February 11, 2008
Zombies...Super heroesYesterday I was listening to PRI's Fair Game with Faith Salie and she had George Romero as a special guest (you can listen to the episode here, or better yet, sign up for their podcasts here). This is the guy who practically invented the Zombie movie genre. They were discussing his latest film Diary of the Dead (IMDb) (the 4th sequel to Knight of the Living Dead (IMDb)). He seemed to come across as a pretty down to earth guy, and he understands his role in the film industry, and his opportunity to make social commentary using the niche market of zombie horror.
Diary of the Dead takes place simultaneously as the original Dead films, yet it takes advantage of today's modern technology, cellphones and the like. The plot centers around a group of film students who were filming a horror film of their own just as the Zombie outbreak takes place. Just judging from the clips played during the interview, it seems that as with Romero's previous Dead films, this one seems more of a parody of society, this time of the New-Media generation, than an attempt at being outright horror. The film is presented threw the lens of the characters' cellphones and personal camcorders, making it similar to the recent monster attack film Cloverfield (IMDb), and the horror film that pioneered this style of film making The Blair Witch Project (IMDb).
Romero also mentions although he appreciates the newer spin-off zombie films, such as 28 Days Later, and Zach Snyder's 2004 remake (IMDb) of Romero's first Dead sequel Dawn of the Dead (IMDb), he doesn't necessarily justify the newer more agile zombies who sprint after the living, preferring the slower lumbering zombies of his earlier films because, as he puts it, they are more 'realistic'. I understand Romero's reasoning, but I also was totally engaged by Snyder's take on a zombie outbreak. Its not about parodying and aspect of society, its purely survival mixed with horror.
Interestingly, as I was searching for info on Zach Snyder's next movie Watchmen (IMDb) (2009) (not to be confused with The Night Watchman, which was the working title of Street Kings (IMDb) coming out this year; Snyder is bringing what some consider the original graphic novel to the big screen, just as he did for Frank Miller's 300 (IMDb), which was fantastic) I came across an interesting fact. I read online that Zach turned down the opportunity to direct Wolverine (IMDb), a spin-off of the X-men series. His reason was he would have wanted to make it an R-rated film. And who can blame him? Most Weapon-X fans would agree the only true way to honor the bloody past of Wolverine is with an R-rating. There is no doubt a Wolverine directed by Zach Snyder would have been amazing, but I'm still very intrigued about the possibilities for Watchmen. I know very little other than the premise, which takes place in an alternate 1985 where the cold war between the US and the Soviet Union is escalating, super-heroes exist but are scorned and outlawed by the government. And one man, a superhero vigilante, with the help of some x-superhero friends is trying to solve the mystery of the murder of a superhero friend, which leads to uncovering a much deeper conspiracy. Thats just a little to go on, but some people I've talked to have assured me that this is one of the best comic-book stories ever told. Besides receiving the Hugo award for science fiction, the graphic novel of Watchmen is included in Time Magazine's list of best 100 novels from 1923 to now.