?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
18 February 2005 @ 01:27 am
Brains!  
I watched Undead tonight, and it annoyed me a lot more than the first time I saw it.
Okay, I appreciate that it's mainly a satire of the genre (which is another weird quirk of the zombie genre, there are probably more zombie films that are piss-takes of the genre than there are "serious" zombie films, one of the reasons why 28 Days Later was so refreshing), but, anyway, why is it that the people in zombie films always act stupid, and usually turn on the person/people that are best equipped to get them out of the situation alive?
Is it just because zombie films are so stuck rehashing Romero's original "Dead" trilogy?
Certainly, Romero's characters are the most unrealistically irrational in all the genre.
In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that irrational behaviour is probably the defining feature of Romero's trilogy.
Anyway, I'd just like to see a zombie film in which the characters all work together, are all pretty smart, level headed, and are defeated not by their own stupidity and lack of judgement, but instead by the inevitable rising tide of flesh-eating undead monsters.
Is that too much to ask?
Damn it, I'll write the film myself, and I'll make sure it takes the genre seriously, because I don't think we need another rom-com-zom film.

Anyway, in the meantime, I'd like to have a zombie movie night, so I'm compiling a list of (worthwhile) zombie films.
Let me know if there are any worthwhile films I have left out.

Night of the Living Dead (original)
Dawn of the Dead (original & possibly remake, but I haven't seen it)
Day of the Dead
The Evil Dead
Evil Dead II
Army of Darkness
Bad Taste (debatable if this is a zombie film, but I think it counts)
Brain Dead
Return of the Living Dead (I don't know about the sequels)
Pet Semetary
Undead
Resident Evil (Again, is the sequel any good?)
28 Days Later
Shaun of the Dead


Some more I haven't yet seen, but think may be worthwhile:

Re-Animator
The Serpent and the Rainbow
White Zombie
House of 1000 Corpses
 
 
 
Taluthabonesinger on February 17th, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC)
I believe that the panic and paranoia of the living when confronted by the walking dead is the entire point of the genre, IMHO. Zombie flicks are at heart lacking moral dilemma - a walking moaning dead man wants to eat your brains. Yu have a shot gun. Where's the dilemma? Therefore, tension and dilemma must be sown among the living characters if the plot is to have any furher merit than a simple gore fest.
I am undecided as to whether or not this was created by Romero, but its fair enough to say that he did create the genre (re-create?) in his own image and the "dead" trilogy is the canon of zombie flicks.
It is refreshing, as you say, that modern filmmakers are finally starting to explore the genre rather than just remake Romero's vision over and over again - but there are only so many ways in which you can reinvent the zombie flick. The essentail premise must always remain teh same - a bunch of undead are out to eat brains/cause havoc/kill crush destroy - which tends to limit potential reinvention.

House of 1000 Corpses is rubbish, Re-Animator is schlocky eighties cheese, but entertaining, and I really enjoyed the Serpent and The Rainbow.
Jacobyak_boy on February 17th, 2005 10:21 pm (UTC)
Panic and paranoia is good, and works well in many or even most zombie films.
However, my problem is that far too many in this genre take it way too far, to the point where it is outside the realm of believability.

See in particular Romero's Day of the Dead or, for a non-zombie example, the sci-fi thriller Cube.

Anyway, I have to reject the idea that zombie films, or other survival horror films, must have that kind of paranoia to be worthwhile. I have just re-watched Eight Legged Freaks, which I'd say fits in the survival horror genre, albeit a non-zombie example, and it has none of that kind of irrational paranoia. There are no people waving guns at each other, no-one insists on disarming the hero and no-one totally flips out and runs away from the group, getting themselves killed through panic and stupidity. Despite this, there is plenty of inter-personal conflict that provides a strong story framework for the horror elements to rest on. And it's not even a serious horror film.

The essentail premise must always remain teh same - a bunch of undead are out to eat brains/cause havoc/kill crush destroy - which tends to limit potential reinvention.

Well, therein lies the challenge. I think 28 Days Later proves that it is possible to totally re-imagine the genre, if you think outside the square. Sure, 28 Days Later had a lot wrong with it, including irrational behaviour outside what I'd call believable (inspired directly by Day of the Dead I might add), but it put a totally new spin on the genre.
Robet Éivaayvah on February 18th, 2005 12:01 am (UTC)
*ahem*

All you have to do is think of it in terms of a war to realise the possibilities.

The only problem being that zombies are incredibly stupid, thus making it much less interesting when some guy outwits them.

Eight Legged Freaks had the advantage that spiders, while not highly intelligent, are much more highly evolved than a stupid zombie. So what makes undead strong? Leaders. (Like in Army of Darkness.)
Jacobyak_boy on February 18th, 2005 12:13 am (UTC)
The only problem being that zombies are incredibly stupid, thus making it much less interesting when some guy outwits them.

