ZOMBIE 101 – Pt. 1

“you Zombie

be born again my friend

won’t you sign in stranger?

-Steely Dan

 

hiya folks!

today i’m honored and excited to welcome the first of our guest contributors here on “here for the people”. my old friend Root Rot. Root runs a great blog called The Witch’s Hat, where he and his compatriots specialize in movie reviews… especially exploitation, cult, and horror movie reviews. frankly, Root and the Crew are awesome… but don’t take my word for it…. they have one of the premiere horror flick blogs on the Net and their blogcast gets like a billion downloads per episode… not only will they impress you, they will also piss you off… they have struck a nice balance of controversy and entertainment over there… something i’m trying to do over here….

well anyway, i LOVE zombie movies.. love ’em love ’em love ’em. from the first one i remember seeing (dawn of the dead), to the last (walking dead TV series), i’ve been hooked. hell i even met Max Brooks last year and almost wept .. his “World War Z” is one of my favorite books (AND audiobooks!). so how excited am I that Root decided he wanted to talk about Zombies on my page as a regular feature?!

anyway, i’m gonna turn it over to my old pal now… he’s the man. we don’t always agree on films, but i always respect his opinion… even when he’s totally wrong..

take it Aaron…

———-

I would like to start with an introduction; My name is Aaron.  I’ve been been writing and podcasting under the alias of Root Rot since 2006 starting with the Midnight Podcast.  I currently host The Witch’s Hat, a blog/podcast covering exploitation, cult and horror film.

Today’s post is part one of an on going segment written for “here for the people” a blog owned and operated by my old friend Eric.  The segment is called Zombie 101; it discusses pivotal zombie movies and how they impacted the genera and the fans of these films. This post is based on my  opinion, which I imagine not everyone shares.  So if you find yourself disagreeing with me, or wanting to hunt me down in my mom’s basement and hog tie me, then please leave a comment.  I only request that you  come with your fucking A gaming because I’m all about speaking your mind…

Author: Root Rot

Zombie 101: Categories of Zombies in Film

Voodoo Zombies

Voodoo zombies are definitively the oldest genre of Zombie film.  Voodoo zombie films were taken from the Voodoo rituals of Haiti; though an individual was believed to be deceased, they were actually under the spell of a Voodoo priest.  Amongst horror movie fans, the 1932 White Zombie starring Bela Lugosi is generally the most recognizable Voodoo Zombie film.   Lugosi plays Murder Legendre, a voodoo witch docotor who tricks a young newlywed groom and  turns his bride into a zombie slave.

(Side note: If you haven’t seen this movie I highly recommend that you do. It’s very easy to find for free on the Internet due to the films public domain status)

Romero Zombies

Director George A. Romero’s, Night of the Living Dead, forever changed how the world viewed zombies. In addition to changing how we view zombies today, Romero added elements to their origins including eating habits and the way in which Zombies can die.  The Romero style zombies were nothing like their distant cousin White Zombie; Romero zombies were not under a curse, but were the recently dead that came back to life to feed on the flesh of the living. If a living victim suffers a zombie bite from one of Romero’s living dead, they too would join the masses of mindless soldiers in his shambling zombie army. The only way to kill a Romero zombie is blunt force to the head. The most popular way to deliver a deadly blow to the zombies brain is via a nice clean head shot from your favorite gun.

Since the debut of NotLD, George Romero has directed five sequels,  with the second film in the Romero dead series arguably being  the best zombie movie ever made… Dawn of the Dead (1978). The other movies in Romero’s dead series include Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2006) and the piece of dog shit Survival of the Dead (2009), you know, the one with the horse back riding Irish zombies.

Italian Zombies

The Italian style of zombie film is different from Romero; however, it does include  some of Romero’s zombies attributes. Italian style zombies have a very unique look and do things that Romero zombies didn’t; they fight sharks under water, use weapons and run. The Italian zombie seems to symbolize  a more personal view of the  victim, represented by acts such as tearing the flesh from a woman’s breast with their bite and eye gouging. The Italian zombie can also include a supernatural element, yet most could be killed by a shot to the head.

Running Zombies

This is a very controversial subject amongst zombie fans  Zombie movie purest demand that zombies don’t run, they shamble! In the 2004 re-make of Dawn of the Dead the zombies not only ran; they ran fast. This wasn’t the first time zombies ran in movies, in the 1985 Dan O’Bannon classic Return of the Living Dead not only did these zombies run they have other attributes that put them in a category of their own.

Return of the Living Dead  Zombies

Return of the Living Dead zombies are unique for many reasons. For example the zombies from Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead (1985) abide by completely different set of rules. Not only are unburied corpse a threat, but the buried dead would rise from their graves. RotLD zombies also have a specific diet of brains, they run, talk, use tools and can only be destroyed by electrical shock.

(Side note: The fact that RotLD zombies could be destroyed by electrical shock was discovered near the end of Return of the Living Dead 2 1988)

ZomComs

ZomCons are zombie movies in which the actual zombies take back seat to the comedic aspect.  The 2005 tribute to Romero’s dead series Shawn of the Dead, is a great example of this type of film.

