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Reviews of the Dead

By nebbish in Op-Ed
Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 07:35:48 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

George A Romero's Dead trilogy - Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead - were low-budget, low-production value gore-fests dismissed by critics but loved by horror fans. Over the years they wormed their way into popular consciousness and have been re-evaluated, elevated from exploitation B-movies to savage satires on modern American society. With the recent release of sequel Land of the Dead, now is a good time to look back at Romero's films and their cultural impact.

Despite being lauded for their social commentary the Dead trilogy are first and foremost horror movies, and an atmosphere of dread and terror underlies each one. It's in the first of the trilogy, Night of the Living Dead, where this is most apparent. Following a basic premise and storyline, the film is pulled off with such stark simplicity that seeing it for the first time can be quite shocking. From vague radio reports of crashing satellites fading into static, leaving the characters lost and alone; to a claustrophobic, besieged farmhouse and the bleak, downbeat ending, traditional filmic constraints of everything happening for a reason, justice prevailing, and good triumphing over evil are casually dispensed with. Romero's debut changed the face of horror as nightmare after nightmare piled up with no hope of escape. It dragged popular cinema into the modern, post-religious world of the sixties, showing that unexplained forces outside our control can unfairly and painfully kill us.

1968, the year of Night of the Living Dead's release, was an important one. Cultural commentators talk of the summer of love, when in fact the concerns of most American citizens centred on Vietnam and the draft, civil rights, perceived moral breakdown and looming nuclear armageddon. There was a latent fear that all the hard-won prosperity of the postwar years could be snatched away in nothing less than the end of civilisation. Romero - perhaps subconsciously - played on this without resorting to ham-fisted metaphor, the result a lean film of uncomplicated, relentless terror. Of all the Dead films, Night of the Living Dead is the only one that isn't the slightest bit funny. It leaves you with a queasy dread few horror films can match.

That the central character is black was unprecedented; his portrayal as a normal person revolutionary. In this casual dismissal of movie norms Romero, quite accidentally, set himself up as a rebel - he has always said that Duane Jones just gave the best audition. There is a feeling that Romero didn't consciously set out to make a groundbreaking movie, but rather picked up on the mood of the times accidentally, helped by a tiny budget that precluded a more conventional approach. Whether the same can be said of the following films is open to debate.

It was another ten years before Romero made a sequel. By 1978 zombies were out of fashion, replaced by the modern, all too real horror of the serial killer - the subject of the groundbreaking Halloween and tens of imitators. With his next film, Romero really had to up the game.

Dawn of the Dead is a complete departure from Night of the Living Dead. A sprawling, morally unclear, practically plot-free epic, it employs a cast of hundreds of undead, replacing claustrophobia with agoraphobia in sprawling suburban Pennsylvania. Where before the central characters were trapped, now they have complete freedom but no-where to go in a world where zombies are winning the war against the living. After the horrific opening scenes, where gung-ho policeman raid a welfare hotel, indiscriminately killing living and dead alike, humans become an increasingly rare sight. Eventually the central characters hole themselves up in a shopping mall where most of the film plays out.

Horror films of the time were reaching unparalleled heights of unpleasantness - this was the age of Cannibal Holocaust, I Spit on Your Grave and the astonishingly named SS Experiment Camp - and Romero knew he couldn't rely on out-and-out horror to make his film stand out in an increasingly crowded genre. Whether it was these market forces that made him change direction, or his growing maturity and experience as a director, it is hard to say. What isn't in doubt is that Dawn of the Dead marked another revolution.

There has always been an element of comedy in horror films - laughing is a natural response to terror as spectacle, to the communal jump-out-of-your seats in the cinema, and to rubbish special effects. What Romero did was merge humour with the social commentary of early horror literature like Frankenstein and The Invisible Man, and bring satirical comedy to the genre. Dawn of the Dead is a biting satire of consumerist society.

The characters' free-reign of the mall has them trying on expensive clothes and parading in jewellery, before realising it is all useless and belatedly stocking up on guns and supplies in panic. As the zombies descend on the mall, riding escalators and pressing their noses against store windows, they accidentally turn on a speaker system and lurch around to gentle muzak. When one of the characters explains the undead must have come to the mall out of "some sort of instinct", the satire is complete. Not to forget that Dawn of the Dead is a horror film - a TV evangelist intoning "When there's no room left in hell, the dead will walk the earth" is one of the most chilling lines in cinema.

Whilst its cultural importance arguably outshines both Night of the Living Dead and Day of the Dead, as a film Dawn of the Dead is weakened by being overlong, repetitive and relying too much on the inherent funniness of the stumbling undead - essentially disabled people it's OK to laugh at. Not to say that Dawn of the Dead isn't an original, shocking and important film; but of the three, it rewards repeat viewings the least, despite being the quintessential zombie movie in many senses. This is an unpopular opinion - but then so is my love of the misunderstood Day of the Dead, seen by many as the weakest of the trilogy.

1985's Day of the Dead suffered high competition in an age of classic horror movies. On the independent side, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a bleak, amoral and genuinely disturbing imagining of the confessions of real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, and remains to this day a true video nasty to be approached with caution. But it was Hollywood slasher movie A Nightmare on Elm Street that stole Day of the Dead's thunder - its outrageous special effects, pop sensibilities, dark-as-night humour and compelling storyline remained unmatched for years, only its own sequels coming close. On top of that it was genuinely scary.

Maybe it's because the competition was so high that Day of the Dead is such a relaxed, fun movie. The appalling acting provides comedy in itself, and the gory special effects are the pinnacle of a pre-CGI lost age, employing genuine animal entrails to realistic effect. It's these effects that fans remember most - the horrible slop of guts falling out of a corpse as it rises from an operating table; and of course the iconic death scenes in the film's final minutes, where various characters are pulled apart whilst laid on their backs, giving the audience a spectator seat overlooking the rending of flesh. A victim sputtering "Choke on 'em" as his intestines are devoured by a crowd of zombies is one of the trilogy's most savoured moments.

