Closet Zombie Fans
Monday April 11th 2011, 9:44 am
Filed under: Zombie
Whenever I read World War Z in public, people I had no idea were zombie fans speak up. “Good book” or “I didn’t know you were into zombies too.” I always say the latter back to them – I had no idea.
In the last two weeks or so, I am delighted to have made a few more zombie fan friends:
- A work-study student at my job came out as a zombie fan. I think she wants to be a lawyer so this was a nice surprise.
- At my work-study placement, many of the staff read and watch zombie genre stuff. One of the staff member’s daughters is even making her own live action zombie short using her friends from school. The fourteen-year-old was inspired by The Walking Dead TV series. I passed on my duplicate copy of The Zombie Survival Guide.
- At a Yelp party (a whole new community of people I didn’t know about), Fat Chuck Norris and his coworker quizzed me on the best zombie hideout in the Lower Mainland. I hadn’t thought of this place and I am not telling you about it. But Fat Chuck Norris, his coworker and I made a deal that they sticks to their hideout location and I put dibs on a branch of this hideout closer to my house.
Dance of the Dead
Tuesday March 03rd 2009, 9:31 am
Filed under: Film
As part of our zombie intervention program for MaikoPunk, we recently gathered to watch the 2008 zombie prom film Dance of the Dead. While not my favourite subset of zombie films – there is a hint of optimism at the end that I find so abysmal, this may as well be a feel-good movie – the dedicated zombie fan can glean a couple nuggets of wisdom.
First, the militaristic gym teacher’s admonishment to the screamy prom girl: “You can’t fight a war with cheese and toothpicks, missy.” Don’t you wish you could throw that quote around during a PTA meeting? I will put this one on my to-do list for our neighbourhood association night, especially when the career strata council chick goes on about wanting to ban garden gnomes from our patios.
Second, Dance of the Dead has the only zombie sex scene I have seen so far.
Use protection, kids.
Presumably, all of you, my dear little zombie fans, have already pre-ordered your copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. The book will be published this April:
[Grahame-Smith] and an editor at Quirk Books, an independent publisher, developed a diagram tracing connections between seminal period novels to cult movie genres, including robots, vampires and aliens.
“It quickly became obvious that Jane [Austen] had laid down the blueprint for a zombie novel,” said Grahame-Smith, a television comedy writer. “Why else in the original should a regiment arrive on Lizzie Bennet’s doorstep when they should have been off fighting Napoleon? It was to protect the family from an invasion of brain-eaters, obviously.”
(From the Times Online)
Here’s some more alterna-Austen for you: Pride and Predator. Predator as in alien like Schwarzenegger’s mud wrestling buddy in the 1987 film. Produced by Elton John of all people.
Written by Will Clark, Andrew Kemble, and John Pape, the film will have some sort of alien landing in England and slaughtering – please, oh, please – Mrs. Bennett and Lydia.
There are apparently other so-called Monster-Lit books coming out:
- Jane Eyre with Mr. Rochester’s bigger, creepier secret
- Wuthering Heights with Japanese ghosts
- The Mill on the Floss with human sacrifice
(On a less exciting note, there’s also a cartoon Gnomeo and Juliet being made, which is like the Shakespeare teen sob story with gnomes.)
Yes, I agree, Hollywood is getting desperate. Yes, this means my horror schlock film-watching society will have many more zombie crap evenings to come!
Thursday January 29th 2009, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Zombie
On Saturday night, we had a zombie intervention for Maikopunk. She doesn’t really care for our favourite horror film genre and had to be set right.
Unfortunately, she knitted throughout Night of the Living Dead. We thought we’d get her started with the classic ghouls before we delved into squelchier representations as in Day of the Dead, etc.
However, Maikopunk’s husband D. lent me Dead Set, the British zombies-on-a-Big-Brothers-set show, and World War Z…which I still have not read.
No word yet if Maikopunk is ready to graduate to pure schlock.
Nazi Zombie Infections…
…move slowly enough that you can amputate the chomped-on limb and save yourself.
Norwegian zombie comedy movie Død Snø (or Dead Snow) is about a group of medical students whose weekend of snow sports turns into a face-off with undead WWII soldiers. Obviously on my list of films to see.
By the way, while typing this, like many other bloggers, I wondered if the nazi zombie film could be really a subgenre of the zombie genre. To prove it one way or the other, I made an inventory of nazi zombie films:
- Revenge of the Zombies (1943), also known as The Corpse Vanished: traditional voodoo zombies, which, quite frankly don’t do a thing for me – it’s either undead cannibal ghouls in an apocalyptic setting or nothing – but it kind of fits into the nazi zombie theme. It’s about a nazi mad scientist who dabbles in forbidden sciences and has a 1940s female zombie in high heels.
