Category Archives: Zombies

BRRRAAAAIIIIINNNNNNSSSS!!!!

The Vanguard (2008)

Yellow Puss

I’m not sure if this is a Z-film.  Mashing together a few online summations of this film (mostly from IMDB) consists of …

The year is 2015.  Overpopulation and famine have plunged our planet into chaos.  One desperate survivor — an enigmatic man — journeys through this apocalyptic world hunted and pursued by hordes of rage-crazed zombies.

Frankly, that sounds like a pretty cool film — not to mention that we’ve seemed to survive that 2015 issue — but my perception was …. different.

In some respects The Vanguard seems to be a psychological abstract art-house film with black comedy bits — not to mention the presence of humans who have been medicated by some controlling corporation which turns them into mindless wondering killers, which strikes me as a possible different approach to ZOMBIES.

Mind you, the zombies are on the peripheral to the story and they look like they were created using left-over make-up from either of the Evil Dead films.  And what the heck the story of the film has to do with its cool name …. I haven’t a clue!

Frankly, this looks like another DIY flick.  Looking at IMDB …. it’s written and directed by Matthew Hope it’s classified as a low budget film … it appears to have been acted using friends and volunteers, and possibly assembled on a used iMac — but this was well done.  I liked it and I’m happy having seen it only once.

The Vanguard (2008) – IMDbWikipedia, and Rotten Tomatoes

Beast Within (AKA Virus Undead) (2008)

Green Ooze – BagpiperDon’s +/- Top 10

This film should be watched at very least because it’s directed by two people with the names Wolf Wolff and Ohmuthi.

From what I can tell it’s a German Z-film made for American audiences.  It looks & feels a bit like 28 Days Later where an alternate version of the avian flu transmits a zombie virus.  Add to the mix Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic “The Birds” — and don’t forget the college slasher film element, which of course means we also see Z-film breasts — but I gotta hand it to Wolf Wolff and Ohmuthi, what is displayed isn’t gratuitous as with most Z-films.  The display of gratuitous Z-film breasts is tastefully done, but don’t watch this with your kids or your parents … or my parents.

Oh, and how about this — NO JOURNEY — even though the main charactres are at the epicenter, they feel that where they’re at is the best place to be.  Also, I gotta like the zombie cop who still eats doughnuts even though he’s undead, and I dig the recording of the grandfather’s voice that reminds me of The Evil Dead I & II.  The birds in “The Birds” were better than the digital birds appeared often enough in this film … which is saying something because I’ve never seen all of “The Birds“.

Beast Within AKA Virus Undead – IMDB and Wikipedia

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Green Ooze – BagpiperDon’s +/- Top 10

This film is fun — period.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and at the end of the film you might be encouraged to be a better person.  It’s amusing to think that this could be another occurrence that’s part of the 28 Days Later outbreak, although they say in the film that it isn’t.

If you enjoy this film, be sure to also catch Hot Fuzz (also with Nick Frost) and probably Run Fat Boy Run too — but I’d skip Big Nothing if you’ve seen Fat Boy and think that something else with Simon Pegg and David Schwimmer is guaranteed to be good.

Shaun of the Dead – IMDB

Fido (2006)

Green Ooze – BagpiperDon’s +/- Top 10

I would have enjoyed this film had I not enjoyed it simply because Billy Connolly played the leading zombie.

Oh yeah, zombies in the fifties with a cute fun story line where zombies are controlled and function as servants for humans and the main charactres have reckonings in their lives about love and happiness — good fun.

I watched it the second time with my parents — how often do I say that about these films, huh?  It might be okay for kids too with parental supervision.

Fido at IMDB and Wikipedia

The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)

If you found this movie poster disturbing, it’s supposed to be. Good for you, blue ribbon!

This film immediately starts the viewers on question marks…

A 10 year-old girl – Melanie – wakes in the cell of a seemingly military controlled facility, which you cannot tell if it is possibly underground.  She rises from her bunk, dresses in a set of faded red sweats, then voluntarily sits in a wheelchair.  Moments after two soldiers enter her cell at gunpoint to strap her arms, legs, and head to the chair, followed by rolling her in to a classroom with similarly secure children.

