View Full Version : Zombie Films: Only When We Need Them

02-19-2005, 10:42 PM
Okay, theres some social comentary in this thread, a comparision between the war and GAR but this is slightly different.

I was reading a good long article in the paper about zombies and there was some mention about the dormancy of zombies. Come to think of it, zombie movies have really only shown up during great times of war/depression or when there question about society being on the brink. Would you agree with this assumption? Do zombies movie's come around when we as people and a world need them? The '90s were a generally a good decade(I quote the paper on this) and we went away with zombies.

Your thoughts, opinions and feedback? I'll gladly scan the article if need be.

02-19-2005, 10:48 PM
I really have no idea. I saw my first zombie movie last fall.

02-20-2005, 07:09 AM
That is an interesting article, I've never really thought about the wide ranging correlation to be honest. I realized the significance of what was going on in the world (the Vietnam War was roaring about the headlines) when Night of the Living Dead was released.

The themes zombie movies (especially Romero's) often portray is that humanity is doomed. And in most cases it's not because the force of the threat is too great, it's because of our humanity- our failure to look past the minor differences and work together as one entity. War being a prime example of this notion. That’s why I find Day of the Dead so depressing to watch, the zombies now outnumber the human in great numbers- there is very little hope. Frankenstein scoffs at Rhodes remarks of “blowing the piss out of them”. It’s simply too late for that. If they worked together in the beginning the threat would have been subsided-eliminated. Because of their failure the situation turned into a ‘Chernobyl’.
Our protagonist at the end seek refugee on an isolated island, they are all alone. Sarah marks the days of the calendar for reference. An explanation on why she does this- maybe for her sanity, but I tend to think of it as a new beginning, a new start for society. We went so far as a society and then it crumbed around us due to our failure to collectively come together.

Alright, I'm sorry to ramble on a bit off topic but I think that all relates to the aftermath of war and its unseen consequences.

I would tend to lean on agreeing with the article. Sure zombie movies didn’t disappear off the map completely on times of relative peace- they were just lesser known/popular. Overall, I think it's because of the mood and atmosphere of world events attract an audience. The thoughts of war and destruction are ever present in people's minds. In the past few years people have been glued to CNN waiting to hear the next terrorist threat (that idiotic Color-Code system by Tom Ridge). Early in the aftermath of 9/11 talks of the end and how God forsaken us was rampant. With apocalyptic themes of war and terror, I believe that feeds an audience. This is probably one of the main reasons why I highly anticipate Romero’s Land of the Dead like many others. Now instead of looking back and comparing what was going on back in that day (dawn of the dead, day of the dead)- I can watch LOTD at the theater and relate it to present day events, things I’ve experienced and learned in my lifetime.

So where did you find the article, Chris? Your local paper? Wish I could pull out things like this in my local paper. No love for horror fans in my parts I suppose.

02-20-2005, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by Michaeleon
So where did you find the article, Chris? Your local paper? Wish I could pull out things like this in my local paper. No love for horror fans in my parts I suppose.

It was in the Orange County Register, from last April 5th. I just happened to have a nack for saving articles I find good and interesting. Sorry, its not readable but you can see it was a nice article with a timeline and pictures. It was a very nice read.



Rabbit in Red
02-25-2005, 08:43 PM
I do see the Civil Unrest/ Zombie craze connection, but I would say more so Civil Unrest/ Romero craze. There are only a handfull (if that) of other zombie movies that serve some sort of commentary or present some issue.
Vietnam-Night '68
Cold War Build-up-Day
Women's Respect-Night '90

Donnie Darko
02-25-2005, 09:29 PM
i can see where someone would think that. ive never really put it into so little words myself but it seems feasible.
its kind of interesting actually.

02-26-2005, 01:09 PM
since cinema was born world is always on war (from WW 1914-1918 to the war in Iraq)so everytime is the right time for a zombie movie

03-02-2005, 07:37 PM
I wish I could read that article...you got a better scan or anything there Boogey?

As for the topic at hand...I might have to think about it a bit, and get back to you on it....maybe after I read that article. ;)

wink wink....wink

03-02-2005, 07:41 PM
Originally posted by Chomp_on_this
I wish I could read that article...you got a better scan or anything there Boogey?

