Posts Tagged ‘Zombies’

MOVIE: Maggie (2015)

May 25, 2015

maggieOne of the reasons I like zombie movies as much as I do is because I also really, really like movies about pandemics, and a lot of zombie films are essentially movies about fast-spreading viruses chewing up the globe. I like pandemic movies both because they are scary in an authentic, contemporary way, and also because they are not.

That is, of all the things I worry about in life, and I worry about a lot of things (stop nodding so emphatically, you guys), pandemics are not high on my list — not because I don’t think they’re a legitimate thing to be afraid of, but because I don’t see a lot of point to freaking out over things about which I can do very little.  Aside from kicking up the hand sanitizer use and trying to avoid crowds, when a pandemic comes to town, I’m not going to be able to do much to avoid it, so why waste energy on being chronically afraid? And so, as with horror movies about monsters I don’t really believe in, not to mention freak weather patterns involving sharks and ‘nadoes, I find stories about global epidemics terrifying in an extremely safe sort of way.

Zombie movies typically take the pandemic thing to a whole new level, starting with a massive kicking-up of the timeline of the spread of the disease. In most of the zombie-virus stories I’ve seen, the disease launches and the world is quickly overrun in a matter of days (roughly 28, if Cillian Murphy is to be believed).  While I enjoy that scenario, and have enjoyed many a zombie movie that uses it, I feel like I’ve seen it so many times now, its capacity to engage me on any sort of deeper level has waned.

This is a long-winded way of explaining to you why I was intrigued enough by the description of this movie, which takes the usual zombiebola story in a different direction, to be willing to sit down for two hours to watch a zombie flick starring Arnold Schwarzehoweveryouspellit — something I would’ve been extremely unlikely to do had it just been another World War Z- or Walking Dead-type yarn.

In Maggie, the zombie virus has spread worldwide as usual, but its incubation period has been greatly slowed down, dramatically changing the character of the pandemic.  Instead of infected people turning into the undead in hours or days, people infected with the virus have about 6-8 weeks before their hankering for human flesh becomes a serious problem.  That’s given doctors and governments a vastly expanded ability to control the spread of the disease.  Sick people are typically rounded up and quarantined before they have a chance to infect others (timely parallel to ebola here, by the way), making the virus a lot more containable.

The title character, Maggie (Breslin), is a teenage girl who had left home for the big city only to be bitten by a rogue zombie one dark night in an alley (lesson to all teenage girls: avoid big city alleys after dark, regardless of rampant viral infections). She ends up in the hospital, where a doctor calls her father (Arnold Schwarzewazzup).  Ordinarily, someone with a confirmed bite is immediately sent to quarantine, but Dad has some connections in the medical world, and he calls in all his favors so he can take Maggie home until she “turns.”

What follows is a fairly thoughtful story about a dying girl home with her family with only weeks to live and a fairly horrible future to contemplate.  Just as wrenching as her side of the tale is that of her father, who not only has to watch his daughter die, but will also likely be responsible for taking care of business, so to speak, at the end.  The family doctor gives him a syringe of the drug cocktail used to euthanize the sick in quarantine (a place of expanding, terrifying lore, also in timely parallel to ebola) but tells him the drugs result in a slow, excruciatingly painful death and not-so-subtly suggests that the compassionate thing for a father to do in that moment is to shoot his little girl in the head.

It might be hard to take that quandary seriously when the disease involves turning into a zombie, but if you look at it as a metaphor for something else — say, terminal cancer — you can see a new relevance, and a new layer, to the story being told here. That’s true not just in terms of the anguished family members watching their loved ones suffer, but also for the policies surrounding medical procedures for the terminally ill, where we still typically rely on painful interventions to the bitter end instead of what some might describe as a more humane approach.

As Maggie begins her slow descent to undeath, complete with the terror of seeing her own body parts begin to rot and a sudden, startling, and confusing urge to eat her stepmother, the agony for all involved becomes difficult to watch. Schwarzenegger (I looked it up) is surprisingly effective in this for a guy I don’t typically associate with evocative emotional storytelling, though this movie would’ve been much stronger with somebody else in that role (mostly because I found his surprising effectiveness somewhat distracting, which isn’t fair, I’ll grant you, but it’s still true).  It also could’ve used a little more time in the rewrite room, because there are several moments where the dialogue doesn’t quite work, as well as more than a few scenes I felt were more than a little clumsy.

