19 October 2012

October 19th

Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile trailer (1974)
Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo VHS ad (1996)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Murder (2009)

Land of the Dead (2005) directed by George A. Romero
After twenty years, a movie studio finally gave George some money to make another zombie movie.  I think the success of 2003's The Walking Dead and 2004's remake of Dawn of the Dead probably had a lot to do with it.  Those two properties kicked off the zombie wave we're still surfing on today.

Even after all this time, Land feels like a logical progression in the series. Over the years, we see humanity get progressively organized in the face of the apocalypse: from chaos in a farmhouse, to a temporary home in a mall, to scientific research in an underground bunker, to a walled-off city.  The men with guns tasked with controlling the chaos have gotten more organized as well.  From Ben with his shotgun, to a pair of SWAT officers, to the asshole army guys underground, to the relatively well-functioning militia that protects Fiddler's Green.  And, keying off of Day's Bub, Romero continues to explore the idea of zombies learning in Land.

The idea of zombies becoming smarter seems to be the idea Romero is most fascinated with in the film.  Big Daddy is pretty much the Einstein of zombies, becoming aware that humans are enemies in addition to food.  He's also sort of like one of those chimpanzees who figures out how to use a tool: he's able to teach the others in his species to do the same.  Big Daddy raises an army, teaches them to ignore fireworks and use guns, and marches on to the big city to take care of the pesky humans who keep shooting his friends.

It begins to raise some interesting questions that never really get explored.  Should we start regarding the zombies as another intelligent species?  Maybe Dr. Logan from Day was right?  If we civilize them or they civilize themselves, maybe we can coexist?  Maybe we have to coexist?  Genocide doesn't seem to be working.  Even the well-organized Fiddler's Green society isn't attempting to comb the countryside and execute every zombie.  There's just too many dead people out there for that (according the Logan's estimate in Day, hundreds of millions in the US alone).  Unfortunately, the next Romero zombie movie doesn't pick up this thread.

There's not as much to the human side of the story, unfortunately.  The story's message is pretty simple: the haves screw the have-nots in exactly the same way as they did before the apocalypse.  I like Dennis Hopper as a villain, but he's pretty cartoony as the dictator of Fiddler's Green.  His fall and that the down-trodden take over the city after his death is not particularly interesting.

More interesting is Riley's journey.  Sick of humanity -- and who wouldn't be, seeing how they react in the face of the end of the world -- the man just wants to drive away live by himself.  That he ends up with a truck full of people to take care of kind of says it all: like it or not, you can't do it all by yourself.

Watched: blu-ray from Universal.

Psycho Sisters trailer (1998)
Tender Flesh trailer (1974)
Stay Indoors (2010)

Tales from the Crypt 5.12: "Half-Way Horrible" (1993) directed by Gregory Widen
Clancy Brown is awesome.  He always plays a great villain.  Here, he's the owner of a chemical company that discovers a super-preservative in a remote jungle.  Nice guy that he is, he tests the stuff on a coworker and ends up killing him.  Or is the guy really dead?  The worst part of this episode for me was worrying about the actors.  Several of them have to pretend to drink the blue glow stick fluid that stands in for the preservative.  That can't be good, right?  One of them looked like he really got it in his mouth.  I'm goofy that way.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
I love this movie.  Normally, I can't stand horror movies that use technology way beyond reality.  I call it the Exorcist II problem.  I have no issues suspending disbelief for ghosts, aliens, vampires, zombies or pieces of Stonehenge frying faces off.  But, present the world of 1982 having perfectly human-looking androids, and you're in danger of losing me.

For some reason, though, this doesn't bother me at all in Season of the Witch.  I think this is due to the atmosphere the film creates.  There's something about the way the movie moves that sucks me in.  Maybe it's Carpenter and Howarth's minimalist score?  Maybe it's the pleasant-looking small town they shot in, filled with creepy androids watching the outsiders as they drive in to visit?  Maybe it's the batshit plan Cochran has to simultaneously melt the faces of thousands of kids in history's largest sacrifice?  I don't know.  I just know that I unabashedly love Halloween III.

Watched: blu-ray from Shout! Factory.

1 comment:

  1. Land of the Dead is horribly unsatisfying as a conclusion to the Dead cycle. And George can't sell me on the zombies being equal or better to humanity, see as how they still eat us. I remember being very disappointed upon seeing it in the theater and not liking it much more on home video.

    I definitely need to give Halloween III a second chance. I recall it being horribly goofy last time I saw it. I don't know though, it does have the Atkins, which makes up for a lot.