Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

Zombie Movie Marathon 5: Five things we’ve learned so far

Posted by Cory Casciato On October - 17 - 2012
Mindy Clarke is one sexy zombie

Return of the Living Dead 3

Yesterday marked the halfway point of the fifth annual Zombie Movie Marathon Month, so it seemed like a good time to check in. For those of you who haven’t been reading since last time, ZMMM is my annual month-long zombie-a-day film fest: one zombie movie a day, every day, for an entire month. For those who have been reading a while, you may be wondering why the hell this is happening now, rather than in June as it has in years past. My reasons are twofold:

1) My wife has long petitioned for me to move the marathon to a fall/winter month, arguing (rightly) that we have too much going on in summer — camping, travel, friends visiting — to give up time every day in June to watch a zombie movie. This might have been reason enough but then something came along to seal the deal…

2) We had a baby May 29, two days before I would have ostensibly started the marathon. Let me tell you, having a newborn in the house makes it pretty hard to get something like this done. It’s been hard enough now, and she’s almost five month old! Bottom line is, June was out, so October is in! And let’s face it, October is a more fitting month anyway.

Okay, on to this year!

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Best of TIZA … so far

Posted by Cory Casciato On September - 1 - 2010

Kind of hard to believe, but the site’s been around for just a touch more than eighteen months now. In that time, I’ve amassed more than 600 posts and almost a thousand comments on said posts (thanks for the feedback!), all of which means, if you’re new, or don’t visit the site on a regular basis, you might have missed some cool stuff. And the last thing I would want is for you to miss some cool stuff, especially if it was cool stuff I wrote, so I’ve gone back and compiled a list of the top ten posts on the site since its humble beginnings in February 2009. Without further ado, here are those posts…

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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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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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List: Worst Zombie Movies

Posted by Cory Casciato On November - 11 - 2009

worst

Among the nearly 200 zombie movies I have seen, there have been some truly atrocious films. Not just bad mind you — in a genre so filled with amateurish, low-and-no-budget entries, bad is commonplace. No, we are talking about the truly, spectacularly terrible — movies that are difficult, painful or even brain damaging to sit through. Which I have done, because when it comes to zombies, I watch them all from the opening credits to the end credits, no matter how much it hurts. And some of these hurt bad. So to save you the trouble — or to provide the masochists with fodder for their self-abuse — I present these, the ten worst zombie movies I have had the misfortune to sit through. I don’t necessarily claim these are the worst of all time, just the worst I have seen. God forbid that there are actually worse, but in all honesty, there probably are. And I’ll get around to watching those eventually, too…

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List: Most Wanted Zombie Directors

Posted by Cory Casciato On September - 30 - 2009
Mr. Director? The zombies are ready for their closeup

Mr. Director? The zombies are ready for their closeup

Romero. Fulci. Jackson. O’Bannon. Wright. These are all hallowed names among zombie directors, and fine directors in their own right. But despite loving the zombie above and beyond all other film genres, I do watch other kinds of movies. And while I watch them, sometimes I can’t help but notice, “Damn, this director is great.” And then, loving the zombie the way I do, I can’t help but think, “What if these guys made a zombie movie? “ I’m talking about people who have never made a zombie movie – not people who should make another (that’s another list…) Here’s my list of the top ten directors I’d like to see shoot the zombie – with a camera that is. When the apocalypse comes, we’ll all be shooting the bastards in the traditional, bullet-y way. (Photo above by flickr user lebovox; original photo here.)

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Film Club Special: Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror

Posted by Cory Casciato On July - 6 - 2009

BurialGround-filmclubWhen I heard that the Final Girl Film Club was doing Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror my heart filled with joy. I reviewed this movie as one of the first half-dozen posts on the site, then just last month, added thoughts in a reaction piece when I watched it as part of my second annual Zombie Movie Marathon Month. So for Final Girl, I had to do something different, something more — so you get this, a few of my favorite things about the utterly insane Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror.

  1. Plot? What plot? – There is essentially no plot in this movie. I guess technically it has a plot: Three couples and one fucked-up kid (see item 10) go visit an old coot for unspecified reasons, right after the old coot has unleashed some zombies, also for unspecified reasons. Mayhem ensues. That’s it. This is a good thing. Plot would only distract from the insanity.
  2. Gratuitous nudity – What’s an Italian zombie movie without gratuitous nudity? In this movie, the women all get naked within the first ten minutes. That helps clear up what kind of movie we’re watching, right away, in case there was any question.
  3. Bizarre soundtrack – The soundtrack is part lite-jazz stock music and part drug-fueled mindfuck on the dark side of the moon. I’d be willing to bet money the composer just got as high as he possibly could, fired up a borrowed synthesizer, hit “record” on the tape deck and started twisting knobs and hitting keys more or less at random. Clearly he was going for something like the Goblin score of Dawn of the Dead; just as clearly, he was far too incompetent to even approach such a thing. The results are strangely fitting to the rest of the movie, however.
  4. Random bear trap – In one scene, a couple is running from zombies. The woman steps into a bear trap that seems to just be set out for no damn reason. Are there a lot of wild bears in the Italian countryside? No one seems perturbed by the fact that a bear trap was just casually placed on the path of this country estate, right where you might step in it while running from zombies.
  5. Smart zombies – The zombies are smart enough to use weapons (pitchforks, scythes, other farming-implement type stuff mostly) and work together to use a battering ram to get at the tasty meats (i.e. our protagonists) barricaded inside the country estate. Later, they dress up as monks to lure the survivors into a trap. Oh, you wily zombies! Overall, they show themselves to be significantly smarter than anyone else in the movie.
  6. Stupid, yet incredibly dedicated staff – On the contrary, the staff seem quite stupid and preternaturally dedicated. Even once the hardcore dying begins, they still follow orders promptly, even when those orders put them directly in harm’s way. Why can’t you find help like that any more? Oh yeah, they all died off in situations like these, or they were so stupid they set themselves on fire cooking.
  7. The maid’s death scene – Speaking of those staff, the maid’s death scene is an all-time favorite. While she is trying to close the shutters, a zombie throws a spike at her and pins her wrist to the wall with it. While she struggles against this cruel fate, another zombie reaches up with a scythe and beheads her. Ah, cruel fate.
  8. Leslie’s death scene – My second favorite death is Leslie, who suffers the unfortunate fate of serving as the Fulci “eye-gouge” knock-off of the film. Okay, technically it’s a glass shard that goes into her temple, not a wood splinter in her eye, but I am pretty certain this had to do with the effects budget, not any attempt at originality, because every other element of this scene seems directly lifted from the splinter-in-the-eye setpiece in Fulci’s Zombie.
  9. Toasty Stuntman – They set a guy on fire by accident during the filming, but the director insisted they keep filming while the guy screamed for help because it was too good of an opportunity to miss. You only learn this by watching the special features, but if there were any doubt that this movie is insane from top to bottom, that should clear it up.
  10. Peter Bark as Michael, the creepiest “kid” ever – Hollywood and Japan love the creepy kids, but they don’t know creepy like the Italians know creepy. You want a creepy kid? Cast a 26-year-old dwarf in a bad hairpiece as the kid, dub his lines in a weird, affected voice, then give him an incest subplot where he lusts after his mother. And gets to third base with her, before he becomes a zombie and kills her by biting off her nipple. That’s fucking creepy. Why didn’t this guy appear in more movies? Or why I haven’t I seen them, anyway?

That’s it, my ten favorite things about Burial Ground. If you can read that list and not need to see this movie immediately, you are a far, far better person than I — or at least a far more balanced person.

You can access the Final Girl film club entries on this fine movie here.

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