Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Zombie Centric

I can't talk much about it, but I have a project in the works.

On a related note, what are your favorite zombie-related materials?

Night of the Living Dead (1968): I saw this movie when I was 10. Needless to say, a baseball bat stayed under my bed for the next ten years. This is the movie that started it all: The genre, Romero's career, and eventually this very list.

Dawn of the Dead (1978): Dawn is a good example of a filmmaker's evolution. A successful sequel, free from the characters of the previous movie but displaying a natural evolution of the events portrayed. Materialism, militarism, and the failure of the government - themes that Romero will use throughout his career - contribute to the breakdown of society in a huge way for the first time in this movie.

Return of the Living Dead (1985): Look, this movie is fun. I like it. That's about it.

Cemetery Man (aka Dellamorte Dellamore) (1994): I don't know why I like this one either. It's an existential-romance-horror-porn-comedy with zombies. I suppose I've never seen sex, violence, and death linked together the way this movie does, and I haven't seen any other movie with the thesis that we bear no responsibility for our actions.

28 Days Later (2002): The first zombie movie I saw that didn't actually involve the living dead. It inspired the "fast zombies" trend of the Aughts, and inspired me thinking about how the modern political atmosphere could be used to make movies.

The Zombie Survival Guide (2003): Finally, some nerd sat down and wrote it all out for us. Every angle of surviving the apocalypse has been carefully thought out and documented in this groundbreaking work. If only it were a bit more quoteable.

Dawn of the Dead (2004): This movie has no redeeming societal values. It is gory as shit and fun to watch. As a double bonus, it got me interested in Johnny Cash.

Dead End Days (2004): An internet serial that tackles the worth of advertising, big business, and viral marketing in our society. It's also very funny.

Shawn of the Dead (2004): Without a doubt, my favorite zombie movie. It runs the gamut from being hilarious to to gory to heartrending then back again in a trim 99 minutes. Along the way, it manages to hit on just about every trope in the genre while still taking itself seriously.

Land of the Dead (2005): This was (until Diary of the Dead came out) the weakest of the Romero series. However, I found elements of it intriguing, and I've watched it as research material. The most interesting aspect of this movie, to me, was the scavenging gang - maybe I read too much into it, but I saw those guys as what happened to the bikers in Dawn once someone organized them. The freebirds sold out.

World War Z (2006): This is to books what Dawn was to movies: Thinly disguised biting social commentary. It shows how human nature contributes to the apocalypse more than the zombies ever could.

Left 4 Dead (2008): L4D showed that zombie games could be fun, tense, and mainstream. I also appreciate its cooperative gameplay.

Pontypool (2008): Without a doubt, this is the most terrifying zombie movie I have ever seen. Every zombie movie depends on tension to make it work. Tension comes from incomplete information - and this is the only movie I have ever seen where I never knew more than the characters did. What happens when the virus isn't in the blood, or in food, or spread by the rat-monkey...but the English language? What happens when you only see the outbreak through the eyes of a talk radio jock, instead of at street level, hearing the confused reports of survivors...and the more confused reports from the infected themselves.

Zombieland (2009): Okay this movie is just fun, and it has some of the most innovative zombie kills I've ever seen.

Tell me about yours!


Anonymous said...

Dead Rising (2006): More zombie-killing than any other game, and the free range of weapons was nice too. There's a certain visceral pleasure in beating zombies to death with an HDTV.

Hosidax said...

Dead Set. Crunchy Zombie Goodness. I think it came out exclusively on the BBC in '08. It's actually a perfect premise for an adventure. Most of the action takes place on the "closed" campus of a "Big Brother" reality show set.

If I was to run it, I would present a plot to the players that had nothing to do with Zombies ("This is going to be a 'Big Brother'-style contest role-play...) The players should never expect that it would become a Zombie adventure...