Shadowzone: The Undead Express

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Comedy, Horror

This lugubrious vampire lampoon glides its way through Dracula-lore revisionism, stale in-jokes about horror films, and excessive expository detritus. Although produced by Showtime, its adolescent high spirits are more akin to Nickelodeon's homogenized kidding around. Teenaged Zach (Chauncey Leopardi) irks his friends J.T. (Tony T. Johnson) and Gabe (Natanya...read more

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This lugubrious vampire lampoon glides its way through Dracula-lore revisionism, stale in-jokes about horror films, and excessive expository detritus. Although produced by Showtime, its adolescent high spirits are more akin to Nickelodeon's homogenized kidding around.

Teenaged Zach (Chauncey Leopardi) irks his friends J.T. (Tony T. Johnson) and Gabe (Natanya Ross) with his tall tales. Demonstrating no sense of responsibility to his partners in a joint school project about the history of New York City, Zach ditches his pals, ignores parental orders to take a

cab, and boards a Manhattan subway train--filled, unbeknownst to him, with vampires--that leads to an abandoned stop within Grand Central Station. Here, he encounters Valentine (Ron Silver), a courtly vampire who safeguards him from the other bloodsuckers inhabiting the subway underground.

Valentine tells Zach the tale of his fall from subway tycoon to denizen of the night. It turns out that in order to go aboveground, Valentine needs to be escorted by an innocent youngster like Zach. Sensing that NYC isn't ready for Valentine, Zach escapes and regales his cynical friends with his

adventures; after some prodding, they agree to accompany him to the "Shadowzone" he speaks of. Seeing no evidence of vampires, J.T. and Gabe part company with Zach.

Deciding to take photographs of the old deserted subway area to fulfill the project for history class, Gabe goes back down and is captured by Valentine's gang. She hopes that J.T. and Zach will realize her whereabouts. Upon encountering Valentine, the boys learn that the price for rescuing Gabe is

high: Zach must connect the Bloodsucker's own abandoned express train with the main subway line. Although Zach agrees, the undead close in for the kill anyway. However, the world-weary Valentine has planned that the link-up will expose him and his vampiric clan to sunlight and death. The kids

escape; the Shadowzoners crumble to dust.

With its ramshackle screenplay, expository glitches and hammy supporting performances, this tiresome send-up borders on the semi-professional. While it makes photogenic use of the New York subway systems, SHADOWZONE otherwise suffers from limited production values. In the lead roles, Leopardi is

just another wisecracking child actor with an overabundance of Milton Berle chromosomes, while Silver lacks the requisite panache to twirl his Bela cape. Since the parody is stale and the chills obvious, SHADOWZONE fails to provide ghoulish fun for the pre-teens, even if they're in a Halloween

mood. For adults, the viewing experience is as numbing as a Port Authority announcement that service on your subway line has been indefinitely suspended. (Violence, adult situations.)

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: This lugubrious vampire lampoon glides its way through Dracula-lore revisionism, stale in-jokes about horror films, and excessive expository detritus. Although produced by Showtime, its adolescent high spirits are more akin to Nickelodeon's homogenized kid… (more)

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