Still, overall, I enjoyed this film and appreciated very much its approach to the genre.  I’m always a little disappointed when a movie trying to do something a bit unique doesn’t quite nail it, but the attempt was certainly admirable, relevant, and heartfelt.  Definitely recommended, especially to fans of the BBC series In the Flesh, which this movie reminded me of more than once.

[Rent at Amazon | View trailer]

Genre: Zombies, Drama
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Mattie Liptak


BOOK: The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell (2010)

May 20, 2014


Recently, I read an article somewhere about someone involved in zombie stuff (an author? a scriptwriter? an actor?  God, I’m old and my brain sucks. . .) who said this was, hands-down, his favorite zombie novel of all time.  I Googled it, having never heard of either the title or author, and found numerous other reviews, all raving about the writing, the language, the characters, the atmosphere, the creativity of this book.  So, naturally, I immediately put it on hold at the library, tearing into it (pun intended) the second it arrived.

While I can say I definitely found this novel highly entertaining, and I devoured it (pun intended) in about 24 hours, I’m a little concerned those reviewers were all missing part of their braaaaaaaaains (pun intended).  Not only is the story about as derivative as they come (yawn), but the writing style and the language were kind of clunky, and I had some problems with the main character and elements of story as well.

That main character is Temple, a 15 year-old girl born into the world post-zombie-apocalypse (WWZ, so to speak, happened 10 years before her birth, so we’re 25 years into it by the time the book opens).  What makes that interesting is that it means she has no nostalgia for the way the world once was, giving her a perspective we don’t often see in these kinds of stories.  She had a little brother — at least, she thinks he was her brother — but he’s long gone and she’s been alone for years, drifting from place to place, exploring with no plan or agenda, and dodging and killing “meatskins” as she goes.

Early on in the novel, Temple encounters a small community of survivors and decides to join them, at least for a little while. A little respite from the road.  She gets a nice dinner, some fresh clothes, a bed to sleep in, and she makes a friend right away in an older woman who immediately takes a liking to her.  But that first night, one of the men in the community breaks into her room and tries to assault her.  Temple ends up killing him while fighting him off, and when she tells the woman what happened, the woman packs her up into a car and sends her screeching off into the night, no time to lose.  Because the man had a brother, you see — Moses Todd — and, as Temple herself points out, Southern men mostly “just sit around waiting for somebody to kill their brother so they can get started on some vengeance.”

And thus begins the central story line — Temple on the run from Moses, a man with an obvious conscience who, in fact, takes a strong liking to Temple and even tells her his brother was a worthless human being — yet irrationally seems compelled to kill her anyway (despite saving her life first a number of times). This plot point was one of my biggest problems with the novel, frankly.  It didn’t feel legitimate and it ended up being all too convenient more than once.  Attempts to explain Moses’s behavior are unsatisfying, and more often than not, the conflict felt like a lazy way to keep everybody on the move more than an exploration of whatever emotional or situational complexity might drive a man to kill a girl he didn’t really want to kill, simply because she stabbed his awful brother he didn’t even like in an attempt to protect herself.

As the chase continues on, Temple encounters a few other pockets of survivors, including a family holed up in a mansion and subsisting largely on booze and denial, a mentally challenged man named Maury she kind of adopts, and a group of mutants who have discovered they can shoot themselves up with zombie spinal fluid and . . .  turn themselves into really disgusting subhuman beings (??).  That was another little plot twist I had some issues with — interesting concept, I suppose, but why?  The mutants don’t seem to be benefiting from this behavior in any obvious way — the injections are excruciatingly painful, and then their skin starts to rot and fall off and they’re ugly and smell bad.  Attempts to explain this again fall flat — something to do with religion?  Or family unity?  What?  And just how did they discover this technique in the first place?  Someone had a few too many beers and thought to themselves, “Hey, let’s try shooting ourselves in the back of the skull with zombie spinal fluid!”  Mrrrrrah?

