Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Movies

It’s enjoyable to watch a zombie movie produced by logical minds. Some zombie movies are just plain silly. Their stories are all over the place, their characters lack motive, and their whole premise boggles the mind. It’s not the intention of this post to dwell on those. But it is fun to watch the good ones. In keeping with Monday Mayhem, below is a list of zombie movies sure to create some excitement on a dark, lonely night.

Will Smith in I Am Legend
Will Smith in I Am Legend

I Am LegendWill Smith’s character Robert Neville lives alone in a deserted city to fend for a cure to the dratted virus zombie virus. The thing about the virus is that scientists engineered it to cure cancer. They believed that if they could unleash a biological weapon to destroy cancer cells, they could allow the body to repair itself, thus eliminating the uncertainty happening with today’s methods, and the costs. Unfortunately, it pretty much wipes out all humanity and leaves those who survived, famished zombies.

Dawn of the Dead—In this remake, a group of zombie apocalypse survivors, trapped in a Milwaukee mall, fight an undead infestation. The charm of this film is watching survivors cope with limited movement, and their increasing boredom of their situation. In one instance, the survivors play Hollywood Squares on the mall’s rooftop. The squares are the zombie collective below and the chalk is a sniper perched on the other side of the street.

Timothy Olyphant in The Crazies
Timothy Olyphant in The Crazies

The Crazies—Not your typical brain-bashing, gut-chomping zombie movie, The Crazies is an interesting study. The first thing the audience realizes is the contagion does not come from a virus. The classic zombie infection is the usual virus that gets spread by a bite. Then, humans become their own worst enemies and tear at each other in a cannibalistic frenzy. Not in this story. Remember that saying, when traveling don’t drink the water? If any time that applied, it applies here.

28 Days Later—A lab conducting secret testing on chimpanzees becomes the target of animal rights activists. Twenty-eight days later, not a single human survived the carnage of the rage virus. When Jim wakes up from his coma, he find himself alone in London seeking the answers as to what happened to society.

Zombieland—Four years later, this movie still manages to hit almost every Top 10 undead list out there. Led by a Twinkie hunting zombie killer (Woody Harrelson), a group of teens attempt to cope with reality after getting caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Making this film entertaining are the floating rules over the action (ie. Cardio, The Double Tap, Beware of Bathrooms, Wear Seat Belts, etc.), and the creative zombie kills (ie. a woman drops a piano on an unsuspecting flesh eater).

Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland
Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland

Shaun of the Dead—This movie gets funnier with every viewing. Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) battle zombies that don’t quite know when to give up. These former humans border on stupidity, but stupidity in a good kind of way. Most of the time, they stand around while their food—human—disappears. In one scene, Shaun acts as a tour guide/director giving the horde directions to follow him, since he is good to eat, all the while helping his friends escape.

What other films are there that I may have missed?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Wichita

Zombieland is a grim film. It provides a commentary on society’s ills, and demonstrates humanity’s failure to manage an apocalypse of grand proportions contrasted against civilized utopian values. Cinematic enthusiasts do well by taking this movie seriously. Queue the vinyl record scratch. Yeah, right. Are you sure, we’re talking about the same movie here?

Emma Stone as Wichita
Emma Stone as Wichita

If you’re a new reader to Women Who Wow Wednesday, this series is not about stuffy interpretations of female movie protagonists. No, it’s about having fun! And what better way to have fun than to shine the spotlight on Wichita, the teenage Zombieland killer?

Let’s dispense with the pleasantries and go for the jugular. When we first meet Wichita (Emma Stone), she’s not a very nice human being. She lies, she tricks others into giving up what’s theirs, and she’s particularly sneaky. In fact, if I were a person of vulgar persuasion, I’d describe her as a female dog. But I’m not going to do that. I’d rather focus on the positive aspects of her personality than tear her down a few sizes.

How’s that for a rough start? So far, she doesn’t possess that many redeeming qualities to cry home about. There’s gotta be something that can spark an interest in appreciating why anyone would keep her around.