Day of the Dead is in my opinion the funniest of Romero's films, and these gory scenes are paradoxically hilarious - but why are they so funny? The subtext of Day of the Dead is that the living act no better than the undead, and in seeing them die we revel in a justice missing from the previous films. Trapped in a laboratory complex which the film never leaves, military personnel turn on the scientists they are meant to be protecting, dismayed by their pointless experiments. The most sympathetic character in the film is a zombie, taught by mad scientist Dr Logan to read Stephen King novels and enjoy listening to a Walkman.

Whilst there is an underlying traditional horror in Day of the Dead - the claustrophobic complex's vulnerability, and the collapse of normal human relations within - the real horror of the film comes from its message. Often seen as a critique of Reagan's gung-ho military policy, it could be said that all the living in Day of the Dead are distasteful - from the trigger-happy, ignorant military personnel; to the self-indulgent scientists concentrating on rehabilitating zombies, when it is obvious there are too many and the process is too slow. Through rehabilitated zombie Bob we see that the undead are still human, and come to an awful, unpalatable conclusion, the bleakest message of the trilogy - they're really not that different. We might as well give up and join them.

The trilogy builds up to this moment, and it is done with such deft hand and subtlety it is hard to think that Romero didn't have it planned that way all along. From the initial shock of Night of the Living Dead, where the dead suddenly rise and no-one, not least the audience, has a clue what's going on; to the armageddon of Dawn of the Dead where we get the first hints that the undead might have thoughts of their own; to Day of the Dead's focus on our humanity collapsing under pressure, making us worse than those we are meant to be fighting. The trilogy is seamless in its chronological portrayal of society in collapse and human reaction to it, despite the ten-year hiatus between the films.

Do we just have the benefit of hindsight? I think so. It is more likely that the relative simplicity of each film allowed Romero to develop his ideas as funding came along. His place in the movie industry was so tenuous he didn't know if he'd still be making films one year to the next - Romero was always fiercely independent, and didn't have the commercial weight of Hollywood behind him. A true maverick, he existed outside the worlds of both commercial and arthouse cinema, with only a handful of critics and clued-up film buffs on his side.

It's hard to pin down the time exactly, but in the 1990s Romero's films started getting noticed again. Horror peaked with the socially and politically-conscious Candyman, Jacob's Ladder and disturbing Belgian satire Man Bites Dog in the first few years of the decade, after which the genre went through one of its bleakest periods. Fans were drawn to the past to find their thrills.

In the UK 1970s horror held a certain mystique, in the main due to the swathe of cheap "video nasties" banned in the early 1980s by a paranoid Conservative government. Myself and many like me remembered friends' older brothers telling us about illicit pirate tapes they'd seen - Nightmare in a Damaged Brain, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Driller Killer - and started looking for other, more available films from what we saw as a golden age. A well-realised 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead piqued curiosity, and desperate fans like myself rediscovered the Dead trilogy in our scouring of video shops for classic horror.

Cult status became critical acclaim and trickled down to the mainstream. The reappraisal of Romero's films was accelerated by the commercial success of Capcom's zombie-themed Resident Evil video games, and eventually the slow-moving film industry caught on. The first contemporary zombie movie was the UK independent 28 Days Later, a low budget reworking of John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids with virus-stricken zombies replacing GM plants as the source of terror. Admirable, but unfocused and not very scary, 28 Days Later made everyone realise the genre was due a revival. It was closely followed by a decent Hollywood remake of Dawn of the Dead, which despite some great scenes fell at the same block 28 Days Later did by making zombies fast moving, removing both their comedy and menace in one fell swoop.

What really kicked off the revival was low-profile British comedian Simon Pegg's budget independent Shaun of the Dead, a surprising critical and financial success. It explicitly upped the comedy of the Dead trilogy: horror underlies humour in perverse inversion of Romero's ethos. A comment on social ennui, Shaun of the Dead is hilarious and unsettling in equal measures, finding its comedy in the zombie-like laziness of the modern, thirtysomething man.

With a zombie revival in full swing, Romero secured funding for a fourth installment of the Dead series, Land of the Dead. Released only a few months ago, I have held back from writing of it in the same context as the Dead trilogy. It is too soon to see what impact the film will have and whether it will attain the same cult status as the other three films. Opinion is divided on Romero's latest, with some saying Simon Pegg's Shaun of the Dead is a more worthy successor.

Land of the Dead is different from Romero's earlier films. Epic and deftly constructed, it seems more influenced by the sci-fi of Paul Verhoevan's Robocop than recent horror films, dismissing the unfortunate arrival of irony in modern Hollywood slasher movies in favour of straight action, political commentary and dark, unsubtle humour. It feels a little dated in its cyberpunk view of the future, and sits uneasily with its contemporaries.

Concentrating on unfair social stratification, of which the undead make up an unwanted bottom tier, Land of the Dead is an explicit comment on class conflict and control. Quite by accident, scenes where zombies wade through water to reach the rich man's haven uncannily echo the New Orleans underclass in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina - yet again, Romero has hit on the preoccupations of our time. As with Day of the Dead, when we look back in a few years Land of the Dead might be seem all that more important, a snapshot of contemporary America.

The importance of Romero's dead trilogy is undeniable. The purity of Night of the Living Dead changed horror for ever, paving the way for the nightmare movie where terror is the central tenet - without it there would be no Halloween, no Texas Chainsaw Massacre, no Blair Witch Project. Dawn of the Dead put intelligence back in the genre, showing it could have the same allegorical power as science fiction in critique of mass society. Day of the Dead went further and looked inward at psychology and behaviour, leading us to question our humanity. Maybe Land of the Dead will stand the test of time as a film that looks explicitly at contemporary politics without preaching, powerfully and subtlety relevant to its age.