Revenge or Carma Zombies

In contrast to the mindlessness of your average zombie, these zombies are very calculated.  They comeback to life to seek revenge on their murderers. After justice has been served the zombie is able to return to the grave and rest in peace.

The best example of revenge zombies can be seen in acts one and three of  George Romero’s anthology Creep Show (1981) a tribute to the EC horror comic books of the 1950 (Tales From the Crypt, Vault of Horror, Tales of Terror, and Haunt of Fear).

Nazi Zombies

After a Nazi solders dies he comes back to life as a zombie, when he is then forced to live in an uncomfortable place as part of a curse.

Some Nazi zombies live underwater as seen in Zombie Lake (1981) and Shockwaves (1977). The Nazi zombie in Norway’s Dead Snow (2009) lived in the snow rather than under water.

Knight Templars Zombies

Found in the Spanish Blind Dead series; these zombies are evil knights that protect the holy grail. Blind Dead zombies are very slow, ride horses, and feed on human blood.

That’s going to rap it up for part one of Zombie 101…On my next post I will review the zombie classic Dawn of the Dead (1978). I would like to thanks Eric for letting me share my thoughts on his blog and thank you for reading..

————

told ya the guy knows his shit….

you all just learned something

you’re welcome,

Eric

Advertisements

About eric

professional rabble-rouser
This entry was posted in zombie 101. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to ZOMBIE 101 – Pt. 1

  1. Sue says:

    I love, love, love zombie movies… NotLD and Creep Show are two of my favorite movies ever! I’ve never seen Shawn of the Dead to understand Zom Com so I’m curious if RotLD would fall in this arena?

    • eric says:

      i’m sure Aaron will have something more precise, but, “shawn of the dead” is damn funny even if you’ve never seen another zombie flick..

      • Sue says:

        Something I’ve always wondered and this would be a great place to ask: Is Jason Voorhees considered a zombie?

    • Root Rot says:

      Reality is RotLD is a straight up ZomCom… especially RotLD 2 where the film is shot from a child perspective… RotLD 3 is the darkest of the lot… 4 and 5 are pure shit..

      Shawn of the Dead is a must watch; zombie fan or not.

      • Root Rot says:

        As far as Jason Voorhees statues as a zombie, well…. That’s a topic of great debate.

  2. Matt says:

    I’m in awe of both of you. Humbled, in fact. Great piece A!

  3. Pingback: Zombie 101 – Part 1: Categories of Zombies in Film « The Witch's Hat

  4. Oh, no… not the “Jason” debate. I’ve seen message boards have to shut down over that one. 🙂

    Great post, Rot. And Eric, I’ll be sure to add a link to your blog from mine.

    Maybe next time Rot can add on “alien zombies” (Plan 9, Night o/t Creeps, Bloodsuckers From Outer-Space etc)…..

    • Root Rot says:

      Jesus Christ Big I…Wait…There’s another zombie I forgot, Jesus.

      • Don’t forget Lazarus. He is, in fact, the first recorded zombie. Everybody always forgets about Lazarus. Poor guy. He gets one big claim to fame and everybody’s all, like, “Jesus this and Jesus that and rose from the dead and stuff”…..

  5. Sue says:

    Ha! I didn’t realize Jason was a hot debate. Good to know 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    What about more scientific takes on zombies, like 28 Days Later and its sequel, 28 Months Later?

    • Those would be the “infected living”. I’m not so much of a zombie snob that I totally discount them and would completely deny them a place in the zombie family tree, but if it has to draw breath to live then it’s not undead. “Infected” have become sort of a sub-sub-genre.

      • Root Rot says:

        I also most added a not quite zombie category, but didn’t want any confusion …. 28 days Later (2000), The Crazies (2010), and I am Legend (2007) were going to be the examples. of disease based living cannibals (killers, blood drinkers, ect).

  7. eric says:

    look at all this wonderful discussion!…. i was wondering about the “infected” style of Zombie myself…. sub-sub genre indeed..
    …and as far as Lazurus being the first recorded Zombie… well, there are actually a few recorded zombies in the OLD testament too!.. i think they are all in the “Kings” chapter….. but as Mr. Lowther stated, they’re all overshadowed by Zombie Jesus…that bastard is known for stealing the spotlight….

    • eric says:

      oh, and thanks for reminding me about “The Crazies” (2010).. i have it DVR’d …. i have not seen it yet, and i’m gonna watch it tonight…

    • I’m not known as a Biblical scholar, so on that I will defer to your wisdom 🙂 Zombies are such great clay to work with for a writer, and it’s hard to keep up with all the forms and variations in which you can find them these days. Romero zombie movies, hell, almost any of his movies really, typically carry heavy messages about our society and government. The original “Crazies” was nothing more than a thinly-guised attack on the military/industrial complex with the “thin guise” being a hell of a lot of fun to watch. You should enjoy the remake as well, even though it goes more for the action and less on the commentary.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s