ZOMBIE FILMS: It’s time for another addition of Spotlight on Horror featuring Zombie films!!! So what makes up a Zombie Film? Zombie movies are sometimes difficult for people to categorize. For me, I include anything that is brought back from the dead, or infected to become something inhuman and brain dead. Zombies break down into the old school (slow and hungry for flesh) and the new school (fast! and want you dead.) Here’s our spotlight:
Night of the Living Dead
This is the one that started it all! Everyone that has ever enjoyed a zombie flick can bow down and thank NOTLD creator George Romero. Romero’s film was initially criticized upon its released for it’s graphic nature but went on to become one of the most culturally relevant films of a generation as well as spark a long line of zombie films. It popularized a new monster that we are all afraid of. Check out the FULL movie available on youtube. Best Stuff: ”They’re coming for you Barbra!” No seriously, they were…it sets the tone for the whole movie!
Dawn of the Dead
Ten years later comes another great from George A. Romero. This time, Dawn of the Dead has its survivors trapped in the mall, dealing with the undead. An allegory for consumerism, DOTD again proves to be a story with some substance. It should be noted that there was an alternate ending to the film that offers a very different take than the previous ending. If you would like elaboration you can read about it here. Best Stuff: ”When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.”
Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 is also known as Zombie, Island of the Living Dead, Zombie Island, and Zombie Flesh Eaters. But Zombi 2 is best known for its impressive scenes of zombie horror. If your even slightly interested in Italian gore, this movie is a must to check out. Best Stuff: ZOMBIE VS SHARK!
Braindead a.k.a. Dead Alive
This movie is really close to being one of my all time favorite zombie movies, which is saying a lot. Directed by Peter Jackson (yes the one you’re thinking of) Dead Alive is a sure departure from the epic scale Lord of the Rings movies. The movie features lots of cheesy stop motion, gross out hilarity and tons of gore. You can’t take the movie seriously at all, which is why it is hands down one of the most fun experiences I have had watching a film. Best Stuff: Just watch the clip.
Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead is the only movie in our “old school” category to be released after the 1970′s. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit all the criteria. Essentially SOTD is a tribute to all the classic zombie films. Mixing in horror, the film is still a full blown comedy that will make you laugh from beginning to end. It’s one of those rare movies that come along that you totally and completely fall in love with. (For fun, read this article Simon Pegg wrote explaining why zombies can’t run.) Best Stuff: Don’t Stop Me Now! This is the best clip I could find.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Ditching the slow paced zombies of the original, this re imagining starts a new zombie revolution with zombies that run…really fucking fast. Director Zack Snyder has been criticized a lot for this by lovers of the “Romero Zombies” but I have to defend him here. He made a great horror movie. It’s not a great piece of social commentary as the first one was, but I don’t mind. I think this film is an update of scares that modern movie-goers can appreciate. It is a new level of terror, inspired by an old favorite. Best Stuff: Good morning! Demon zombie girl is here! Check it out here
28 Days Later
First off, Danny Boyle is one of my favorite directors. Here in 28 Days Later he showcases a whole new side of his work. 28 is dark and gritty, utilizing digital film to make the viewer feel just as isolated and broken down as the cast of characters. The ‘zombies’ in this movie are also fast, which is explained in the movie by a rage virus that is the source of the infection. 28 Days Later succeeds in terror by giving us a very believable scenario. Best Stuff: The Music
28 Weeks Later
I couldn’t leave this sequel out. It has a lot of similarities to the first movie, but is a definably different film. This film managed to accomplish what most sequels fail at providing; There is a believably and smart transition in storyline. The characters are all well drawn out and all the same terror is there. There is definitely something to be said for this director here, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who does an amazing job with the whole film. IMDb currently lists that he is working on the BioShock movie, so if that is true consider me very excited! Best Stuff: Not the best scene overall, but the most memorable and fucked up.
Watch it here.
Quarantine / [Rec]
I lumped these two together because they are so similar. If you general enjoy foreign horror, I’d recommend seeing the original film, [REC]. But if you really just cant hang with subtitles, then Quarantine is a pretty good compromise. Both films also work on an infection connection resulting in some very angry zombies and really scary moments. The shaky-cam camera work is effective here, giving the audience an edge of your seat feeling. Best Stuff: I am a fan of the ending sequence when they discover the creepy apartment. Here are a few clips for comparison:
Zombieland is a fantastic, fun, enjoyable little movie. And while that doesn’t explain a whole lot, it is actually a quite concise description. The cast is great, especially Woody Harrelson as the bad-ass zombie killer Tallahassee. The movie defines rules that the main character Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg) uses to help survive Zombieland and instead of just stating the rules through dialogue, they are placed in scenes as live text, almost serving as another character in the film. Best Stuff: Besides the rules, definitely these opening credit sequences.