Thursday, November 26, 2009


Once again, it has been a while since we've had zombie club.  But, just because we haven't officially met for a while doesn't mean I have to stop watching zombie movies.
I have been looking forward to this one for a while.  A considerable buzz has been building for this movie ever since it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.  These two things always came up when this movie was reviewed:
1. The movie was told from the perspective of a zombie.
2. It was made for $70.

It's difficult not to mention those things, so let's get them out of the way.  The movie follows a single zombie (Colin).  We see him become a zombie, and we follow his shambling zombie self through zombie-infested London.  Where most zombie movies follow the survivors, this one follows a single zombie, trying to navigate through these strange streets that he once knew so well.  On his journey, he encounters a number of stereotypes in the zombie movie genre: the twisted survivor with a dark secret, a band of zombie hunters, the family member who wanted to try to save him (and the family member who wanted to kill him), people running and fighting for their lives, and some who have accepted their fates.  The only difference is that we're seeing it from the other side.  We know Colin, and now we're following him as a zombie.  These zombie hunters appear to be terrible people in this movie...but put them in a Romero movie and they look like heroes.
I can't say that I was necessarily cheering for Colin, but I did feel a certain attachment to him.  This isn't a faceless zombie, hell-bent on eating human flesh.  This is Colin, a victim of circumstance.  We see what he sees.  He eats human flesh, not because he's a demon, but because he has no other choice.  It is now in his nature.  Furthermore, it shows what we could become.  If Colin - a nice guy with a good life - could become a zombie, so can we.  It wasn't his choice, just like it wouldn't be ours.
Throughout the movie, we see Colin recognize different objects and places from his "past life".  This was reminiscent of Day of the Dead, when Bub was able to remember things from his living days.  It didn't seem to apply to everything (he didn't recognize his sister or mother at all), but it did occur from time to time.

The movie was made for $70, which is pretty impressive.  Sure, you can tell that it did not take a lot of money to make this movie.  Still, for how much it costs, it looks pretty good.  The lighting is a bit off, and there are times when the sound left something to be desired, but, for the most part, they did a great job.  The zombies looked pretty good, and there were some pretty terrific looking death scenes.  The acting was pretty good, too.  All in all, they did great with what they had.

Overall, I really liked the movie.  There were times when it seemed like it was running a bit long, and there were long periods where not much happened.  But the goal of this movie was not to be action-packed; the goal of this movie was to see zombies from a different angle...for us to identify with zombies in a way that we may not have been able to before.  The filmmaker (Marc Price) was building a mood throughout the movie...even in those times when it seemed like nothing was happening.  Those times further helped us to bond with see the world through his eyes.  By the end of the movie, I didn't mind those slow moments.
Loved the ending.  I don't want to give anything away, but it was somehow sweet and heartbreaking.

I highly recommend this movie...but know what it is going in.  It's a zombie movie, but it's not your standard zombie movie.  You can also tell that it was made on a low budget, but that's easy enough to get past.  Once you get caught up in the story, you won't really care what the budget was.

Watch this trailer and check out the website


Sunday, September 6, 2009


This was the first Zombie Club which we consulted The Book. We were not having the best of luck with zombie movies, so we decided to try it out. I tracked down a number of highly rated movies. When it came time to decide on a movie, we chose Fido. Take a look at that's just asking to be watched.
Fido starts with this instructional video:

Here's the set-up: the earth passed through a radioactive cloud, leading to the entire population being infected with a virus. What kind of virus? Why, a virus that will reanimate the dead, of course!
A zombie war broke out, and nearly wiped out the world. The living finally beat back the undead (although all zombies were not wiped out). ZomCom was formed, and fences were built to hold the zombies out of areas where humans were living, leaving large portions of the world where zombies roamed free.
ZomCom found a way to use these zombies for the good of mankind. They developed a collar to put on zombies. Through this, the zombie could be controlled, and could be used for household tasks. A family purchases a zombie through ZomCom, that zombie is outfitted with a collar, sent to the family, and provides them with any number of household services.

