Friday, February 3, 2012

The Film Connoisseur celebrates its 400th post! Plus: Memorable Moments in Zombie Zinema Part I

Hello gals and pals, today we celebrate The Film Connoisseur’s 400th Blog Post! That’s right my friends, so far, I’ve written 400 reviews and articles for your reading pleasure. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride, I know I have. As some of you many know, whenever I celebrate anything on this here blog, I tend to do special articles…and since I don’t want to loose that tradition just yet, I’ve decided to do a blog post on Memorable Moments in Zombie Cinema.

I’d like to thank all those of you who’ve subscribed to the blog (all 238 of you as of this article) and stuck around. I know not all of you comment, but I do know that a lot of you out there are reading because The Film Connoisseur gets more than 1,300 clicks per day! Not too shabby! These figures let me know that somebody out there’s reading right? Also, thanks to all those who comment on a regular basis, your support is appreciated people, you know who you are!

So to the business at hand: Memorable Moments in Zombie Cinema! As some of you may know, I’m a real zombie nut! I mean I’ve watched quite a huge amount of these films…hell; I’ve even made two zombie movies myself! And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from a zombie movie it’s that they LOVE to impress with their gory moments and totally zany situations! Usually with zombie films, the crazier the scenario the better!

So, before I get all sentimental on you guys, I offer you some grizzly madness instead. Here’s my list of some of the most memorable zombie characters and scenarios I’ve come across, along with some of the grizzliest, goriest and the downright nastiest moments in a Zombie Cinema! Of course, not everything is on this list because….there’s so damn many zombie movies out there! Still, I think I’ve managed to work up an interesting list. This list of zombie moments has turned out long, so I’ve decided to split this article in half. To read the second part of this article, go here: part II


Title:  Day of the Dead (1979)

Zynopsis: Zombies have taken over the world! A group of humans is surviving in an abandoned military bunker, but the question always lingers in the air, how long before the zombies get into the base? And can the humans live amongst themselves in peace, or will their violent natures make them kill each other first?

Comments: So yeah, this is the first film as far as I’m concerned where a zombie is ‘domesticated’ though that sounds like a complete contradiction because zombies by nature eat flesh, and there’s nothing domesticated about that! But still, on this film, a mad scientist thinks that he is capable of getting a zombie to be more human, to remember the pleasures of listening to music, or to remember how to brush its teeth. Unfortunately, he has to learn the bad way that zombies only care about one thing: eating live flesh! This film offers us some of the goriest moments on any zombie movie ever! Like the scene in which a group of zombies tear apart a character called Col. Rhodes! Also, the film has some truly gory nightmare sequences. Day of the Dead is my favorite of Romero’s  quadrilogy for more than one reason. Gore, lot’s of zombies (the most on any Romero flick) and a decidedly serious tone. To me this is Romero at his darkest and most nihilistic. 

Quote: “We don’t have enough ammunition to shoot them all in the head.  The time to have done that would have been in the beginning. No. We let them overrun us. We are in the minority now, something like 400,000 to one by my calculations”

Memorable Zombie Moment: BIRTH OF A ZOMBIE BABY

Title:  Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Zynopsis: A group of humans decide to hide inside of a shopping mall as the zombie apocalypse rages on in the outside world. Will the world ever return to normal? Is this happening all over the world? As they ponder these questions, they also have to decide if they are going to stay or if they are going to make a run for it towards an island in the sea where they think they might be safe.  

Comments: So yeah, this is a remake of the George Romero classic, but it offers up so many new moments and situations that at times it feels like a completely different movie all together and not a remake, which is a good thing in my book. A couple of things caught my attention about this one, for example, we see so many more zombies than we ever did in Romero’s film! There’s literally thousands of zombies on screen at times! And another thing that blew me away: the birth of a zombie baby! Not that it’s something that we haven’t seen before. There was a zombie baby in Dead Alive (1992) and in a Spanish zombie film called The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (1974). But still, a zombie baby is always shocking and is not an easy gag to pull off convincingly. As evidenced in Dead Alive, it can come off as comedic as well. But on this film it was pulled off in an effectively creepy manner. Plus, there’s that amazing sequence in which the good guys use a chainsaw to chop a bunch of zombies in half that’s so freaking memorable!

