Tag Archives: Zombie Films

Idle Speculations On My Perfect Zombie Filmfest

18 Aug

I’ve been sitting through a rather dry academic conference for much of the last week as part of my day job, and during some of the more boring presentations, my mind has been wandering off towards zombies, and specifically, what my ideal line up would be for a zombie film festival. I don’t know quite why this idea entered my head, but it did and it stuck. This meant I ended up getting drawn into the idea of what exactly I’d have in it.

My starting point was what theme I’d use. After all, as with any filmfest, I’d need something to connect all the films together. At first, I thought about arranging films in some sort of temporal order, such as the years in which they were made, starting with something like Romero’s first film, Dawn of the Dead, or maybe even going as far back as White Zombie, and taking it all way through to World War Z, hitting various key films in between.

Soon, however, I gave that idea up as being too predictable, and I moved onto the idea of arranging them by the speed of the zombies. This, too, might start with Dawn of the Dead (the original version) and end with World War Z, but in between, and in this order, might be Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Dawn of the Dead (the remake) and 28 Days Later. This would be more quirky, but still rather obvious.

Finally, I figured I could just do it by selecting films which I thought had brought something new to the genre. This would not only allow the inclusion of full length classics from the silver screen, but also some of the best shorts from YouTube. This, then, was where I began, and from there I started picking the films I’d feature and the order I’d shown them in. Interested in what I came up with? Well, here’s what my fictitious film festival would look like:

1. Dawn of the Dead (original version): This is the one that kick-started the modern zombie film genre, so it was always going to be a good place to start.

2. Shaun of the Dead: The film that launched the zom-rom-com genre (and indeed ended it, too!).

3. Cargo: For those not familiar with Cargo, this is a short film which has a truly unique take on how a father can best look after his baby daughter in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

4. Dawn of the Dead (remake): While 28 Days Later brought the idea of fast zombies to the fore in the zombie genre, they weren’t really zombies, so I’m putting the remake of Dawn of the Dead in here because it marks the acceptance of the idea that true zombies can be fast and not just slow.

5. Steadfast Stanley: This is a great little, heart-warming film which take views the zombie apocalypse through the eyes of a dog looking for his young master, and it offers a very unique perspective on such events.

6. The Crazies: While most zombie films concentrate on a disease being the cause of a zombie apocalypse, The Crazies takes a different route and thinks about it being caused by chemicals leaching into the water supply of a small town.

7. Zombieland: While Shaun of the Dead was also comedy, it was an homage to its near namesake. Zombieland was more unique, particularly with its tongue-in-cheek breaking of the fourth wall to deliver its iconic rules and its brilliant cameo by Bill Murray.

8. 28 Days Later: This was always going to be the final film in any list I put together, but not only is it my favourite film in the genre, it also re-invigorated the whole genre itself. Without it, there would probably have been no Dawn of the Dead remake, no The Walking Dead and no World War Z (book or film). Yes, it’s not a true zombie film since the rage-infected humans aren’t true undead, but nonetheless it falls squarely within the genre and it stands as a major landmark in the development of zombie films. Of course, it’s also a great way to end any night!

So there we have it, eight films all of which I feel have brought something new to the zombie genre. I’m sure others would select a different set of films, and for different reasons, but taken together I think they’d make for an interesting, and hopefully thought-provoking, day of zombie action.

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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

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Cargo – A Short Zombie Film Everyone Should Watch

13 Apr

This is a brilliant little short zombie film that is a finalist in the Tropfest Australia Short Film Festival. One of the requirements for Tropfest is that each film must include a specific Tropfest Signature Item (TSI); this time round it was a balloon.

Cargo’s only seven minutes long but it’s truly amazing and the themes it explores are thought-provoking to say the least.

You can watch it on You Tube on in the window below.