As for the topic at hand...I might have to think about it a bit, and get back to you on it....maybe after I read that article. ;)

wink wink....wink

I'll type it up for you, and my name is Chris, what is yours? :)

03-02-2005, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by boogeyman87
I'll type it up for you, and my name is Chris, what is yours? :)

Alright cool deal Chris. Thanks.

My name would be Brian.

03-05-2005, 07:35 PM
So here is the article finally. It kind of goes into a story of a man and his early zombie movies, so I apologize if its not what you wanted to read. I included the timeline as well, so get to reading. :)

"The vampire gets the fine threads, the castle on the hill, and lets face it, he’s a lover and a biter as he sinks teeth into neck. The werewolf gets a full head of hair and the chance to wrestle his inner beast by the light of the full moon. So pity the poor zombie, all raggedy clothes and rotted flesh. In a popularity contest with the B-movie matinee monsters, he’s lucky to beat the mummy. “I think zombies have always gotten the shaft, when you put them up against vampires and werewolves- even mummies,” moans Dead Kev- whose parents call him Kevin Sproles - founder of www.allthingszombie.com. “But they’re every bit as scary as those other movie monsters,” says Sproles, 27, a data-entry technician from Columbia, S.C. “And ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ the new remake, has made them even scarier.”

Hold onto your brains, foolish mortals, because zombies are back - and they’re bigger and badder than before. The new “Dawn” knocked Jesus and Mel Gibson out of the top spot at the box office when it opened two weeks ago, earning a lively $50 million since then. And “Dawn” is just the first wave in a zombie renaissance - movies, books, comics and video games- pumping new life into the undead this year. So what’s made the undead the hot horror again? It seems we might be a wee bit nervous - OK, a lot worried - about the times in which we’re living, some zombie experts believe. “I suspect the appeal of zombie movies has to do with a sense of post-apocalyptic nightmares,” says Max Brooks, author of “The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.”

“The last time zombie movies were really popular was the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and that was a time when there really was a sense that society was on the brink,” Brooks says. “The ‘90s were pretty good times, we went away from zombies. That’s the appeal of zombies - that if we don’t solve the problem, it will multiply and multiply and destroy the Earth.” TV newsman: “Are they slow-moving?” Small-town police chief: “Yeah, they’re dead. They’re…all messed up.” - “Night of the Living Dead,” 1968. We’ve always had legends of the undead to scare us, their corpses rising to roam the Earth. The old-school zombie springs from legends of voodoo, the African religion transplanted to the Caribbean by slaves, still practiced today. And in the early days of zombie culture, in movies like “White Zombie” from 1932, filmmakers pretty much stuck to the basic lore: evil Haitian plantation owner Bela Lugosi makes zombies to work in his mill, and then uses his evil powers to turn a beautiful bride-to-be into a zombie, too.

But a new wave of zombies arrived in 1968 with the release of George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead.” Now, instead of just the odd voodoo practitioner, the undead could be created in other ways- here, a radioactive satellite, returning from a mission to Venus- and they might roam anywhere on their flesh-eating missions. Even scarier, now they were no longer strangers. “ The zombies are us,” says Anthony Timpone, editor of the horror magazine Fangoria. “They’re the people next door; they’re our loved ones. One minute they’re normal, the next they’re these hideous monsters,” he says. “And just the thought of being eaten alive is really scary on gut level, if you’ll pardon the pun.” “Night of the Living Dead” set the standard for the scores of zombie movies to come. The dead are reanimated- usually by radiation or a virus, thereby playing into real world fears- and then hunt down the living, multiplying their numbers with each kill.

“So many movies have the virus aspect to it, a contagion of sorts, that spreads very quickly,” Sproles says. “And there’s an apocalyptic feel to them- its not just one vampire, one werewolf; you’ve got tons and tons of them.” For Romero, director “Night of the Living Dead” and the original “Dawn of the Dead” from 1978, zombies offered a chance to slip social commentary or satire- everything from civil rights to consumerism- into his stories. Its hard to miss the point when the black hero of “Night of the Living Dead” is shot by a redneck with a rifle who mistakes him for a zombie. Its equally hard to miss the meaning in “Dawn of the Dead” of the zombies shuffling aimlessly through a mall, shopping for humans. “There was a lot going on,” Timpone says. “The filmmakers were children of the ‘60s who had a lot on their minds, and I think they wanted to have the audience do a little thinking at the same time.”

