Saturday, September 20, 2008

WHICH ONE IS THAT? I GET THEM ALL CONFUSED.... - john barber's wife's husband

dear john,

i received your text message this morning concerning my text message this morning. because we designed this here website as a way to give back to the community, to restore hope to a consumeristic america hopelessly trapped in a filmatic foxhole of explosive blockbusters and romantic comedies and sundancely festive independent mumbo-jumbo jobs - because we have accepted the responsibility to reintroduce the goodness of bad movies - i decided to reply to your text message publicly on hockey mask inc.

to answer your question, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD ...

- is the one where the punk kid (thom mathews from FRIDAY THE 13TH VI) gets the job at the medical supply company that ships skeletons and half-dog carcasses to would-be doctors. oh, and they also have tanks full of zombies in the basement. seems that the government found a way to reanimate life back in the day, only it didn't work as the government planned. so instead of storing the tanks of preserved zombies in some arizona hangar 18 style secret compound, they just put then in the basement of this warehouse in louisville, kentucky, where, surely, they'll remain safe cause, face it, it's louisville.

- is the one that makes tons of references to george romero's films. these references are half complimentary and half "yeah-we-can-do-that-better." unlike romero's undeadlies, RETURN features zombies that run wicked fast, talk intelligently when strapped to tables, and represent zero social commentary. in fact, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD plays much more like a wicked step-brother of michael jackson's THRILLER video than anything closely related to romero. making deep connections between RETURN and romero would be like comparing TEEN WOLF and DANCES WITH WOLVES because they're both about dudes finding their mojo through canine like behaviors.

- is the one where the zombies come to life because of an acid rain created by dudes cremating reanimated dog parts and cadavers at the medical supply place. and those bits came back to life because one of the bozo employees leaked the zombie preservation gas out of the government holding tanks in the basement. of all the zombie films i've seen, this is the most likely story of reanimation yet. in fact, i thought i was watching C-SPAN for a minute there.

- is the one with the punk kids who party in the cemetery. i freaking love the punk kids. you've got everyone in this clique from the hardcore british punk rocker to the flock of seagulls new waver. you've got an annie lennox wannabe and a bangles reject. and, of course, you've got the token black punkster with long jerry curl locks. but the one thing all these kids have in common is that they want to party.... even if it kills them. (that's a good tag line!)

- is the one with the legendary tar man - who might be the coolest monster creation in all of film history. for the life of me, i can't imagine how they pulled this dude off so well in 1985 on a small budget. they'll never make another tar man this good.

- is the one i watched with my dad when i was, like, eight years old, and it gave me nightmares for nearly two years. i think i finally stopped sleeping with my lamp on at the age of 14.

- is the one where the annie lennox wannabe with the bright orange hair says - right before she vegas showgirl dances on a gravestone - that being surrounded by a group of ugly old men who eat her alive would be the most horrible way to die. and then it happens! this is the power of positive self-talk.

- is one i would buy on the clearance rack at half priced books in a heart beat. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is the most fun zombie film i've ever seen, probably because it makes zero effort to work as a horror or suspense film - it's just pure punk rock and ridiculous special effects.

- is definitely a 5 brain buffets out of 5 kinda film. forget ever making a remake of ROTLD - this is classic monster cinema at its finest. 

let me know what you think. i'm chomping at the skully bits for your thoughts.

- hamster


John Barber said...

Yeah - this is the one I was thinking of. ROTLD is the poster-child for bad movie-goodness. This movie delights in its cheese and that's exactly what we need more of. The characters are ridiculous and the story is moreso.

And I love the Tar Man. You are totally right on.

the hamster said...

whoa. that was fast.

yessir - ROTLD should be sold with a free box of saltines. this film relishes every stinky inch of its cheesiness and, you are right, we sorely need filmmakers who purpose their art to be this much fun. i laughed way more than i expected.

thanks for the recommendation.

myleswerntz said...

there's so many of these, i always get the Romero ones mixed up. Thank God for Wikipedia to separate out the real from the imposters.

the hamster said...

myles - i'm not kidding: this really is one of the most fun "horror" movies i've ever seen. nothing about this film is overly serious or horrorific. from the very beginning, you can tell that the purpose here is to lighten up the public discourse on zombies. and i think that's great. romero makes some killer films - but they're thinking movies, metaphor movies, furrow browed SNL gone cannibal. but this ROTLD is pure fun. see it! and then see it again!