Lawn mowing, for instance

It is with this that the movie begins. It is set in the 50s, which gives the movie a great look and feel to it.
The story follows the Robinson family; Bill (father), Helen (mother) and Timmy (son). Bill is a distant and disconnected husband and father, preferring to spend his time golfing rather than spending time with his family. Every Sunday, he takes his family on a "Sunday drive", where they go to the funerals of strangers. Bill takes pictures, while Helen and Timmy stand around awkwardly. As near as I can tell, this is the only thing Bill enjoys doing with his family.
Helen doesn't seem to enjoy Bill, and takes every opportunity to push his buttons, at one point proclaiming, "Bill, get your own funeral. Timmy and I are going zombie."
Timmy is a young, scrawny boy who is often picked on in class (especially by two brothers who believe themselves to be zombie hunters). He has no friends.
The Robinson's get a zombie because Helen doesn't want them to be the only family on the block without one. Also, the new neighbor is the new head of security at ZomCom, and they need to impress him.
At first, Timmy doesn't like their zombie. But, after the zombie protects him from the school bullies, Timmy takes a liking to him, and names him Fido. Fido quickly becomes Timmy's best friend.

Fido's collar stops working for a short period, and he bites Timmy's neighbor, an old woman that Timmy never really cared for. She bites someone else, and a small zombie outbreak occurs. Timmy kills the old woman and buries her, hoping that he or Fido will not be implicated.
Timmy goes to his neighbor, Mr. Theopolis (played by the great Tim Blake Nelson), a former ZomCom employee, who is able to fix Fido's collar. Fido goes back to being a docile zombie, and he and Timmy continue their friendship. Even Helen begins to like Fido.

I don't want to give away too much of the movie, so I'll stop with the plot rundown here.

For a zombie movie, it is extremely lighthearted, and it borrows heavily from Lassie (even including a scene where Fido shows up alone in the house while Helen asks him, "Where's Timmy, boy? Is he hurt?").
There really isn't much gore, but that's not really what the movie was going for. It's a good story with likable characters, good dialogue, and a fantastic look. Overall, it was a very enjoyable movie. Extremely well done, and highly recommended.

Zombie movie have served us well. Let's hope this continues.

Here's the trailer:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tombs of the Blind Dead

About a month ago, we had a meeting of Zombie Club. It had been a while, but, since Cris was in the process of moving, we didn't have access to any of his zombie movies. That left us scrounging around for a movie at the last minute. We settled on Tombs of the Blind Dead, which I had picked up a couple of years ago on the recommendation of a zombie-loving coworker.

The story centered around a man, a woman, and the female friend that the woman had "experimented with" from many years ago. By "experimented with", I mean, "Sat around and lightly touched each others arms," (according to the flashbacks, anyway). The woman gets upset when her boyfriend starts hitting on her girlfriend in a train, so she jumps out and runs to a deserted castle to sleep for the night.

This castle is the resting place of the Satanic wing of the Knights Templar. These were the knights who thought it would be fun to strip women naked and sacrifice them to Satan. They were killed somehow, but still reside in the castle area. Apparently they come out at night to hunt for flesh. Or something of that sort.
The knights were less zombies and more skeletons. They had no eyes, which seems like a disadvantage, until you realize that they can hear a human's heartbeat. There's no way to stop that, and so they killed the woman that ran into the castle (after a very long and slow chase). There was a chase scene with the knights riding on horses...but the horses moved in slow motion. The maker of this movie didn't bother trying to make the horses look slow...he just made the film go in slow motion. This is kind of forgivable (it was made in the 70s on a small budget, after all), but it made no sense when the woman found a non-zombie horse and began to ride away from the knights, only to find that her horse also moved in slow motion. What?

(At this point most of these details are a bit fuzzy, and for that I [kind of] apologize. The movie was so dull [there was a span of 20 minutes with no dialogue] that, at the halfway point, we fast-forwarded the to the end [x4 speed]. I don't think we missed too much.)