- The Frozen Dead (1966): the imdb synopsis covers it best: “A crazed scientist keeps the heads of Nazi war criminals alive until he can find appropriate bodies on which to attach them so he can revive the Third Reich.”
- Dark Echo (1977), also known as Dark Echoes, Deep Echo: has only one drowned nazi zombie and a witch decapitation is as far as the gore goes, apparently.
- Shock Waves (1977), also known as Almost Human, Death Corps: appears to be some sort of Island of Dr. Moreau with zombies.
- L’Abîme des morts vivants (1981), also known as Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies, Oasis of the Zombies, The Oasis of the Living Dead, The Treasure of the Living Dead: nazi zombies protect hidden treasure in the Sahara.
- Le Lac des morts vivants (1981), also known as Zombie Lake, The Lake of the Living Dead: drowned nazi soldiers return to avenge themselves on their French murderers, proving something, perhaps that 1981 was a good year to direct nazi zombie movies in France (see above). I read that this one is so bad it does the wrap-around thing where it becomes good bad.
- Night of the Zombies (1981), also known as Battalion of the Living Dead, Gamma 693, Night of the Wehrmacht Zombies, Night of the Zombies II, Sister of Death, The Chilling: once more, another one about poor blokes who should have never dismissed the rumour about the zombies in the deserted locale. Also, another one for hapless zombie fans who shouldn’t dismiss rumours that this one is a stinker. Night of the Wehrmacht Zombies II, by the way, will be the name of the zombie movie I will one day film.
- The Bunker (2001), also known as The Bunker: The Evil Is Within: will people never learn to not go down into mysterious tunnels, especially when plague victims were murdered there?
- Horrors of War (2006): inspired one imdb commenter to suggest the genesis of this film project: “Hey, I have a jeep, let’s make a WWII zombie movie!”
- Outpost (2008): more proof that rumoured nazi bunkers in Eastern Europe where evil experiments took place to reanimate the dead are better left alone.
Only eleven films in the subgenre, but a decent checklist for those of us who appreciate the undead. (Let me know if I missed any.)
Thursday October 09th 2008, 12:45 am
Filed under: Film
When a zombie movie has little kid zombies, you know the movie means business.
I just returned from seeing the Spanish infection movie [REC] and my last film at this year’s Vancouver Film Festival (VIFF).
(This is why I haven’t had much of a chance to blog. Besides work, I have been spending all my free time watching movies or else researching movies.)
This year’s VIFF had about five films in the horror genre, only two of which my schedule allowed me to catch. Both movies were superb: I’ll write about Let the Right One In once I am less busy next week.
[REC] follows a Barcelona TV reporter and a cameraman who’s short on words as they accompany the local fire department on a call to a residential apartment block. A reclusive old woman has woken up her neighbours with her screams. The police are already on the scene and the two firefighters must now batter down the door.
The 2007 film [REC] has already had a Hollywood remake. So far all remakes – of Ring, of A Tale of Two Sisters, of Dark Water – seem lacking in that at which the original excelled and abundant in the pretty but bland female face that Hollywood prefers. Leaving the usual annoying cultural theft aside, there is a sequel to the original Spanish version already in the making. You can bet that I will be seeing it.
A Very Zombie Birthday
Monday July 07th 2008, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Zombie
For my recent birthday, my husband figured he knew my taste. Amid the spa gift certificate, Arctic animal documentary and mud mask packets, he also included a few items of interest to a zombie film fan:
- Volumes 2 and 3 of the Walking Dead graphic novel. I finally read volume 1 a few months ago and wondered for many, many weeks what happened to the crazy souls camping – yes, camping – next to zombie-infested Atlanta. Now I get all new excuses to never camp again.
- The Last Night on Earth board game. Oooh, it even comes with a CD of zombie-inspired music. (Update: we didn’t like it. I found it unscary.)
- Romero’s latest, Diary of the Dead. When it came out, I looked in vain for this film at our local theatres. Yet having it on DVD was even better. The film was marginally better than Land of the Dead. The fan-created zombie shorts make this worthwhile, though. (Mind you, I still occasionally quote the Samoan car theft line from Land of the Dead.) Samuel the Amish zombie killer needs a film unto himself.
- A whole new way to watch 28 Days Later. I found the DVD in the bargain bin at Future Shop about a month earlier and snapped it up at $6. Now I no longer have to borrow Maikopunk‘s copy again. The real surprise was watching it on our new big screen; I never squinted enough to ever notice the Cillian Murphy character’s penis at the beginning on the old tv.
Friday May 16th 2008, 8:09 pm
Filed under: Zombie
Last Sunday I found 28 Days Later on sale for $6. Then the other day, I decided to watch as much as I could during breakfast before I set off for work. Then it got me thinking about zombies again, and I began going through scenarios in my head.