There is no doubt that Romero is one of America's greatest living directors. Unpretentious and cannily populist, subversive and political, gleefully gory and with a healthy disregard for the art of acting, he ignores the norms and fashions of film-making to make outlandish, funny and chilling cult classics. I suppose some people would call him a one-off, an auteur. I'd call him a genius.


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Best Dead quartet line -
o "They're coming to get you, Barbera" 18%
o "When there's no room left in hell, the dead will walk the earth" 42%
o "Choke on 'em" 12%
o "Zombies - they freak me out" 27%

Votes: 33
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Night of the Living Dead
o Halloween
o Dawn of the Dead
o Cannibal Holocaust
o I Spit on Your Grave
o SS Experiment Camp
o Frankenste in
o The Invisible Man
o Day of the Dead
o Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
o A Nightmare on Elm Street
o Candyman
o Jacob's Ladder
o Man Bites Dog
o Nightmare in a Damaged Brain
o The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
o Driller Killer
o 1990 remake
o Resident Evil
o 28 Days Later
o The Day of the Triffids
o Dawn of the Dead [2]
o Shaun of the Dead
o Land of the Dead
o Robocop
o Blair Witch Project
o Also by nebbish

Display: Sort:
Reviews of the Dead | 97 comments (85 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
+1, Zombie-centric = (3.00 / 6) (#12)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 09:43:32 AM EST


Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.

Very cool (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by idiot boy on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 10:26:22 AM EST

There's been a lot written about this recently but this is a very good piece.

I'm gonna have to watch 'em aren't I. Sigh. I'll get  me plastic trousers.

Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself

You'll be OK (none / 0) (#15)
by nebbish on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 10:32:59 AM EST

The gore is always done with lots of humour, and because there's so much more depth to the films than your average horror there's plenty of other stuff to be distracted by.

Anyone who says Night of the Living Dead isn't scary as fuck though is lying.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

+1FP all the way... (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by mirleid on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 12:03:31 PM EST

...although I think that Cronenberg's early pieces (Shivers, Rabid, The Brood), which broke a lot of ground for the whole horror/zombie/disease genre, deserved a mention...

Chickens don't give milk
Damn! (none / 0) (#17)
by nebbish on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 12:11:07 PM EST

How could I forget Cronenberg? You're right, that was a serious omission.

I just knew I'd missed something out...

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Send ... more ... paramedics (2.66 / 3) (#18)
by catseye on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 12:30:42 PM EST

Zombie movies rule.

Now that that's out of the way, I'm surprised you didn't mention Return of the Living Dead (1985), Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988) and Return of the Living Dead Part III (1993). They are, of course, gory zombie movies, but they're also funny.

For exmaple:

In the first movie, the leading man turns into a zombie and is trying to convince his girlfriend, Tina, to let him eat her brains. Eventually, she acquiesces, because he professes his love for her.

In the second movie, the two leading men are the same actors as in the first movie, playing different parts. After things get crazy and there are zombies running all over eating people, one says to the other, "I have the feeling we've done this before..."

In the third, we get zombie-as-sexy, which is funny all by itself.

And there's more! Apparently Return of the Living Dead 4 and 5 will be out soon.

How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?

They are great films (none / 1) (#19)
by nebbish on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 12:35:10 PM EST

Back in the day I mistook them for Romero's films when I was trawling video shops, its been a while since I've seen them but I think I actually prefer a couple of them to Romero's.

I can remember so little about them though that I thought I'd better I'd leave them out. You're right though, a discussion of zombie movies is incomplete without them. Underrated and a lot of fun.

Maybe they deserve an article all to themselves...

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Even not knowing about them... (none / 0) (#21)
by supersocialist on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 01:45:02 PM EST

it may be worth giving them a mention simply to avoid the potential confusion. It's not necessary to go into detail; if they're not Romero films they're not what the review is about, right?

[ Parent ]
I like the bit (none / 0) (#23)
by thankyougustad on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 06:32:46 PM EST

which I think is from II, the one with the punks. There is a dude in an outlandish punk outfit, who exclaims at some point "does this look like a costume to people?" I think about it everytime I see one of those insecure 18 year corporate punks in my city. . .

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
"Send More Cops!" (none / 0) (#29)
by siberian on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 12:05:33 AM EST

A true fan will remember that one..

[ Parent ]
No I only remember (none / 0) (#44)
by thankyougustad on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 05:26:33 PM EST

"send more paramedics" and the half a dog that comes back. I remember the ending was pretty good two. . . the splinters falling on the rooftops. . . and the implication that the problem was about to get a lot worse.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Geneaology of the Living Dead (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by catseye on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 12:55:51 PM EST

Chart showing the Living Dead movies, sequels, remakes, etc.: http://www.returnofthelivingdead4and5.com/actors/credits/gene.htm

How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
Woah! (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by thankyougustad on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 06:29:45 PM EST

Good article, but I have to disagree with you. . .
by making zombies fast moving, removing both their comedy and menace in one fell swoop.

It's true that they aren't funny, but I found them to be all the more scary because they can dart around like that. There is something to be said about the lumbering relentless zombies of the 60's, 70's and 80's. That shuffling around mindlessly and ceaslessly is unnerving, but there is still the possibility of escape, even on foot.

However, the newer faster zombies make this an impossibility. Man is forced to rely on rapidly failing technology to escape; he no longer has the upper hand in a one on one fight with the zombies. If there is more than one he will almost certainly lose the fight. The only solution is to barracade one's self into as fortified a position as possible, essentially building one's own tomb.

