Archive for the ‘Featured Posts’ Category

List: Top 10 zombie tots

Posted by Cory Casciato On March - 31 - 2010

There is nothing creepier than a zombie kid. Humans are wired to feel protective toward the little ones, and when you subvert that by making the little bastards into flesh-hungry freaks, it’s just extra unsettling. Similarly, twist it a little more and it becomes funny, maybe even a little cute again — but still fucking creepy. Considering the prevalence of undead tykes in the zombie film mythos, it’s obviously a favorite trope of filmmakers everywhere. It’s also a favorite of mine, perhaps paradoxically since I am a parent, or maybe that’s why I love them so much. Here are ten of my favorite zombie tots from the movies. May you never wake up and have one of them looming over your bed.
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List: Old-school zombies

Posted by Cory Casciato On March - 24 - 2010

These days, the Romero-inspired vision of flesh-eating zombies is so ingrained as the de facto blueprint for the living dead that it’s hard to remember that anything of substance came before. Yet before he came along and changed the game forever with the now-classic 1968 feature Night of the Living Dead, zombies already had a rich, 35+ year history at the movies. Admittedly, most of those films were, to put it mildly, forgettable. There are a few worthwhile films to be found in the first three and half decades of zombiedom, though. Here’s a guide to five of them that are worth the time to track down, in order from least worthwhile to most.

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List: 5 almost (or barely) zombie movies

Posted by Cory Casciato On March - 17 - 2010

Is this a zombie movie?

I saw The Crazies this weekend. I liked it pretty well. It wasn’t a zombie movie. It did contain some very zombie-movie like themes and ideas, and the infected were somewhat zombie-like, but it wasn’t a zombie movie. Director Breck Eisner does a good job of explaining why in this interview. Here’s the key point, for my money:

They don’t lose their personalities and persona completely. It just lets loose this monster within and it does it differently with each person. That’s what makes it different from a zombie movie.

Now, arguably the same could be said about certain Romero works, especially Day of the Dead and Land of the Dead, but even in those movies, the creatures were zombie first (eat the flesh of the living above all else), remaining persona second. The Crazies had some of its infected do nothing more than just mill about aimlessly, while others actively sought revenge on those they perceived to have wronged them. Some worked as a team, some drove cars — does that sound very zombie-like to you? Compare that to other “infected” movies that, to me at least, are zombie movies, such as 28 Days Later. The infected in 28DL act like zombies — they seek out and attack the uninfected. They have lost all vestige of their previous personality, mind or soul. They can’t open a door, much less drive a car or operate a firearm. That’s a zombie.

Time will tell whether Eisner’s The Crazies is considered a zombie movie or not, despite his explanations and intentions. Ultimately, it’s the film’s audience and history that decides how a film is classified (never forget, Romero never considered his creatures zombies until audiences classified them as such and he went with it!). And that definition can be fairly arbitrary. For reference, here’s a look at five movies that utilize zombie-like ideas and creatures, yet alter the zombie mythos in fundamental ways. Some are considered zombie films, some are not.

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List: Top 10 upcoming in 2010

Posted by Cory Casciato On March - 10 - 2010

2009 was a great year for zombie fans, with releases like Pontypool, Dead Snow and Zombieland at the movies, Left 4 Dead 2 in games and lots of other great stuff. 2010 has the potential to be even better. To get you up to speed on the year to come, I’ve compiled a list of ten of the most exciting zombie projects I expect to see in the coming year. Note that I only included things that I think have a solid chance of being released in 2010, so things like Zombieland 2 or The 4th Reich haven’t been included, as cool as they might be. Without further ado, I present my top ten picks for cool zombie shit coming in 2010. Make sure ot vote in the poll or leave me a comment with your thoughts!

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Welcome to the zombie renaissance

Posted by Cory Casciato On March - 3 - 2010
Photo by S.A. Young

It doesn’t get any better than this

There’s never been a better time for zombies — or, more to the point, for fans of zombies.

Everywhere you look, the zombie is making its mark. Not only do fans have a deep and varied back catalogue of great works to choose from, most of it easily available to anyone with the interest and a decent Internet connection, but the walking dead are the subject of of some of the best books, movies, video games and Internet sites being made. We are, at this very moment, living in the midst of the zombie renaissance.

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Feature: Zombie drama podcast We’re Alive

Posted by Cory Casciato On February - 24 - 2010

Zombie are well represented in nearly every medium, from film to the written word, comics to video games, and now, in the case of We’re Alive, there’s even an excellent zombie audio drama.

