Shaun of the Dead (2004)

And so with this, My first set of Halloween specials came to a close. I really enjoyed making these episodes (So much so that I fully intend to do another season of themed episodes this October!) but I was always a bit concerned about what to do with this 5th slot. I was stuck as to whether I should Review this, “Zombie flesh eaters 2 (Zombi 3)”, “Land of the dead”, “Return of the living dead”, the 2004 remake of “Dawn of the dead” or that weird version of “Night of the living dead” that came out in the early/mid 90’s that was literally just the 60’s version of the film with additional 90’s shot on video scenes added into the mix.

In the end I settled on “Shaun” for a few reasons. I thought that it ended the series on a high note, I thought “Shaun” was a good reflection of the zombie movie genre in the modern day and it feels a bit like a continuation of the natural progression of these kinds of films within this series. We started with 2 different versions of “Night of the Living dead” and ended with a 21st century affectionate tribute to those zombie movies.

I also like to think that this is a good “Bookmark” point to end on. While it may not be for a couple of years I fully intend to revisit The Zombie Genre again at some point. And ending it here gives me a nice place to pick up from whenever I decide to reopen this series.

This period of time would also see me launch the first ever “TYTD Horrorthon” a 6 hour live stream of public domain horror films that amassed a grand total of 3 viewers for a few seconds at one point…and then 1 viewer pretty much for the remaining 4 hours and 55 minutes. Though doing this livestream was one of the first times I ever got positive feedback from someone for what I produced. A mother got in touch with me the day after the stream to thank me for giving her children something to watch before they went out trick or treating. and it really made my week. It only reinforced my personal belief that as long as one person comes away from it happy it makes it all worth it. I’ll be doing the stream again this year (Though as of yet I still havent decided what films will make the cut) and if your around and free at that time I’d love to have you on board! but I digress…

In and of itself “Shaun of the dead” is my favourite of the cornetto trilogy and further still is one of my favourite comedy movies of all time. The balance between the comedy and horror here is really quite fantastic and as I mention in my video its a veritable Who’s who of mid 2000’s UK comedians. If you’ve never seen it, even if you dont like horror movies, I highly recommend checking this one out.

 

(You’ve got red on you…)

Zombie Flesh Eaters – (Zombi 2) (1979)

Whenever I think about “Zombie Flesh eaters” My mind kind of unfurls a bit. This is because on face value and to any unsuspecting stumble-uponers; “Zombie Flesh Eaters” is just a run of the mill (If not somewhat extreme) zombie movie from the 70’s.

But as soon as I remember that this film is legally (In Italy at least) connected to Romeros original “Of the Dead” movies it feels like the needles jumped on the record that is my brain. Further still when I remember that “Zombie Flesh eaters” is in fact not only legally connected to the “Of the dead” films but it actually sets itself up as the Prequel to “Dawn of the Dead” my mind goes into a bit of a funny shake for a few minutes.

The Balls of the studio that commissioned this movie into existence. The sheer balls of the people who sat down and thought “Hey we have a half finished horror film in pre-production…how can we make this more “Dawn of the dead-eier” It astounds me it really does…

What astounds me even more is that in some regards this film actually surpasses Dawn from a technical standpoint. It may not have Goblin or Romero behind the camera. It may be lacking Tom Savini’s personal touch. But Fulci and his team really put there heart and soul into this movie and it looks great for it. I’d also argue that for a majority of this movie. that the special effects are better than some of the ones seen in Dawn. Purely (As I mention in my video review below) because the effects of the zombies look so much more gnarled and realistic here compared to “Dawns” Pasty Blue/Grey zombies…I can honestly say that in hindsight while I may not be this films biggest fan. I have to give it credit that it surpassed my expectations in terms of what I was expecting.

 

(Also; that Shark VS Zombie underwater sequence has to be one of the best sequences Fulci ever directed. Astounding work!)

Dawn of the Dead – Zombi (1978)

So im going to try and keep this one a bit briefer than my usual posts that accompany these videos. Partly because I don’t have a tremendous amount to say, and partly because I’m using this post as a test of the WordPress mobile app and typing a multi paragraph analysis of my retrospective thoughts on producing these reviews from a tiny mobile phone screen is at best frustrating and at worst may result in me needing a new phone after smashing this one.

Dawn of the Dead is a near perfect masterpiece of the zombie genre. In my review I mention that it’s the Rosetta stone of zombie movies and I still stand by that. It’s not only the best place to start someone off on the genre who may never have seen a zombie movie before (because I’m told those people exist) but it’s arguably the best zombie movie full stop.

With near perfect direction, cine, colour and lighting, scripting, acting, soundtrack and editing; you’ll find it damn difficult to find another film that achieves so much in such little time.

My only memories of recording this episode was that I very fondly remember watching it on my old Arrow video DVD before immediately growing frustrated at the fact that the UK bluray was out of print and commanding ludicrous prices on Amazon and eBay. A good bluray of Dawn is currently still one of my “most wanted” releases.

Other than that, all I can really say about this is that I’m tremendously sorry for the sound mix of this one…it turns out that my speakers wernt properly balanced when I did the sound mix for this one and as a result the music occasionally drowns me out…I corrected this after my “Day of the Dead” review but this one suffers a bit more than the others…so my sincerest apologies…itll probably be one I’ll need to correct at some point…

(I often jostle between this and “Day” for my favourite “Of the Dead” movie…)

The Last Man on Earth – (1964)

Y’know…I have a tremendous soft spot for Vincent price. I always struggle as to whether I prefer him or Christopher lee…on the one hand Vincents been in some of my all time favourite horror films…but Lee has a presence on screen thats quite like nothing I’ve ever seen before. But I digress…

This! is the last man on earth! one of Vincent Prices finer and also more underrated performances! based on the Novel “I am Legend” he gives an absolutely wonderful turn here as Dr. Robert Morgan. Personally I always preferred his later work in the 70’s but I have a real fondness for this film. Its a shame its only available in the UK in such poor quality…

(My favourite bit in this movie is the one I choose to showcase in the clips. Its so strangely powerful)