Friday, December 13, 2013

Herman's Top Zombie Moments

I've been doing a lot of slasher reviews in this little blog of mine lately, and I want to spice it up with something different.

For those who doesn't know, I was an avid zombie fan before I rekindled my love for slashers, and I've seen only a few at a young age (twelve...or thirteen) before I get to broaden up my collection as an adult (who somehow retains his original 5'2" height for the last five years...) Til' then, I recall all of the time I present KFC chicken as human hearts and drew my own zombie designs, to the point my parents worry about me. Well, not exactly ashamed but I did get to regulate my obsession, but I think it's best to share my love for these shambling undead with this list!

In here are my fave zombie moments, with no particular order, from a wide array of media from films to comic books to novels; now, be ready with your shotguns, and aim for the head, cuz your brother Hermann is gonna give you (his first, but definitely not the last) list fave zombie moments!

~Return of the Living Dead (1984) Use Brains to Get Brains- Starting our list is the punk-rock zombie classic from the 80s, and one of the few earliest I've seen via video. We often stereotype lumbering and talking zombies as those that hungrily obsesses for brains, but had any of them ever get to the point of using their own to get some? The chemical-tainted ghouls from this film comically exploited this variation by talking over ambulance and squad car dispatchers, fooling whoever is on the other end to "send more cops/paramedics".

Even better? On a certain point of the film, they even learned to ambush their prey by dressing up as cops! Now that's brain food!

~ Dawn of the Dead (2004) It Happened in your neighborhood- The first film to introduce "runners" to my zombie life, this commercially successful remake of a splatter classic of the same name certainly knew how to start a film. While giving us little hints of what could be the beginning of the end, the next morning came with the most chaotic zombie outbreak I've seen in years, with explosive traffic, killer children and (in some version) random nudie shots. Oh, and the gore. Definitely the gore!

~ Day of the Dead (1985) Breached- Lo and Behold, my personal fave George A. Romero zombie flick, and probably my all time underrated fave. Childhood memories had me loving every minute of this film but not as much as the gut-munching climax.

After sacrificing his own life for reasons I've yet to understand, a troubled soldier lead an entire army of the shambling dead into a sealed-off military bunker, leading to every jerks trapped inside being munched away in gleefully gory fashion and deserving survivors fighting for their lives. Showcasing the best of what special effects wiz Tom Savini could offer, this scene wins with no zombies "chocking on anyone" and humans being torn apart.

~ Night of the Living Dead (1990) "Is he Dead?!"- In risk of angering fans out there, I really prefer the remake over the original for many reasons, but let me show you my favorite among said reasons: directed by Tom Savini, this remake's version of Barbara had fully transformed from a traumatized and doomed damsel, to a traumatized yet fully functional gun-totting heroine who may have saved everybody else given that they'd listen to her. ("They're so slow. We could just walk pass by them!")

To even re-initiate this claim further, one scene here had Barbs scream at a panicking girl who doesn't seem to understand that those pale-eyed ghouls are dead, all the while shooting one of them all over the place before giving it a buck shot to the head.

~ Peter Jackson's Dead Alive/Braindead (1992) Dining With Monsters and The Lawnmower Man- Two scenes made this New Zealand cult classic splatstick an instant fave for me, the first being our lead (and wimpy) hero Lionel in his attempt to calm down the growing number of zombies in his household by tying them unto chairs and, dig this, serve them pudding. Funny enough, it kinda worked, but the ghoul's child-like antics is still a hassle.

The second would be an all-time fave for all splatter fans; after completely devouring an entire household of party guests, the zombie population quadrupled in Lionel's home. His solution? Strap a working lawnmower unto his chest and walk through an entire armada of the undead to shred them down into puree'.

~28 Weeks Later (2007) Leaving and Reuniting- While the 28 Days Later is a new age cult classic of its own right, its sequel undeniably bested it at almost everything. Two fave scenes of mine here focuses on family ordeal at its worst; after letting a helpless boy into their cottage, an Irish man, his wife and a group of survivors unknowingly grabbed the attention of some nearby infected, leading to the most intense opening act I've seen in a zombie film. It's chaotic, hectic and psychologically exhausting as a husband is forced to leave his wife behind to save his own arse.

Barely escaping, he spent the next few months preparing for the return of his kids, who were sent away to isolate them from the infection. What he didn't count on was that they'll find out the truth sooner than he imagined as they find her alive, yet unknowingly infected. What should be a tearful reunion instead ends up in bloodshed when a kiss infects one, and then another. And then another...

~Shaun of the Dead (2004) Drunk Mary and Kill the Queen- Perhaps the smartest and hippest "Rom-Com-Zom" to come in existence, a personal memorable scene would be the the time Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's buddy characters first face-to-face encounter with a zombie...though not the way we usually expect it; Mistaking an undead girl as a drunk, the two played with it a little (and even taking a quick snap) before they decided to go "physical" on her, shoving and impaling the girl into a pole, and then watches her get up to her feet as if it was nothing. NOW they get it!