Of course, part of being prepared is trawling the zombie sites. After watching the first half of 28 Days Later, I went to see the IMDB forums to see what was new. There is a thread called “Re: You have 3 Hours before the outbreak? What do you do!” [sic]. So what would Jesus do?
Among all the good ideas, here’s one that, as a homeowner, caught my eye:
1. camouflage my house
2. keep a nice stash of food and water
3. when infected approach, play dead
How does #1 happen? Turns out, I am not the only one wondering:
How the hell do you camouflage a house in three hours? What do you make it look like? A cake, the Bolivian navy on manouveres in the South Pacific, a red an white striped golfing umbrella, a female aardvark? I mean if you live in a bungalow its [sic] a possibility…
Back to the drawing board.
Sunday March 02nd 2008, 10:18 am
Filed under: Zombie
I haven’t just been watching clouds all day; I am still busy reading zombie stuff. For example, this little book:
Pictured is Rylie, teen care home volunteer, ice cream shop employee and punk lesbian chick.
I’ve only read a few other zombie graphic novels, none as visceral as this one. Gore a-plenty, especially for teen girl cannibal fetishists – these fleshy young things are quite biteable. The young overweight flesh is voluptuous; even the anorexic characters have perfectly luscious lips.* The inventory of gruesome flesh-eating will charm most zombie fans:
- upper thigh chomping
- blood-splattered faces
- the glass shard-in-the-eye trick
For me, the reason I am into the zombie genre is to see how the authors imagine life in near-impossible conditions. The question is, what would I do in a zombie situation? If it happened and I was caught off-guard without an arsenal and my own private shopping mall stocked with a supermarket brimming with non-perishables, what the hell would I do? This is the charm of zombie fiction – trying to figure it all out. I sometimes wonder the same thing about the Holocaust; I think most zombie enthusiasts prefer to satisfy their curiosity through fictional means rather than trying to think of survival in a historical setting. Part of what attracts zombie fans is the fantasy that they can destroy the zombies in human bodies indiscriminately as they try to survive – no Holocaust wondering will allow one to counterattack Rambo-style.
Toilet plunger is probably not a weapon of choice for me if zombie armageddon happens, but hey, I am sick of the “Zombies? We must have guns!” attitude. The Abandoned‘s characters really on everyday items to get them through – driving trucks over zombies, hitting them with the afore-mentioned toilet plunger, frying pans and assorted wooden sticks.
Luckily for the characters, these are the traditional slow zombies. They can’t even figure out that if they push hard enough on the wooden fence surrounding the characters’ hideout they could get in. But…
I still wouldn’t sleep on a flimsy balcony in full view of the zombies, dumb zombies or not.
* The artwork when characters run needs a little work.
Ok, ok, I am calming down from the news.
28 Days Later has a sequel. 28 Weeks Later is coming out in the next month. Yay! More zombies! Er, more zombie-like* induced armageddons! Yay!
You can see the trailer here. Ha ha. More humans get it. Features lots of running around by protagonists, with no really secure place to hide.
Just as pleasing is that there are at least four other zombie movies at some stage of production or script work right now:
- reader input requested for the second draft of the Autumn script;
- a Dawn of the Dead remake sequel called Army of the Dead;
- Diary of the Dead, a new George Romero one that goes back to the first, low level zombie outbreak (as seen in Night of the Living Dead), this time following around a group of film students;
- Day of the Dead, which is presumably a remake of Romero’s 1985 Day of Dead and starring the Dawn of the Dead remake’s Ving Rhames;
- a scriptwriter is doing a go-over on World War Z, written by Mel Brooks’ son Max (who is, of course, the author of the Zombie Survival Guide).
To tide me over for when these movies come out, my DVD player has been regurgitating the original Romero trilogy and I’ve been revisiting the remake Dawn of the Dead on Youtube. This week my favourites are Tumble-weed Studios remake dubs. The hilarious episodes are here, then here and the latest installation here. Thanks to Proxy Indian.
Over Christmas, I read David Wellington’s novels Monster Island and Monster Nation, and Brian Keene’s The Rising and City of the Dead. While I’m not a big fan of talking zombies, I appreciate that the zombies at least shambled about. My really big fear is thinking zombies that can run. That’s a no-no. Anyhow, I have a review written on these books in one of my journals that I can’t locate. I’ll probably find it some time in the next six months.
PS I bought a house. It can be zombie-proofed in about half an hour.
*The infected in 28 Days Later are not technical Hollywood zombies (i.e. flesh-eating ghouls). They are not Caribbean zombies (i.e. people enslaved by magic). The 28 Days Later infected are simply crazy homicidal maniacs (boo). But they do run amok and turn everyone they bite into one of them (scary!).
**Zombie movies need to stop recycling zombie movie names.