January 26, 2009

A zombie film guide, part 2 (of 4).


This time I've put together more classics and cult favorites, with a couple of remakes. I've featured all five of the great George A. Romero's creations, and the two remakes that followed. This will make it halfway through the list, making you that much more prepared for the necro-Armageddon, that I'm sure will happen any day now...hope will happen any day now:

Army of Darkness (1992)

Probably one of the most recognized cult horror movies. The third in the Evil Dead series, though technically more of a sequel to Evil Dead II. This time around, Ash is transported back in time to around 1300 to fend off the undead from King Arthur's castle. This is easily the best in the series, getting a much bigger budget, and best of all, features some much needed humor. This is where the movie succeeds. The best parts of the movie are the quips Ash spouts off to these confused people. To me, this is Sam Raimi's greatest flick, even better than his later Spider-Man trilogy. He should really stick with horror. Definitely the best of the three Evil Dead movies (which I'll review the other two later). Look for the director's cut instead of the theatrical release.

Best line: "Well, hello, Mister Fancypants. Well, I've got news for you, pal. You ain't leadin' but two things right now: Jack and shit...and Jack left town."

Zombie Strippers! (2008)

Same old, same old. The story is: the government created a bio-virus thing to reanimate the dead to use them as soldiers, then it gets loose. It somehow ends up in a strip club, and that's where most of it takes place. Starring porn star Jenna Jameson, and a bunch more of them, this movie is bad. And not in a good way. It's really made more for teenage nerds, because it's not fun, just soft-core porn. You can tell from the lines spouted off by these morons that they tried way too hard to make a tongue-in-cheek movie, but it just makes you want to stab a knife into your ear. It sucks a hard one. Watch a horror movie or watch a porno. Leave this on the shelf.

Best line: "George W. Bush has won his fourth consecutive term as president, taking Florida, which due to a glitch in the Jeb B voting terminals, tallied one single vote for President Bush and Vice President Schwarzenegger. Bush's presidency was unanimously declared legally binding by the Supreme Court as well as "totally cool" by Supreme Justice Jenna Bush who subsequently set in motion another Supreme Kegger. Following the landslide victory, a constitutional amendment banning public nudity was implemented. Shortly thereafter, President Bush dissolved Congress, claiming it was "cramping his style." American Troops continue to be strung thin due to the still raging wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Venezuela, France, Canada, and Alaska."

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

This is where it all began. It's the one that started it all. It's kind of like the first one, that started biting and spreading the infection. A group of people hide from the living dead in a farmhouse. Even to this day, Living Dead stands the test of time. It's still creepy as hell, with the classic black and white adding to the scare. This flick frightened people to death back in the day, and though may seem a bit cheesy today, is pure nostalgia now. Actually, along with Dawn of the Dead, this movie features the best and most realistic cast. I'll give Romero tons of credit for his early work. He did some amazing, creative things. I just don't approve of how everyone believe he created the undead and is the final authority on the definition of a zombie. But it's not his fault people are ignorant. If anything, Mary Shelley created the first zombie. Anyway, if you haven't seen the original, check it out.

Best line: "Well...the television said that's the right thing to do."

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

This is the second in Romero's Dead series and the best, in my opinion. A group of people barricade themselves inside of a shopping mall after the outbreak starts to spread throughout the state. During its time, Dawn was incredibly gory and caused many people to become sick in theaters. Today, it doesn't really stand the test of time. But what does is the background social commentary, which Romero has always been known for. It's not as subtle as some claim, unless most people are just too stupid to pick up on it (which I fear may be the case), but at least it's not as preachy as his later works. Dawn is definitely one of the greats in the zombie movie fare. It's an essential to your DVD library.

Best line: "When there's no room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth."

Day of the Dead (1985)

An outfit of soldiers take refuge in a military bunker in a now overrun California. This is the third movie in the Romero series, and not quite up to par to its previous Dawn of the Dead. Here, we see zombies beginning to get "smarter" and Romero feeding us more of his philosophical views of humanity in the background. This time it's less about "are we really any different than they are?" and "do we deserve to be saved?" and more along the lines of "no matter how small of a civilization is left, power will corrupt." The intelligent dialog from the first two movies is gone, and now all we have left is a bunch of ignorant soldiers written by a man that thinks the word "fuck" said five hundred times adds to the shock value of his outdated gore make-up. No offense to Day lovers, but it's incredibly overrated. The zombie crocodile at the beginning was cool, but not enough to save the movie. It's average at best.