Quote: “Hell is overflowing and Satan is sending his dead to us. Why? Because you have sex out of wedlock, you kill unborn children; you have man on man relations, same sex marriage. How do you think your god will judge you? Well friends, now we know. When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.”


Title: Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood (1988)

Zynopsis: On this one a girl with psychic abilities named Tina is trying to cope with her fathers death; apparently she’s having a real hard time getting over it. Her psychologist decides it’s a good idea to take her out into the woods, to the place where her father died so she can confront her fears and move on. Unfortunately all this does is trigger her telekinetic abilities so much that she resurrects Jason Voorhees, who was liying dormant at the bottom of Crystal Lake, where he died on the last film. Will Tina be strong enough to confront Jason Voorhees mano a mano?

Comments:  So this one was special because it introduced the element of telekinesis into a Friday the 13th film, and I’m a huge fan of telekinesis. But also because it’s the first film in which we actually get to see Jason’s face after he’d become a permanent member of the undead. Before Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood, we had never seen his face as a zombie. The show off between Tina and Jason is a highlight of the film, director John Carl Buechler makes sure that Jason looks really putrid and zombified on this one. On this one Jason really looks like a rotting walking corpse, more so then on any other Friday the 13th film.

Quote: “There’s a legend around here…a killer buried, but NOT dead. A curse on Crystal Lake, a death curse. Jason Voorhees curse. They say he died as a boy, but he keeps coming back”


Title:  Return of the Living Dead Part 3 (1993)

Zynopsis: Question: Your girlfriend is curious about the secret military base your father works in and she wants you to break in and see what’s going on in there, what do you? Well, you break in so she can see it of course! Both teens soon discover that what goes on inside are military experiments in re-animating the dead! They seem to be using a gas to bring the dead back to life! So what to do you do when your girlfriend dies in a motorcycle accident? You bring her in and revive her of course!   

Comments: This film marks the beginning of a downward spiral for the Return of the Living Dead franchise as far as I’m concerned, but this third installment does offer up a couple of cool gory moments. Like for example, when Julie starts to turn into a zombie and rigor mortis begins to set it, she starts introducing pieces of glass into her flesh so that she doesn’t loose sensibility! This one was directed by Brian Yuzna the director behind Bride of Re-Animator, Society and Beyond Re-Animator.  

Quote: “Julie, are you eating him? You should stop it.”


Title: Bride of Re-Aniator (1990)

Zynopsis: Dr. Herbert West’s interest in conducting experiments involving the resurrection of the dead has no end! On this film he attempts to resurrect Dr. Cains girlfriend by placing her heart in a corpse that he plans to re-animate. Sounds crazy right? Oh, wait, did I mention that the corpse they will use in the experiment is made up of a bunch of different people sewn together!? Trust me, this isn’t the end of the craziness on this movie…on this one you’ll see things that would make the freaks in a freak show pale in comparison. Will they succeed in their experiments? Can Dr. Herbert West re-animate someone’s soul as well?

Comments: This one was directed by Brian Yuzna, a director/producer who often times collaborates with Stuart Gordon, the director behind the first Re-Animator film. Consequently, Yuzna also ended up directing Beyond Re-Animator (2003), the third installment in the franchise. This second one isn’t a bad sequel, in fact out of the three Re-Animator films, this is the one that incorporates the most ideas from H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Dr. Herbert West’ stories. Want some more craziness? How about a zombie head that flies! With bat wings?!

Quote: “I’ve created what no mans mind nor woman’s womb could ever hope to achieve!”


Title: Planet Terror (2007)

Zynopsis: Thanks to a mistake by the Government (like always) zombies have now started to spread across the land! A motley crew of individuals try to stay alive during the whole ordeal. Apparently, there’s no way to stop this madness from happening! People are turning into bubbling, slimy, melting zombies left and right!

