Definitions

zapped

Zapped!

Zapped! is a 1982 motion picture comedy starring Scott Baio as a teen who acquires telekinetic powers. The film is regarded as a parody of Carrie but also includes spoofs of The Exorcist, Taxi Driver, Star Trek and the 1969 Kurt Russell film The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. It is marketed with the tagline "They're getting a little behind in their classwork..."

Cast

Baio stars as Barney Springboro, the student/Science lab nerd who is teamed up with his future Charles in Charge cast mate Willie Aames. The usual high school stereotypes appear, including the feminist class president played by Felice Schachter, the snobby cheerleader prom-queen, Heather Thomas in one of her earliest film roles, along with her mean-spirited jock boyfriend Greg Bradford. The lovelorn maiden teacher Sue Ane Langdon, the befuddled principal Robert Mandan, the hard drinking coach Scatman Crothers and Baio's clueless parents Roger Bowen and Mews Smalls fill out the cast. Eddie Deezen has a cameo appearance, while Merritt Butrick plays the school greaser.

Plot

Barney is a student/science lab nerd who obtains telekinetic powers after a lab accident. Along with his best friend Peyton Nichols (Aames), a wealthy playboy with a dirty mind, Barney uses his new powers for no better reasons than beating up bullies, cheating at sports and stripping girls, particularly co-star Thomas. After typical hijinks, including an episode at the prom strangely similar to the ending of Stephen King's "Carrie," Barney comes to realize that the best girl for him is actually Felice Schachter's Bernadette.

Filming

The film used several techniques to capture the feel of its high school setting for nostalgic fans. It was filmed in large part at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles with the students as extras. The story line never leaves the high school. The students talk mostly about social life and college plans, while the prom is in the gym. The senior trip is to the local amusement park. Of the major stars, however, only Felice Schachter was still a high school student when the movie was filmed. In fact, she missed her own prom to film the prom sequence in the movie.

Controversy

An unusual contract situation arose on the set because the script called for Heather Thomas to be photographed topless in one scene and stripped to her panties in another. However, during shooting she refused to be filmed topless, insisting that the nudity was neither necessary nor appropriate. In post-production, the producers inserted close-ups of a topless body double into the scenes and Miss Thomas complained to the Screen Actor's Guild that moviegoers might think it was her. In an unusual move, the producers added an advisory to the end credits that a body double was used for Miss Thomas for the photograph and her nude scene. (She claimed, however, that the people who watch such movies never pay any attention to the closing credits.)

Controversy also erupted during the promotion of the film when readers of the Los Angeles Times complained about the movie poster advertisement, not because of what the readers could see but because it was suggested that the illustrated Scott Baio and Willie Aames could see up the skirt of the illustrated female character. The poster artist re-drew the advertisement to block the suggested view.

Sequel

Zapped! was made in 1981 by Embassy Pictures for $2,000,000.00 and was released the following year making $15,000,000.00 in its initial release. Critics generally panned Zapped! for a weak story line and for relying on gratuitous nudity. However, over the years it sold heavily in videos, spawned a 1990 direct-to-video sequel, Zapped Again! (with only Sue Ane Langdon returning from the original cast).

Music

The movie soundtrack was composed by Charles Fox and featured performances by Joe "Bean" Esposito ("Updike's Theme") and David Pomeranz ("Got to Believe in Magic", "King and Queen of Hearts") which were big hits in the Philippines. A band by the name of The Twisters also played in this movie.

Awards

Willie Aames was nominated by the Golden Raspberry Awards for "Worst Actor" for his performance in Zapped! but lost to Sir Laurence Olivier in Inchon.

Home Video

Zapped! was initially released on VHS and on Laserdisc by Embassy Pictures and reissued by MGM Home Entertainment on VHS and has rereleased the film on DVD on February 12, 2008.

See also

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