April 26, 2005

The scene I keep replaying in my mind (updated)

I finally got around to watching the remake of Dawn of the Dead a few days ago. I'm a huge fan of the original, and like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I think the new version is good but in a very different way than the original.

I really like the "fast" zombies. That's not to say they're better than the traditional slow shuffling zombies, because there's a whole 'nother flavor of terror in being inexorably overwhelmed by mindless masses of the flesh-craving undead.

But these new zombies that have been showing up, like the berzerkers in 28 Days Later and these hyper-aggresive monsters in Dawn - wow. They're not just shambling around, instinctively looking for the living. The zombies in Dawn of the Dead are actively searching. And when they see a target, they go full-tilt towards it, ready to rend and devour.

Which brings me to my main gripe about the movie. Like happens all too often in these flicks, everyone is a crack shot. Dozens of zombies sprinting towards you? Your escape route threatened? Ultimate pressure because if they get you, you die? No problem, because everyone instantly achieves perfect head shots each and every time. One of my favorite bits in Shaun of the Dead was the fact that none of the main characters could hit the broad side of a barn with a gun, and it was played to both comedic and suspensful effect.

But this is about "the scene I keep replaying in my mind". It was subtle, and only peripherally related to the main action. I'll try to keep it general enough to not give away any spoilers.

When the nurse is driving away from her home, the camera shot is from the hood of the car and through the windsheild and back window you can see the zombie that almost got her in pursuit. He's running in a full sprint down the street after her. As she begins to gain some distance and turns a corner, a lady comes out of her house and he peels off, still in full sprint, and tackles her and takes her down. By this time, they're far in the background of the camera shot, and you might not even notice.

This morning while getting ready for work, I didn't turn on the TV and I didn't have a radio on. I was completely oblivious to the world outside my home, much like that lady in the movie. As I went out front to take the trashcan to the curb, it struck me how similar my situation was to that lady, who was probably just out to pick up her morning paper.

That is true horror, peeps. Everyday life, interupted by the unimaginable.

Update: If you follow the very first link above it will take you to the IMDB entry for Dawn of the Dead. From there, click on the trivia link and you'll see all of the little tributes to the original movie that were included in the remake. Cool stuff.

Posted by: Ted at 11:16 AM | category: Cult Flicks
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1 There's an extra on the DVD about the "fast" zombies and the fact that they used 3 different sets of make-up on the zombies to illustrate the obvious: dead people, even re-animated ones, decompose.

The first make-up was for the "freshly dead," the second for "a-week-or-two dead" and the third was for "a-month-or-two dead."

So, it would seem that "freshly dead" people have the same physical attributes as live people and are able to run.

Wait a little longer, let the zombie decompose a bit and they wouldn't be able to run, just shamble like all the other zombie movies.

Eventually they will decompose enough that shambling would be impossible; they wouldn't even be able to stand.

Posted by: Rob@L&R at April 26, 2005 02:27 PM (iFBda)

2 That's a good story Ted, I could even picture the white picket fences and the steel garbage cans. I can also see how watching too much horror can effect every day life, just like how watching too much porn can affect every day life.. "All I see are p**** and c***!!!"

Posted by: Oorgo at April 26, 2005 06:52 PM (lM0qs)

3 I never saw the original, but I did see the remake recently. The most memorable line was "Bert Reynolds".

It was a decent flick, mind you. But the experience was seriously disenhanced by the fact that my sister and brother-in-law allowed it to be played to my 10-yr-old nephew and 5-yr-old second cousin. Crikey. Movies have ratings for a reason, people!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at April 26, 2005 10:48 PM (M10EK)

4 Oh jeez, I hear you Spork! I started my kids off with mild horror like "House" and oldies like "Legend of Hell House". The stuff that's tense and scary and not gross-out.

Posted by: Ted at April 27, 2005 06:04 AM (blNMI)

5 In House 2 the outlaw,archeologist,mercenary dude Slim Razor was one of my all time fave bad guys.Skeleton cowboys(and their skeleton horses) rule!

Posted by: Russ at April 27, 2005 10:15 AM (ObxzR)

6 I loved this re-make, but didn't expect to like it at all before I saw it. The Twitcher in the fountain and other unexpected details they put together really made it work. I'm glad you liked it too.

Posted by: Chai-rista at April 27, 2005 01:33 PM (/9qCk)

7 I don't usually care for gross movies, but that one was pretty good--we had an employee movie night for it, so I didn't have to sit behind all the 5-year-olds whose parents took them to see it. (Don't get me started!) I preferred Shaun of the Dead, though--that one I bought.

Posted by: Susie at April 29, 2005 02:03 AM (IPJ6q)

8 Dawn of the Dead and Shaun of the Dead were a two-pack I bought at one of those warehouse clubs. I think I paid about 15 bucks for 'em.

Posted by: Ted at April 29, 2005 06:34 AM (blNMI)

9 George Romero is back with Land of the Dead, to be released June 24.

Star John Leguizamo says Romero is "offended" by running zombies.

Posted by: Rob@L&R at April 30, 2005 09:41 AM (iFBda)

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