Is there still life in the undead? - AVF Movies Podcast Discussion Thread

Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor

Hello, dear friends, and welcome again to this month's AVF Movies Podcast discussion thread.​


The next Movies Podcast hosted by me, @Casimir Harlow and @Simon Crust will be livestreaming on our YouTube channel on Wednesday 2nd June 2021 at out new, more convenient time of 7:30pm.

As usual, we're asking for your exciting opinions on our topic of the month, which so happens to be zombie movies.

With the release of Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead on Netflix, we're going to be discussing the best and worst zombie movies, which of the zombie genre conventions we like the most and whether or not it's a creative well that is all but drained. But we'd like to know what you fine jerks think. The most interesting responses will be discussed on the podcast!

So, with that in mind:

  • What's your favourite zombie movie and why?

  • Do zombie movies work best when they attempt a bit of societal commentary, or are you mainly here for the blood and guts?

  • How does Army of the Dead compare with previous zombie movies?

  • Is the zombie movie a dying (or undying) genre?

You have 3 days to get in, answer the questions, and get out before the nuke drops.
 

Mark Costello

Distinguished Member
Well seeing as you asked so nicely Mr Davies, may I be allowed to respond accordingly:

  • Zombie Flesh Easters (Zombi 2) - I could give one of two answers as to why: the most appropriate one is that Fulci gets the blend of gore, dread and threat absolutely spot on. Its the scariest slow zombies put on film, half eaten away themselves, but they feel terrifying and unstoppable in a way that most other slow zombies don't. The boat open and the final Brooklyn Bridge reveal give that sense of inevitability to it that we just can't escape from and its as terrifying as the rotting corpses; or I could give the most inappropriate one and say its got boobs, zombies and sharks all in the same shot, therefore its a genius level masterwork......;
  • The societal commentary gets old very quickly - we get that they represent us and that more often than not, we are more of a threat than the zombies.....but frankly if I see an undead shuffling towards me I just want to be utterly terrified. Not trying to think about some smart arse way to better think of myself......therefore societal commentary was clever back in the 70's but its tired now. I just want them terrifying and grue drenched;
  • Army of the Dead is derivative, leaden, overlong and thinks its cleverer than it is by hinting at ridiculous mythos, knowing full well it will only explain them in cynical franchise following entries. The trailers and the marketing promised a fun romp with blood drenched zombies in. The only fun present was in half of the opening credits. If Snyder had followed through with that element (and no, I don't mean the godawful Bay-esque blowjob opening which is the antithesis of 'fun'), this could have been really fun. Epic fun even. He didn't. It wasn't. Very poor. More so when you consider he did a great zombie movie straight out of the gate; and
  • Nearly - there hasn't been scary zombies since the likes of 28 Days Later or Rec and then the creatives go out of their way to say they're NOT zombies. We need to start to think about how to bring new life (snigger) into the genre and I really thought Army of the Dead was going to do it - look at the likes of Hatchet and Feast: low budget horrors that bring the fun (not comedy, just 'fun') by keeping the antagonists straight down the line and terrifying and the protagonists the fun part. For me the genre is close to flatlining........but I'm sure its still got a heartbeat or two left in it.......
 
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SyStemDeMoN

Well-known Member
I think the 28 days and 28 weeks are the best although as the poster above has said they are not strictly zombie films. I don't think zombie films need to be about the dead coming back to life and I think this was the first film to test this.
The infected were scarier than normal. They were fast and very violent.

I have a real fond place for Return of the living dead though. It was quite funny at the time and did some explaining about why the dead ate brains.
I don't think the zombie genre is 'dead' because some people like my wife love it. My wife must be the only person who still watches walking dead and fear the walking dead.

I did enjoy Black Summer on Netflix as well.
 
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encaser

Member
Day of the Dead is my favourite; as it reintroduces opera to the masses, with the vocal chord stretching exercise scene.

The furtherance of societal commentary has led to censorship and the removal of sexualised zombie chicks in favour of frigid ones demanding their vocal pound of flesh. /Irony. But, no. Bring me threats to subsistence level survival and spare the look within or wider tripe for that what's literally on display. The most interesting characters are always the ones that hark back to primal thoughts but with the benefit of modern minds to screw all for that extra breath.
You can only imagine that if a zombie breakout occurred and humans survived, it would revert back quick-smart to former injustices but feel lucky for it. Ergo: stop your complaining, bitch.