Ah, but that's falling back on the traditional Romero zombie model, although even Romero flirted with the idea of "intelligent" zombies in Day of the Dead.

Although, of course one could argue that if the zombies are smart they cease to be zombies, and become an altogether different monster, let's call it a ghoul.

Anyway, I guess my real point is, that while it's worth being familiar with the elements of the genre, you shouldn't feel bound by them. If you want your zombies to be smart, then they can be smart, it's your creation.
Robet Éivaayvah on February 18th, 2005 12:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, but it defeats the purpose of the whole shambling zombie thing. I guess they do earn different names when they become other things.

But I think that undead armies need a leader, just like any army. Either that or there should only be a few zombies. Otherwise it's just wave after wave of shotgun fodder.
Jacobyak_boy on February 18th, 2005 12:48 am (UTC)
Yeah, but it defeats the purpose of the whole shambling zombie thing. I guess they do earn different names when they become other things.

Not necessarily.
28 Days Later's zombies are not the shambling, or even undead, sort, but I'd still call that a zombie survival horror film.

But I think that undead armies need a leader, just like any army. Either that or there should only be a few zombies. Otherwise it's just wave after wave of shotgun fodder.

There are plenty of different ways to make the zombies themselves interesting, sometimes there's a lot of them, sometimes they're organised, sometimes they are almost unkillable... but what I'm talking about is changing not the zombies, but the humans.
Robet Éivaayvah on February 18th, 2005 02:04 am (UTC)
Indeed. But that's the aspect of the film least relevant to the presence of zombies, so I'm trying to avoid it at the moment. ^_^

Hmmm. I guess you're right about 28 Days Later. It did manage an intelligent zombie thing. Although the next step would be organised zombies. But once you start having intelligent, organised zombies, they start becoming just people who eat brains and may or may not have special powers.
Jacobyak_boy on February 18th, 2005 02:20 am (UTC)
But whether or not they are technically zombies doesn't really matter.
That was really my point about 28 Days Later, they aren't zombies, at least in the "traditional" sense (more correctly, the Romero sense), but I'd still call it a zombie movie.
Robet Éivaayvah on February 19th, 2005 06:36 am (UTC)
Nah. Screw that. They're zombies.


Otherwise we'd start arguing that vampires aren't vampires unless they're immortal and are practically invulnerable except to obscure objects like holy crosses, water, and blah.
Outlier Manlukeii on February 17th, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
I found Resident Evil 2 to be a lot better than the first one.

I also really enjoyed the remake of Dawn of the Dead, but it suffers from your problem just a little bit.

I've heard "Dellamorte Dellamore" described as one of the best Zombie movies ever. www.imdb.com says it was called "Of Death and Love" in Australia.
Chrisfireburner on February 18th, 2005 07:29 am (UTC)
I agree
RE2 & DOD are good

Don't see house of the dead
Mr Sinisterglintsinisterglint on March 3rd, 2005 01:53 am (UTC)
House of 1,000 Corpses isn't a zombie film. (Though it is directed by one.) It's more a sado-horror in the vein of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Robert Wolfgang Straker seems to have set out to be as brutal and sadistic to his characters as possible, and succeeds to my mind. Check it out. It's not the best horror film ever made but I like it.

I have both Dawn of the Dead (remake) and Shaun of the Dead on DVD and I'm definitely up for a zombie-fest.
Jacob: zombieyak_boy on March 3rd, 2005 11:42 am (UTC)
Heh. Zombie film, Rob Zombie film, what's the difference?
I'm not sure why I thought it was a zombie movie, actually.

Zombie-fest is definitely a green-light plan.
Usually I'd suggest starting a movie marathon in the morning/early afternoon, so as to achieve maximum viewing before the onset of sleep deprivation, yet somehow watching zombie films during the light of day just doesn't seem right.

I'd like to include both of those films, and I would also insist on including Braindead and probably Army of Darkness as well as at least one other "serious" zombie film, perhaps the original Night of the Living Dead.

Then the dilemma becomes, can you really watch just one of the Evil Dead trilogy? There's really nothing quite like the experience of watching all three back-to-back. Never let continuity get in the way of a good yarn. Priceless.
Jacobyak_boy on March 3rd, 2005 11:44 am (UTC)
Er, by "both of those films" I meant Dawn of the Dead (remake) and Shaun of the Dead, in case you were wondering.
Mr Sinisterglintsinisterglint on March 7th, 2005 05:50 am (UTC)
Check. Just gimme a where and when. Or maybe just a when. I assume it'll be at your flat.

I'm currently reading The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. It's a hoot.
Jacob: zombieyak_boy on March 7th, 2005 08:15 am (UTC)
I'm free any nights except Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Let me know when you're free and we'll make it so.

BTW: What are you doing these days? Are you studying?