Monday, October 22, 2007


Imagine, if you will, George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD as a literal zombie movie--that's to say, a film that sank its teeth into the consciousness of the movie-going public, into the hearts of other filmmakers, into the cogs of the low-budget film marketplace. A bite that infects with the lingering, insidious effect that all well-executed art leaves behind.

Now imagine that those inflicted with Romero's bite--Jorge Grau, for example--transfer that impression into their own work, creating a subgenre of their own--that of the flesh-eating ghoul, laying to rest (perhaps permanently) the notion that zombies are voodoo-powered servants of Haitian high priests, or tools of some grand Nazi scheme. Romero himself succumbs to this phenomena, and the resulting DAWN OF THE DEAD catapults the plague beyond any mere quarantine.

The infection spreads so rapidly it can no longer be contained. DAWN begets an overwhelming number of offspring--a brainless collective single-minded in purpose moving from one hapless victim to another, this subgenre so voracious that it starts consuming itself in its need for raw meat. Soon the dead are everywhere, their numbers great enough to overcome you, make you one of their own . . .

All of which is to say, there's an awful lot of zombie films out there. Enough to take over this blog for an entire year for the following experiment: 365 Days of the Dead.

The challenge: starting this Halloween, watch one zombie movie a day, every day, for an entire year. Each day's entry will then be reviewed here.

The goal is to examine the different permutations that zombie films can take, to see how other countries or cultures portray the living dead. To discover the rare gem among the shambling, entrail-dragging imitators. Maybe even find something that challenges what a zombie movie is, or can be.

A few ground rules: The loose definition of zombie I'm using is any person or persons who die and then return as an ambulatory corpse. Said zombie(s) should be integral to the movie, not simply window dressing or pop-ups in a single scene. Although the blog may not neccesarily be updated daily, each day will be represented in subsequent posts.

If there's a particular movie you'd like to see reviewed here, drop me a line and I'll see what I can do to add it. Also, any filmmakers with a zombie movie you'd like to offer for review, feel free to contact me; I can't guarantee that it'll be featured, nor can I promise a positive response. Feedback on the blog--good, bad, or indifferent--is always welcome.

Hope to see you on Halloween.


Glen said...

Hey, great idea. I'm looking forward to reading your reviews over the coming year.

Sooo, given the ground rules, would a movie like 28 Days Later be disqualified? It has all the hallmarks of a zombie movie without the, you know, zombies. Or there's the upcoming I Am Legend; I would argue that the book was the first modern zombie survival story without the, you know, zombies. Could the themes and conventions of a zombie survival horror story be more important then the zombies themselves?

Scott Emerson said...


Yes, pseudo-zombie movies like 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, etc., will most likely be featured. Anything that follows the conventions of the zombie genre or has a similar feel (think Lamberto Bava's Demons films) will most likely be fair game. (In fact, part of the project is to find zombie movies that aren't zombie movies.)

Thanks for reading, hope to see you around in the weeks to come.