“When I was growing up, even as soon as kindergarten or first grade, I listened to old-time radio shows,” admits series co-creator Shane Salk. “When I was around first grade an uncle of mine sent me cassettes of Gunsmoke. I loved them so much that got more and more of them. There’s a place for this again. Everyone drives around, they all have iPods and whatever.”
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Zombie apocalypse dream team

Posted by Cory Casciato On February - 17 - 2010

I’ve decided to ask a few of my favorite horror bloggers and friends from the online community to share some of their zombie expertise with the site. The first guy I thought of was Jay Clarke, of the excellent blog The Horror Section. Over there, Jay blogs about everything from VHS box covers to the latest releases to horror games. He’s an excellent writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of horror. And he loves zombies, maybe almost as much as I do. He’s contributed a dream-team list of half a dozen zombie-killing badasses he’d want to team up with in case of apocalypse, and it is a fine list. Not all the heroes in the group above made it, obviously — you’ll have to click through to read who did, and why. Without further ado, here’s Jay.

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Undead Confusion: Zombie? Ghost? Both?

Posted by Cory Casciato On February - 10 - 2010

Ghost zombies? Zombie ghosts? It's all very confusing...

Zombie or ghost: It should be simple. If it has a body, it’s a zombie. If it doesn’t, it’s a ghost. Or to put it another way, a soulless, living dead body is a zombie, while a disembodied spirit is a ghost. But no, filmmakers have to go and make it all confusing and ambiguous — usually in terrible, terrible films.

I can’t say for sure that’s a result of mixing/confusing the two very different undead creatures, but I will say this: chances are good if you don’t know quite what kind of movie you are making, it is going to suck. And if you aren’t really sure what kind of creature your movie features, then almost by definition you aren’t real sure what kind of movie you’re making, right? Here’s a look at a few of the movies that blur the line, in an effort to sort out whether we’re looking at a ghost-like zombie, a zombie-like ghost or some genuine hybrid.

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My favorite zombie things

Posted by Cory Casciato On February - 4 - 2010

Today is the one-year anniversary of the site! So, to celebrate, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite zombie things — the stuff that I use, look at or think about every single day. I’m not going to cover my favorite movies, books or games here — those are amply covered in other posts and each of those categories is probably deserving of its own dedicated list. These are the other things — the little zombie accoutrements, ephemera and oddities that make every day in the Casciato household a zombie day. And consequently, many of the things that make my fiancée a little crazy (she does not love zombies).
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Review: Evil

Posted by Cory Casciato On January - 7 - 2010

It’s not often you see a movie that is both better and worse than you expect it to be, but that is exactly what happened with the Greek zombie apocalypse movie Evil, known  as To Kako in its original language. The little I’d heard about it suggested it was a pretty mediocre, run-of-the-mill low-budget foreign knockoff. The truth is the majority of it never rose to the level of mediocre, but the best bits were pretty goddamn awesome.

Let’s start with the cookie-cutter story. The premise is three workers uncover ancient evil in a cave, lose time, return home confused and then turn into ravenous zombies a few hours later, much to the dismay of their families, dates and friends. That is, by far, the most original part of the movie. The rest of the plot follows the usual group of survivors thrown together by circumstance as their personalities clash and zombies run rampant, until the ambiguous but ominous ending. Sound familiar? If you’re reading this, of course it does.

There are a few other problems. The leads lack charisma. They can’t act. The wisecracking funny guy is not funny. The insane soldier, easily the best character, comes in late then disappears for most of the movie. The writing is terrible and the translation is crap. The directors strangely chose to use a lot of gimmicks, including an unforgivable amount of split screen shots. The zombies act inconsistently. They are totally mindless one second, then sneaking up on people and pausing for dramatic effect the next. A lot of terrible CGI is used in the backgrounds.  It’s shot on video and it looks and sounds like crap.

That’s the “worse” part. What redeems the film is the completely over-the-top and utterly ridiculous gore and violence. It’s just a step below something like Dead Alive in both quality and quantity. In essence, anytime the zombies catch up to the survivors, it’s wacky time. Limbs are severed — and then used as bludgeons. Zombies get sliced, diced and cut in half, heads are squashed, blood spurts by the gallon and a good time is had by all.

During these numerous and zany action sequences, the leads magically transform from hapless city folk to something like urban ninjas. They bust out some sweet martial arts moves, throw knives like professionals, jump over shit, punch through zombies’ heads, etc. Suspension of disbelief is out of the question, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. It’s also worth noting that the movie moves at a brisk pace, with very few dull or slow spots.

Despite the movie’s issues, these elements make it hard to not enjoy it. Sure, it would be a lot better if it wasn’t laboring under the weight of terrible acting, gimmicky direction and editing, poor writing, half-assed subtitles and ridiculous CGI. It would be a better movie if it didn’t play like a rip-off of 28 Days Later spiced up with the mood of Dead Alive. All true. But being what it is, it deserves a spot alongside other such ridiculous, shoddy trash gems such as Nightmare City and Burial Ground in the “so off it’s on” category. Go in expecting to very little but a few laughs and WTF? moments and you won’t be disappointed.

Evil/Greece/2005

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