This could have helped me to get through some of my college classes…

As class begins you find that all of these kids are very intelligent … and seemingly happy … but soon you find out why these children are so closely controlled.

In a post-apocalyptic dystopian future, society has broken down after a fungal disease has infected and all but destroyed humankind, turning its victims into flesh-eating “hungries” – fast moving, mindless, and ravenous zombies.  They are capable of running over long distances, and quickly transferring the infection through their bites.

RadioTimes.com said that The Girl With All The Gifts is “The best zombie movie since 28 Days Later” – and I’m inclined to agree!
The bar for zombie films Has Been RAISED.

You know when you hear an album that’s so good you play it twice in a row?  Have you ever had that with a movie?  That was this film for me — I watched it back to back!

This is the most unique and original Z-film I have seen since 28 Days Later and World War ZBRILLIANTLY acted by Glenn Close (yes, six time Academy Award-nominated actress Glenn Close is in a zombie film), Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, and introducing and staring as the little girl Sennia Nanua.  What is it about Brits and Z-movies – The Girl With All The Gifts is SPECTACULAR!  And if Sennia keeps acting like this … she’s going to go FAR — what a treat to see such a future talent!

By the way, this was directed by Colm McCarthy, one and the same as Peaky Blinders — unbelievably for £4 million, which is about $5 million.  Filming lasted seven weeks in The West Midlands, taking place in Birmingham city centre, Cannock ChaseDudley and Stoke-on-Trent.   Aerial views of a deserted London were filmed with drones in the abandoned Ukrainian town of Pripyat, which has been uninhabited since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Is this film in my BagpiperDon’s +/- Top 10 list…?
OH YEAH!

The Girl With All The Gifts – IMDb, Wikipedia, and Rotten Tomatoes

The original science-fiction novel, The Girl With All The Gifts, is by M.R. Carey.  Published in June 2014 by Orbit Books, it based on his 2013 Edgar Award nominated short story “Iphigenia In Aulis“.

28 Days Later – IMDB and Wikipedia

And now, every e-thing you want about Pripyat…

The Return of The Living Dead (1985)

Okay, here’s the crazy thing about The Return of The Living Dead from 1985… I’d rate it as a Yellow Puss film, and while it’s kind of a cruddy film I’d also have to say that as zombie films go it’s kind of an important film of the genre.  Crazy, huh?!?

 

So here’s the gist…

 

Fifteen years ago a medical supply warehouse was contracted by the military to store some specialized barrels containing cadavers preserved in an experimental gas.  While two employees are in the basement — a young buck new hire and an old pro — they accidentally release vapors from one of the barrels which reanimates the corpse into a flesh-eating zombie.  After fighting off the zombie, they illicit help cremating the body at the mortuary across the street.  As smoke and ashes are expelled through the chimney, rain begins to fall outside … onto the cemetery … where a group of punk rockers (friends of the warehouse new-hire) are screwing around and killing some time.

From here the film turns into something not often seen in a zombie film….  MANY zombie films have what I call ‘The Journey’ — the human survivors have to get from Point-A to Point-B for one reason or another.  They can survive in the other location, the cure for the outbreak is at Point-B, whatever the reason they have to travel from one place to another usually failing to work together, occasionally being attacked by zombies to move the story along, and the survivor group loses its numbers through attrition. This doesn’t have The Journey.  In place of that, the punks and the professionals retreat into the warehouse and mortuary to try and stave off the attacking zombies.  Instead of a journey story line this film works in a siege setting, where there is B-film corny-ness and constant action.