Even more problematic for me, though, were the little things.  Like the fact we’re 25 years out of civilization, yet everybody still has indoor plumbing (complete with running water), electricity, and working gas pumps.  That would be infinitely doable if you were in a small community of survivors and one of you used to be an engineer — but Temple has hot baths and turns on lights everywhere she goes, pretty much.  And she can discard a car and simply pick up another one, finding it still operational even though it may have been sitting around idle for a decade or more.  Just how does that work?

Now add in the fact Temple is uneducated and illiterate, yet talks like a scholar (with a thick and contrived Southern accent, mind you).   “Patina”?  “Convivial”?  What gives?  Again, there’s no attempt to provide an explanation for this — yet there was the perfect opportunity.  There’s a scene in which she thinks back about the man who cared for her as a child, and if the author had had him rattle off a few 25 cent words, I would’ve been satisfied she’d learned them all from him.  But if you’re a loner in the world and you can’t read, you aren’t learning the word “convivial,” I’m sorry.  Not to mention the description a school of fish in a pond as “disco-lit.”  Oh really?  What is this thing you call a “disco”?

Temple’s journey is a journey of redemption, especially after she picks up Maury and flashbacks about her little maybe-brother begin to flit in and out — in that way, it does have some real meat on it (pun intended).  But while I liked the spare writing style generally (authentic grittiness in places, especially since it doesn’t use punctuation), it was definitely clunky and overdone more often than not, and the story is about as been-there-done-that as they come, right down to the mutant family from Wrong Turn showing up there at the end.

It’s a noble attempt to do something different, and again, the main character’s distance from life as the reader knows it was an inspired way to go, but there are just way too many problems with this novel for it to be one I can recommend as the “best zombie novel” ever written.  If that’s really true, then the genre is in desperate need of some new flesh (pun intended).


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MOVIE: World War Z (2013)

July 30, 2013

wwzWell, you know.  It’s a zombie movie.  And the more zombie movies I see, the more I’m beginning to realize there’s really only so much you can do with a zombie movie.  This one is no exception (which is a pity, because I will say the novel was absolutely an exception).

The one thing sort of unique about World War Z, a film about one man’s quest to save the world by flying all over the place looking for clues and getting other people killed a bunch, was the sheer number of zombies involved.  The scenes in which we see them piling up on each other — hundreds, thousands swarming like bees on a hive.  That wasn’t something I’d seen before and I found it pretty effectively horrifying.

The rest of this movie?  Even that one scene with the Israeli girl on the airplane?  Meh, seen it.  (Though apparently the guy behind me in the theater hadn’t — his reaction was a guffaw of shocked, inappropriate laughter, which is always an interesting reaction to such things.  Poor gent.)

By the end of the movie, I was really rooting hard for Brad Pitt’s character to make it, not because I felt anything for him at all — merely in the hopes the last man alive on the planet Earth besides him might end up being a barber, and then we could have this awesome final scene in which someone (anyone!) cut Pitt’s completely ridiculous looking hair, as the swarms of zombies began to heap their way into the salon.  Final moment:  the sound of clippers.  AND SCREAMS.

Mua ha ha ha ha!

Recommended to zombie movie fans, because zombie fans have to watch this movie whether they want to or not (sorry, fellas).  But for others merely looking for compelling walking dead drama, you’ll find better fare elsewhere.  28 Days Later is a good place to start.

[Prequeue at Netflix | Watch trailer]

Genre:  Zombie, Horror
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Matthew Fox, Eric Weston, David Morse, James Badge Dale, Elyes Gabel

TV for Zombie Fans!

October 25, 2010

As many of you know, the new AMC zombie series The Walking Dead starts next weekend: October 31st at 10pm.  Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, the show is being executive-produced by Frank Darabout (who, we will pretend, only made The Shawshank Redemption and not also The Mist); he also directs the pilot.  It looks superb.  I cannot WAIT!

For more information, see:

While we’re waiting, though, guess who’s coming in to rescue us?  IFC, which begins airing the BBC series Dead Set tonight at midnight, and will be airing another new episode each night this week (I think there are only six total).  For more:

I saw Dead Set about a year ago, thanks to a friend in the UK, and I loved it.  It’s the perfect combination of scary and hilarious — something the Brits do so, so well.  Basic premise:  Zombies invade the Big Brother house, munch munch yum!  Brings a whole new meaning to the term “evicted.”