I've had many recurring dreams about zombies, and admit to being more scared of them than is usual. I was getting over it until I saw the zombies darting about in 28 Days Later.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

Maybe it's down to taste (none / 0) (#31)
by nebbish on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 12:40:33 AM EST

in a fucked-up way. The shuffling undead scare me more than the racing undead because of their otherworldliness. For you it's the other way.

Having said that there is one terrifying passage in 28 Days Later when a character talks about Waterloo Station being overrun by a snarling mass of whirling zombies. The low-budget film couldn't actually show it, but maybe it's the more powerful for it.

Waterloo station used to be part of my commute to work and that really unsettled me.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Olympic athlete zombies (none / 1) (#69)
by The Real Lord Kano on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 04:28:27 AM EST

I just never found them Scarry. Hordes of lumbering zombies are more terrifying to me as well.

Zombies being able to do things that the living people that they used to be couldn't strikes me as odd. It's laziness on the part of the director and screenwriter.

I understand how some movie viewers might prefer them, because they do lend themselves to more direct action but it just isn't my bag.

Drug addicts or psychotic gang members can serve the same purpose in a movie. Like in the original Assault on Precinct 13.


[ Parent ]

Fantastic! Though I'm surprised (none / 0) (#24)
by livus on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 08:00:04 PM EST

that in your comments on social commentary you didn't pick up on the racial background to the zombie tradition which taps into fears about slaves, etc - Tournier's fantastic 1940s movie I Walked With a Zombie spring to mind.

Still, good article!

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

That is one of my favourite ever movies (none / 1) (#30)
by nebbish on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 12:15:19 AM EST

But is it really that relevent to the modern world of Romero's films? I Walked With A Zombie is from another age, one of the best films of its time but I don't think the slavery analogy you (rightly) cite applies. Romero's films are about something else altogether. Slavery was long gone by then, replaced by popular unease about the future.

the difficulty in writing this article was deciding what not to include. There are tens of films I could have written about, but it is a little too long as it is.

The slow-burning, noir beauty of I Walked With A Zombie and Cat People deserve an article to themselves - they are altogether more complex movies and perhaps less easy to understand.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Maybe you should write a series! (none / 0) (#34)
by livus on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 02:01:07 AM EST

Hmmm I don't think you can simply claim the US' slave past is irrelevant to more modern cinema. Its legacy produces tensions that are still relevant today.  

The 1960s were a time of anxiety about black civil rights (don't forget the asassination of Martin Luther King in 1968). Whatever the reasons for the casting decision, the fact that a black man is in that role would not seem trivial to the majority audience of the time.

I think it's quite radical that he is the sane and reasonable character, completely separated from zombies (as opposed to the nearly catatonic woman, or the child who turns). Compare this with the zomboid black characters something like Omega Man. I think it adds another level to the critique of social structure.

Anyway, I still think it was a good article and +3 strongly encourage you to write more sometime.

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Assault on Precinct 13 (3.00 / 3) (#41)
by alba on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 03:48:26 PM EST

John Carpenter, 1976. On Wikipedia they call it an homage to the 1959 film Rio Bravo.

But for me the tide of mad black men attacking without motive and sense of mortality is rather a zombie film. Ok, a zombie film without zombies, as the madness is not contagious.

In "Ghosts of Mars" (2001) Carpenter does sort of a remake. Again we have a tide of lunatics attacking without fear of death. And this time madness is extremely contagious. But still no real Zombies ...

[ Parent ]

or even something like Zulu... n/t (none / 0) (#47)
by livus on Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 05:03:15 AM EST

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Do you wanna party? It's partytime! (2.81 / 11) (#25)
by nailgun on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 11:14:32 PM EST

What most of the well-known zombie movies have in common is they were produced and released at times of turmoil within western society.

Romero's Night of the Living Dead was released during the tumultuous 1960s, when bloody revolution seemed imminent, and the Vietnam war rent the fabric of society; Dawn of the Dead and Return of the Living Dead came on the scene during the late-70s and early 80s, a time of recessions, inflation, fears of nuclear war, and punk rockers snarling "no future" as background music; 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake were produced amid the terrorist attacks, Iraq war, and government repression of the present era.

All these films thus represent the conflicts of their respective eras in terms of Reason confronting the Other. The zombie paradigm reflects anxiety about the breakdown of traditional forms of conflict resolution. Like protesting mobs, nihilistic rebellious youth, or shadowy terrorists, zombies are beings that resemble humans, but are incommunicative and bent only on violence, destruction and death.

What these films actually signify is a failure of the liberal imagination. Unlike more ancient, longer-lasting civilizations, modern society, influenced by monotheistic beliefs, is unable to integrate natural human drives toward hatred, violence, and the infliction of suffering. Persons who fail to repress these natural drives are seen by society as insane or evil, their motives unfathomable. "I just don't understand how someone could behave in such a fashion" is the mantra of the modern age.

Can anything be done to remedy this? No. It is obvious to any dispassionate observer that civilization will collapse within the next few decades, under the combined stresses of resource depletion, climate change, disease, terrorism, and assorted other awful shit. Millions if not billions of people will die before human society reconstitutes itself in a more stable, undoubtedly pagan, form. This society will be free of zombie-related anxiety and better positioned to deal with more pressing threats to humanity: lycanthropes, witches and vampires.

Fucking hell mate, +1F fucking P (none / 0) (#27)
by nebbish on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 11:56:11 PM EST

I think that is one of the most insightful, interesting and downright clever comments I have ever read, despite the total misunderstanding of the reality of liberalism and conservatism

I'm going to keep an eye on you, nailgun. I think we could have good arguments.

You made me laugh as well. A lot.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

WTF is this? (none / 0) (#37)
by modelnine on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 04:15:16 AM EST

You are certainly an optimist of great social and psychological understanding, nailgun!