Without giving anything more away, I’d like to touch on why this film is important…  Simply, it stands as an icon of the genre.  For a budget of $4M it was actually decently made in that it actually still looks pretty good.  I’ve seen The Return of The Living Dead II (1988) recently, and comparatively it was poorly made.  The original also has two of the biggest icons of the Z-film genre…

WHAT — you didn’t think I was going to post a graphic picture did you?!?! That’s a different website — look through your search history…

The Return of The Living Dead quite frankly has The Most Iconic Zombie Film Boobs … or in this case a completely naked dancing woman — delivered by scream queen Linnea Quigley playing a punk rocker girl named Trash dancing naked at the cemetery and selling loads of tickets at the box-office.  DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM WITH YOUR KIDS … or your parents.

Remember that cadaver in the experimental barrel I mentioned above?  The zombie that comes out of it is known within the zombie genera as “Tar Man” and made a distinct play on the zombie desire in saying “BRAINS!

Okay, now, things I’m not so good with from this film…

The zombies are fast moving — I’m cool with that. The zombies are cognizant, and 90 times out of 10 I’m not cool with that. In this film they can also talk and problem solve …. I’m not just talking about beating their way through doors and windows, I mean they can open doors, apply tools to barricades, it just doesn’t work for me…. But It Could Have…

The ‘How’ part of the zombies being cognizant wasn’t developed. Watching the film, I saw how this could have been done within the story but I’m not going to take the time to propose this about a decades-old film because what’s the point? I have better things to do. Seriously, were I to put that time and thought into this film I’d be no better than the people that claim to be major Star Wars fans and yet spend LOADS of time complaining about how wrong and poorly-done Star Wars is.

The way the film ends it should have created an unstoppable world zombie outbreak. The Part-2 film doesn’t start based off the ending of this film but it does draw from the military chemical barrels — but at least they did bring Tar Man (or another Tar Man) back onto the screen.

The Return of the Living Dead IMDbWikipedia, and Rotten Tomatoes

Warm Bodies (2013)

Green Ooze
(This review is in unfinished note form … deal with it.)

I’ve been aware of a few Z-films out there told from the perspective of a zombie and this was the first I viewed … fortunately it was gentle with me.

The beginning of the film — the opening slacker zombie monologue — had a good/funny commentary on modern life. From the set-up of the film I could see that this flick offered a few new ideas — and I’m pleased when I see that within the zombie-genre.

This is a story of when zombie boy meets, er, doesn’t eat girl. When a teen zombie boy meets a scavenging teen girl his own age and finds himself attracted to her his heart begins to beat again, which starts to bring him back to life.

And these would be boneys

Humans as usual are survivors. There are two generations of zombies — corpses and boneys. Corpses have limited thought & speech capacity, along with all the usual hunger for flesh of the living. Over time corpses degenerate into boneys — absolute thoughtless, hunger-driven creatures comprised of hardly more than bones. If a corpse eats the brains of a human that corpse gains the memories of the person they ate; if they only eat some of their flesh and leave their brains intact that human will become a corpse. Boneys go after anything with a heartbeat. When the main zombie character — a corpse-boy named R — falls in love with a teen human girl, Julie, R’s heart starts to beat again and he starts to return to being human. R’s love begins to cure his zombieness, and this starts a movement with the other corpses. This is a problem as it also makes them a target for the boneys.

This film is fun because it give things everyone can identify with — teen angst & self doubt, judgment & acceptance, the haves & have-nots, overcoming our prejudices, trying new things, and falling in love. Oh, did I mention that this film draws from Romeo and Juliet (note “R & Julie“).

The wall in the film seems to be a symbol, a metaphor — figurative walls between people

I like that in the meeting between this corpse-boy and human girl they build a friendship, familiarity, and in time interest, which suggests the lost romantic practice of courting — in this case because of the distance they must keep, the living/dead barrier between them

The music selection is amusing.  Songs are funny, fitting, and if you’re of the right age group they are nostalgic.

When I turned on this film I had other things to do — I was only going to watch for a few minutes — and while this is not a fantastic big-budget thriller, I found it to be a well-made cute zombie/comedy/action film. As people say “I couldn’t put it down” — I watched it through to the end.

At the end of the film there is a strong statement of social commentary — we need to accept each other, love each other, teach each other, we need to connect with each other.

