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Surprisingly good zombie movies seen from my comfy chair

By Andrew Pollack on 07/06/2008 at 10:12 AM EDT
Here's the thing - I love movies. I don't actually go to the movies very often. There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that I've got two businesses I'm trying to run, three children, a second career as a firefighter, and I live in a place where there are almost no modern theaters. The closest stadium seating theater is a half hour drive away, and the next one after that is about forty five minutes drive. The nearby theater is in what used to be a K-Mart and its like watching a big TV at the end of a hallway.

The other reason I don't go very often is that my wife hates any kind of violence on movies or television and my three kids are all daughters. The oldest is now of an age where she could see scary movies if she wanted, but doesn't want to. My middle girl will probably be into just about any kind of movie - scary or not - but isn't quite old enough yet for them. That means going to the theaters is pretty much about kids movies and that's fine for an occasional family outing but not really my cup of tea otherwise. I could go out with "The Guys" I guess, but with so little free time it would be like stealing from the family to do that.

This brings me to my point. I watch most movies when everyone else in the house is busy or sleeping, and I watch them in my comfy chair in my office on a 32" HD TV that's one of the last TUBE based HDTV's you could buy. It may not be a theater going experience, but I can sit with my laptop on my lap and eat a pile of Otter-pops (or off brand copies) and enjoy.

Lately, the Zombie movie has made a comeback. These aren't the old John Carpenter films that really started the genre, but some have been shockingly well done. Although by nature these are gruesome and violent, its usually the kind of ridiculous over the top violence that's easy to laugh off (not like Fight Club or similar movies where the violence was a bit too real to be comfortable). Here are a few I've enjoyed lately.

I'm not going to bother looking up links for these, you all know how to use IMDB just as well as I do.

28 Days Later -- A great take on the subject, with some real thought as to the way things might break down. Loads of fun, though a bit rough through the middle.

28 Weeks Later -- Not as good as the first, and the fact of its existence kind of gives away the ending if you've not seen the original but still pretty darn good.

Shaun of the Dead -- Outstanding. This one is funny as hell, without disrespecting the genre at all. If some not too bright, half drunk London sports pub denizens were the last non-zombies left, what would happen? Very well made.

Resident Evil -- I loved this. I never played the game and I expected any movie made from a game to be just terrible. It wasn't. It was exactly what a perfect zombie movie should be with a great big heaping helping of classic sci-fi corporate technology negative utopia tossed in. Include a stunningly sexy super hero and its pure gold.

Resident Evil Apocalypse -- Almost as good as the first. This time the zombies take over Racoon City (what a great name). A bit more classic zombie chase movie and a bit less sci-fi but so what?

Resident Evil Extinction -- Fantastic. Road Warrior meets Day of the Dead. Outstanding. What's not to like? Its got Milla Jovovich and its also got Ali Larter (who plays Niki Sanders in Heros). How much more sex appeal do you need in a scary movie than that?

I Am Legend -- Good, almost great but not quite. Much closer to the idea in the book than Omega Man was but that one had Charleton Heston in it and is a classic.

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re: Surprisingly good zombie movies seen from my comfy chairBy Nathan T. Freeman on 07/06/2008 at 11:05 AM EDT
It was George Romero, not John Carpenter, that started the genre.

And he has a cameo in Shaun of the Dead... as a zombie.
damn. You're right of courseBy Andrew Pollack on 07/06/2008 at 11:29 AM EDT
Oh well. So much for writing from memory.
re: Surprisingly good zombie movies seen from my comfy chairBy Chris Toohey on 07/07/2008 at 12:22 PM EDT
@NTF: Pegg [Shaun] and Wright [director of SOtD] also cameo'd as zombies in
Land of the Dead. They're the "take a picture with..." zombies.

@Andrew - check out Diary of the Dead - Romero's latest, which is more of a
reboot to the series. It's as "heavy-handed" as Wall-E in delivering it's
message, but I really enjoyed it.

As far as cameos go in that movie btw: Stephen King, Wes Craven, Romero
himself, Simon Pegg, Quentin Tarantino, and Guillermo del Toro.

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