So, set your DVRs and watch out for your brains!


(p.s. In un-zombie-related news, I hope everybody caught the new Sherlock series that started on Masterpiece Mystery last night (PBS).  I haven’t seen the episode yet, but I’ve heard it’s an absolute blast.  Check for reruns if you missed it!)

MOVIE: Survival of the Dead (2010)

May 12, 2010

Okay, someone needs to say it and that someone might as well be me.

Dear George Romero: I think it’s time to hang it up. Please. Before you embarrass yourself any further. Your Loving Fan (I mean that, I really do), Meg.

This movie, the latest Romero zombie flick to hit the big-screen (coming soon to theaters near you, but available for pre-theatrical streaming at is absolutely laughable. And though I tried to make myself believe it was doing it on purpose, I KNOW IT WAS NOT. It was not. Don’t try to tell me it was now, either, because you are too late, sirs and madams.

The special effects are terrible — not in a good way, mind you — the story is ridiculous, the acting is completely hammy, and the attempt at social commentary (always a Romero zombie movie element) fails miserably.

To be honest, I loved 2004’s Dawn of the Dead, finding it both entertaining and emotionally satisfying (don’t laugh). I also really enjoyed 2005’s Land of the Dead, which, though not as engaging as Dawn for me, at least had an interesting idea at its root (what if zombies can think? And UNIONIZE? BAM!)

Diary of the Dead (2007), by comparison, took me by surprise, in part because it suddenly dropped Romero back out of the world of big Hollywood budgets and “real” actors into the land of lo-fi, badly-acted B-movies. I figured it was possible that had been done on purpose — it had an endearing quality, a back-to-your-roots sort of thing. But ultimately, I felt it lacked originality (oh, tired, tired faux-documentary format) and felt sort of half-assed. This one, which ties in slightly with Diary, is a further drop in quality all around.

It starts with a group of soldiers (and here’s the tie to Diary — remember when the van of kids shooting the documentary got harassed by a bunch of renegade soldiers? This is those guys) who have split off from their platoon and gone rogue, primarily to save themselves from the hoards of “deadheads” (zombies) swarming around them.  Without going into much detail, they end up teaming up with an old Irish guy, O’Flynn, who takes them to a small island off the coast of Delaware (Plum Island), where the soldiers soon find themselves swept up in a (seriously clichéd) long-standing Irish family feud.

The reason for the most recent round of feuding was that O’Flynn wanted to kill all the zombies on the island and Muldoon wanted to keep them alive until a cure was found. Because they were family, you see. It’s kind of an optimism vs. pessimism thing, and I think we were supposed to have a debate here, along with the characters, over which philosophy was the most noble: sacrificing the zombies to protect the living, or protecting the (un)dead to see if they can’t somehow be saved.

Except the problem is Muldoon is no more a Mister Glass-Half-Full than O’Flynn is, and he starts shooting zombies for the hell of it himself at one point.  (Running Romero theme: People who are afraid often turn into completely animals.)   Plus, there’s this whole subplot with O’Flynn’s twin daughters, one of whom is a zombie who appears to be able to think for herself somewhat. Muldoon’s plan evolves into trying to teach her how to eat something OTHER than humans, in the hopes that if the zombies can’t be saved, perhaps they could at least be trained to like bacon instead of brains and thus be reintegrated into society. Slight twinge of Land of the Dead there, but it’s not pursued at all. And besides, it’s stupid.

This movie is essentially a big offensive piece of crap (I say “offensive” for a variety of reasons, but let me cite one specific example of a cringy moment for you: the only female soldier in the group of Army rogues is introduced to us as she sits in the group’s jeep on patrol, masturbating right in front of her colleagues. Then it turns out she is, of course, a lesbian. Because military women are all lesbians, first of all, and lesbians are also, as we all know, completely sex-crazed. Oh, shut the hell up, George. You’re a moron).