I am often a non- John Malkovich  fan.  It’s not because of him or his work — I think the problem is that he doesn’t fit in everything he’s in, but the things that he is right for he’s really shown his brilliance.  He’s in Warm Bodies and IMO he’s a good fit in here.  Where I really liked him was RED and RED 2.

Warm Bodies Official Website – and at  IMDbWikipedia, and Rotten Tomatoes

ZA: Zombies Anonymous (2006)

ZA is a budget Z-flick, but I have to say that whoever made this film knew what they were doing with their iMac and the $20 on-sale digital camera they bought at a liquidator store.  I’m impressed with it enough to rate it Green Ooze.

The concept is well presented through the script and the acting delivers … for a B-film, mind you. The back-story states that for no apparent reason people are no-longer dying, they pass away and then get up and walk away — and now, retaining their human characteristics, they reside within civilization among the living.

Right now I’m only 30 minutes into the film and I’m rather impressed — from the looks of it, the film is really about prejudice among humanity … though the recovery support group aspect is also amusing. Would I tell film fans to make sure they see this flick — no — but Z-film fans who would understand & appreciate it, yeah probably.

By the way, this is also supposed to be a comedy; while there were a few slightly humorous elements, I thought it lacked in this area, but enjoyed the couple of laughs it gave … some of the costume elements were pretty funny too. Oh, and here’s one joke most folks might not catch — around 1hr38m a shotgun that fires 8+ times but likely holds less rounds … that’s funny like in one of the Airplane movies when you see a jet but hear a prop plane, just I don’t think this was intentional.

ZA: Zombies Anonymous at IMDB and Wikipedia

Zombie High (1987)

Zombie High – Yellow Puss – also known as The School That Ate My Brain

No, this is not a flick about junkies turning into zombies (not that with some of them you could tell the difference), this is about kids at a prestigious boarding-school in the 80s.

One-by-one their instructors steal their sleeping students away at night to steal parts of their brains for their own sinister reasons, and then to make up for the loss they’re implanted with a chip. The next morning the students wake up as mindless well disciplined — and well dressed — learning machines starting the first day of their very successful and yuppie lives.

Surprisingly I have not seen gratuitous breasts yet — hey, it is an 80s horror film — but I have seen a number of little known actors in their early days who later went on to be ever so slightly better than little known actors. Watching this I’m half tempted to honor this flick by pulling out those 2 Shaw Safari shirts hanging in the back of my closet that have been waiting to come out for the right retro party. Frankly, maybe something that would have turned us more mindless like this back in the 80s would have been better, helping us to chill out instead of wearing all that obnoxious crap we used to wear and listen to that music, 1/2 of which was worse than our hair-doos.

If you’re a zombie fan, watch this film; if you’re a retro fan, watch this film; if you don’t have anything better to do, find something other than this film. Oddly, there’s another high-school flick where the students are being turned into some sort of learning zombies which is what I thought I started …. this is not the zombie film I was looking for, but they were the droids I was looking for.

Zombie High at IMDB and Wikipedia

Zombies of Mass Destruction (2009)

Yellow Puss nearing light-Green Ooze

This was a fun film to watch, in fact I viewed it with my parents — my dad didn’t seem to say much but my mom was amused, and we got a kick out of watching it together … so if you’re looking for a Z-film to watch with your mom, this just might be the one!

I believe this was the other zombie film that was being shot in Washington State while I was a part of the making of The Book Of Zombie — the difference being that this B-film actually had some money behind it while the one I was a part of had only scrapings.

I had a laugh in that they kept referring to their location as “the island of Port Gamble” — Port Gamble is in Washington State, but not an island. This film was humorous but without being forced and makes social commentary in similar vein as some of the George A. Romaro films.

Would I recommend it, heck yes — I’ve seen better, I’ve also seen a LOT worse — it was fun.

Zombies of Mass Destruction at IMDBWikipedia, and the Official Website

The official Port Gamble website and Wikipedia