[ Parent ]

Nice use of logic... (none / 0) (#39)
by toychicken on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 08:49:14 AM EST

First three paragraphs of this comment were reasonably well observed. Nice structure to the argument.

I deeply suspect that your concept of 'Pagan' societies has its roots in the faux mythology of Victorian anarcho-syndacalism rather than any real idea of how Pagan life might have been structured.

However, I'm glad that someone has highlighted the oft neglected threat of lycanthropes. I have strong reason to believe that my village is hiding a nest of were-badgers.

- - - - - - -8<- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Just how many is a Brazillian anyway?

[ Parent ]
Give me an n... N! give me an a... A! (none / 0) (#61)
by bml on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 12:09:04 PM EST

(...much later)


Thanks for keeping up the quality. You da man.

</fanboi salivation>

The Internet is vast, and contains many people. This is the way of things. -- Russell Dovey
[ Parent ]

Half-right, half-stupid (none / 1) (#74)
by Mason on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 02:02:24 PM EST

As I understand it, the modern view of crime is a composite of several forces (economics, a Hobbesian worldview, psychological problems, etc).  The fact that this isn't a simple answer doesn't make it a useless one.

To me, the fundamental tenant of liberalism is something like "humans need to see other humans as human."  Thus, the innate horror at the concept of humans seeing humans as enemies, or meat, or anything other than fully rights-endowed individuals.

This isn't a weakness of our civilization.  We are only weak when we let ourselves identify other human beings with the Unreasonable.  For example, buying the entire line about terrorists simply being evil killer men who act for absolutely zero reason, simply because it muddies the moral waters if we try to discuss what reason the terrorists might have for their actions.  But in the end, this is a fear of our own lack of reason, and our unwillingness to engage in dialogue regarding our perceived past transgressions.

And as you noted, the factors that will actually end up causing our social downfall have nothing to do with modernity itself, but rather an abandonment of it, by refusing to rationally address future problems.

[ Parent ]

I can't believe (1.33 / 3) (#26)
by neuroplasma on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 11:49:23 PM EST

this made it to the front page.

"...you know how you pple are... very sneaky with untrusting slanty eyes" - LxXCaligulaXxl@aol.com
Why? (none / 1) (#28)
by nebbish on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 11:58:53 PM EST

Tell me about it, I'd hate to think I've made a man cry.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Because I said (1.50 / 2) (#35)
by neuroplasma on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 03:03:12 AM EST

Isn't that all that should matter?

"...you know how you pple are... very sneaky with untrusting slanty eyes" - LxXCaligulaXxl@aol.com
[ Parent ]
Um (1.25 / 8) (#32)
by trhurler on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 01:29:55 AM EST

Ok, face facts. The first one was a flop, but it was funny. The second one was a parody of the first one, and was funnier, but still, no, it wasn't horror fans who loved it. The third one was a full on Python-esque comedy written in the world of Evil Dead.

And fucking this fucking is fucking the fucking lamest fucking movie fucking review I fucking have fucking ever fucking seen.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Did you give your account away to someone stupid? (3.00 / 6) (#40)
by rusty on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:28:55 AM EST

You haven't seemed yourself lately.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#45)
by trhurler on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:23:08 PM EST

But lately I find myself occasionally unable to contemplate why people post the inane crap they insist on posting. Do you realize there have been about three stories and/or diaries posted in the last month that would have been considered really high quality a couple of years' back? Your claim that the people may change but the site does not really doesn't wash; the people have changed, and what they post is more and more an example of an old observation about democracy: it works well until people realize they can give themselves(each other,) a raise.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You can fix this! (none / 0) (#51)
by pwhysall on Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 02:37:29 PM EST

Click here.
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
[ Parent ]
Well, (2.50 / 4) (#53)
by trhurler on Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 04:45:14 PM EST

You don't seem to understand. I am disgusted. Not "motivated." Just disgusted.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Easier to whine than act isn't it (3.00 / 2) (#73)
by The Diary Section on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 01:34:23 PM EST

we understand.
Spend 10 minutes in the company of an American and you end up feeling like a Keats or a Shelley: Thin, brilliant, suave, and desperate for industrial-scale quantities of opium.
[ Parent ]
Well, (none / 0) (#78)
by trhurler on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 08:23:51 PM EST

I don't know about "easier." Writing stories isn't much different from writing anything else. Problem is, it isn't "fun." Once upon a time it would have been.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I'm unsure (none / 0) (#93)
by Miniluv on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 02:03:40 PM EST

Generally speaking, the content of this site has always been crap. Yes it was shinier back then, but I suspect that both of us think that way because back then the shine hadn't worn off our view of the site.

You're right though, this place really has changed, and definitely for the worse. But I don't think the submission queue is really much different.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

I hope you LIKE Evil Dead, at least. n (none / 1) (#48)
by livus on Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 05:07:19 AM EST

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Please go and get laid. Even if she's ugly. (none / 1) (#50)
by Harvey Anderson on Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 12:36:13 PM EST

[ Parent ]
If you're to go against (3.00 / 3) (#56)
by nebbish on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 05:32:32 AM EST

what pretty much everyone thinks of the films then you might have to explain yourself with something more than a stream of "fuckings". It might look hard and grown up but it doesn't actually get the point across.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Umm... (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by beergut on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 05:13:12 PM EST

Are you referring to the same movies?

Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness follow the pattern you've laid out here, but I don't think the others do.

No man escapes when freedom fails; the best men rot in filthy jails.
Those who cried, "Appease! Appease!", are hanged by those they tried to please.
[ Parent ]

Why (almost) always the Midwest? (none / 1) (#33)
by Lode Runner on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 02:00:39 AM EST

What's up with so many horror movies being set in the Midwest?

Have you ever lived there? (n/t) (3.00 / 8) (#38)
by anno1602 on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 04:23:37 AM EST

"Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy
[ Parent ]
because (none / 1) (#49)
by HDwebdev on Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 11:14:01 AM EST

What's up with so many horror movies being set in the Midwest?