There isn’t a single element of this film that justifies its having been made. Someone spent money on this! And then *I* spent money on this! We’re all idiots, is what I’m saying. Don’t be like us.  USE your brains, don’t eat them.

[Prequeue it at Netflix | Rent/Stream via | View trailer]

Genre: Zombies, Horror
Cast: Alan Van Strang, Kenneth Welsh, Kathleen Munroe, Athena Karkanis

MOVIE: Zombieland (2009)

November 12, 2009

zombielandI realize this is going to sound weird applied to a film that features as many scenes of zombies snacking on human entrails as Zombieland does, but you know what my first thought was when I left the theater after finally getting my lame butt in to see this movie?  My first thought was, “I’ll be damned if that wasn’t the feel-good movie of the year.”

And it’s true — it’s totally and completely true!

Aside from that, though, I’m not going to tell you anything else about this movie.  Because everything else I could say (about, for example, the “double-tap,” Bill Murray, or Twinkies) is just going to ruin some of the fun of the discovery for you.  And the discovery was at LEAST half the fun of this one for me.  I had no idea most of  that stuff was coming, and I can’t remember the last time I laughed so ridiculously hard.

I will say this much, though:   I’m a little worried about Jesse Eisenberg, because this movie is essentially just Adventureland all over again, except with zombies and shotguns.

I’m also a little worried about Abigail Breslin, because this movie is essentially just Signs all over again, except with more shotguns and fewer anti-Semites (I assume).

And I’m definitely a little worried about Woody Harrelson, because this movie was essentially just Natural Born Killers all over again, except with more. . . less. . . I don’t know — something or other.

Bill Murray, on the other hand, is going to be juuuuuust fine.

So, hey!  Go see this movie, even if you are squeamish and you usually hate watching dead humans munch on other dead humans (note to my gore-hating husband:  sorry about that, sweetie).  When it’s over, you’ll be amazed at how good you feel about yourself and the world in general.  Because you know what?  Bring on the zombie invasion, just bring it on — bring it.  Now that I know the rules, I have no doubt I’m going to be JUST FINE (as long as I remember to buckle my seat belt and keep an eye out for falling pianos.  Also, thanks to a friend who recently bought me a set of THESE, my aim is improving, which can only help with the double-tap down the line.  . .).

Watch and learn, my peeps.  Watch and LEARN.

[Prequeue me at Netflix | Watch the trailer]

Genre:  Horror, Comedy, Zombies
Cast:  Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Bill Murray, Amber Heard

MOVIE: ZA: Zombies Anonymous (2006)

February 6, 2009

zazombiesReally?  You had a concept like “Zombies Anonymous,” a movie about a support group for zombies who just want to be loved, and THIS is what you did with it?

That’s it.  I’m writing my own script.  Go ahead and sue me when it turns into a blockbuster — I will gladly share the proceeds if it means for your next movie you’ll be able to afford a make-up artist who doesn’t use the 99-cent stuff from Rite Aid.

Lame, man.  I really wanted to like this one!  Great concept, abominable execution!

[Don’t Netflix me | Not even providing the option for you to buy this one — can’t have that on my conscience]

Genre: Zombie, Horror
Cast:  Bah, humbug!

Must. Have.

January 28, 2009


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C. E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice), this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen’s classic novel to new legions of fans.”

Description from:,book-info/store,books/products_id,7847/title,Pride-and-Prejudice-and-Zombies/

Not out until April, but you can preorder it now for only $12.95!  Why yes, yes, I think I will do just that.  Teh awesomest.

MOVIE: The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

October 23, 2008

Oh GOD, I love this movie. And it’d been so long since I’d seen it that I’d practically forgotten all the reasons why. Reasons which I can now efficiently sum up with just two words: 1) über-hilariousness and 2) BRRRRAAAAAINS!!!

As this piece of cinematic genius opens, a young man named Freddy has just gotten a job at a medical supply company.  His first night at his new gig, his boss Frank tells him a story.  “You know that movie, Night of the Living Dead?” his boss asks.  “Whelp, did you know it was based on a true story?”

You see, according to Frank, in 1969 in Pittsburgh, a chemical spill leaked down into a military base’s morgue, contaminating the bodies and making them all “jump around like they were alive.”  The chemical?  254 Trioxin, which, Frank says, was originally developed to kill marijuana (no word on its ability to prevent premarital sex, though. . .).

