October 7, 2014
Zombies have to be the most terrifying of all terrifying supernatural monsters. They’re dead, but alive? You can’t take them down because they seem to have superhuman strength, speed and flexibility? What?! Excuse me while I go sleep with the lights on — while holding a baseball bat.
I believe to get over a fear, you need to face it head on. If I want to take my own advice, I have a lot of work to do in the “fear of zombies” department. So, in the spirit of the season, and even though the walking undead trace their roots to Haiti and Haitian Creole traditions, I’m going to start my journey on the evolving Hollywood interpretation of these brain-hungry monsters and binge-watch historical zombie movies to beat my fear.
First up is one of the first Hollywood mainstream takes on zombies: 1932’s White Zombie. I think I just need to start where it all began. Here a young man turns the woman he loves away from her fiancé with a potion that turns her into a zombie slave. Not cool. Where was the 1930s Match.com?
Next on my list is the one I’m most excited for: George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” — the original from 1968. Called the movie that “kick-start[ed] the modern tradition of zombie movies,” this film has been praised for drawing attention to how zombie stories can be a vehicle for social commentary. Take that sparkly, no-good vampire flicks – useless.
Now that I’m sufficiently freaked out, I’m going to turn it up a notch and go straight to the ’00s. The CGI just brings the fear factor to a whole new level. 2004’s take on “Dawn of the Dead” by director Zack Snyder approaches Romero’s classic with the same basic premise, but ups the ante with the number of still-breathing characters and continues the new millennium’s trend of turning the undead into fast-running predators. NOT OK.
On that freaked-out note, I’m going to cap off the zombie binge with a great flick I have seen (perhaps more than once), which I’ve studied up on for survival needs. So really, it’s educational. That movie is 2009’s “Zombieland” with that guy who plays Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network” and the cute girl from “Little Miss Sunshine.” A zom-com, if you will, with an amazing Bill Murray cameo (spoiler alert?). Because of this movie, I have faith that I could contribute my own creative “Zombie Kill of the Week” if I really had to.
Because you never know…