In part, to make them a bit more scary.

Setting it in a more peaceful area rather than only in the largest cities sends the message 'this could happen anywhere and no one is safe, not even you'.

[ Parent ]
Pittsburgh isn't the midwest (none / 1) (#68)
by The Real Lord Kano on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 03:00:23 AM EST

Night, Dawn and Land of the dead are set in Pittsburgh. In case you were unaware, Pennsylvania is an eastern state.

[ Parent ]
Because George is from there. (none / 1) (#92)
by Nosf3ratu on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 04:48:17 PM EST

Which is also the reason for the "sky flowers" (fireworks) in Land. Anyone who has lived in Pittsburgh got the joke. They/we have fireworks for EVERYTHING.

[ Parent ]
Fireworks (none / 0) (#94)
by The Real Lord Kano on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 02:12:40 AM EST

I live in Pittsburgh and there are fireworks for just about every warm-weather holiday, but I've seen them in other parts of the country as well.


[ Parent ]

Land of the Dead (none / 1) (#36)
by zecg on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 04:15:00 AM EST

I've been looking forward to the latest movie and have been sorely disappointed. Apart from the visual effects, everything has a distinctly low production feel to it. The characters are his worst yet, poorly written, meeting through random happenstance and spouting Lorenzo Lamaz-quality dialogue. His one symbol is there, but with a land populated by classes of zombies, scavengers and rich men it is almost hard to avoid having that one - and he expounded or explored it none at all. Also, he didn't even go for the action flick, as the entire ending is stupid and anticlimactic. Some fancy gut-chewing and not much more.

The films have always been like that (none / 1) (#57)
by nebbish on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 06:05:33 AM EST

They're all clumsy, heavy-handed and poorly acted. With a few years distance though that doesn't seem to matter as much - I'm hoping it'll be the same with Land of the Dead.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Zippy Zombies (2.81 / 11) (#42)
by localroger on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 04:49:26 PM EST

...fell at the same block 28 Days Later did by making zombies fast moving, removing both their comedy and menace in one fell swoop.

The horrible thing about Romero's slow zombies is this: You are superior to them in every meaningful way. You are smarter and faster. You can kill them from a distance with a little practice. You have every advantage you could want, but as the movie unfolds you realize they are going to win anyway.

The difference in, say, 28 days is that with the entire population turned into murderous psychopaths and retaining much of their dexterity and skill, nobody in their right mind would start out thinking they had a chance. Indeed, 28 days has to start out with the guy in a fucking coma so that it can create that descent into hopelessness by gradually revealing the extent of the problem.

With Romero's zombies he can give you the whole package up front, though; you gradually realize for yourself that you're the hare in the story of the tortoise in the hare. You can move faster and think better and use all those clever weapons but you also have to rest and sleep; the zombies don't, and in the end that is the only advantage they need.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

Yes, fast Zombies are hard to do right (none / 1) (#75)
by alba on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 02:40:10 PM EST

A huge tide of attackers that don't fear death are not that uncommon. But in most cases there is a kind of safety hatch, something that makes singled out enemies weak.

Thus it's quite hard to pull off a plot about "fast Zombies". A strange border case is IMHO John Carpenters "In the Mouth of Madness", 1994. The trick is that while the main character never encounters the full tide of madness (only single lunatics), there is this atmosphere of instant doom, the feeling that the army of Zombies is just around the corner.

Doom, the movie, is theoretically similar but the plot moves in the wrong direction. If the main characters were in retreat, it would work (as Zombie plot).

So that makes a few ingredients:

  1. transformation of living humans into deadly creatures
  2. transformation is on-going (or even contagious); supply of deadly creatures is enormous (or threatens to be)
  3. deadly creatures are weak by themselves, but they don't fear death and come in huge numbers
  4. protagonists are in fighting retreat

"The Body Snatcher" comes quite close to that definition; it's just missing the fights. The story is attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson--so the idea behind Zombie movies is really ancient.

But then I don't feel goog calling "The Body Snatcher" an almost Zombie film. I think there is some ingredient missing.

[ Parent ]
"The Golden Man". (none / 0) (#84)
by grendelkhan on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 11:18:34 PM EST

Did you ever read the Philip K. Dick short story, "The Golden Man"? The mutant has the bare minimum of intellect required to survive, but he's constructed to outbreed and displace humanity, despite being inferior in what we would consider any meaningful way. Spooky shit.
-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca
[ Parent ]
You forgot one (1.25 / 4) (#43)
by anonimouse on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 05:07:35 PM EST

Shaun of the Dead!! The best of them all.
Relationships and friendships are complex beasts. There's nothing wrong with doing things a little differently.
oh please, (3.00 / 3) (#46)
by QuantumG on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:39:46 PM EST

both the original and the recent remake of Dawn Of The Dead and Land Of The Dead were overt political commentarys. The zombies represent the unconcious populous. The living are the affluent middle class and, in Land Of The Dead, the rich and powerful are, well, the rich and powerful. But yes, it is so easy to miss. I walked out of Land Of the Dead feeling a strong need to go read Marx. My fiancee walked out saying "it wasn't as scary as House Of Wax." And so it goes.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
If it's that overt (none / 0) (#60)
by nebbish on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 07:54:14 AM EST

Why isn't it until Day of the Dead that we get any hint of a sympathetic zombie? It's an interesting idea but somewhat undermined by the direction explicitly showing that the central characters are the good guys and the zombies are the bad guys.

