Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Brief Discussion of Zombie Films

The foundation of the modern cinematography of the zombie comes from Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" (though I haven't seen the 1990 Tom Savini remake, the 30th anniversary addition adds extra footage that makes the movie worse. In other words, watch the original.

The 1978 sequal "Dawn of the Dead", in which the protagonists hold up in a shopping mall, is amazing and birthed the modern cult following. The 2004 remake changes the story and sets it in the new millenium, but keeps the archetypes and location intact. It is perhaps the best Zombie movie of all time.

The 2004 edition also changes the almost comical slowness of the zombies, satirized by Shaun of the Dead, according to the rules of the British quasi Zombie film 28 Days Later. In the new rules, the Zombies are as fast as they are strong and are actually something to be scared of.

The third film of Romero's original trilogy is the 1985 "Day of the Dead." I'm not a huge fan, but some of the images from the flyovers of South Florida may be useful to use in "Zombís en la Habana."

The recent renaissance of Zombie enthusiasm encouraged Romero to make another Zombie film Land of the Dead. While I enjoyed seeing John Leguizamo as a Zombie, and enjoyed very much certain parts of the film, I was kind of dissapointed with it.

"Let Sleeping Corpses lie" is an Italian movie directed by Spaniard Jorge Grau. It's a good film with a different rhythm, following a small zombie outbreak in a small British town caused by irradiation of crops. While the movie lacks the apocalyptic onslaught of zombie hordes that are a mainstay of the zombie genre.

There are of course, plenty of horrible Zombie movies. The worst of which is Troma's Redneck Zombies. The gratuitous zombie rape scene (indeed the film was originally titled "Redneck Country Rape") shows poor taste and the bizarre, violent fetishes of the movie's writers. The LSD trip scene is the only redeeming part of the movie as far as I can tell. Many viewers will be too bored to watch all the way to the rape scene, though others, including the IMDB commentators, thoroughly enjoy the film. IMDB raters call it "a perfect thanksgiving movie" filled with "obscured morals." I'm skeptic of this analysis to say the least.

The Italian 1979 "Zombie", mostly shot on a tropical island where "superstitious natives" make the dead including conquistadores (repeatedly mispronounced throughout the movie) come to life and eat the living. The racist overtones of the movie are overwhelming. However, the film does contain perhaps the most ingenous scene in any zombie movie in which a zombie fights a shark. (the shark wins but swims away without eating the Zombie). One friend calls the movie 90 minutes of novel and gory ways to kill a person.

Also worthy of mention is the "Thin Dead Line" episode of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff Angel. In the words of Sleeptight "This episode is really cool. who doesn't love zombie cops? ... this episode has a creepy but very cool thing going around. great episode!"

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I think Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive" is a must-see for any zombie movie afficionado. It's from before he hit the big-time in the USA. It is really gross and funny.b