Tag Archives: zombies

THE ZOMBIE MOVIE REVIEWS: David Moody reviews DAY OF THE DEAD

To celebrate the US release of my zombie horror books FLU and FEVER, I’ve invited some of the best zombie horror writers working today over to the blog to review a zombie movie of their choice.

Today’s David Moody’s turn.

Dave and I are taking a weekend off from our signing tour, but, well, I have missed our weekly bitchfest, so, to compensate, here’s his review of George Romero’s classic DAY OF THE DEAD.  

Enjoy!

It’s no secret that the version of Day of the Dead committed to film in 1985 bears little resemblance to George Romero’s original vision for the end of his ‘Dead’ trilogy (and you really should have left it a trilogy, George…). The planned grand finale of the series was restricted by cost and other constraints to become, conversely, the most claustrophobic of the three films. The original script can be found online if you do a little digging, and it’s interesting to read and then compare and contrast. The action originally took place on an island populated by a host of survivors, and you can’t help wondering if some of the elements jettisoned by Romero back in the 1980’s eventually wound up appearing in the disappointing Land of the Dead, the awful Diary of the Dead, and the so-bad-I-wish-I-could-unsee-it Survival of the Dead.

I guess that more than ten years after Dawn, Day of the Dead was the sequel no one expected, and critical reception upon its original release was harsh. But for this young (at the time!) horror fan, it was an astonishing film which redefined my expectations of what a zombie movie could – and should – be.
Opening with a couple of survivors landing a helicopter in a dead city to look for survivors (one of the only parts of the original script to make it to the final cut), Romero quickly and effortlessly re-establishes his dead world. It’s a fantastic opening which leaves the viewer in no doubt that the world has gone to hell and all hope is lost. The scene culminates with the appearance of the affectionately-named Dr Tongue: one of several of Tom Savini’s truly landmark zombie make-up creations. From the city we’re quickly transported to a military bunker where the survivors have been holed-up alongside a less than cooperative and severely depleted group of soldiers. Needless to say, the less than sturdy-looking fence around the bunker is surrounded by hordes of the living dead.

And that, in a nutshell, is the set up. But it’s what Romero does with the various elements of Day which elevate the film to the level of true zombie classic. We have the military and civilians clashing constantly about the cause of the apocalypse and what, if anything, they can do to continue to survive. We have the question of limited resources being steadily depleted whilst masses of zombies gather aboveground. We have a scientist of questionable sanity experimenting on the dead to find out what makes them ‘tick’ (in the process creating Bub – the first truly memorable zombie as character). We have people struggling with relationships and with loss and grief… people questioning if, not how they want to survive. And very importantly, we have HUGE numbers of zombies gathering in very, very close proximity to the living.
Day of the Dead is a bleak, nihilistic vision of the end of days, and its restricted scale and small cast actually help, not hinder, it.

Okay, so some of the minor characters (particularly on the military side) blur into each other, and the script’s a little clunky and the performances are occasionally weak, but the pluses more than outweigh the minuses. There are some truly memorable characters – Dr Logan, the aforementioned Bub, and the villainous Captain Rhodes to name but three – and as I’ve already said, Tom Savini contributes some outstanding special effects work (as anyone who’s witnessed Rhodes’ final scenes will surely agree… ‘Choke on ‘em…!’).

Should the shit ever really hit the fan, I imagine the world as a whole would experience bewilderment and terror, followed by sheer inescapable horror as the reality of Armageddon sets in, followed eventually by mankind’s final death rattle. If Night of the Living Dead portrayed the frightening confusion of the beginning of the end, and Dawn of the Dead civilisation’s downward spiral into a bloody oblivion, then Romero’s Day of the Dead is that death rattle: a final little fruitless burst of noise and effort before we’re silenced forever.

A phenomenal film which, along with its two predecessors, every zombie movie fan MUST see.

Visit David at his official website.

The US editions of FLU and FEVER are available now in audio, ebook and paperback through Tantor Media

Catch up with both Dave and I at the next date on our tour: Waterstone’s Swindon, next Saturday 8th December. 

THE ZOMBIE MOVIE REVIEWS: Bowie Ibarra and friends on RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD

There’s been a lot of other stuff happening, but I’m still celebrating the US release of the FLU series (FLU and FEVER) through Tantor Media with the help of my friends.

So far, we’ve had Gary McMahon, Iain McKinnon, Andre Duza and Joe McKinney over to talk about a zombie movie of their choice. Today, it’s Bowie Ibarra’s turn. He’s hanging out with some very cool folks, kicking back and watching zomedy classic RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Take it away, Bowie! 

Zombie movies mean a lot to many different people. People connect to them for whatever reason: Age, place, time period, etc. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD blew me away from the get-go, and I was a zombie movie fan from then on out.

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD cracked me up. I have many favorite moments from the movie, but my fave is still the 2nd set of paramedics arriving on the scene, discovering the danger, then being form tackled by the zeds as they try to race back to their vehicle.

But enough about my thoughts, here’s a brief recap of some of the thoughts of the ‘Bloodthirsty Thursday’ viewing of the movie at Alamo Drafthouse Westlake in San Antonio, Texas.

The question was, “What does ‘Return of the Living Dead’ mean to you?”

Mike Flores: I remember watching that movie growing up. I was around 5. And I remember it scaring the crap out of me.

ZBF.com: Do Zombies kick ass?

MF: Ah, yeah. Especially in this one. They talk. Run. We’re doomed.

Timothy Pettis: Basically, it means my entire life that I’ve been frightened of this movie ever since I saw it when I was 8 on HBO. Luckily, I was one of the lucky ones to have cable back in the day. And I saw it when it first premiered. And Tarman scared the shit out of me. What was even worse was that my room was in the basement.