This changes in Day of the Dead and gets turned around completely in Land of the Dead - which, as you point out, verges on being Marxist - but it was something that developed later. I think you're reading something into the first two films that ian't really there.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

I'm not reading into shit (none / 0) (#66)
by QuantumG on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 07:45:23 PM EST

George Romero has often stated that Dawn Of The Dead is about communist uprising ala Marx, and Land Of The Dead is about capitalist attempt to hold onto outmodded economic models.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
I've looked (none / 0) (#70)
by nebbish on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 04:44:18 AM EST

and I can't find anything. Have you got any links? To be honest all evidence says otherwise.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Dude, the films were released in the 70s (none / 0) (#77)
by QuantumG on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 06:49:16 PM EST

not everything anyone has ever said is on the freakin' internet. I saw an interview on tv about 15 years ago. My brother was a real big fan of the films.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
OK, OK calm down (none / 0) (#79)
by nebbish on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 05:35:37 AM EST

You're so quick to anger! Look, I'll take your word for it then.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Can't believe there's no mention of (none / 0) (#52)
by SaintPort on Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 04:10:55 PM EST

Bob Clark's
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things

It may not be Romero, but is was Romero inspired.

Search the Scriptures
Start with some cheap grace...Got Life?

Haven't seen it (none / 1) (#58)
by nebbish on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 06:06:44 AM EST

Would like to though.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

I Am Legend (3.00 / 3) (#54)
by Gully Foyle on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 04:28:20 AM EST

Although ostensibly about vampires, I Am Legend by Richard Mathieson is the novel that defined the zombie takeover genre. It might have been worth a mention.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh

Never read it (none / 0) (#59)
by nebbish on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 07:05:50 AM EST

I should do though, I've heard that from a few people.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

The Omega Man (none / 0) (#62)
by bil on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 12:50:05 PM EST

I am legend was filmed as The Omega Man with Charlton Heston in 1971. Its a bit different from the book in places (aren't they always?) especially the ending but its a good film, worth a Romero fans time.

Vampires rather then zombies though.

Where you stand depends on where you sit...
[ Parent ]

Not seen the film but (none / 0) (#71)
by Gully Foyle on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 06:24:22 AM EST

the way the vampires are described in the book, I don't see how you'd tell the difference between them and Romero style zombies.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Oh yeah, seen that (none / 0) (#72)
by nebbish on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 06:28:45 AM EST

It hasn't dated well but I remember it really freaking me out when I was a kid.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

What about "The Last Man on Earth"? (none / 0) (#89)
by LaundroMat on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:51:40 AM EST

I saw The Last Man on Earth as a direct precursor to The Omega Man. From looking at IMDB, I now see that it's based on the very same book.

"These innocent fun-games of the hallucination generation"
[ Parent ]

the horror genre (3.00 / 3) (#55)
by the77x42 on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 05:00:20 AM EST

It seems that horror only comes in two flavours: shit that's thrown at you in waves and waves, and shit that remains relatively static and brooding.

Compare Alien with Aliens, Predator with Alien vs. Predator, or the 'Dead' movies with something like The Shining.

What has always gotten to me is that there is seldom a balance in the genre. Zombie movies, alien movies, etc. play off like killer bees or spiders -- there is a single undesireable trait in the villian, and it's repeated a million times without much variation. The fear factor is reduced because once you accept there is little chance of survival the terror dissolves into apathy.

In many movies with a single villian (Freddy, Jason, Candyman, etc.) the terror seems more human, but ultimately it boils down to a gimmicky trait (Candyman's hook, Freddy's claws, Jason's machete, etc.).

The movies that break out of this dichotomy are my favourites. The Shining and Se7en come to mind, but the former easily outshines (pardon the pun) the latter because Se7en is merely a well disguised gimmick (killing according to sins? meh). Even a movie like Pitch Black, which combines the two flavours (Riddick AND the aliens) comes closer to something acceptable, but it's not scary in the least.

I want a scary movie that not gimmicky, and doesn't appeal to the 'shotgun' approach with its baddies. Maybe that's asking too much.

"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

True (none / 1) (#98)
by cibby on Sun Oct 23, 2005 at 10:18:15 PM EST

I agree, horror movies play on the same themes, but some movies do excellent work with atmosphere and mood to be genuinely creepy.

For example, the original Grudge in Japanese is scary because there's no rationale to what's happening.

[ Parent ]
Zombie MMORPG (3.00 / 2) (#63)
by LaserSoup on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 01:36:53 PM EST

If you want to see how you would survive in a zombie outbreak, check out Urban Dead.
Or see how well you would do as a zombie munching brains.
It's free and can only be played about 10 minutes a day, so is a good quick diversion.

Try this game, it's quite strange (none / 0) (#88)
by BlueTrin on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:46:15 AM EST

I just tried this game and it seems freaking hard to survive. I just can't find any weapon.

Furtheremore you spent most of the time going somewhere and search the place to find that there is nothing inside.
"Don't you know it is now both immoral and criminal to think beyond the next quarterly report?"
[ Parent ]
night of the living dead has some humor to it (none / 1) (#65)
by lostincali on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 07:34:24 PM EST

Barbara: blah blah blah ... *slap biatch!*

That part was fuckin hilarious. If you can't appreciate the humor in that scene there is something seriously wrong with you.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."

