6WH: Week 4 – Zombies!

The Six Weeks of Halloween horror movie marathon continues with some zombies! I’ve never actually been that big a fan of zombie movies. Sure there are a few good ones and they have a certain amount of influence within the genre, but there’s something that never really connects with me. They’re such a blank slate that you can apply almost any sort of sociological message to them, which is one reason we see so many zombie movies. This isn’t to say that the sub-genre of zombie movies is worthless though, and I can certainly accept that many people find these movies and their repetitive tropes to be comforting (after all, I’m a self-admitted slasher fan). Indeed, I don’t mind the more mindless entries in the sub-genre, it’s when pretensions start to run high that I start to waver. Nevertheless, there have always been some zombie movies that I’ve wanted to see for one reason or another, and below are three:

  • Honest Zombie (Robot Chicken)
  • Scourge of The Undead (fake trailer)
  • Shaun of the Dead (trailer)
  • Zombi 2 (aka Zombie): In 1978, George A. Romero released Dawn of the Dead to worldwide success. In Italy, it was released as “Zombi” and Italian director Lucio Fulci was so taken by the movie that he made his own zombie movie and called it “Zombi 2”. Of course, Fulci’s movie was not related to Romero’s film in any way and to make matters even more confusing, “Zombi 2” was released in the US simply as “Zombie”. In any case, this was the film that really cemented Fulci’s career (see earlier 6WH post on Giallo films for more Fulci), and it establishes many of the mainstays of his later cinema: zombies, gratuitous gore, eye gags, etc… This film, in particular, is notable for two standout sequences. First, there is a scene where a zombie fights a shark (seriously, the scene takes place underwater – you may have seen parts of this scene recut into a Windows 7 commercial, with a Discovery channel voiceover). This battle alone is worth the price of admission here, but there is another sequence that actually made me cringe. That scene features an eye gouging in explicit detail. The rest of the film is pretty much your average zombie island film. The characters aren’t especially well established and the story is practically non-existent, but who cares, there are zombies fighting sharks here people! **1/2

    Zombie vs Shark

    Zombie vs. Shark

  • Dawn of the Dead (2004) (trailer)
  • 28 Days Later (trailer)
  • Gay Zombie (short)
  • Cemetery Man: I have to admit, I have no idea what’s going on in this movie. Is it supposed to be a black comedy? Is it some sort of weird existential meditation on life and death and sex and relationships? Or is it just a pointless series of zombie gags? Rupert Everett plays Francesco Dellamorte (which translates to Francesco of Death), the titular cemetery man who works in a town where the dead come back to life about 7 days after they’re buried (after which, he kills them (again)). He has a brief relationship with a widow (who becomes a zombie and thus must be killed), and then he starts to lose his mind and kill human beings (instead of the zombies he normally takes care of)… but someone else keeps taking credit for his kills. There’s also a pretty funny episode where his mute assistant falls in love with a zombie head. The zombies here are a bit weird – they talk and act like regular humans, except that they seem to have developed a taste for flesh. Anyway, by the end, I wasn’t sure what was going on and I didn’t really care much either. For people who appreciate ultra-weird movies like Meet the Feebles or Delicatessen, you might want to take a gander, but even then, this is an inferior movie. It’s stylish, but I’m not sure there’s much of a point. **
  • The Signal (trailer)
  • Zombie IdolPart 2Part 3 (Robot Chicken)
  • Slither (trailer)
  • Night of the Creeps: Does this technically count as a zombie movie? Most descriptions of the film mention the term zombie, but these aren’t your typical zombies. They’re really just dead people who are hosting a slug-like alien creature. Director Fred Dekker clearly has a love for old-school SF and horror movies (not to mention noirish pot-boilers), and you can really see that shining through (the same can be said for Dekker’s more popular The Monster Squad), from the opening sequence (set in space!) to the hilarious noir detective/action hereo, played brilliantly by Tom Atkins. He answers the phone and bellows “Thrill me!” Later, in a nifty bit of self-awareness, he exclaims: “What is this? A homicide, or a bad B-movie?” If you’ve ever seen James Gunn’s excellent Slither, you’ll notice a lot of similarities here. It’s not a classic or anything but it’s a ton of fun and well worth a watch. ***

That’s all for now. Not sure what next week’s theme will be (if there is one!) but right now, it’s looking like either Silent Horror or slashers. We shall see. There also might be a few mid-week updates if I see more movies…

4 thoughts on “6WH: Week 4 – Zombies!”

  1. As a zombie movie enthusiast, might I suggest you add two movies to your list? Undead is an Australian zombie movie that mixes aliens into the mix. It is very funny. Undead or Alive is also quite funny and gives you zombies in the wild west. Neither are meant to be taken seriously, and are a lot fun. Give ’em a try. 🙂

  2. I added both to my Netflix queue, but somehow I doubt I’ll get to them anytime soon. I think I’ve had my fill of zombies for now, though there’s always next year…

  3. I think that Cemetery Man is sort of supposed to be all three. It’s been a while since I watched it, but I remember having a similar reaction, although I generally found it more enjoyable–I’d have probably said 3 stars, I think. But, I also have a greater fondness for zombie movies, so I think that adds weight to the reaction. I definitely liked it more than Delicatessen, although I like that movie less than most people, it seems.

    I need to start getting some more horror movies in this season–so far it’s been a pretty sparse October. Orphan, In the Mouth of Madness, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Trick-R-Treat, and a couple of crappy b-movies off of On Demand that I can’t even remember the names of.

  4. I wouldn’t say that I hated Cemetery Man, but I found it kinda shaky… and when combined with my general thoughts on zombie movies, it just didn’t really work for me.

    I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Delicatessen either (truth be told, I think it’s a bit overrated), though I think it’s better than Cemetery Man.

    Ahhh, crappy b-movies. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever experience movies like I did when I was a kid. I used to discover all sorts of weird movies on tv. I’m always a little surprised when I find out that they’re actually pretty crappy. These days, I’m much more choosy about what I watch, so I don’t get that element of serendipity…

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