Wichita's Mossberg 500 shotgun
Wichita’s Mossberg 500 shotgun

To her benefit, Wichita does like guns, I suppose. She sports a Mossberg 500 shotgun with rear and forward pistol grip, and side-saddle shell holder, which she utilizes throughout the entire movie. Her backup is a Walther PPK pistol. She uses it to threaten Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a Twinkie-loving zombie-slayer, only after he threatens her sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) first.

What’s that say about Wichita if she doesn’t want to use any other gun other than the one she has? Yeah, she suffers serious trust issues. That’s what I thought too. However, I would add she’s faithful. Her commitment to one gun provides as an example that once she does trust someone, she’ll do anything to protect them. Even if it means losing her life while doing so. I guess she possesses some redeeming qualities after all.

Then there’s the matter of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg). He’s always been the outsider. Never one appreciated except for when he gave Wichita his shotgun. They become close. She confides in him about knowing the rumor that Los Angeles being zombie-free is bogus. She keeps up appearances for her sister’s sake. He admires her and they become good friends.

Columbus realizes Wichita had to lie in the beginning to protect her sister. She didn’t know Tallahassee or Columbus. She had to trick them into giving up their firearms because if she didn’t, in her mind, who knows what would have happened. And if she wasn’t sneaky, how would she have known who the real Columbus was? That’s her side of it, anyway. Eventually she does reveal her real name to him.

You know what? I like Wichita. She’s solid. There’s no wavering with her. Either you’re for her or against her. None of that wishy-washy “oh, I broke a nail” stuff with her. She takes her hits and keeps going forward.

Have you seen Zombieland? What do you think of Wichita? Was it necessary she lie, cheat and steal to get her way?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Kill of the Week

Welcome to another edition of Monday Mayhem where zombies rule and aliens invade. If you’re interested in finding out more about Monday Mayhem, you can simply click on the link in the Features panel for a complete list of posts included in the series.

Today I’d like to focus on zombie kills. Not so much how zombies kill, but how creative I’ve seen zombies get killed in various movies.

Zombieland
Zombieland

For instance, Zombieland. Does this movie ever go away? It’s hard to believe it’s been four years. One of my favorite scenes involves the Zombie Kill of the Week award given to those who exemplify pure creativity with the killing of the undead. A white-haired woman runs around a corner heading to the entrance of what seems to be a church. A quick-pace zombie follows. She pulls a handled-rope, much like the ones seen in those old movies featuring a toilet with a chain for flushing. She then disappears into the building. When the zombie finally shows up at the door, a piano falls on it. That’s the end of the zombie, thus earning the woman the Zombie Kill of the Week.

Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead

How about Shaun of the Dead? This movie gets funnier with every viewing. Shaun and Ed (played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, respectively) battle two zombies that don’t quite know when to give up. The scene starts in the house where the zombies burst through the window. The action then moves to the backyard where the desperate duo throws all manner of kitchen utensils at the approaching creatures, including a toaster. Nothing works, except some hope appears when Ed throws a vinyl record at one of them, maiming the beast. The idea bulb illuminates and they return to the backyard with Shaun’s record collection. As the zombies maintain their approach, the boys argue about which records they should throw.

Ed: ‘Purple Rain‘?
Shaun: No.
Ed: ‘Sign o’ the Times‘?
Shaun: Definitely not.
Ed: The ‘Batman‘ soundtrack?
Shaun: Throw it.
Ed: ‘Dire Straits‘?
Shaun: Throw it.
Ed: Ooh, ‘Stone Roses‘.
Shaun: Um, No.
Ed: ‘Second Coming‘.
Shaun: I like it!
Ed: Ahhh! ‘Sade‘.
Shaun: Yeah, but that’s Liz’s!
Ed: Yeah, but she did dump you.
Shaun: Oh!

When that doesn’t work, Shaun rams the door to the shed, grabbing a cricket bat. Ed arms himself with a shovel. They then let the zombies have it in a furious series of blows delivered off-camera. The next scene resolves the confrontation with the boys sitting on a couch contemplating on what just happened while they indulge in a hot drink and a caramel cone for dessert.

I can keep going with Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Pet Semetary, and Ghosts of Mars, describing multiple scenes of zombie carnage. But I’d rather write my own list of things I’d like to see happen to the undead in the event of a zombie apocalypse. By the way, I slipped in Ghosts of Mars because a) the movie contains an element of zombieism (is that a word?) and b) John Carpenter wrote and directed the project.