For sweet fuck's sake (1.50 / 2) (#67)
by The Real Lord Kano on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 02:41:50 AM EST

There is not a single zombie in 28 Days Later. It's arguable that they're mindless, but they're not living dead. They can be killed with trauma to areas other than the head. Frank for example is shot in the back and dies. In 28 days later, it makes sense that the infected are fast-moving. They're just normal people who have a disease. What pisses me off about Snyder's Dawn of the Dead was that the olympic-athlete zombies seem to have been added just to push the script in a different direction. He trades on the popularity of the Romero universe while ignoring one of the base truths of that universe, Zombies move slowly. LK

OMG FOR FUCK'S SAKE (none / 1) (#80)
by nebbish on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 08:51:56 AM EST


zom·bie also zom·bi Audio pronunciation of "zombie" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (zmb) n. pl. zom·bies, also zom·bis

1. A snake god of voodoo cults in West Africa, Haiti, and the southern United States.

2.1. A supernatural power or spell that according to voodoo belief can enter into and reanimate a corpse.

2. A corpse revived in this way.

3. One who looks or behaves like an automaton.

4. A tall mixed drink made of various rums, liqueur, and fruit juice.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Did you even see the movie? (none / 1) (#82)
by The Real Lord Kano on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 10:06:50 PM EST

3. One who looks or behaves like an automaton.


  1. A self-operating machine or mechanism, especially a robot.
  2. One that behaves or responds in a mechanical way.
The infected from 28 Days Later are decidedly NOT mechanical. Their movements are rapid. And except for immediately after infection, their movements are usually smooth and flowing.


[ Parent ]

I'd like to see a zombie movie based on... (none / 0) (#99)
by toychicken on Wed Oct 26, 2005 at 08:59:30 AM EST

... the fourth definition above.

Night of the drink.
Dawn of the drink.
Day of the drink.
Land of the drunk.


- - - - - - -8<- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Just how many is a Brazillian anyway?

[ Parent ]
The fireworks are TV! (none / 1) (#76)
by sudog on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 06:21:35 PM EST

The fireworks are the distracting force of television on the masses: Land of the Dead was filled with so much more allegory than the other films that I'm surprised that you don't immediately include it in your vaunted list. After all, it is 2nd best, next to Night of the Living Dead, out of all the four films...!

My slightly different take (none / 1) (#83)
by localroger on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 10:25:38 PM EST

I didn't see the fireworks as TV itself, since they weren't on all the time. I saw them as the "noise machine" -- the pundits, TV anchormen, Presidential photo-opping, and so on -- that specifically are brought out whenever the upper classes are snooping around trying to plunder the lower.

After all, that's what the mercs who pilot Dead Reckoning are literally doing: Plundering the towns of the Dead to enrich themselves. The significance of the movie's last scene -- "Sky flowers don't work any more" -- is that the underclass have finally stopped letting themselves be distracted. The fireworks still get shot off, but nobody is watching any more.

Best line of the movie is when the Hispanic dude gets zombie-bit and his buddy offers to off him, and he says "I always wondered how the other half live."

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

zombies are ok (1.50 / 2) (#81)
by circletimessquare on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 05:01:43 PM EST

but for me, ghost stories are better horror

i mean, you're dead on about what zombie movies are about: social commentary

they are public spectacles

but for me, and i really think for most everyone, horror works best on a personal level, not a public level

the more personal the horror, the bigger the scare, no?

so that's why i think movies like the ring, what lies beneath, the shining, the sixth sense, etc, are better horror stories than zombie movies ever could be

ghost stories are about our most intimate relationships perverted into a relationship with death, they are something with some psychosexual zing, about our own internal psychology and PERSONAL fear of death

when you invert our biggest drive in life, to procreate, you get the biggest bang for your psychological buck in a horror movie

i mean don't get me wrong, the zombie movie has it's place, and it's a good place, but to me, they are not the essence of horror

zombie movies are the public version of hell that is much scarier when it is made personal with a ghost story

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Spot on I reckon (none / 1) (#85)
by nebbish on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 05:03:47 AM EST

Some of the scariest things I've seen are old BBC adaptations of MR James short ghost stories - Whistle and I'll Come To You and A Warning To The Curious.

Another thing I find really scary is stuff about the Devil and Devil worship - I was talking to a friend about this and he reckons it's latent stuff from our childhood when we were told there was a hell below.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Use of zombies (none / 1) (#97)
by cibby on Sun Oct 23, 2005 at 10:09:38 PM EST

While ghosts are genuinely scary, zombies can be terrifying if used properly. When they're breaking down your house, and there's nowhere to run, a la Night of the Living Dead, it's pretty shit-in-your-pants.

I've been playing Urban Dead to cure my zombie fix. It's ok, but hardly terrifying.

[ Parent ]
Land of the Dead (none / 1) (#86)
by DeadBaby on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 05:47:53 PM EST

I liked it but I thought it degraded into a shoot-em-up flick too quickly. It should have either been longer, or included less zombie feeding scenes. I wanted to know more about the characters and the city before seeing it all fall apart. And speaking of the characters, George how couldn't you have included some nude scenes of Asia Argento? Come on. Look up "fan service" on google and get back to us in the sequel OK? -
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
Braindead/Dead Alive by Peter Jackson? (none / 1) (#87)
by ToastyKen on Sun Oct 16, 2005 at 07:52:26 AM EST

Just wanted to mention Peter Jackson's Braindead ("Dead Alive" in the US), one of the best zombie comedies.  It's not as influential, but it does have a scene where, according to IMDb, "[fake] blood was pumped at five gallons a second". :)  Plus, after seeing this movie, you gotta love the fact that this director went on to win an Oscar!

Sequals (3.00 / 2) (#90)
by mrplaid on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 03:31:35 PM EST

There's actually tecnically three divergent lines of sequals to NOTLD. Romero did his films. John Russo, who co-wrote NOTLD, re-edited it and added new scenes(supposedly using the same equipment and filmstock) and music and called it the infamous "30th Anniversary edition". Then he tried to spin that off into the abysmal Children of the Living Dead, which died a rightfully horrible death. Russo also wrote the novel that Return of the Living Dead was based on, which was also supposed to be his spin on making a sequal.

Yeah (none / 0) (#91)
by nebbish on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 06:43:48 AM EST

When I first got into the films I got really confused working out who did what and which the proper sequals were. From what I remember the Return of the Living Dead films are really good as well, I've got to see them again.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Reviews of the Dead | 97 comments (85 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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