TV news producer: “ What the hell are they?” SWAT officer: “They’re us, that’s all…Granddad was a voodoo priest in Trinidad. He used to tell us, ‘When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth.’” -”Dawn of the Dead,” 1978. Like fashion and music, horror trends move in cycles. And so the zombies of the ‘70s gave way to the madman slashers( Jason, Freddy, c’mon down!) of the early ‘80s. The early ‘90s saw filmmakers revisit the basics with big budgets (Robert De Niro as “Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula.”) Then as the millennium neared, the self-parodying “Scream” and “Scary Movie” franchises took over. But like a bad dream, the zombie flicks never left us, staying alive at the drive-in and on late-night cable. That’s partly because its easy to make a zombie flick. “Sometimes it seems like any guy who’s got a camcorder can go out in his backyard and shoot a zombie movie,” Timpone says.

Sometimes it works- you can make a case that Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” was the “Blair Witch Project” of its day- but more often, the road to Blockbuster is paved with no-budget zombie flicks that went straight to video. Yet its not a bad way to make your break into filmmaking, says Thom Eberhardt, an Emmy-winning writer and director who made his 1982 debut with what must be the best bad zombie movie shot in Orange County. “It was a complete Ed Wood adventure,” Eberhardt says, laughing as he compares his movie “Sole Survivor” to those of the infamously bad directors of movies such as “Plane 9 From Outer Space.” More than 20 years later though, he can laugh, because the disaster of the experience makes a better story than the movie did.

Eberhardt- who later directed much bigger movies such as “Without a Clue” and “Captain Ron”- was a documentary filmmaker at KOCETV in the early ‘80s when he and two other filmmakers at the public television station decided to try their hand at feature. “I sat down and wrote two zombie movies, ‘Sole Survivor’ and ‘Teenage Comet Zombies,’ ” Eberhardt says. “I figured nobody was going to give us any money for some artsy -fartsy movie, and … I wanted to do a drive-in movie.” But their money came with strings attach that ultimately unraveled the project. In a nutshell, a local furniture manufacturer offered $250,000 to make the movie on condition that his acting student wife- who “couldn’t act worth beans”- have a decent role in it, Eberhardt said. “I thought, we’ll put her in and then cut her out, “ he said. “But when he saw that his wife’s role had been diminished, I came in the next Monday and found my key didn’t fit the editing room door. “I shudder now, but at the time, I begged to my job back, telling them, “This is going to be the best zombie movie ever.’ They said, OK, but every single frame of the wife has to be restored.”

The entire shoot went about that well, Eberhardt said. To shoot in a hospital , the crew offered to donate blood in lieu of shooting fees, a plan that producer Don Barkemeyer -then at KOCE, later an Orange County public defender - talked him out of, Eberhardt said. To shoot a scene of blood-splattered actress Anita Skinner driving through Santa Ana at night, the crew tied cinematographer Russell Carpenter- another KOCE crew, later an Oscar winner for “Titanic”- to the hood of the car, a football helmet on his head in case he fell off. “We had no shooting permits, no block off of traffic, nothing,” Eberhardt said. “It’s about 1 a.m. … in Santa Ana and here comes this car down 17th Street, with this guy lashed to the hood and this girl splattered with blood behind the wheel.” By the time “Sole Survivor” made its brief theatrical run, Eberhardt was at work on the much more successful “Night of the Comet,” the new name for his “ Teenage Comet Zombies” script.

03-05-2005, 07:38 PM
Because of the way he’d lost control of his movie to the furniture baron, he decided not to see it. “Except that I couldn’t resist,” he recalled. “It was at the Hi-way 39 drive-in on Beach Boulevard in Westminster, and my wife and I got in the car and cruised around real slow. “I’d see a part I’d recognize and then we’d cruise around again.” Cop: “ Is everyone there dead?” Smart-aleck man: “ Deadish.” Cop: “ Is everyone there dead?” Smart-aleck man: “ Yeah, in the sense that they all sort of fell down, and then got up, and they’re eating each other.”- “Dawn of the Dead,” 2004. The zombies of the new “Dawn” ride the crest of a zombie wave that surfaced last year with the zombie-virus flick “28 Days Later.” Their shared secret for success? Turbocharged zombies. “Now the living dead were affricated fiends who ran, jumped, leaped and attacked without mercy,” Timpone said.