The military base immediately shut down and shipped the contaminated bodies out.  Only, the transportation department got their orders mixed up and. . . guess what’s down in the basement?  “Hey, wanna see ’em?” Frank asks.

Incidentally, just in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation,  let this be a lesson to you: the correct answer to this question is always, ALWAYS, “HELL NO.”

But, Freddy doesn’t have the benefit of hindsight like we do, so he agrees to go check out the bodies.  “See?  Here they are!  No worries, though — they’re safely entombed in these big metal coffins,” Frank says, rapping on one to prove it’s durability.  Only, whoopsie!  Frank has forgotten that “military intelligence” is an oxymoron, and the tank immediately ruptures under his knuckles, releasing a cloud of gas into the room.

Freddy and Frank immediately pass out, and faster than you can say “Gimmie brains!” the previously shriveled and unmoving dead are now the reanimated and cranky UNdead.  Here we go, folks!

Meanwhile, as all this is going down, Freddy’s punk rocker buddies are throwing a party in a local graveyard, killing time until Freddy gets off shift.  In a subtle application of the literary concept of “foreshadowing,” one of the girls, named Trash, strips naked and declares loudly that the worst way she could imagine to die would be for a bunch of old men to rip off her clothes — LIKE THIS! — and then eat her alive.

Because this is an 80’s movie, Trash then proceeds to dance around completely naked for a ridiculously gratuitous amount of time.  But don’t get too excited — when we finally get the fully-frontal shot, she rather oddly appears to have completely nonexistant nether regions, kinda like Barbie’s.  Must be really hard for her to pee, come to think of it. . .  Of course, since we now know she’ll be a old-man-zombie snack soon, there’s no point in pondering that one for long.

Back at the medical supply company, our two geniuses Frank and Freddy have called in colleague Burt, because, as my favorite Demotivator says, “None of us is as dumb as ALL of us!”  Frank and Freddy have managed to lock a zombie in a room and when Burt hears it pounding and growling and moaning, he says, “Hey, this guy’s screaming his head off — are you sure he’s DEAD?”  The group rather brilliantly decides to open the door and check, with plans to have Frank, the movie expert (“In that movie, they destroyed their brains to kill them!”), chop off its head if it really is a zombie.

Which, of course, it is.

Unfortunately, as Frank later expresses with a great degree of frustration,  while a now-headless zombie continues to stomp around the room, “THE MOVIE LIED!”

FYI: I had to pause here to get control of my hysterical laughter before it made me get the hiccups.  I hate the hiccups!

Anyway, our Crack Zombie Death Squad decides their only option is to chop the rest of the zombie dude into little pieces, bag ’em up, and carry them across the street to the mortuary, where a friend, Ernie the Embalmer, can cremate them.  Only, darned if Ernie doesn’t want to SEE what’s in the bags, unconvinced, as he is, that they contain what Frank says they do.

To wit:  “rabid weasels.”

Incidentally, I paused here again, but this time it was so I could add “rabid weasels” to the list of things I might one day want to get tattooed on my body.

And you know what the best part is?  After ALL THIS, we’re still only, like, thirty minutes into this movie.  Eventually, Frank and Freddy, exposed as they were to the 254 Trioxin, become zombies themselves (“Are you saying we’re dead?” “Well, let’s not jump to conclusions. . .”), the punk buddies all arrive to pick up Freddy and find themselves in the middle of, like, a ZOMBIE movie or something, a zombie outside uses an ambulance’s CB to radio for more paramedic brains to eat, and an undead woman reveals once and for all “how eating brains makes [her] FEEL.”

It’s an explosion of bad 80’s hair, even worse 80’s techno music, extremely hilarious dialogue, and a whole HECK of a lotta rabid weasels, my friends.  In short, it’s undead awesomeness on a stick.  And holy hell,  there are two, count ’em TWO, sequels!  How on earth did I ever miss those?  I’ll be getting on that one, STAT.

