The Supernaturals (1986)

Who knew that while on leave from the Starship Enterprise, Uhura moonlighted as a sergeant in the United States Army? Sure beats Chekov’s second job at the Apple Genius Bar. In the zombie flick The Supernaturals, Nichelle Nichols plays Leona Hawkins, a no-nonsense sarge who leads a rag-tag group of grunts on a training mission in the woods. Unbeknownst to them, the woods are haunted by a bunch of Confederate soldiers who were ruthlessly killed by the Yankees during the Civil War. Damn you, Derek Jeter!

Thanks to a silly plot wrinkle involving a child with psychic abilities, the Rebel zombies rise from the grave and exact their rather bland revenge. Instead of brain munching or spleen gnawing, they prefer plain old shooting and stabbing — much of it off-screen or obscured by the murky lighting. Yawn. Director Armand Mastroianni is known mostly for his TV work, and that’s apparent in the tame nature of this film.

Nichols is perhaps a bit too old and out-of-shape to be believable as an Army type, but her ball-busting performance is more entertaining than any of the otherwise bland, throwaway characters. (In the wake of Louis Gossett, Jr.’s Oscar-winning role in An Officer and a Gentleman, the one-dimensional drill sergeant role became something of a “positive stereotype” for African-American actors in ’80s.) LeVar Burton appears as one of the soldiers but is given little to do — surprising, since he was at the time (and probably still is) the most recognizable name in the film. Unless you count Derek Jeter.

“Zombie, please…”
Isaac Hayes liked to let his skull breathe at night.
“Too much…static…cling…need…fabric softener… SNUGGLES!!!
“If you call me Kunta Kinte one more time…”
“I wonder if my shit stinks…”
Did I suddenly contract fecal blindness? Because I can’t see shit.

What do you think?