Saturday, May 10, 2008


Parodies inspired by NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD are a dime a dozen, and in the words of Classy Freddie Blassie, I'd like to meet the person supplying the dimes. Some of them, like the cult fave NIGHT OF THE LIVING BREAD, achieve a certain degree of cleverness, but too many of them are weak, unimaginative rehashes like AFTERNOON OF THE LIVING DEAD.

This 2007 short, directed by Nate Hanley, gets off on the right foot, replicating the grainy black-and-white look of Romero's film (including artificial scratches, a technique that's officially run its course, especially since it looks ridiculous on video) and cribbing the original stock score. But Hanley squanders the goodwill he's earned with his opening by launching into a verbatim exchange of Johnny and Barbara's dialogue from the beginning of NIGHT, ad libbing a couple of brief exchanges that bring nothing whatsoever and make little sense. This isn't parody, it's recitation. (Even money Hanley's a FAMILY GUY fan.)

After taking for-fucking-ever getting to their father's gravesite (seriously, half the running time is Barbara crossing the goddamn cemetery), Hanley recreates the encounter with Bill Hinzman's ghoul using a horribly miscast zombie; the resulting "struggle" is lame and derisively humorous, as is the short's finale (which might play better if Romero weren't still alive).

Oh, and one more thing: if you explicitly state your movie's taking place at 8 p.m., you might want to call it EVENING OF THE LIVING DEAD.

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