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A deep dive into Linnea Quigley's horror workout video
Linnea Quigley is well-known among fans of '80s slasher movies, having starred in around three dozen films over her storied career. This is one lady that helped turn the B-film into its own campy, self-parodying art form by writing books about her experiences and embracing the inherent silliness of the subgenre. And she didn't just star in films like Return of the Living Dead, turns out she also made a workout video. This VHS is such a collector's item that if you find a copy of it on the internet, it's likely to go for more than $200. It is a pretty fun video, as it allows Linnea to go into full self-parody and poke fun at the '80s B-movies that made her a star.
This leaves us with the question "is this actually an effective workout?" The obvious answer is "No, definitely not, it's only about 20 minutes of workout in a 50-minute video, and it seems pretty clear that the intended audience is... not people who are following the workout." Yet, it is that rare VHS that fully embodies a very specific time in United States media history in which slasher films and workout videos could cross over, and they did — all while giving some light aerobic warm-up exercises.
Taking a sensual shower and hanging out on the floor in front of a fireplace while reflecting on your illustrious career is an essential pre-workout activity
Like so many tapes of its time, this VHS opens on a long, pointless shower sequence. Introductions are made, credits roll, and it's still going on. Then, suddenly, we're casually hanging out with Linnea while she lays on the floor and talks about all of her most notable films. Linnea talking about her movies is pretty funny to listen to, yet, to all things, an end. Linnea stretches for a while, then goes out into the world for a run.
Linnea suggests that a nice jog is a great workout, which is true. What is also true is that if you're going to encounter zombies at any point in your life, it will probably be while you are on a jog, and that's what happens here.
Exercise is extremely good for zombies as well as living humans
Linnea begins this segment by encouraging jogging, selling it with the line, "There's nothing I like more than going for a nice run in the woods. Past an old cemetery. Alone." As she runs, several zombies begin following her. They try to eat her, but she negotiates a free workout session in exchange. Folks, this isn't just a body workout, but a workout that keeps the mind sharp and improves your negotiation skills.
True to her word, Linnea works out with the zombies and they get very into it… until she lowkey drowns them in her pool. I'm pretty sure that actually happens in this video. Linnea looks into the camera and says, "Suckers!" This is not just a workout video, but one that teaches you many life skills.
Always make your friends watch your movies with you when they come over and definitely also lead a work out session even if it is late at night
The only place to go from mass zombie (possible) murder is (obviously) a slumber party with the girls. This turns into another montage of Linnea and her best friends going through her films. Again, Linnea is not about to take herself seriously, and when someone gets the plots of her films confused, she looks into the camera like Bugs Bunny and quips, "That's okay, sometimes I can't keep them straight either."
This gathering turns into another workout session, this time in sexy nighties because why the heck not? However, when Linnea goes to investigate a mysterious sound, the other girls follow her into the darkness only to be brutally killed, slasher film style. Who is the killer? Spoiler: none other than Linnea herself, who cleverly optimized the murders to burn the utmost calories.
This video is truly bonkers and only taught us a little bit about exercise, but the people who made it definitely knew that and clearly had a lot of low budget fun with it, so I see no need to harsh their mellow, nor the mellows of others. Workout videos from this time are truly bananas, and we are not exaggerating one bit. If you don't believe us, look up the Debbie Reynolds workout where Shelley Winters sports a sweatshirt that reads "I'm only doing this for Debbie" and cracks up in the background the whole time instead of working out. This was an "anything goes" subgenre of VHS, most of which has been lost to time (and that's fine).
Meanwhile, Linnea Quigley is pretty amazing, and her ability to poke fun at her truly bizarre screen career is no small part of what makes her an icon of gory b-movies. This VHS is strange, not exactly useful, and full of weird jokes, but I can't say I didn't get anything out of it. This is a collectible item that I would likely never have happened across if not for the magic of the internet, and I have to admit, the exercises are pretty fun.