Here is what I remember from the last half of the movie.

The woman who ran into the castle was bitten by the knights, and became a zombie. She walked around like Frankenstein's monster for a while, then got set on fire. Tragic, really.
For a zombie, she didn't look half bad.

The man and woman who were still on the train try to find her. They find some sleezy looking guy from town to find him, and he brings along his whore. The woman from the train and the sleezy guy go into the castle together, while the man from the train and the whore go together. While sitting in the graveyard (at night...good idea, kids), the woman tells Captain Sleeze that she doesn't really like men because of an incident from her childhood. He responds to this statement by raping her on a tomb. Pure class, this guy.

If I remember correctly, the woman makes it out of the castle without being eaten, and makes it on to a train. Blah blah blah. I won't tell you how it ends, but the woman makes this face:


The end.

In case you couldn't tell, this movie was terrible. It wasn't even funny bad (although we did laugh at a couple parts). Please don't watch this movie. I beg of you.

After this debacle, we decided to watch Diary of the Dead directly afterwards. I won't do a big review right now, but it was not universally loved. I liked it, but not everyone else agreed with me. Perhaps I'll do a review of that one within the next couple of weeks.

We have not had the best track record lately of watching good movies. We've watched a number of movies that we didn't know too much about, and it has come back to bite us. However, our luck may be changing.

Scott bought this book for me for my birthday. I've gone through it, and it seems to agree with our thoughts on the movies that we have watched. It likes the movies that we have liked and hates the movies that we have hated. For the next Zombie Club meeting, we will consult with this fabulous book before deciding on a movie. In doing this, we hope to be able to find some good zombie movies.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Automaton Transfusion

It's late, and I just got done watching this. Instead of a coherent review, I'll just throw this out there. These are some thoughts that I had while watching this movie.

Have you ever wanted to see a guy in a Ramones shirt reach into a pregnant woman's stomach, pull out the fetus, and eat it right in front of her as she screamed, cried, and, ultimately, died? If you answered yes to this question, then you would probably love Automaton Transfusion (or, at the very least, you would love one scene of Automaton Transfusion).

The acting was awful. The characters were all unlikeable (at best). The gore was pretty good for the most part. One girl had her jaw completely ripped from her face. Another was torn limb-from-limb. One guy was forced to kill his own father by pushing his eye onto a shard of glass (kind of like the splinter in Zombi II, but nowhere near as graphic or cool). But, when people weren't being ripped apart like animals, this was a terrible movie. And it was right from the opening credits.

I've never felt inclined to comment on the opening credits of a movie before, but these were terrible. Every couple of seconds, there would be a big flash of light. I felt like I almost had a seizure while I was watching it.

As one of the characters picked up a chainsaw, he said, "Ash would be so proud." That was good for a chuckle.

Our hero is a kid named Chris...some punk who thinks he's smarter than people and makes the worst possible decision available to him at that time. One of these decisions was to make his way across town to get a serum to make him immune to zombie bites...but he has conveniently blocked out the part about most of his friends being eaten alive. I'd say getting bitten is the least of his worries. Another of his decisions was to leave a perfectly safe garage in order to get to the school. His reasoning? "There will be survivors at the school." Never mind the fact that one of the big rules in dealing with zombies is to stay away from populated areas.

He's also terrible under pressure. When rummaging through a lab looking for the serum, his girlfriend cries out, "Where is it? What are we even looking for?" To which our hero replies, "Anything that can save us." I'm pretty sure she meant, "What does the bottle look like? Is there a label? How will I know when I've found this serum?" Jackass. She should have left him right then and there.

The ending will make you madder than you have any reason to be for a movie this terrible. I don't want to ruin anything by saying how it ended, but you will be mad.

In conclusion: if they were to splice together all the action scenes, it would make for a pretty cool 20 minutes. Suffice it to say, that's not what they did here. This was a bad movie with a couple of good moments...but those good moments didn't even come close to making up for the diaper stain that was Automaton Transfusion. That quote on the front of the movie that says, "One of the best zombie films in decades"? An out-and-out lie.