Zombies also have their fingers on the pulse of other forms of entertainment, too. The newest edition of the “Resident Evil” video game was released Thursday, and this one- “Resident Evil Outbreak”- is the first to let gamers team up online to fight the zombies together. A second movie on the game- “Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse”- is set for release in October. Other coming horror flicks with hot buzz in zombie circles include the British import “Shaun of the Dead,” billed as “a romantic comedy with zombies”; the Australian alien-zombie mix “ Undead”; and the tongue-in-rotted-cheek “Dead and Breakfast.” Horror artist Steve Niles has several new comics- an adaptation of “Dawn of the Dead” and a new series, “Remains”- coming out this year. And come May, you can even buy the incidental music for the original “Dawn”- basically the canned music that played in the mall as the zombies shuffled around. Brooks is working on the screenplay for his “Zombie Survival Guide” and also lecturing on survival tactics.

“When I started writing the book, zombies weren’t a hot at all,” said Brooks, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer and the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. “What got me started was Y2K and all the survival guides that were coming out. I thought, I’m not scared of this, I’m scared of zombies- where’s my survival guide?” His book- and his lectures- are deadpan affairs. His advice, he swears, would really help you survive a zombie outbreak, if, you know, zombies are really real. “We do a question-and-answer period after the lecture and all the questioners are dead serious,” he said. “Like, ‘if I’m bitten but I cut off my arm, will I not get the zombie virus?’ “And I do get letters from fans who say they’ve actually seen them- so who knows, maybe I’m right and there are zombies.”

A Zombie Timeline

.1929: Author W.B. Seabrook spreads the zombie legend with his book “The Magic Island,” an account of his visit to Haiti. Chapter titles include “Dead Men Working in the Cane Fields,”
.1932: The first zombie movie, “White Zombie,” is released, staring Bela Lugosi as an evil Haitian plantation owner who uses voodoo to make zombie slaves, including the beautiful young woman of the title. It establishes two themes- racial and gender control- of many early zombie stories.
.1943: With “Revenge of the Zombies,” moviemakers move away from the voodoo zombies and make the undead a manifestation of the public fears of the day. One of many made during World War II to feature evil Nazi scientists as creators of Nazi zombie fighters.
.1959: The Atomic Age established new paranoia’s - nuclear annihilation and invaders from outer space- and zombie movies picked those up too. “Invisible Invaders,” released this year, has invisible space aliens possessing the bodies of the recently departed.
.1968: Among the many changes in zombie lore created by “Night of the Living Dead” is this: instead of an evil mastermind controlling armies of zombies, now they are random, chaotic flesh eaters.
.1970s: Zombie movies explode post- “Night of the Living Dead,” with the Italian and Spanish horror industry cranking out scores of low-budget movies later dubbed into English. Most stink like the undead they portray.
.1978: “Dawn of the Dead” is the next big mainstream zombie hit, partly by its introduction of humor into horror.
.1992: Two things you may not know about “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson. First, he directed “Brain-dead,” aka “Dead Alive,” released this year and notorious as one of the goriest and funniest zombie movies ever. And second, his birthday is Halloween, which probably explains a lot.
.1996: “Resident Evil,” a zombie video game, is on Sony Playstation. it’s a hit and spawns five sequels- so far- and two films.
.1998: Yikes! Make “Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island” the first zombie movie your kids see.
.2001: “The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia” by Pennsylvania State University professor Peter Dendle is published, with reviews of nearly 200 zombie movies.
.2003: “28 Days later” has the zombies off and running…
.2004: …and the new take on “Dawn of the Dead” pumps even more life into the zombie genre, as other higher-end zombie flicks line up to invade your local cinema.

zombie commando
04-13-2005, 06:50 AM
Movies of fantasy are always more popular during times of war, and conflict. It gives people an escape from reality. Zombie movies deal with reality in sort of a tongue in cheek manner. They expose the guts of certain issues that sort of dulls the knife if you will for the people dealing with those certain issues.