Added 22nd April 2013: It seems that Cargo has now gone viral and with 2,415,174 views (as of today) it’s well on its way to becoming both an international success and a cult classic. Even well-known zombie aficionados such as Simon Pegg (he of Shaun Of The Dead fan) have been tweeting about it. It’s always good when something as great as this gets the fame and appreciation is deserves.

If you want to find out more about the people behind Cargo, you can check out the Cargo Facebook page here and read an interview with one of the co-directors here.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

World War Z – Will The Film Of The Book Work?

4 Apr

It’s release has already been delayed by six months but finally a full length trailer is available and we can start to get an idea of what the movie version of World War Z will be like. Now the question on everyone’s lips is quite simple: will it work?

In my opinion, this will depend on three things. Firstly, how it reflects the book on which it’s based. From the trailer, it’s quite clear this is not a faithful film of the original book and I strongly suspect that Max Brooks fans who go to the cinema thinking this is what they’ll see will come away disappointed. In particular, those expecting to see their favourite vignettes from the book immortalised on the big screen may be left feeling a little cheated when they find they’re not there. Instead, the trailer suggests that rather than being a film of the book, this movie is a film set in the same world as the book. It’s a small but important distinction. This doesn’t mean it will necessarily be a bad film, and you could argue a film that was completely faithful to the book would have been both impossible to make and be too incoherent, but it does mean it might not be quite what some are expecting. If you can get this crucial distinction into your head before you see the movie, I suspect you’re much more likely to enjoy it.

Secondly, what type of film it is. Again this is clear from the trailer: this is not a traditional zombie flick. Instead, it’s a thriller-action movie with zombies. This means if you go in expecting to see the next 28 Days Later or Dawn Of The Dead, you may well come out wanting your money back. However, when viewed from the perspective of a thriller-action movie with zombies in it, it looks like it might be a rather good one. From the trailer, the scene where Brad Pitt is being pick up from a roof by a helicopter as the zombies stream towards him looks particularly effective and there’s a nice scene set on a plane which really grabbed my attention.

Finally, will the film be a success at the box office? Undoubtedly this film will bring in a humongous amount of money since it’s going to be the summer blockbuster for 2013. A lot of this money will come not from zombie fans but instead from audiences who are going to see it for the action sequences and because it stars Brad Pitt. This is likely to bring zombie films even further into the mainstream, just as The Walking Dead has done in television and the book World War Z has done in publishing. This, in my opinion, can only be a good thing for zombie fans as it will mean that all the Hollywood studios will be scrambling around to have their own zombie-based hit.

So will it work? Based on the latest trailer, for those looking for a thriller-action movie that features zombies and who are not big fans of the book it looks like the answer will almost certainly be a resounding yes! However, I suspect some dedicated zombie fans (particularly big fans of book) and those who prefer traditional zombie films and horror movies will leave feeling a little disappointed. This is not because it’s a bad movie but rather because it’s not the movie they thought and hoped it was going to be. This means the key to enjoying World War Z will be the attitude you take with you into the cinema when you go to see it. Expect an action-thriller set in the same world as the book and not the book brought faithfully to life or another 28 Days Later.

At this stage, I should admit a vested interest. Part of this movie was filmed in my native Glasgow (standing in for Pittsburgh, which in turn is standing in for Yonkers – as in The Battle for Yonkers – which is all a bit confusing but you’d never be able to tell from the footage) and I’m looking forward to seeing it transformed into an American city on the large screen. I’ll also be watching eagerly to see if I can spot any one I recognise – and specifically myself! You see, I was lucky enough to find myself working as an extra on the Glasgow set and it was this that finally made me pluck up the courage to sit down and write my debut novel, For Those In Peril On The Sea. I’d had the idea for this boat-based zombie-type story floating around in my head for a while and to pass the time I told a few of my fellow extras about it – there was a lot of standing around waiting for someone to shout action interspersed with brief periods of running from zombies and we had to talk about something. Their responses were sufficiently encouraging to make me think I should stop prevaricating and just write it. And so, my fledgling career as a zombie author began …

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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.