Second would be a family favorite. Well, me and my sister's fave (she once watched it with me and loved it); after a fuck-up lured some zombies into the bar, one of them got inside and began attacking Shaun's crew. While there's a conveniently placed gun on the wall, he chooses a safer alternative: whack-a-zombie with pool sticks, all the while Queen's Don't Stop Me Now is playing. Fun times!

~Night of The Creeps (1986) Zombie Cat and Unearthing- A mash-up of scifi and zombies (with one instance of slasher), Creeps was a childhood fave of mine, a first to teach me that not all cats are friendly. Especially if they were ran over by a car and brought back to life by an parasitic slug.

Also, it's the first to teach me as well that in every wooden floorboard lies a reanimated body of a deranged axe murderer.

~[REC] (2007) The Thing in The Room- In this clasutrophobic found footage zombie film from Spain, darkness is your enemy. Not metaphorical darkness. Real darkness. Through the use of night vision imagery, [REC] reminds us effectively that there's still a reason to fear the dark...

~[REC2](2009) Prayers Worked- In a sudden plot twist, this sequel reveals to us *spoiler alert!* that the undead in these films are actually the physical symptoms of demonic possessions. Depending on how you take this, I still find the new angle to be quite cool, especially when a priest shows us a new and more badass use of prayers: as a mean of torture for demonic interrogation.

~Fido (2006) Zombie Saves the Day- In this heart warming tale of a boy and his dog- er, I mean, zombie, set in a 1950-esque world where the undead are sold as either pets or manservants, our lead lad finds himself and his zombie in trouble when a couple of neighborhood bullies try to make themselves look like heroes by binding him to a tree while they tamper on a special collar that keeps his zombie docile. It backfires inevitably, with both boys ending up dead and soon to revive, but Fido remembers his master and tries his best to get them off their current predicament. Not to worry, they did get out in time and the whole scene was just heartwarmingly adorable!

~Land of the Dead (2005) River of the Dead- Ah yes, another one of Romero's impressive follow-up, this time taking place in a more constructed yet ailing future where the living finds a way to wall themselves away from the dead. What they wasn't expecting, however, is that the dead are learning again, finding ways to get their much loved warm meat through any obstacles.
In one scene, in tribute to another horror classic The Carnival of Souls, zombies rises out of a river after learning that they can walk through it with no effect whatsoever. It's an impressive money shot for me, and one that's best remembered for a reason.

~Zombie/Zombi 2 (1979) Shark vs Zombi and Splintered- First scene I like to comment about from this Lucio Fulci classic has another zombie getting soaked. This time in the vastness of the sea, where one zombie somehow found his way underwater and on the prowl of a skinny dipping diver, only to fight for its meal against a shark. While the choreography and continuity with this one is a bit off (hehe, bit off!), it's still a memorable scene for its originality and cheesiness.
The second is another bonafide money shot. You know all this, and this is perhaps the only good reason for the film to market "barf-bags": one zombie grabs a hapless victim by the hair and then proceeds to pull her through the door and into a splinter. Did I mention this is by the eye? Yeah, slow eye gag. Makes you wonder why she didn't bother using her hands...

~Reanimator (1985) Giving a Head- As in literally; In this gory take on HP Lovecraft's short of the same name, a mad scientist by the name of Herbert West murders and then revives a dominating professor in two pieces as an experimental "research", not anticipating for the specimen to get out and goes on a molesting spree on his favorite voluptuous student. Obviously, being raped is a horrible thing, but by a disembodied head? That's new standards.

~ Slither (2006) A Good Reason to Shoot a Deer- "I still don't get the joy of a grown man shooting the face off a poor defenseless deer" Well Parley, now you know...

~ V/H/S/2's A Ride in The Park (2013) "I'm Sorry, were you Eating Me?"- Body language can be a funny thing for a zombie; it's there, but at the same time it ain't. But for a group of zombies in this awesome anthology (one of them we watch through his POV), nothing spells awkward like watching the meal you're munching on get up and stare right back at you with a blank look on his face.

~Army of Darkness (1992) Siege-When an army of the dead rises from the grave due to some moron's inability to memorize some magic words, it has to be the work of one Ashley J. Williams. But never fear, for the man with the steel chin has some tricks up his sleeve, bringing 20th century knowledge to a medieval timeline (which, come to think of it, is a risky move) to battle an army of bones in one epic siege!

~Cemetery Man/ Dellamorte Dellamore (1994) Badass Biker- Now, why didn't Psychomania (1973) had something like this? Returning from the grave after a roadside accident, an undead biker comes back with an entrance: riding the same bike he owned and buried with, to munch on a willing victim and lover. Yep, nothing wrong here, just a zombie eating a love-struck girl~

~Pontypool (2008) An Infectious Demonstration- In an imaginative variation of your usual zombie plague, Pontypool introduced zombies that must spread their infection through words. As in once you understood the word these crazies are saying, you might get the bug. One unfortunate girl caught this and shows us what will happen once the infection doesn't spread, in one incredibly tense and the film's bloodiest display.
~Zombieland (2009) "Is that how you say 'Hello?' "- Okay, not really a zombie zombie moment, but damn, this shit is funny as hell! Taking refuge in Bill Murray's mansion, two of the rag tag group of State-Monikered survivors meet up with a non-infected Murray, who found a way to live through the zombie crowd through the magic of make-up. Hoping to play a joke on the other two, Murray walked in on them in a fake zombified state...
 only to get shot.

