Tag Archives: zombie

VAPOURS: A Norn Iron Zombie Movie

Well, here’s a little something for the weekend. Northern Irish upstarts, Dead On Films, released their debut film, VAPOURS, around Halloween and it’s quite the spectacle! Despite a budget of absolutely nothing, the Dead On team – led by long time reader and supporter of my work, Lewis Duncan –  have really come through with a short film that often punches above its weight. Rampacked with local humour, buckets of gore and some stand-out performances, VAPOURS takes its cue from a personal fav of mine, Conor McMahon’s DEAD MEAT, and is definitely worth your time. Available on Youtube right now for free. Just click on the screengrab below and you’re good to go.

 

HAWKINS’ HORROR REVIEWS: George A. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD

Here’s Rich Hawkins back for his first HHR of 2013. And he’s taking a break from books, this week, to review George A. Romero’s classic movie, DAWN OF THE DEAD. 


“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth…”
Well, what is there to say about ‘Dawn of the Dead’ that hasn’t been said before, and by people more qualified than me? Probably nothing, but seeing as it is dark, cold and raining outside, I’m buzzing on Red Bull and I’ve just run out of salted peanuts, I’ll indulge myself and attempt to give a coherent opinion of this classic film.

Following the events of ‘Night of the Living Dead’ society is collapsing upon itself, and the world descends into chaos as the bodies of the dead return to ‘life’ to feast upon the living. Romero creates a great mood of panic and desperation in the opening minutes – I remember watching it for the first time when I was a young lad and being really scared simply because of the fear and creeping terror implied. And I knew what was coming.

I was hooked. The opening minutes still get me now.

At a television studio in Philadelphia, Stephen and his girlfriend Francine plan to steal the traffic helicopter to escape the city. They meet up with two SWAT operatives and flee the city via the helicopter, and eventually find a shopping mall.

You probably know what happens next.

This film has it all – exploding heads, evisceration and scenes of dismemberment. A zombie fanatic’s wet dream. There’s even a Hari Krishna zombie, which is equally terrifying and funny to me. The zombies are slow, slightly comical and almost laughable in some cases, but they’ll still bite your face off if you give them a chance. And even with the copious amounts of blood and flesh-ripping the film resonates with a veiled mockery of consumerism in 1970’s America; there are more levels to this film than an Xbox game, and it’s still relevant now. It was ground-breaking in its time, and is now viewed, rightly so, as one of the finest horror films ever made. Even its ambiguous ending where the survivors escape to an uncertain future is perfect, because in a world in which there are no more happy endings, simple survival is the only thing left to wish for.

But, to me, this film is terrifying not because of the zombies and gore, but because it shows how quickly everything – society and personal relationships – can fall apart.

And that will always stay with me. Along with John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, this is the film that introduced me to the horror genre.

Thank you, George Romero.

It’s just a shame he had to make ‘Survival of the Dead’, but I’ll leave it there…

Meet Rich online at his facebook page. 

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.