Comments: This is one of my favorite zombie movies period. I mean, it has everything and anything you could ever want in a zombie movie! Toxic Gas that turns people into zombies! The zombies in this movie melt and explode! They are gooey, slimy and disgusting! The cast is freaking amazing, so many good actors on this one makes it all the more fun. It’s the kind of movie that has many different characters in it, each going through their own ordeal. Planet Terror is a b-movie and it freaking knows it. It succeeds thanks in no small part to Robert Rodriguez’s complete grasp of what makes this kind of movie fun and entertaining. This film is a fast paced ride every step of the way. Highly recommend it!

Quote: “I’m going to eat your brain and gain your knowledge”


Title: 28 Weeks Later (2007)

Zynopsis: The U.S. military helps the people in Great Britain deal with the zombie plague. In the middle of the madness, a family tries to survive.

Comments: The sequel to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002), had me a bit worried at first for one reason and one reason alone: Danny Boyle wasn’t directing and Alex Garland wasn’t writing. For me, it was the combination of those two great minds at work that made the first film so effective. On this second one we Juan Carlos Fresnadillo both writes and directs. To be quite honest I’d never heard of this Spanish director before, which is why I was skeptical about this sequel at first, but once I watched it I realized the film was in the hands of a competent director. The films most amazing moment is that sequence where they chop hundreds of zombies with the blades of a helicopter. This is an idea that was first used by Romero on a smaller scale in Dawn of the Dead (1979) where a zombie gets the top of his head chopped off by the blades of a chopper. Robert Rodriguez has a similar scene in Planet Terror (2007) which was released a couple of months after 28 Weeks Later, but it was 28 Weeks Later who did it first! This is an extremely effective sequence and one that I can honestly say completely surprised me and blew me away.

Quote: “They’re executing code red. Step one: kill the infected, Step two: Containment. If containment fails, then Step Three: Extermination”


Title: The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

Zynopsis: Dr. Dennis Allan travels to Haiti to investigate a drug that is made there that has medical capabilities. Supposedly the drug paralyzes you, you appear to be dead, yet you are completely conscious! When Dr. Allan arrives to Haiti and starts asking questions about the drug, he realizes he’s getting into something he doesn’t fully comprehend! He enters a world of dirty politics, voodoo and yes, zombies! 

Comments: So I love this movie and consider it to be one of Wes Cravens best films ever. Is there a better Wes Craven movie out there? A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) could be it, but The Serpent and the Rainbow is in a close second place that’s for sure! This film is filled with many nightmarish images and dream sequences, some of the best in Craven’s nightmare filled career and it’s a film filled with many eerie moments, like the scene where Dr. Allan encounters a zombie that’s aimlessly walking about inside of a cemetery. Want to feel what it’s like to be buried while still alive? Watch this movie! 

Quote: “Don’t let them bury me! I’m not dead!”


Title: Army of Darkness (1992)

Zynopsis: Ash, the demon slayer from Evil Dead (1981) and Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987) travels through a vortex and ends up stuck in medieval times where he has to help the people there fight the terrors of the deadites and recover the ‘Necronomicon Ex Mortis’, loosely translated….The Book of the Dead! It is in Medieval Times where Ash must learn to stop thinking only about himself and start learning about helping others, and becoming a hero. Will he ever find a way to return to his own time? 

Comments: Though the deadites are really ‘demons’ who come to torture humans and “swallow their souls”, the titular Army of Darkness that is resurrected in this film are bonafide zombies. They are dead, and they walk! And they kill! This movie is pure cartoonish fun. These where the days when Raimi was still having fun with his films instead of churning out studio films like the despicable Spider Man 3 (2007). Hell, even Drag Me to Hell (2009) was lackluster when compared to Raimi’s Evil Dead days. Army of Darkness isn’t as gory as Evil Dead I and II and it’s even more inclined towards comedy then part II ever was. But still, Army of Darkness is one hell of a fun ride. In typical Raimi fashion this film moves pretty quickly, with visual gags and jokes every five minutes, one thing is guaranteed in early Raimi films: you wont get bored! Stand out zombie sequence is when the titular Army of Darkness emerges from their tombs and joins the land of the living.  