Why...hello there. What's your name?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dead Snow

I read about this movie in a magazine. I'm always up for a promising zombie movie...and the prospect of Nazi zombies was one that I would not miss. So I tracked it down and watched it last night.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The movie starts out a little slow, but I suppose most zombie movies do. There has to be some sort of set up. This one followed some med school students on Easter break. They decided to vacation at a cabin in the mountains. Do some skiing, go for snowmobile rides, play Twister, pretend to suffocate each other with pillows, have sex in an outhouse, etc. You's what all the kids are doing these days.
An old guy shows up and tells them of the dangers of the mountains...namely, the hordes of undead Nazis.
Eventually, the Nazis show up and wreak havoc among these stranded rich kids. Blood and intestines flow like wine. People are ripped apart, houses are set on fire, and an undead Nazi's innards are used as a rope.
A little over an hour into the movie, the surviving members somehow stop being scared out of their minds and start fighting back. And oh, what a fight it is. Chainsaws, hammers, feet, machine guns, and (I'm pretty sure) a bird are all used against the Nazis. It's gory and funny and a little unnerving, all at the same time.
Here is part of the battle. It's my favorite scene of the movie. Make sure you watch it with the sound on, because the music makes this scene incredible.


As you can probably tell from that clip, this isn't your standard zombie movie. Destroying the brain or removing the head isn't the only way to kill them. They can be killed in pretty much the same way as any ordinary slicing open their stomach with a chainsaw and watching their intestines fall to the ground. John Rambo killed a man in a similar fashion (only with a handmade machete instead of a chainsaw...because that's how Rambo rolls).
They're fast, they're intelligent, and they're strong. None of these fits the standard zombie profile. But they are undead, and that has to count for something.

Overall, it's an extremely solid movie. Once you get past the character introductions, it really is a fantastic movie. And it's not that the intros are's just that the rest of it is so good.

Highly recommended. It's worth your time to check it out.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Update/Zombie Diaries Review

We haven't had a meeting for quite some time. As was stated in the first post, we started Zombie Club because every female we knew was involved in a book club. Well, apparently the book club isn't meeting too often these days, so we haven't met for Zombie Club, either. We really need to just watch a zombie movie anyway, regardless if there is a book club that night or not.

In related news, I watched Zombie Diaries by myself the other night. Here is what the cover looks like.

Now I want you to picture in your head what kind of movie this will be.
Your response is probably, "An awesome movie!"
Your response would be wrong.
Nothing on that cover even comes close to happening. Never is there a scene even remotely that cool.
Now, I knew this going into the movie. Scotty had already seen and had warned me that it wasn't very good. So I went into it knowing full well that the cover is completely misleading...and that is how everyone should go into watching this movie.

It actually was not a terrible movie. The concept was that there were three different groups filming their experiences with a hand-held video camera. The footage was shaky, but that was to make it more real. Not a terrible concept. However, there were large portions of the movie that involved lots of running and shooting at night. The camera was showing the ground as they ran...and you really couldn't see any zombies at all. I suppose that's realistic; if you're the guy filming all this stuff, chances are you're not great with guns, so you'd be turning and running. The problem is that you didn't really see too many zombies at all.

A couple of the scenes were pretty unrealistic. One group that we followed consisted of two men (one with a gun, the other with the camera) and a woman. They were heading into town to get food, but they were being cautious, as there figured to be zombies there. The man with the gun mentioned how they didn't have too much ammo, so they had to conserve the bullets that they had. That's cool. I get that. But, when a single zombie comes stumbling towards them, he waits until it's within smashing distance, then shoots it in the head. If there's only one zombie and you're running out of bullets, you don't shoot that thing; you bash its head with whatever is close to you (say, the butt of the rifle that you have in your hand).

The end was pretty bad, too. I can see the message they were trying to convey, but they did it in such a terrible way that it had absolutely no impact. Also, it was a really stupid message.

