Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday at the Movies: Zombie Style

Well, I am sick and tired. Literally, the medicine is making me sleepy. The illness is making me pale(r) and stumble around the house like a zombie, so I'm going to do a quick post about some of my favorite zombie movies!

Dawn of the Dead
This is probably George A. Romero's best known zombie film. Being that Romero is considered a zombie icon, this is saying something.

This film is actually a sequel to Night of the Living Dead, though there are no recurring characters. All you need to know is that the dead have started walking (and biting) and it is happening all over the US.

Our heroes work for a TV station and manage to espace to a mall via helicopter. There they try to set up home base by getting rid of the zombies and defend themselves from other humans.

It is a classic, though an my rating scale I give it a 7/10.

Shaun of the Dead
This is probably the best zombie comedy I have ever seen. Our protagonist, Shaun, tries to find some focus in his life and relationships and is assisted by his immatue buddy, Ed.

Oh, and then a zombie apocalypse happens.

That's pretty much the plot of the movie, and it works. Shaun still tries to get his life together while fighting off the undead and the humor and action keeps the movie interesting right through the end.

If you haven't seen this, you are seriously missing out. A 9/10 for me.

This is another zombie comedy, but it is on here because it is A) funny, B) has a decent plot and C) features an all out zombie-tacular fight in an amusement park.

Also, Woody Harrelson's character is obsessed with Twinkies, and has made it his goal to find some.

It sounds a little strange, and it is, but it does go beyond just being a camp-fest. There are four main characters and they all have backgrounds and goals that keep the humor from overpowering the movie.

It gets an 8/10 from me.

I'll be honest, this is mostly on here because it is based off of an H.P. Lovecraft story, and there are very few movies that do his work any kind of credit.

A scientist, Herbert West, creates a "reagent" serum that can bring the dead back to life. Without spoiling the story too much, a lot of mad-scientist-y things occur, including reanimated cats, freaky disembodied heads (that attempt to get freaky), and zombie minions.

These aren't the flesh eating kind of corpses, more the diabolical, get what they want kind. And I'll be honest... I'd rate it a 5/10... It's here for the Lovecraft, I swear!

28 Days Later
This is my favorite zombie movie of all time. The zombies are a bit different -- they're products of a "Rage" virus and aren't the normal, rotting, graveyard variety, but they do bite (and spit blood, and run), which causes the infection to spread.

This movie, more than most, really captures the atmosphere of the apocalypse. The main character, Jim, wakes up after being in a coma (28 days after the shit hit the fan). He finds the hospital and the surrounding areas deserted, though he eventually stumbled onto a hoard of infected in a church and things go down hill from there.

From the main character to the supporting case to the antagonists introduced later, all the characters of the film are given sharp, defining details that help move the story from surviving the apocalypse to surviving each other, and it is done very, very well.

This movie gets a 9/10 for me, though I didn't care for the sequel (mostly because I wanted Jim and his crew back -- that, and it kind of sucked).

I've seen "I Am Legend" on a few lists around the internet, and I have a problem with that. I'm all for some alternative zombies (see Re-Animator and 28 Days Later), but the creatures in the novella "I Am Legend" are out and out vampires. The creatures in the film show aversion to sunlight, but other than that were transformed into mindless zombie-like monsters, which really detracted from the point (and plot) of the novel.

I'm sure I'm missing plenty of films that could be on here, but I'll be honest -- I'm not that much of a zombie-film fan. Novels and games, sure, but movies always seem to get it wrong -- either too much action, too much comedy, or a completely inane plot. Or some horrible mix of the three.

I'd like to see some other thoughts, however -- I wouldn't mind giving a few more zombie titles a shot.

I'll see you back here Monday, assuming I didn't actually contract a zombie virus...

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