Quote: “Dig Damn You! Dig Faster! I shall command every worm infested son of a bitch that ever died in battle!”

Memorable Zombie Moment: FIRST ZOMBIE COP EVER

Title: Dead Heat (1988)

Zynopsis: A pair of cops (Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo) investigate a company that is performing experiments in re-animating the dead. Their ultimate goal? To achieve immortality! But first the bad guys need money, so they send out zombie burglars (you read that right!) to perform robberies across the city! The real problem comes when the bad guys decide to teach these nosy cops a lesson, so they send out a three faced zombie to fight them. Treat Williams ends up dead…only to be resurrected by the bad guys resurrection machine! Now, Treat Williams has to try and solve this caper before he rots away!

Comments: Okay, the premise I typed above sounds nuts right? But trust me; there is more craziness than that on this movie! One scene has the cops enter a Chinese restaurant to ask a few questions only to have the owner of the restaurant turn on a resurrection machine that makes all the dead animals in the kitchen come to life! As it turns out, the cops end up fighting zombie ducks, zombie cows, and zombie fish! Zany right?! Dead Heat is without a doubt one of the craziest zombie movies you will ever see. I mean, who ever thought of a zombie cop having to solve a crime before he rots away? Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams cheesy dialog will also keep you entertained. And Vincent Price plays the bad guy!

Quote: “Hi Doug, welcome to zombieland!”

Memorable Zombie Moment: FIRST ZOMBIE CAT AND DOG

Title: Night of the Creeps (1986)

Zynopsis: A midget alien scientist (I know!) gets rid of an illegal experiment and sends it hurling out into space, only to have it land on our planet! The experiment? Oh nothing, just alien slugs that reproduce inside of the human brain! When they get into your head, you get turned into a zombie! Then after they’ve reproduced, they make your head explode and all the little alien slugs scurry about looking for new brains to reproduce in! Can Chris and J.C. stop the aliens from taking over their college campus? 

Comments: So this one is special for me for various reasons: number one, it was directed by Fred Dekker, a director whom I respect very much because he made two of my favorite movies ever, this one and Monster Squad (1987)! Two movies that didn’t connect with audiences when they first came out, but have found their audience and become genuine cult classics. Second, I love everything about it! It has alien slugs! Zombies! Bad ass cops! Lonely science labs with frozen corpses! Hell, we even get insane killers who’ve just escaped from the insane asylum! This movie packs a wallop and its fun as hell. Tom Atkins plays detective Ray Cameron, his attitude and one liners alone should keep you giggling every five seconds. Night of the Creeps is an endearing ode to 50’s science fiction films.

Quote: “Thrill Me!”


Title: Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

Zynopsis: Alice and a group of survivors must travel across the Nevada Dessert in order to make it to Canada where supposedly a camp of human survivors resides. On their way their they encounter everything from cannibalistic motorcycle gangs (straight out of Mad Max!) and zombie birds! Will they make it?  

Comments: I was so disappointed with Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse (2004) that I wasn’t expecting much from this one. In my book, Apocalypse is atrociously bad! Still, I decided to give Extinction a chance anyways, just because it was entirely different creative team behind it. Glad to say I was pleasantly surprised. One of the best things that happened to this third film was that Russell Mulcahy directed it. He is the director behind Highlander (1986), one of my favorite fantasy films ever. And it’s no surprise that this film has various elements borrowed from the Highlander films. When Alice uses her telekinetic ability to blow everything up, you cant help but think of similar sequences from the Highlander films. But to me that was a good thing. The film also has some elements borrowed directly from other films, for example Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) and George Romero’s Day of the Dead (1985). Actually, if I remember correctly, when I watched this film, it felt as if P.W. Anderson (who wrote and produced this one) read George Romero’s original script for Day and the Dead (which was more ambitious then the film Romero ended up making) and tried to do his own version of it, with way more money then Romero ever had, which is kind of cool, a nice homage to the maestro of zombie films. Most original part of the film? Alice kicking zombie ass with her telekinetic powers!  

