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The results are in…

August 27, 2009

So, I sought out the wisdom of the hive as to which are the films that define the Zombie-flick sub-genre, and the internet roared back with, sorry, can’t read my own writing, snored back with a stream of Zzzzzzzzzzzs. Which seems kind of apt.

Night of the Living Dead

Seems like neither of my readers dig Zombie films, they’re not as popular as is commonly thought. No, hang on, there is a logical alternative, it’s me that’s not very popular. Phew, that old chesnut, better that than subvert the little I thought I knew about movies.

So, the scatter gun approach of asking the masses yielded little, so I thought I’d go to the man who knows more about Zombie films than anyone (or anyone else I know (of)). Johnathon Williams has seen over sixty of them, and I asked him for a few pointers. Aside from the obvious — the George Romero films (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead), plus Re-Animator, based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft — Johnathon was kind enough to suggest the following:

Peter Jackson’s Braindead (US title “Dead Undead”). “one of the goriest films ever made, as well as one of the silliest. The zombies are not traditional zombies, but they’re close enough for government work. Added highlight: a kung-fu priest.”

2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead “Not as good as the original, of course, but a solid film.”

Return of the Living Dead “Hilarious, and a good introduction to the alternative strain of zombie that eats brains instead of flesh. Written & directed by the guy who wrote the script for Alien.”

Dead & Breakfast “A zombie musical. ‘Nuff said.”

Zombie “Directed by gore master Lucio Fulci. Incredible despite the poor dubbing. And featuring an underwater battle between a zombie, a topless female scuba diver, and a shark. Yes, a shark.”

And last but not least:

Zombie strippers. OK, I added that one. Haven’t seen it, but, you know, in the name of research…


Until Johnathon mentioned it, I’d forgotten that I’d seen Braindead on release back in 1992. My flatmate and I were hosting a party and for some reason I got in a huff and went up into town for the midnight showing of the film instead. That’s how come I got to be so popular.

I’ve put in a request to ScriptCollector for some zombie scripts which he promises to deliver soon — I’ll update this page when he does.

Pleased to report that I haven’t come across anything resembling either of my two “can’t believe it hasn’t been done already” high concept zombie film ideas. While on holiday I put some hours in to fleshing out 😉 one of them and now have the core of a pretty solid idea in place, just a few details (like how specifically the heroine escapes) to work out. Think this will be my next full project.

Which — if you’re both still with me — just leaves me to put out a call for the next genre in this, phase I, of the genre cookbook. After starting out with the Zombie sub-genre, we’re going to open it out to Thrillers.


Same deal as before: what films define the genre, define the space that all future films are measured against and must work within etc. etc.. This time, to get the ball rolling, I’ll offer up one of the classics with a link to the script: Three Days of the Condor.

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