It impacted me so much that I actually have him tattooed on my leg.

ZombieBloodFights.com: What inspired this work of art?

TP: Basically, I couldn’t see a movie like this, with so many memorable characters, I mean, to be just maybe one character or two characters, or just something that didn’t even go with the movie. And I think every character in this movie had some kind of impact on somebody that they all deserve to be on the poster.

Sherry: It’s just a great cult classic. Really funny. Encompasses all the great things: Punk rock, horror, comedy, memorable characters, and, I don’t know, just a lot of blood. BRAINS!

Joe: Well said. She took the words right out of my mouth.

Matt Bright/Steven Remeir: Man, it’s a movie I grew up with since I was a little kid. One of the first zombie movies I ever saw. Kelly’s always down to bring what people want to see, what people want to, you know, be exposed to. And its always cool to see a movie you grew up with on the big screen.

Steven: That was the first time I’ve actually ever seen that, and it was just, like, really awesome. And I want to come back and see more movies like that.

ZBF.com: Bad ass. So this is a real moment here. What were your impressions of the movie, man, was it what you expected.

Steven: It was better than what I expected. I didn’t know actually, really even what to expect. It was just awesome just being able to, like, watch and see everything that goes down, like, how it was filmed back then. It was pretty awesome.

Lucy: This was actually my first time seeing it. I’ve never seen this movie.

ZBF.com: Okay, this is big. You’re the second person I’ve talked to tonight that said that. What were your impressions of this movie that has a huge following.

Lucy: It was pretty awesome. I liked it. It was my first time, and it was funny. I thought it was actually funny. It was really good.

ZBF.com: Excellent. What were some parts that you enjoyed?

Lucy: When she turned into a zombie. The redhead.

ZBF.com: Her nightmare came true there. What about you Alex?

Alex: I love this movie. I saw it when it first came out on video back in, like, ’85. And I was like 8 or 9 years old. So I got a lifetime relationship with this movie. I’ve probably seen it 100 times. It’s awesome. It’s awesome to come out tonight and see a room full of people. And I understand the 7:30 show was even sold out. So I guess it says a lot about the movie itself. You know, granted, everybody loves zombies nowadays with ‘The Walking Dead’ and everything. But this is still a classic, its awesome, and I’m just glad there was a really good turnout.

ZBF.com: As we can see, there’s just something about the zombie genre movie “Return of the Living Dead” that resonates throughout zombie pop culture. Considering the responses I received above, I can confidently say that I believe a big part of that has to do with the camaraderie and brotherhood that comes from enjoying such a quality movie with other members of the z-day subculture.

BOWIE IBARRA is the author of the zombie horror series ‘Down the Road’ from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster. The magnum opus of the series, ‘Down the Road: The Fall of Austin’, follows several groups of people that watch the world collapse around them in the city of Austin, Texas.

Network with Bowie and follow his writings and wild antics at his personal website, ZombieBloodFights.com

 

FLU and FEVER are available now to US readers through Tantor Media in paperback, audio and e-book.

 

BOOK REVIEW: Autumn Aftermath by David Moody

Bestselling horror author, David Moody, returns with the fifth and final Autumn novel. Written over a span of ten years, the Autumn story follows two disparate groups of survivors and their battles to survive a world overrun by the living dead. But while years may have passed for us readers, the survivors are only moving into winter now: this shift in seasons plays a pivotal role in Aftermath’s story.

Aftermath begins from the perspective of the living dead, a young woman called Jessica Lindt, now wandering in the wastegrounds of post-apocalyptic Britain. And this too is quite significant, Aftermath not only being the most character-focused of the series when it comes to the survivors, but the dead also: there are significant changes within both the personality and behaviour of the book’s ‘zombies’ that have serious implications upon the survivors and their plans for long-term survival.

Most of the story centres around an old castle where a twenty strong group of survivors have taken up residence. The castle, no stranger to sieges in the past, is now surrounded by thousands of dead bodies, making supply runs something of a problem. Food and water is limited. Tension begins to mount.

Pressure is the main currency here. How it grows amongst the survivors, what it does to them, what it makes them do to each other. And herein lies a major strength of the book; Moody pulls no punches in his no-frills character study. As the siege continues, and cabin fever sets in, the survivors eventually turn on each other. This power struggle is the core of Aftermath’s story. As in the very first modern zombie story, Romero’s 1968 film, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, a dispute between key figures results in tragedy. And that single event causes a rift between the survivors that could spell doom for everyone.

But let’s not forget the dead, those hapless beasts clawing at the castle walls. As their bodies continue to deteriorate, the survivors begin to suspect that their days of being a threat are numbered. A bitter frost gives an even greater advantage, many of the outside hordes finding themselves literally frozen on the spot, allowing the survivors considerable room for manoeuvre in the outside world. But the discovery of more secluded bodies, better preserved than those in the open, leads to a shocking discovery about the dead’s raison d’etre, and a key turning point for the living.

The Autumn series is as realistic an account of the zombie apocalypse as you’re going to find. Aftermath is an emotional book: a fitting end to a traumatic story about the human condition. Fans of the series will feel satisfied, if not a little sad at waving goodbye to those characters they’ve spent time getting to know. And with a beautifully emotive afterword from the author himself, you know that David Moody is right there with them.

AFTERMATH is available now throughout the US through St Martin’s Press. The book will see release through Gollancz in the UK later in the year.

Visit David online at his official website or visit his LAST OF THE LIVING site to read over 120 K words of free Autumn fiction.