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Pedromonkey's movie review corner...zombie special!!!!

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Posted 31st December 2009 at 01:58 AM by pedromonkey
Updated 31st December 2009 at 04:04 PM by Sam@Cult Labs


THE DEATH AND RE-BIRTH OF A SUB GENRE


BY PEDROMONKEY


There are many different visions of the end of the world. For example, we have Nuclear Holocaust,
Bio-logical Warefare, Natural disasters, asteroids/comets, the Ozone layer. But one that seems to get a bad rap concerns the dead rising from the graves to feast on the flesh of the living, oh yes people I'm talking about the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. A sub-genre of Horror movies that has always been the kind of
outcast with in the Horror stable, the retarded brother of slasher films and monster movies, the sloth to slashers Fratelli family (goonies reference) if you will, it was never taken seriously. How could
people believe that the dead could return. Well it's more plausable than you think. Ancient Voodoo is said to be
able to revive the dead with help of a 'Bokor' a Voodoo Scorcerer,it is said that a 'Zombi' would remain
under the control of the 'Bokor' as the dead does not possess a will of it's own. Many horror films
of the 1930's that dealt with zombies used the ancient art of voodoo as the practice for returning the
dead to the living. The 1932 film staring Bela Lugozi and directed by Victor Hugo Halperin called
WHITE ZOMBIE capitalised on themes that were printed only three years previously in a book by author
W.B Seabrook entitled THE MAGIC ISLAND (1929) but it was the writings of horror Author H.P Lovecraft
who first brought about the idea of uncontrolable dead in his Herbert West: Re-Animator stories. But it wasn't untill
self employed New yorker, living in Pittsburg, George A romero, that we were treated to a new vision of The undead, the
crazed flesh eating monsters that we love and cherish today. The shufflers, who will stop at nothing to feed on the flesh
of the living. That film was the low budget, Genre defining 'Night of the Living Dead'. Romero removed the Voodoo theme and
replaced it with a virul one, Where the corpse of the recently deceased returned from the dead by infection. This sparked of an
entirely new Sub-genre of horror movies...The Zombie movie. When Night came out in 1968, it was shown at midnight showings only and
due to it X rating it was not allowd to be advertised to a wide Audience. It did however garner a cult following and has since been recognised
a Classic piece of cinema history. Because of this, there were many imitators, mostly originating from Europe. Spain gave us
TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1971) that was followed by three sequals, they also gave us THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHERSTER MORGUE (1974), set in the lake district
of the U.K. The U.S also capitilized on this with films such as Children shouldn't play with Dead things and Shockwaves. But it wasn't untill
1979 when George Romero returned to the genre that we truely did get the ultimate Zombie Apocalypse film, that film was hugely
imfluencial shocker DAWN OF THE DEAD, an epic end of the world scenario where the living dead had be come so overpowering that the
almost outnumbered that of the Living. From 1978 onwards, things started to change, Italy decied that they needed to jump on the
band wagon that DOTD started and churned out movie after movie, all riffing on Romero's Ideas, some now refered to Genre fans as classics
include Lucio Fulci's ZOMBI 2, THE BEYOND, HOUSE BY THE CEMETARY and CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, the latter three forming his 'gothic' trilogy that also borrowed
heavily from the works of H.P Lovecraft. There were others too. Marino Girolam's ZOMBIE HOLOCUAST (AKA DR.Butcher MD), Jean Rollin's french shocker The GRAPES OF DEATH and his
1981 nazi zombie epic ZOMBIE LAKE, Jess Franco's OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1981) and Umberto Lenzi's NIGHTMARE CITY (1980) were the staple of early European zombie shock cinema, The latter, Lenzi's
NIGHTMARE CITY being the first appearence of the so-called running zombie. Italy and France gave us some good films and some terrible films. But it wasn't untill 1981's EVIL DEAD that america
had re-entered the zombie genre, That same year ALIEN creator Dan o'Bannon gave us his own spin on the living dead, in the cult favourite DEAD & BURIED (1981) a film that twisted
Romero's vision into something completely different. Three years later O'Bannon would give us the horror movie classic that was
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, A sort of spoof on zombie film cliche's, where the " braaaiiinnsss" stigma came from. ROTLD spawned two sequals in the 80s and early 90s, neither had anything to do
with O'Bannon. John Carpenter joined in the fun with his pirate/ghost zombie flick THE FOG (1980), But it wasn't untill the return of Romero in 1985 for DAY OF THE DEAD, that we actually had a
full on zombie apocalypse again. This film focused on two groups of people, Scientists and military, grouped together in an underground bunker. The Film Broke Boundries with it
unbelievable Gore effects courtesy of F/X maestro Tom Savini. The film, although not lucrative box office managed, like the previous two, to gather a cult following, because of this, critics now
consider the film a classic along with NIGHT and DAWN. 1985 also saw the release of RE-ANIMATOR, an Adaptation of H.P Lovecraft's Herbert West stories, by first time directing and producing duo
Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna. The film starred Jeffrey Coombs as Herbert west and was quite successful, it was a darkly comic slice of a splatter platter that spawned two sequals. The EVIL DEAD also
returnd in 1985 with EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN, a sequal come remake of Sam Raimi's original EVIL DEAD film, This one intergrated comic slapstick timing with outrageous gore and became a successful hit, this was
followed by the less gory threequal ARMY OF DARKNESS in 1993. Looking back 1985 was a good year for the walking dead, such classics came from that year. The last of the great films from the 80s came
courtesy of Fred Decker's NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, an amalgam of many different genre's that included 1950s sci-fi b movies and the Romero Envisioned zombies. The catalyst for turning people into Zombies came from
alien slugs that burrowed into the brains of people. A theme that would carry over to 2006's SLITHER. There was nothing of any real merrit until 1990 when after the problems with copywrite issues with
NOTLD, Romero sat down and banged out a screen play for a remake of his debut feature, this time with the intention of copywriting this screenplay as apposed the original that ended up in the hands of the
Public Domain. It was directed by his regular F/X guy, Tom Savini, which because of his skills in creating monsters, showed us the best example of the living dead to date. A few more followed in the very early days of the
1990s that included RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART 3, more serious than the previous two and the last real Italian Zombie flick, DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE (AKA CEMETARY MAN) and LORD OF THE RINGS director Peter Jackson's Gore soaked
splatter fest BRAINDEAD (1992), A film that has never been matched on the gore front. From 1993 onwards there were basically no zombie films. The Genre was Officially Dead.

