Hard to believe, but it was almost six weeks ago that I wrapped up my second annual Zombie Movie Marathon Month. At the time I promised a wrap-up report â€œsoon.â€ I guess I meant â€œin about six weeks.” For those unfamiliar, the ZMMM is my annual tradition of watching thirty zombie movies in thirty days, at the rate of one a night. It happens in June, and, as mentioned, this is year two. Why do I do this? Because I really, really like zombie movies. There are other benefits a well, but essentially thatâ€™s what it boils down to.
Watching that many movies in such close proximity is interesting. It was the first such marathon that transformed me from zombie enthusiast to zombie fanatic â€“ the existence of this website is essentially a direct result of that first marathon. This year, the results werenâ€™t quite as dramatic â€“ I couldnâ€™t be much more of a fan than I already am â€“ but it did refresh my love of the genre and put a solid dent in my ungodly pile of movies I need to watch.
I saw twenty-four new movies during the month, plus six I had seen before at some point. Almost half of them I watched with my teenage daughter, the rest I watched alone except for Lucio Fulciâ€™s Zombie, which I did as a public showing at a small bar/theater in town. The turnout was low, but those that made it appreciated the film â€“ except for my girlfriend, who was thoroughly unimpressed (she is not a zombie fan).
Some oddball themes appeared. Early on, turgid melodrama was everywhere. I Walked with a Zombie, Zombie Honeymoon, even Dead Set were predicated on sudsy, schlocky relationship drama, and several other movies had some elements of it, too (even no-brainer action-fest Resident Evil!). During my Italian and Japanese mini-marathons, sleaze made a strong showing â€“ and the Japanese are just as depraved as the Italians. One different thing, though â€“ the Japanese really like to cast women as the heroine, Italians just like to torture them.
I realized that Resident Evil was actually pretty decent, for a popcorn zombie movie â€“ compared to some of the dreck I sat through, it was fucking art (looking at you, Redneck Zombies and Hell of the Living Dead). Hell, watch enough zombie movies and simple competence at putting a movie together seems to be a rare gift. I added Shanks to my list of â€œtoo insane to be believedâ€ zombie movies. I realized I need to buy a region-free DVD player so I can own Dead Set, which is awesome. And I only fell asleep during a movie once, after drinking a lot before watching Tokyo Zombie (re-watched it the next night, it was awesome). There were some pleasant surprises, such as the clever mockumentary American Zombie, and some not-so-pleasant (you do not want to watch Attack Girls Swim Team vs. the Undead with your kids. Trust me.). I learned that planning (as I did this year) results in a much better experience than not planning (last year). I added about six movies to my collection and am looking to add at least two or three more, if they are ever released domestically. Would I do it again? Hell yeah, next year. Feel free to join me. After the break, see the full list of movies I watched.
The final film list for the second annual Zombie Movie Marathon Month!
Grapes of Death
I Walked with a Zombie
Children Shouldnâ€™t Play with Dead Things
Return of the Living Dead
The Walking Dead
Plan 9 From Outer Space
Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Hell of the Living Dead
Attack Girls Swim Team vs. The Undead
Enter Zombie King
Messiah of Evil