Okay, so I owe you an apology. The vodka-fuelled rant was out of line, cool Lego pictures or not. To make it up to you I thought we’d do a looksee at some of the best Zombie films of all time. We’ve done a lot of romance stuff lately so time to give the undead a go. Starting with...
1. Evil Dead 2
There are many reasons why this is leading the charge. The undead weren’t your traditional gruesome grey skinned shambling hungry types but the presence of Bruce Campbell supersedes any complaints regarding breaches of official zombie policy. Oh, Bruce. Has anyone ever rocked quite so much? I think not. With a chainsaw replacing his lost hand and his lost hand skittering around trying to kill him or diss him the magnificence of this classic cannot be contained. Evil Dead 1 was going for straight horror and 3 played it solely for laughs but 2... now 2 was just right. They keep threatening to remake this but the fact of the matter is without Bruce it ain’t gonna work. Give it up. Evil Dead 2 summed up the fundamental guiding principle for any zombie apocalypse: don’t wallow in misery or quake in fear trying pathetically to hold onto the last vestiges of your sanity. Sanity is for losers: Go crazy, pull the ripcord on your chainsaw and roll with it! Who’s laughing now!?!
2. Resident Evil 1
Milla in the red dress and black army boots is an image seared into many a mind. A lot of them being barely post-pubescent boys with a tissue fetish but don’t be dismayed. There’s something here for the whole family. Well, not the littlies. It is after all a zombie film. And if Milla Jovovich wasn’t enough they gave you Michelle Rodriguez as well along with some pretty boys to ogle. The sets were grand and the undead plentiful. It was the big boomin Hollywood blockbuster we deserved, shiny, sparkly and a whole lotta fun. I’m reluctant to delve into the RE’s that have followed since. The joy seems to have steadily gone downhill. The less said the better. Final comment... kicking rabid zombie dogs in the face with your funky black army boots is best left to the professionals. Don’t try this at home.
2. Double Tap
3. Beware of Bathrooms
Shit. What can you say? I’ve turned people with this film who steadfastly refuse to ever watch a schlocky horror with me. They enjoyed it so much all was forgiven once circulation returned to their extremities (careful how tight you tie the ropes). Easily the most fun and accessible zombie film to ever strut across our screen. So many mighty one-liners and good times to be had. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better Bill Murray showed up! Perfection!
4. 28 Day Later
Now this was a good, gritty film with great actors but there was one problem... running Zombies. I don’t hold with that new fangled business. Deep down in the pit of my despair I believe it is profoundly fucking wrong, okay? Romero did it right and I don’t see the need for change. Make them shamble. I mean seriously, how would ANYONE survive if zombies could chase you down the street with their pants on fire? True, mostly no-one is knocking around in London but I guess I’m a traditionalist. Still a good movie though and Christopher Eccleston is genius. As always.
Speaking of Non-American efforts an honourable mention goes to Undead, a small Australian film a while back. Nice humour, nice effects, suitably gory and very Oz. Extra points granted for working alien abductions into the script. Go the home team!
Misleading putting George A. Romero at the bottom but I wanted to finish up with him. Firstly, where to begin...
He is the Godfather of Modern Zombie Cinema. My favourite this month is Diary of the Dead. I think it was a cool idea and a nice return to a smaller scale, home-grown effort after the bigger bucks Land of the Dead. Simon Baker was in ‘Land’ along with Dennis Hopper and whilst it was fun I have issues believing money would mean squat in that world. The growing awareness and gathering of the undead beneath the leadership of ‘Big Daddy’ was a terrific twist in the tale. Zombies are fun for a bunch of reasons and how they relate to our humanity or lack thereof is just one slice of the cake. A more deep-thinking slice but an interesting one none the less. We could go on and on about Romero’s films, from Night of the Living Dead made in 1968 through to the current day. Romero gives you all the grit and survivalism you could require from a post-apocalypse film and he isn’t afraid of carnage.He also likes to turn up in his films disguised as a Zombie. What fun!
Got a film you feel should have been in the top 5? Let rip...