. The appearance of a self-proclaimed witch (Tanner, putting a gender-bending spin on the role, as a last-minute substitute for an ailing Jodi Carlisle) adds to the sense that something wicked that way comes.
Among the loopy partygoers are two dope-heads (Johnny Galecki and Brian Newkirk); an opportunistic stewardess (Victoria Prescott) whose motto is undoubtedly "coffee, tea, or me," and an ostensibly "normal" married couple (Malle Flanagan and Matt Roth). It takes longer than expected to get to the good stuff, as the characters indulge in small talk that seems mostly like filler. Pandemonium finally kicks in as the living dead begin crashing the party, with incidents of mock-gore and mock-terror becoming the business at hand. Hilarious sight gags make this extended scene enjoyable. There's too much noise and overlapping speech to comprehend much of the dialogue, but no one is likely to care. The game cast seems to be having a great time, the always watchable Flanagan squeezing big laughs out of a rather bland role, and the zonked-out slackers played by Galecki and Newkirk making the most of their funny lines.
"Zombie Attack," presented by and at Third Stage, 2811 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m. Nov. 15- 27. $10-15. (818) 842-4755.