David Thompson
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June 22, 2009

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James S

It's funny how both left and right want to lay claim to zombie films like they're great moral parables.

David

“…like they’re great moral parables.”

Well, I suppose they can be parables to some extent, but it’s usually in pretty general terms. Teamwork, responsibility, courage, etc are obvious themes, but I’m not convinced they can be appropriated by any one political tribe. Maybe a film about a group of smug student pacifists being besieged by flesh-eating zombies would make a broader point, but I doubt it would make for great cinema.

Some critics claimed that Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later was a “powerful message” about “car-addicted, computer-dependent, urban life” and the “useless ephemera of consumerism.” But that “useless ephemera” proved vital to the characters’ survival at least a dozen times, so I’m not sure what the “powerful message” actually was. There’s a clearer example in Boyle’s more recent (and much better) film, Sunshine. One of the crew makes a point of displaying her moral credentials and telling everyone how much she cares about this and that. Her urge to be seen as caring jeopardises the mission and, given the nature of the mission, risks the survival of all humanity. I suppose you could read something into that.

georges

I'm not especially into zombie movies. I think of "The Omega Man" as a sci-fi zombie hybrid.

I wish more of these movies had some brain food. BSG showed it was possible to put big ideas into TV space opera.

Gaw

Aren't zombie movies about resisting conformity? Being a zombie is the ultimate form of unthinking conformity. Therefore, the resisters have got to be characterised as right-wing individualists who just want to be themselves and are willing to fight to avoid being (literally) consumed by the masses.

Also zombie movies always end up with scenes of claustrophobia, again, a way to represent the stifling effect of mass society. Just like being on the Tube, really.

David

Georges,

“I wish more of these movies had some brain food.”

I can’t claim to be en expert on the genre, which I generally avoid, but zombie films tend to be more, er, visceral than cerebral. Attempts to get lofty with the premise aren’t entirely successful, e.g., 28 Days Later. I did like Sunshine, and I enjoyed it more after watching it a second time. Some of the detail can be missed on first viewing. Although it’s science fiction, it does have zombie-esque elements towards the end. And plenty of Biblical allusion.

Anna

"I think of "The Omega Man" as a sci-fi zombie hybrid."

I forgot how bad that film is. But the zombies are hardcore environmentalists. Obviously. ;)

David

“BSG showed it was possible to put big ideas into TV space opera.”

I’m missing it already. No more hybrids, no more jumping, no more ruthless use of the airlock. After that, you can’t really go back to TNG or season one Voyager.

Anna

"or season one Voyager."

*shudder*

Timo the Squid

[sigh]

Also missing the heavy clunk of the ruthless airlock, and that peculiar frisson of the frozen guilty or possibly innocent victim bumping down the flanks of BSG. When in doubt, better to be safe than sorry.

Retardo

"The zombies are an implacable force that must be destroyed."

The left only tries to "understand" people they already agree with anyway. When they ask "why do they hate us?", the "us" they have in mind doesn't include them. That particular "us" is Margaret Thatcher and Henry Kissinger and Dubya. When somebody hates them, the left, specifically, they never ask "why do they hate us?" Instead they ask "what drives these maniacs to be so evil and irrational that they don't love us?"

Imagine a lefty asking "Why does Rush Limbaugh hate us?"

See what I mean?

Anna

"Also missing the heavy clunk of the ruthless airlock,"

Yeah, none of that girly "stun" setting from Star Trek.

Jason Bontrager

Bob Hope on Zombies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a6YdNmK77k

The man was ahead of his time:-)

carbon based lifeform

"Always Aim for the Head"

That's what I like about this place. Practical advice.

David

And never, ever allow people who’ve been bitten by zombies to stay with you behind the barricades. No good can come of that.

http://www.best-horror-movies.com/images/return-of-the-living-dead-2-head-bite-small.jpg

Adriane

The theme (musical) from Omega Man was composed by Ron Grainer who also did music for Dr. Who, The Avengers, and such. I love that soundtrack no matter how many plot holes the movie had.

For a complete multicultural experience though, check out Chinese jumping zombies ...
e.g.
http://www.trashvideo.org/zmdb/view/index.php?page=movie&id=323&type=movie&mode=Country&key=China&start=0

George

The zombie films in George A Romero's epic cycle contain a linking thread in its sympathetic portrayal of black characters - from the character tragically shot by troops in Night of the Living Dead to the zombie leader in Land of the Dead. This motif might be seen as a trademark feature of Romero as evidence of a playful authorial intent. Another motif, the developing consciousness of zombies - first materialised in the hare krishna zombie in Dawn of the Dead, further developed in the zombie Bud in Day of the Dead, and almost reaching full cognition in the zombie leader in Land of the Dead who manages to lead the zombies in a form of collective action through a series of grunts and other sub-vocal exhortations, reaffirms the sophisticated and sustained vision of this master auteur.

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