So, without further wait, here is my top ten list of Zombie Kills of the Week. I ordered them from least to greatest, placing emphasis on the most outrageous kill as the last item on the list.

  1. Shooting a zombie in the head
  2. Spraying kerosene over a zombie and setting it alight
  3. Throwing a zombie off a cliff, watching the impact crack its skull
  4. Smashing a zombie’s head with a crowbar until everything’s covered in goo
  5. Jamming a screwdriver into a zombie’s temple until it collapses
  6. Decapitating a zombie with a souvenir confederate sword from the American civil war
  7. Strapping a zombie into a car and ramming it into a brick wall
  8. Driving an ice pick through the zombie’s mouth, severing its spinal cord, thereby rendering it dead
  9. Clamping a zombie’s head in a paint mixer, watching it spin
  10. Running over a zombie until every ounce of unholy breath expels from its maggot-filled lungs

Can you think of any others? Do you have a favorite zombie movie kill you’d like to share? Go ahead and write it in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies, Zombies, Zombies!

Welcome back to Monday Mayhem. If you haven’t read my intro to the series, you can search for it on my site with the keywords Monday Mayhem or you can click on the Monday Mayhem link at the top of this post. Simple, huh?

Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead

Now that the Mayan silliness—ahem—apocalypse is out of the way, let’s talk about something worth talking about: Zooooooombies. Yep, those green critters everyone loves to run away from whenever a biological disaster hits. Zombies. Specifically, let’s talk about what they look like, ‘cause a number of films have interpreted their own versions of the grotesque creatures.

Since I wrote about I Am Legend last week, I thought I’d start with them. According to tradition, zombies are the walking dead. Some call them the undead. They walk back and forth on the earth seeking of whom they may devour. They have a “drag” to their pace. Like this: Step-drag, step-drag-drag, step-drag. Okay, I made that up. Yes, they walk slow. In the movie I Am Legend however, they are speed freaks. They run fast, hit hard and eat with intensity. Some have said they really aren’t zombies at all but vampires, due to their sensitivity to light and their penchant for going for the jugular.

Vampire Extraordinaire, Underworld's Kate Beckinsale
Vampire Extraordinaire, Underworld’s Kate Beckinsale

My thoughts? Vampires turn into vampires when bitten by other vampires. The creatures in this movie become zombies after a medical procedure goes awry (the typical method of zombie propagation).

How about the creatures in other movies? How about the beasts in 28 Days Later, Resident Evil and Dawn of the Dead? Oh, and the TV show The Walking Dead? Well, those are your standard, cookie-cutter zombies. Their flesh hangs off their bones, eyes white, and they possess the trademark drag. Those creatures also maintain their pleasant countenance by walking around with torn, often shredded clothes. Of course, let’s not forget the scabs. They sport various scabs throughout their bodies as a testament to their zombiehood.

Fighting Zombies
Fighting Zombies

You really don’t want me to describe scabs in detail, do you?

Then you have your funny zombies. The zombies you find in Shaun of the Dead for instance. These monsters border on stupidity. Most of the time, they stand around while their food—human—disappears. In one scene, Shaun acts as a tour guide/director giving the hoard directions to follow him, since he is good to eat, all the while helping his friends escape.

And how can we forget Zombieland? Bill Murray plays one of the undead. I’m not getting into the specifics with this movie. It is one of my favorite and it would be a shame if I spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Suffice it to say: Watch it.

The Crazies
The Crazies

The last movie I’d like to mention, which may seem odd to describe as a zombie movie, is The Crazies. The beings in this film harbor a mysterious element to their personalities that propels them to behave irrationally. Some critics may not consider them typical zombies in the strictest sense, given they don’t eat flesh, talk, and are not dead. But when faced with one of these blank staring individuals, I assure you, they function as true blood zombies. These are the most interesting of the species. No one knows who they are and the survivors travel with suspicion.

There you have it, a description of the most popular zombies to walk the planet in search of human delicacies.

Did I forget any of them? Have you seen any movie I missed describing the type of zombie? If you have, go ahead and comment. I’m interested in what you have to say.