There was a moment that made me jump. I don't want to ruin it for you, but the first zombie sighting was a bit startling. That was really the high point of the movie.

It's not a terrible movie, just don't go into it thinking that there are going to be massive explosions and an awesome guy walking into zombie town with a shotgun and a 9mm. If you're wanting to watch a movie like this that is actually a good movie, watch Diary of the Dead. It's a much better movie in so many ways.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Dead Pit

A couple of weeks ago, we had our first meeting of Zombie Club in a couple of months. The playoffs were in full swing, but there wasn't a game on Sunday night. Thus, Zombie Club.
We watched The Dead Pit, a movie we were extremely excited about. After the debacle that was Zombie Holocaust, we wanted to watch a movie with some actual zombies in it. This movie stated that, not only were there zombies, but that we would be cheering for these zombies by the end of the movie. What could go wrong?

As it turns out, a lot could go wrong. And it did. Were there zombies? Yes...but they didn't show up until one hour and six minutes into the movie, leaving plenty of time for a terrific story, filled with intrigue, gripping dialogue, and a doctor with red eyes and a gunshot wound to his forehead. the doctor with the red eyes was the only thing present. There was a story, it was just a terrible one. It had to do with a scantily clad girl with amnesia and daddy issues in a mental institution. She befriended an explosives expert who tried really hard to sound like Sean Connery. Sometimes he succeeded, sometimes he didn't. He was one of the most entertaining parts of the movie.

There was a dream sequence that showed the girl running around in her underwear and a mid-riff, looking like an extra in a bad 80s hair rock video ("Motorin'! What's your price for flight?"). She proceeded to get tied up and sprayed with a fire hose until her shirt disintegrated. The nurse who was doing these terrible things to her (was it Nurse Ratchet? I couldn't tell) laughed manically the entire time. At the very end of the dream sequence, the water began to take a part of her face off. They didn't show much of that, which was disappointing (it should be noted that this was the part of the movie that the pizza guy showed up).

The rest of the movie went on and on until the zombies showed up. Unfortunately, they didn't do much. We never actually saw them eating was just kind of assumed that they killed people, even if we didn't get to see them. There was a lot of blood, and some dead bodies scattered around, but you never saw the live bodies become dead, and you never see the blood leave their body. It happens off-screen somewhere. There better be some fantastic deleted scenes running around somewhere.

These zombies proceeded to sit around the mental institution and study/play with the brains that they had somehow acquired. They kind of reminded me of The Thinker...only there's a lot of them, they have bloody brains in their hands, and they're undead. Also, they're treating the brains as though they were water-weanies. "'s so slippery. I can keep moving my hands, and it just keep sliding through a snake or something. I would much rather do this than try to eat someone."

So what killed these ridiculous excuses for zombies? Destroying the brain or removing the head? Of course not. That would be ridiculous.

It's holy water. That's right...throw some holy water on these zombies, and they will melt.

Just because it's a dumb way to kill a zombie doesn't mean it didn't look awesome.

And how did they find this out? Oh...because a crazy nun just so happened to throw some holy water on a zombie. No one said it had to make sense.

I won't tell you how the movie ended, but it involved a water tower and the explosives expert doing his thing.

And no, it wasn't as cool as that sounds.

This movie wasn't even fun-bad. It was just bad.

It did bring up an interesting bit of discussion though. Cris asked if zombies liked to eat brains or if they just liked to eat people in general. I believe that zombies don't necessarily go after the brain. Since they're non-thinking undead beings, they don't really process any information. They eat living humans and are completely indiscriminate about what parts they eat. Cris, on the other hand, believes that zombies may be drawn to humans brains, and enjoy that above mere flesh.
"The Zombie Survival" guide doesn't mention whether or not zombies are drawn to brains. Nevertheless, it is a view that is held by a lot of people and shows up in a number of movies. There is research that supports both sides of this argument.
What do you think? Give us a shout in the comments and let us know your take on the matter.