Best line: "We're bein' punished by the Creator. He visited a curse on us. Maybe He didn't want to see us blow ourselves up, put a big hole in the sky. Maybe He just wanted to show us He's still the Boss Man. Maybe He figure, we gettin' too big for our britches, tryin' to figure His shit out."

Land of the Dead (2005)

The last remnants of mankind live in and around a skyscraper in Pittsburgh (of all places) and sometimes venture out to surrounding towns to collect supplies. But one of the soldiers wants to live in the skyscraper, but Dennis Hopper won't let him. So, he steals a big truck and holds the building hostage, for five million dollars. Brilliant. This is the fourth movie in Romero's Dead series, and the absolute worst. Zombies distracted by fireworks, but not even so much as look up when flashlights are shown on them? There's poor acting and dialog, and it's insanely boring. Once again, we have zombies learning how to use knives and guns, only this time they're practically people. Romero's zombies have always been slow moving and decaying. A decaying brain doesn't learn anything. I guess most people miss this. Of course, this is all just Romero asking us if we're really any different than they are. Are the corporate clones sitting in cubicles any different than wooden zombies? Are we any better than they are? Are we going to stop paying for shitty movies with overinflated budgets and bad subliminal messages from a man running out of ideas? Guess not.

Best line: "How do you work this thing?" "It's just like a video game."

Diary of the Dead (2008)

This is about a group of film students, making a horror movie, traveling across the country after an outbreak of zombies. I have to give kudos to Romero for finally trying something different with his Dead movies, though Diary is too preachy for its own good. Just like Blair Witch, Cloverfield, and [REC], it's tries for that realistic effect of having people hold the camera, but where Diary fails is with unrealistic actions by clichéd 2-dimensional characters. I know that if my girlfriend was in another room, and she screamed, I wouldn't just stand there because I was waiting for the camera to charge. Unless I didn't like my girlfriend. Still, it's slightly better than Land of the Dead, though I guess that's not saying much. The Death of Death is an interesting concept, but wasn't explored as well as it could have been.

Best line: "Out there we're lunch. In here there is a steel reinforced panic room where we can sit and play Nintendo until this whole thing blows over."

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

A remake of Romero's Dawn, and a worthy one at that. Actually, I'm one of the few who feel that it surpasses the original. In Zach Snyder's version we have fast zombies, that they never call actually zombies, better acting, better violence, better dialog, improved characterization, less social commentary (because no one wants to listen to opinions on one man's perception of mankind's oversaturated violence while watching the most violent movie ever made), and the single greatest opening fifteen minutes to a horror movie...ever. Ever. I consider this movie to be equally as good as 28 Days Later, making those two the best zombie movies you can find. This movie is well loved by most horror fans, but it's still extremely underrated. If you haven't seen this yet, then I'm sure you'll be the first to die during the outbreak. And I won't feel sorry for you one bit, because I warned you.

Best line: "Hey, I'm sorry, excuse me...when you two fellas are done blowing each other, maybe Davy Crockett could tell us the deal here?"

Day of the Dead (2008)

Technically it's just a remake, and not a sequel of Zach Snyder's remake, which is the direction they should have gone in. Basically, it's the same old clichéd story: experiments gone wrong, and got loose, and the military steps in to quarantine the town and fight the infection. It starts at the hospital, which is actually the film's best scene and goes down hill from there, in both ways. There's a few minor stars, but their acting reeks, which doesn't get any help from the shitty script. The action is top notch, but the special effects are average. Once again, we have fast zombies, but now, apparently, they can crawl on ceilings and do back flips. One thing I did find interesting was giving the zombies some small memory of their former lives, making the prime example one of the soldiers being a vegetarian when he was alive, and having no interest in eating people once he turned. I don't think I've ever seen that before, good or bad.

Best line: "Why do white people always wanna split up?"

Slither (2006)

This horror/comedy has a lot of B-movie stars, and becoming-A-movie star Elizabeth Banks. It's a little like Undead, in the sense that it's more action and horror than comedy, but it's still there. Actually, most of the best lines come from the foul-mouthed town mayor. The story isn't very original, but it's not meant to be: alien slug-like creatures take control of the town, turning them into zombie-like creatures. To be honest, it's been a while since I've seen this one, and can't remember all of the details of the story. I do remember that it's just good, crappy fun. Like I said, the dialog is the best feature. I'll have to watch this one again.

Best line: "Where is the Mr. Pibb? I told your secretary to pack Mr. Pibb. It's the only Coke I like. Goddamn Brenda exploding like a water balloon, worms driving my friends around like they're goddamn skin-cars, people are spitting acid at me, turning you into cottage cheese, and now there's no fucking goddamn Mr. Pibb?"

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...