Army of the Dead died on its arse by filling it with soap drama emotion and trying to be righteous. For some inexplicable reason, Snyder turned it into a therapy session of 'We need to talk about this' in near every scene; with supposedly reasoned understanding and exposition throughout that not only got the crew killed but screwed the entire film. Whereas previous movies relied more on the basic but not inconsiderable threat. You had various types of men and women (typically sans children, sadly) that were quickly placed in peril and it was up to the audience to weight threat, fear and investment in what characters were lightly fleshed out, Wasting too much time on a simple premise to try and make it overly worthy and philosophical tends to deny the immediacy...We're gonna die, boy! Profoundly wise enough words, mate.

Oh, you know 'new' films will surface and get tweaked (like a recently infected host's shoulder) over and over for decades. The current pandemic will for sure host a few ideas for stenches. I'd suggest the trilogy: Care, Care Home and then Re:Care. Probably too soon for them.
 
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richp007

Distinguished Member
I think the zombie genre is in need of a reboot.

Ya gonna hate this pun, but it needs more flesh and meat on it's bones in order to appeal to me. I've not seen Army of the Dead yet, and truth be told I've no interest particularly (although I will definitely get round to it). That's not 100% a Snyder thing, I've just always thought it looked a bit pants to be honest.

And I definitely don't want social commentary in a zombie film.

I think there's room for your quintessential meandering braindead zombie who shuffles and lunges. What I've always referred to as the Resident Evil zombie. There's definitely room for your horde zombie like in World War Z. And then I want to see some inbetween zombies as well. The ones that got hinted at in the only decent season of The Walking Dead, and I can't remember which of the Dead films this got hinted at in as well. A zombie that picks something up, or tries a door handle or breaks a window. An evolution of the Resident Evil zombie, but not as focused as a horde zombie.

There's actually quite a lot you can do with old Zombie Bob.

The problem is no-one does it particularly well.
 
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Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
I do love Zombi 2 and Return of the Living Dead (which is, I'm half sure, where the idea that zombies eat brains comes from). Both very acceptable answers indeed.

I also hold no truck with the 28 Days/Weeks Later "not zombies" argument. They're zombies. They just are.
 
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richp007

Distinguished Member
I feel like the zombie films of old still trump the modern zombie fayre. Maybe I'm wrong, it's been that long since I've indulged a lot of the older efforts. I should probably revisit them.
 
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domtheone

Distinguished Member
Tough one but I think Dawn of the Dead Remake is my fave Zombie film.

AFAI remember, it pretty much follows the path of the original (which ive not seen for a decade, will right that when I pick up the 4K at some stage) which is no bad thing. Just a bit faster, bloodier, fresher.

Honourable mentions go to the other Dawn, Rec (if it qualifies), 28 Weeks later/28 days later, Zombie FE. 28 days would have been the greatest for me, save for the poor final third, (highlighted even more given that the first half is almost other worldly).

Social commentary - meh. If the world went to **** then all this woke/republican-democrat/gender neutral/BLM would quickly be forgotten. Hell you’d have Trump on the 50 Cal and Nansi Pelosi feeding the ammunition by his side.

Give me blood, guts and violence, with a worth cast of characters.

Army is boring. Overlong and full of B list, barely believalble movie stars/characters. It’s just really so so.

Don’t think its a dying genre. We get the odd Zombie movie now and then. In some ways thats better than the tons of super hero stuff that Marvel are pummelling out.

For every Army, we just need a Dawn (or 28 Weeks etc) so that peeps don’t lose the faith.
 
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Belzok

Well-known Member
28 Days Later is great, the score is fabulous. I think Dawn of the Dead probably pips it, but only just.

Honourable mention for Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse, which is lots of fun, and of course Zombieland, such a pity they didn't make a sequel...
 
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SyStemDeMoN

Well-known Member
No love here for zombieland 2 then eh ?
I thought it was not too bad to be honest.
 
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domtheone

Distinguished Member
Forgot about WWZ. Really like this one. Pity they never made a follow up.
 
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