Quote: “The Umbrella Corporation thought they’d contained the infection. Well, they were wrong. Raccoon City was just the beginning. ”

Memorable Zombie Moment: ZOMBIE VS SHARK (OF COURSE)

Title: Zombie (1979)

Zynopsis: A seemingly abandoned boat suddenly appears on the New York coast. Upon closer inspection, the police learn that the boat isn’t empty, it’s actually inhabited by zombies! Further investigation let’s them know that the boat belonged to a Dr. Bernard, a scientist who is supposed to be in the Antilles, conducting a series of experiments with which he hopes to find a cure for a deadly decease that is turning islanders into zombies and bringing the dead back to life!


This film is a seminal zombie classic, which means if you truly want to see the best of the best within the zombie genre, then this is one of the first ones you need to watch. A couple of things make a Lucio Fulci movie a Lucio Fulci movie and all these elements are present in Zombie. Let’s see, maggots? Check! Close Up of Eyes? Check! Animals going crazy? Check! A nonsensical plot? Check! Even with it’s insane plot and its flaws this is still one of Fulci’s best films, it has some of the  best zombies on any zombie film and lots and lots of gore! Some images are truly creepy as well, like those scenes of zombies walking down a bridge in New York City. Or of course, the memorable Zombie vs. Shark scene which has to be seen to be believed, that scene alone is worth the price of admission for me. Another famous sequence is the resurrection of the Conquistador Zombie, one of the most memorable zombies ever in zombie cinema. 


Title: 28 Days Later (2002)

Zynopsis: When Jim wakes up from a comma, he wakes up to a lonely world, with apparently no humans to be seen anywhere! Where did everybody go? Where are all the people? After walking around the city searching for a sign of human life, he suddenly realizes that the reason why no one is around is because they’ve all been devoured by zombies! And zombies are running rampant and hungry through the streets! Will Jim make it to a safe haven before the zombies get to them?

Comments: Along with Resident Evil (2002), 28 Days Later was responsible for reigniting interest in zombie films. As a result, a “new wave” of zombie movies came after their release. But out of the two, 28 Days Later is the superior picture because it is not as comic bookish as the Resident Evil films. 28 Days Later has that deadly serious tone that usually is only reserved for a George Romero film. But Danny Boyle harnessed that feeling of dread quite well. The film has an excellent score, great performances and a truly post-apocalyptic look and feel. Same as many other zombie films, it’s the humans who end up being the bigger threat in the film. The quality of this film (one of the best in the genre by the way!) is due to the creative team behind it: Director Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland.

Quote: “And then I wake up today in a hospital…I wake up and I’m hallucinating…or I’m…”

Memorable Zombie Moment: ZOMBIES FALL IN LOVE AND KISS

Title: Wild Zero (2000)

Zynopsis: In the japanese zombie movie Wild Zero the earth is being invaded by aliens! Huge ships hover on the horizon, the effect these ships are having on humanity? Oh nothing, they are just bringing the dead back to life that’s all! Rock and Roller and all around rebel without a clue ‘Ace’ must try and protect his girlfriend from the zombies! Will they find a way to stop the creatures before they take over all of Japan?

Comments: This is probably one of the most original times you’ll have watching a zombie film. What I love about this film is how it mixes punk music with the zombie film. You see, the film starts out in a club with real life Japanese Punk Band Guitar Wolf playing on stage. Now this isnt just any punk band were talking about here, these guys sing from microphones that spit fire out of them! These guys sound like the Japanese version of the Ramones and the Misfits fused together! Coolest part? Guitar Wolf are the  heroes of the film! So they kill zombies with electrified guitar picks and turn their guitars into swords that cut entire spaceships in half! Watch it experiences, if only to watch two zombies falling in love. It’s similar to Return of the Living Dead in the sense that they have that Rock and Roll attitude about them. Ace, the main character in Wild Zero lives and breathes rock and roll. If Rock and Roll where a physical entity, he’d make love to it! 

