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Zombies: Gotta Love ’em

No movie nerd, and I don’t care who you are, can escape the gravitational attraction of a Zombie movie. The humble Zombie is the ‘plain wrap’ brand horror vehicle. It’s like making a Zombie movie is a ‘get out of writing a plot free’ card, so, even if the makers of a Zombie flick put only a half assed effort into some kind of story or attempt at character development, you grant them a billion points for effort… Take a Vampire movie for example. It’s not enough to say “This guy’s a vampire, look out!!”. You have to have some kind of long winded mythology about who sired who and how this chick reminds said vampire of some long dead chick that he as once in love with.. blah, blah, BLAH! Compare that to your Zombie movie: Where did these Zombies come from? TOXIC WASTE!! That’s good enough for me! RUN!

Zombie movies are suppose to be all about the eating of brains

The thing is, it’s like we grade Zombie movies on a curve with really dumb films, like the ones Rob Schneider makes, and then we get the surprise of our lives when someone actually puts some thought into one. Of course as soon as you get a sniff of plot (in a Zombie movie) you start praying to whoever or whatever it is that you pray to that they don’t get too carried away with the whole plot thing and forget that Zombie movies are suppose to be all about the eating of brains and the running from, shooting at, running over and becoming one of, those who are eating the brains.

Now, having said all that, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m advocating sloppy film making, far from it. In my mind Zombie flicks have gotten away with being mediocre for far too long and the only people who can be held accountable are the Zombie movie fans… I mean, take the movie 28 Days Later. While most hard core Zombie fans would resist the idea that it was actually a Zombie movie your average movie goer would class it as exactly that. As far as a example of film making goes it had it’s flaws, but it also had elements that set it far beyond most other Zombie movies – stuff like character development and genuine suspense. The problem is that, on the scale of things, very few people actually saw 28 Days Later and I believe that can be blamed squarely on the fact that [most people] associated it with being a Zombie movie and, as a result, disregarded it.

Now I’m afraid that the same thing is going to happen with a new batch of films featuring zombified peoples. Only, I’m really hoping that they are of higher quality than the majority of recent offerings.

The first is the sequel to 2002’s greatly acclaimed (by me) 28 Days later. Titled 28 Weeks Later, this movie picks up six months after the previous one ended. London is still picking up the pieces after the initial spread of the rage virus when another outbreak occurs and all hell breaks loose once again. Sadly Danny Boyle isn’t returning to direct 28 Weeks Later, and the movie is in the hands of relative unknown Juan Carlos Fresnadillo.

Living Dead Girl is one that may or not be considered a Zombie film, however at this point the plot synopsis surely has it sounding like one: A murder victim returns from the grave seeking revenge on her killer, before he can strike again. She is assisted in her quest by a funeral director who is described as ‘hunky’ and as having a ‘thing’ for dead chicks.

George A. Romero’s name is synonymous with Zombie films, in fact most would consider him the father of the Zombie movie.. Well, he’s back and this time it sounds like not a whole lot has changed: Diary of the Dead, which is being made outside of the studio system, features a group of student film makers who come across a herd (throng?) of real Zombies while filming a horror movie of their own.

While I have greater hopes for some of these film than I do for others it is great to see that the undead aren’t being forgotten.

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