Whenever I think of My Boyfriend’s Back I always think of when I first saw Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992). The circumstances surrounding both of their viewings are oddly similar. I came across Buffy on cable one lazy, warm Sunday afternoon in spring of ’93, right before it was about to begin. I had heard of the movie thanks of course to Fangoria and it happened to come on at just the perfect time. I can’t say for certain the season I saw My Boyfriend’s Back in but I remember it was also on a Sunday and warm out and I stumbled on it right before it began. Both of those movies have a similar vibe as well. Plus, actor Andrew Lowery, who’s the lead in My Boyfriend’s Back had a small role in Buffy.
When I first heard about this flick it was being called, Johnny Zombie, and I believe it was even filmed under that name too. I actually prefer that one to the more generic moniker it goes by now. I was never sure why it was changed.
If you hit up issue # 126 (Sep, 1993) of Fangoria you can read up about it. The title of the article is called, “I Wrote For A Zombie.” It interviews screenwriter, Dean Lorey, who also wrote Jason Goes To Hell (1993). Yeah, this zombie comedy has got some notable horror pedigree behind the scenes. Lorey not withstanding, the movie was directed by Bob Balaban who also ventured in cannibalism a few years back with Parents (1989) and it’s produced by Sean S. Cunningham, the creator of Friday The 13th (1980).
The town of Fairview has already had a “zombie occurrence,” and it’s on the verge of having another, but first lets meet Johnny Dingle (Andrew Lowery). He’s an eighteen year old days away from the prom and he wants so badly to ask out Missy McCloud (Traci Lind), the girl he’s had a massive crush on since grade school. Problem is she’s dating dickhead jock, Buck (Matthew Fox’s first role), who has an equally dickhead friend by the name of Chuck Bronski (Before-they-were-famous Philip Seymour Hoffman).
Thank God Johnny has a friend who isn’t a dick. Eddie’s his name (Danny Zorn) and he’s a pretty damn good friend too. Not many buds would help you stage a fake robbery at the place your crush works just so you’ll look cool in front of you. Pull that shit these days and you go home in a body bag for sure. Come to think of it, Johnny does go home in a body bag after pulling that shit. You see an actual robber showed up when he was in the store making small talk with Missy while waiting for Eddie to bust in and play the fake robber. The real one comes in and is about to shoot Missy when Johnny steps up and takes the bullet instead. As he lay dying he finally summons the courage to ask her to the prom. She says, “sure,” and then away he goes to the great beyond.
Fuck that shit, though. No way in hell he’s getting the go ahead to dock his plan in Missy’s airport and not be there to show her the sights. I have no idea where that previous sentence was trying to go. Something sexual, I suppose. Ignore it. The next night Dingle crawls his ass out of the grave and walks home like nothing ever happened. Just to give you some sense how zombies are perceived in Fairview, he bumps into the cemetery’s caretaker and it doesn’t surprise him one bit that he’s looking at a walking dead kid. Probably due to that previous zombie they had years back. He even tries to give Dingle some advice like not leave the cemetery otherwise they’ll be “consequences.” Dingle (that last name kills me) states in no uncertain terms he’s not spending the rest of his “life” walking around a cemetery. He’s got important shit to do like take Missy to the prom.
His parents played by Edward Herrmann and May Beth Hurt aren’t too shocked he’s back from the dead either. They take it all in stride. Back in school is a tad different. Dingle is now known as ‘that dead kid.’ Eddie’s happy to see him though. Missy, not so much. She’s still Buck’s bitch and she only told Dingle she’d go to the prom because he was seconds away from meeting the Great Creator In The Sky. Buck and Chuck, well, you can imagine what they think of now back-from-the-dead Dingle (that name still kills me). Yeah, they still hate him, more so now that Missy’s had a sudden change of heart. Being “manhandled” by your douchy man tends to do that.
Dingle, though, has more pressing problems. He’s falling apart. Literally. That’s what happens when a zombie leaves the cemetery. First, his ear during a date with Missy, and a dream sequence shows us how bad he fears it’s going to get. Yeah, that’s right, his dick might actually drop off. A visit to Maggie (Cloris Leachman) who was the wife of the husband who came back from the dead years before tells Johnny he can’t stop his decay unless he eats human flesh.
A fortuitous event occurs where Johnny can get some flesh in him without having to kill anyone. One day in school Chuck comes after him and actually tries to kill him with an ax and the dumb son of a bitch ends up killing himself with the ax instead. Oh, look, there’s a dead body now in the hallway and no one around. Yeah, that’s right, Dingle eats some of Chuck’s stomach, which horrifies Eddie and Missy when they come upon him. Now his bro and his girl are afraid he’ll up and eat them when they least expect it.
That first dream sequence was funny and there are a couple more that shows us how fearful Dingle is he actually might lose it and chow down on someone. The second sequence, however, is the funniest, and I’m not sure if it was intentional. I mean, yeah, it was intentional, it’s a horror comedy, but the way Missy keeps goading Dingle on to take a bite out of her by repeatedly saying, “eat me,” had me snickering. Cannibalism would be the last thing on my mind if I heard a hot chick say, “eat me.” The sexual inference must have been intended. I don’t see how it could not have been.
Eventually, it’s revealed the townsfolk are kind of “racist,” or I guess I should say, zomcist, or deadcist. Yeah, they really don’t like dead people walking around. I mean I could understand that if you’re talking about a rampaging, mindless cannibal with the ability to make more from a bite, but Dingle?! Come on, man. Anyhow, they eventually band together and come after him like townsfolk always do in those classical monster movies. Despite all the hate for the dead kid, Dingle ends up being allowed to take Missy to the prom.. And just in the nick of time too, because his body has finally had enough walking around dead and shuts down moments after they hit the dance floor. Looks like it’s finally end for the Dinglenator.
But wait—what happened to the happy ending?
Dingle’s in heaven now, or the place of judgment where you’re judged and you either make it to Heaven or burn in Hell. Judgment informs Dingle about the ways of things where flesh eaters are concerned. You see Fate sometimes fucks up, when something happens that isn’t supposed to and a death occurs an occasional zombie is made. But what that person does while he’s a zombie makes all the difference in the world and let’s just say Dingle is so fuckin’ lucky he didn’t got on some massive eating spree and killed people willy-nilly. Yeah, that could have gotten him a seat at the adult table in Hell. Go back to the moment when Dingle died. The robber was supposed to slip on some coffee and miss. This is not Dingle’s time to die, so we get a time travel reset, and wouldn’t you know it that motherfucker still shoots Dingle, and then knocks the coffee over. Jesus, did Fate screw up? Again? Not so much. Dingle is hit in the chest but this time he was wearing the present he was going to give to Missy when they were kids but was too afraid. It was a pendant with photos of the both of them in it. The bullet hit that and saved his life, and so Dingle lives to take Missy to that goddamn prom all over again. Alive this time. The End. The actual words ‘The End’ come up too.
My Boyfriend’s Back has already had a DVD release back in 2002 from Disney/Buena Vista, and we finally, I mean, finally get a blu-ray of it courtesy of Mill Creek Entertainment on March 15th!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.78:1 high definition widescreen—2.0 English Dolby Digital Stereo—No subtitles.
I was very impressed by the transfer on this blu-ray. I even think it may look a bit better than Mill Creek’s recent release of My Science Project (1985). It’s crisp, vivid and colorful!
Sadly there are no extras at all, not even the trailer.
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In closing, if you’re a fan of this movie, this blu is a must-have upgrade.