If you’re looking for just one ridiculously funny movie to watch this Halloween season and you have never seen this one (or, you’ve seen it but it’s been a while), use your braaaaaaaains and hie thee to the video store for The Return of the Living Dead.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Horror, Zombies
Cast: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Matthews

MOVIE: [REC] (2007)

June 4, 2008

Okay, I gave myself a couple of days to try to figure out how to talk about this movie without peeing my pants, and I’m still not sure how far I’ll actually get. I packed a change of undies for today just in case.

But before I tell you anything about the actual plot of this Spanish horror movie,  let me give you the bad news: You can’t actually get this movie in the U.S. It hasn’t been released here, for some ungodly reason.

I know! What the. . .?!

But wait!  It gets worse!  It now appears that the plan is to skip releasing [REC] here altogether and instead go straight into American-remake-mode instead (the American version will be called Quarantine).

And we all know how good America remakes of foreign horror movies usually turn out, right?

In unison now:  CRAP!  (Though Quarantine will star Jennifer Carpenter, who I love, so maybe we’ll get lucky?)

There is, obviously, a way we Americans can see this movie.  I’ve seen it, after all.  So have Final Girl and the coolies over at Evil On Two Legs.  Give it some thought.  Mayhap you will figure it out.  Don’t tell me how you do it, though, because la la la, I can’t hear you breaking the law, la la la!

Anyway, enough of that nonsense, let me see if I can tell you what happens in this flick without giving into the overwhelming urge to cower under my desk (hard to type from under there, see?).

[REC]opens with an extremely cute young woman standing in front of a fire truck doing a couple of takes with her cameraman. We quickly realize she’s some kind of news reporter, and she’s there to do an installment in a series called “While You Were Asleep,” in which she goes out in the wee hours and hangs out with night-shifters. This installment takes her into a fire station and the plan is to let us normal day-shifters see what it is los bomberos do all night long. (Isn’t “bomberos” a great word? That’s Spanish for firemen, if you hadn’t figgered that out yet.)

At first, it looks like the short answer might be: not a whole hell of a lot. But just when it seems like the newswoman (Angela) is about to go bonkers from the mind-numbing lack of anything newsworthy, the bomberos finally get a call.

Someone is reporting that an old woman is trapped in her apartment and is screaming bloody murder. The gang loads into the truck, including Angela and her cameraman, and they take off for the building. Inside, a group of tenants has gathered in the lobby and they quickly tell los bomberos that the woman has been yelling and they can’t get inside her apartment because the door is locked. Los bomberos run up the stairs and break down her door. They walk into the now-silent apartment and see a woman with long stringy gray hair wearing a bloody slip standing down at the end of the hallway and kind of pacing around. She’s moaning and making weird sounds and then she leaves the hallway and goes into an adjacent room.

The firemen follow her, and are trying to figure out if she’s bleeding or otherwise hurt when all of a sudden, she takes a big CHOMP out of the neck of a nearby policeman.

The next thing we know, everybody’s running down the stairs, carrying the cop’s flailing body, and they’re struggling to put pressure on his wound when WHOMP! the body of one of the fireman comes thundering down from the landing above and crashes onto the lobby floor, face chewed all the way to the bone, skull shattered by the impact.

Immediately, the reporter and the firemen dash to the building’s front door to try to get out and find some help, only to find they’ve been locked inside and are now surrounded by cops and people from the health department, who announce they can’t leave the building until tests have been run because there’s been a report of some kind of disease outbreak.

And holy crap, you guys, things get incredibly crazy, incredibly fast after that. And then later on, the lights go out. And then after that, the little girl! OH MY GOD!! THAT LITTLE GIRL! And then after that, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! DON’T GO INTO THE ATTIC, PABLO!! HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?!  OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING?!

Holy Sweet Mother of Pete, this movie was awesome.  When the final credits rolled, I was literally sitting in front of the screen with my hands clasped over my gaping mouth, absolutely stunned by its total awesomeness.

Please, for the love of all that is holy in this world, RELEASE THIS MOVIE ON REGION 1 DVD AS SOON AS POSSIBLE so I can buy copies for every horror movie fan I know.

[official web site]

Genre: Horror
Cast:  Manuela Velasco, Javier Botet, Ferran Terraza, Martha Carbonell, Claudia Font