Yeah, that's...that's just effin' tragic...*snickers*

 ~Trailer Park of Terror (2008) Rocking Roach- It's criminal for this film to be so little heard; with good gore and sick laughs, all we need now is awesome non-CG zombie designs to make it a worthwhile watch and instant cult fave!

And who to deliver that than the one and only Roach, a rock-a-billy undead with a love for drugs, who actually spends a good portion of his screen time  to prove that that rock-and-roll will never die. Literally!

~ Planet Terror (2007) "Cherry Bomb"- Never call a professional Go-Go Dancer a stripper in this Robert Rodrigues zombie mash-up, especially ones that have a high-powered rocket launchers for a leg. And for our viewing pleasure, she showed this through an entire platoon of "sickos", one infected bastard at a time!

~ Warm Bodies (2013) To Feel Alive- One of the few surprising zombie films I've seen that I owe an apology (I judged it as sappy before seeing the whole thing. Still is, but it's the bearable kind of sappiness!) I love the movie's original idea and R is just plain adorable as a zombie who had fallen in love with a living, breathing girl named Julie (Romeo and Juliet?)

In an effort to "protect" her from others like him, he planned on hiding Julie in his little room full of knick-knacks he collected, done through a cheesy montage of these two doing anything to pass the time. It's warm and cuddly, and I friggin luv it! (Plus, I wanted a place to crash just like that!)

~World War Z (2013) Tower of the Dead- Yeah, I don't know about the rest of youse, but I enjoyed WWZ. Yes, it's not a faithful adaptation of the book, but it is pretty darn entertaining as an action flick. The CG zombies actually looked pretty good, too (despite the minor complain about them having "googly eyes".

One scene has to be a standout; attracted by the religious singing of one group (Really? with zombies outside, them morons wanna have a party?), zombies began to pile up on one another until they began to create an impressive tower full of the writhing dead, resulting to a breach. Now if only we get to see that lady who started that singing being munched on by a zombie, this would be a lot better...
~Masters of Horror's Homecoming (2005) A Zombie Votes- A better entries to this amazing series, Homecoming had dead soldiers coming back to life not to feast on the flesh and brains of the living, but to vote!
Yes, vote for a new president in an attempt to stop more soldiers being brought into a war that might not even worth it. Love the political tone in this (even though politics STILL bores the hell out of me) and I just love the plot reveal here involving a rather calm zombie pointing his way into voting. I salute you, fat dude in khaki uniform!

~Treehouse of Horror III: Dial Z For Zombies (1992) "Flanders was a Zombie?"- One of the funniest shit to come out of The Simpsons. Guess in a time where the dead are coming back to life, might as well get rid of your neighbor. In front of your family...

~ Michael Jackson's Thriller (1983) The Undead Moves- If being a zombie means having funk-tastic dance moves, then let these guys munch on me! The King of Pop shows this in one impressively choreographed dance routine, all with its dancers in full costume! Long Live the King of Pop! As a Zombie!
~ Stephen King's Home Delivery (1989) The Thing that was a Husband- Perhaps King's first zombie short, an orbiting clod of worms somehow affected the Earth atmosphere, turning the dead into flesh hungry zombies. The short was an enjoyable read, but I definitely love the part when our narrator, Maddie Pace, recalls her first encounter with one. Chillingly, it was her own husband who had drowned years ago, complete with sea slugs eating their way through the flesh.
art by Skookworks Inc.
~ Stephen King's Cell  (2006)The Signal- Yet again another King work, this time from one of my first few of his novels that I finished. A mysterious phone signal had somehow affected everybody who heard it, turning them into raving zombie-like crazies who mauls anything, including their own. The opening act for this novel has to be the best, just to show that in any typical day, shit can just happen.

~ Marvel Zombies (2005-2006) Galactus Falls- Written by The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman, an alternate reality had all of our fave Marvel superheroes and villains turned into zombies by an alien virus. No one was safe, not even a planet eating space god who kept on boasting that nothing can hurt him.
Well, say that to your disemboweled gut, Gal, which strangely, turns out you have one...
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)- Who puts a list of fave zombie moments without including the revival of a horror star?

In a strange luck combining one angry surviving victim, a steel gate railing and a freak lightning strike (twice!), Jason finds himself brought back to life as a supernatural undead, hellbent on murder. Now immortal, the J-Man continues his spree as if nothing, and bringing us back what we loved the most about this freak! Long Live Jason Voorhees! AS A ZOMBIE!



  1. Great write-up, but: there are NO zombies in Pontypool...

    1. 9-9 well, the infection does shows characteristics similar to a zombie plague; the infected acting unusually absent minded, animalistic, and dangerous, spreading their infection unwillingly through words, just as some zombies unwillingly transmits their infection through bites or scratches.

      Well, that sounded like zombie material for me, or at least, "Non-zombie" zombies as they're not really dead.

      Man that was a mouthful!