Quote: “Rock and Roll is not over baby! Rock and Roll never dies! ” 

Well, that's it boys and ghouls. If you haven't had your fill of zombie madness, then go here for part II of this article! It's filled with more grizzly gory fun, dont miss it! 

A zombie gets electro-cooked on Return of the Living Dead Part II 


George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Congrats on the 400th post. I just realized we joined blogger on the same month same year. Cool! Even though I don't comment too often, your blog remains one of my very favorites. Your posts are always engaging and I just love your lists!

Keep up the good work!

The third pic is from which movie? :)

Franco Macabro said...

That's a pick of Evil Ash trying to kiss Sheila from Army of Darkness (1992).

Thanks for the kind words Nebular!

Elwood Jones said...

Congratulations on hitting another Blogging milestone!!

I love "Army Of Darkness" and even though it is the lightest of the Evil Dead trilogy it's still my favorite and the one I return to time and time again. I liked the bit with the skeletons leading the naked medieval chicks on a chain, while muttering "We've got plans for you" which even now makes me question exactly what plans the skeletons might have for them!?!

Surprised to not see Peter Jackson's "Brain Dead" not on the list, especially with it's epic fight with the baby in the park, or just the kung fu priest....he kicks ass for the lord!

Cool post!!

Franco Macabro said...

Thanks Elwood, Dead Alive is included in part 2 of this post which will be up sometime next week, look for it.

Agree, Army of Darkness is a great one. I love each film in the Evil Dead trilogy for different reasons, one is horror, the other is a great mix of horror and comedy and the third one is the most adventurous of all. I love the funny elements in Army of Darkness as well, when Ash calls them "primitive screwheads" and "Primates" that wouldnt understands metal alloys and compositions...ha! Hilarious!

A hero never dies said...

Congrats on your 400th post, looking forward to many more! The memorable moments in zombie cinema is a great idea. Good to see 28 Weeks later in there, that movie does not get enough love.

Jack Thursby said...

Another great post. Got to love Bub the zombie from Day of the Dead. Such a sympathetic character. Without him Day of the Dead wouldn't be half the film it is.

Congrats on the big 400, only started reading your stuff a few months back. You're one of favourite blogs - love the amount of detail and thoroughness you go into. Keep up the good work.

Franco Macabro said...

@A hero never dies: There's more where these came from! I had to split the article in two, expect the second part this week, there's some cool moments on that one as well. Thanks for reading!

@Jack Thursby: Agree man, Bub is one of the things that makes Day of the Dead that much more watchable. The scene where he finally shoots Rhodes and then salutes him, now there's a memorable zombie moment! Rhodes is such a despicable character that when he finally bites it you feel kind of happy!

@JackThursby: Thanks for the kind words Jack, as Stan Lee (One of Marvel Comcis founding father) says: "I'll keep writing if you keep reading!"

Aylmer said...

Not only are both parts of this zombie article pure gold, but this blog is one of the best out there, and I salute you sir, for 400 posts of all killer, no filler! Here's to 400 more!

venoms5 said...

Great list, Fran! I like how you left the most obvious selections off of this first list. Very unexpected.

Regarding Voorhees, you do get to see his face at the beginning of FRIDAY 6, but not in close up. He resembled an Italian styled zombie to me with the crusty make up, lol.

Franco Macabro said...

Venom5: Yeah, I wanted to leave the obvious choices out so we could have some fun, there's some really fun memorable moments that dont get mentioned too often, so I went with that. HOnestly, this was one of the most fun articles I've written, had a great time searching these moments out.

Oh your right, we do get to see his zombified face for a couple of seconds and then he puts on the mask really quickly, but you know what, I think I will mention that moment when Jason is resurrected on part 3 of this article...coming soon!

Franco Macabro said...

@Aylmer: Thanks for the kind words Aylmer, I look forward to writing no this blog for as long as I can.


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