Aerobics And Zombies: The Weird World Of Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout


An oddball home video collision of exercise tape, horror and soft porn that has to be seen to be believed.

Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout is one of those things that only makes sense if you have an understanding of what was happening (sub) culturally in the mid-to-late 1980s. At that time, there were two curious byproducts of the home video boom in the USA. One was T&A tapes, standing in direct contrast to the hardcore porn market. These were usually an hour or so long, and featured blurry/soft focus (depending on how generous you feel) NTSC video footage of girls taking their clothes off to a lesser or greater extent – sometimes they’d be fully nude, other times only topless. These films were titillation rather than porn or erotica, and though it’s hard to see exactly who they were aimed at, they sold like hotcakes – presumably to the sort of people who bought Playboy strictly for the photos but found Hustler a bit too much.


Also around at the time were cheap horror compilations like Zombiethon and Terror on Tape, which gathered together the ‘best’ bits from gory horror films, usually with video-shot linking sequences. These too seemed to have a vibrant market.

Adding to these two niche video ideas, we can throw in a couple of other elements that make up this tape. One, of course, is the rise of the workout tape, aimed primarily at housewives who couldn’t or wouldn’t go to the gym. The second is the rise of the Scream Queen. In the 1980s, thanks in part to horror magazines knowing what teenage boys like and in part to the rise of deliberately camp straight-to-video horror movies like Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Sorority Babes in the Slime Bowl-A-Rama, several actresses with a willingness to take their tops off and scream loudly built substantial film careers. Most popular among them was Linnea Quigley, a diminutive rock chick with burning ambition, who seized the opportunity presented by her stage-stealing striptease in Return of the Living Dead to become something of a genre icon. She was far from being the best actress among the Scream Queens, and she wasn’t the sexiest – but Linnea had something, and even now has a following.


So it probably made sense to someone, somehow to throw all these things together. The result is the 1990 video release Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout, which of course fails miserably as T&A, exercise tape and horror-comedy. With the involvement of trash horror stalwarts David DeCoteau and Kenneth J. Hall (the latter using the name Hal Kennedy as writer/director), it opens with Linnea soaping herself down in the shower and rapidly goes downhill. We get a long recap of her glittering career so far (lengthy clips from the likes of Creepozoids and Assault of the Party Nerds) which helps gobble up the first ten minutes of the hour-long tape. Then we get into the workout footage, which is.. well, it’s lightweight aerobics, and sadly, no amount of “metal studded bras and fishnet stockings” can make it erotic.


The tape goes on to have Linnea working out by the pool with a bunch of zombies who have been chasing her, which kills another ten minutes. At this point, even the horniest teenage boy will probably be struggling. Eventually, Linnea is joined by a handful of lingerIe-clad friends (none of them fellow celebrity Scream Queens) for more feeble exercise before the film introduces a slasher movie tone for the final section.

It’s hard to imagine who this was aimed at – there’s no nudity beyond the opening scenes, the workouts are, of course, pathetic, the humour feeble and the horror elements lame. But of course, you wouldn’t know that until it was too late, and presumably, the popularity of Quigley and the Scream Queen phenomena ensured healthy sales. And while you might have expected this to be confined to the dustbin of history, it did get a DVD re-release a few years ago.

You can watch the whole thing below.


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