What has been great about my relationship with Reg over the years is that slowly she's begun to love my nerdish enthusiasms. Superhero movies, Doctor Who, and more recently, zombies. It all started with Shaun of the Dead. I couldn't get Reg to watch a horror movie of any kind, until Shaun of the Dead. We had watched the BBC series, Spaced, which she loved, and I told her that Shaun of the Dead had much of the same cast and was made by the same people. Not only did she love Shaun of the Dead, but she said she wanted to see a real zombie movie. So we went through the canon: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead, and newer ones like 28 Days Later. I knew I had fully corrupted her when I warned her that there was a zombie birth scene in the remake of Dawn of the Dead, and she said, "we have to see that."And we did. And she thought it was great. Now The Walking Dead has just ended its second season, and she's starved for good zombie entertainment. If you're in a similar boat, here are a few recommendations.
A "shock jock" radio host has lost his national radio job and is forced to work at a radio station in the small Canadian town of Pontypool. Of course, there's a zombie Apocalypse...
The entire film takes place in the radio station, as it begins to dawn on the radio station staff that they may be the last people in the town who haven't caught the bug. The bug, in this case, in a very novel twist, is language itself. Somehow this zombifying disease has imbedded itself in the English language as spoken by the townspeople, and the more they are exposed to certain words and phrases, the more they are at risk of zombification. It could almost be a play, but this stagey quality doesn't prevent it from being very tense and very scary. Great writing and great performances by all.
In this one, the vehicle for zombification is a signal sent through radio, TV and cell phone broadcasts that makes people go homicidally nuts until they slowly become mindless homicidal zombies. Some are able to resist the signal. Some are only able to sort of resist the signal. It's not always clear by how much. So people are in various stages of confusion, bizarre behavior and homicidal intent, and some people who seem OK, aren't exactly. Or maybe they're just a little OK. It's this ambiguity that makes the movie so much fun. The three sections of the story are written and directed by three different auteurs, but it's not an anthology format. It's all one story, centering around a couple who are trying to reunite in the midst of the disaster. There are lots of scares, but at times it can be truly hilarious, especially the second of the three parts. The tone of each part is a little different, and some people have complained about this, but it didn't really bother me. Again, it's a sharply written, well acted and genuinely scary movie.
Technically not a movie, Dead Set is an English mini-series that has one of the most self evidently awesome concepts in the history of zombidom. There's a zombie apocalypse and the only people who haven't realized it yet are the cast of Big Brother. I haven't seen Big Brother (without the zombies, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to), but I read that the general set-up of Dead Set is much like the real English Big Brother series. We've only seen the first three of the five episodes of Dead Set, but so far it definitely lives up to its premise. This one is a lot harder to find, and I don't think it's available on DVD yet, but it's worth seeking out.
Hope you enjoy, and if you have any recommendations of your own, please leave them in the comments below!