So we roll around to 2002 and Director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) releases a low budget, shot on DV, film entitled 28 DAYS LATER, a film that uses a virus that turns people into rage fueled killing machines. While most people say that
the 'infected' are zombies, Danny Boyle and Writer Alex Garland both refuse to call them that, due to the fact that they're not dead. 28 DAYS became a huge hit world wide and unintentionally brought about a rebirth of the Sub-genre.
Many films followed including BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR, SHADOW: DEAD RIOT, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 4+5, UNDEAD OR ALIVE, MORTUARY, ZOMBIE HONEYMOON, But in 2004, two films would become the highest grossing films of that year. The first being the
Remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD directed by music vid kid Zach Snyder, a film that lost the shufflers of the 70s and 80s and gave us incredibly fast angry zombies. The film was Viceral an downright frightening in parts, and the second being the
spot on spoofery of Britain's SHAUN OF THE DEAD, from the creators of cult channel 4 sitcom SPACED. The film was riotously funny and also pretty gory. The film Contained several nods to DAWN'78 and is said to be a companion piece to that film.
The following year Romero returned once again for a 4th installment in his saga of the living dead that continued with LAND OF THE DEAD, a modestly budgeted studio picture with named cast, it touched on the themes of class. Unfortunatly it didn't recieve
box office that Univeral was hoping but made back it's money on DVD, making it the most profitible Romero movie ever. 2006 saw the release of SLITHER, from the writer of the DAWN remake and TROMA vet, James Gunn, it was mildly successful. The following year
Danny boyle produced the sequal to his 28 DAYS LATER...tentivly titled 28 WEEKS LATER, directed by Spain's Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, director of spanish language thriller INTACTO. 28 WEEKS, like it's predecessor became a global hit, loosing the DV Cams and filming on
32mm instead. It showed a desolate, arrid London. Romero once again, only this time 2 years later returned for his Reboot of his living dead saga DIARY OF THE DEAD. The film gained critical acclaim but failed to make any box office. This however did not deter Romero who is set
to return in 2010 with SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. We have been quite lucky in the firt decade of the new millenium, we've been treated to a new variation on the zombie myth, we've had our maestro return twice and we have the next 10 years to look forward to.
So i ask you this!....is the zombie dead or is it living? for me it's like the resurrection of Christ...you can put him to rest but he won't rest for long....

so i leave you this my DEADHEADED friends....keep watching the screens....PEACE OUT
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