Sunday was Z-Day

On Sunday I read Harry Shannon’s zombie novella Pain and Suzanne Palmer’s short story “Zombie Cabana Boy”, and then as the sun fell below the horizon I battened down the hatches, helped myself to a substantial pizza and settled down on the couch to watch a trio of zombie movies.

Dawn of the Dead

Not the Romero original from 1978, but the 2004 remake starring Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames and Jake Weber, and yeah, I know it got dissed for missing out the Romero subtext on the evils of consumerism, but all the same this is great fun, a shoot ’em up zombie spectacular with some well drawn characters, good action sequences and a script that didn’t disgrace its predecessor.

Plot in one sentence – survivors hole up in a shopping mall to escape the zombie plague.

Favourite bits – the opening scenes with nurse Ana (Polley) escaping from suburbia as it turns into hell on earth, and later when wiseass Steve turns into a zombie and she gets to shoot him, and the sound of Ving Rhames’ voice (I’m straight, but I still find it sexy).

Worst bit – the whole thing with Andy, who is holed up in a gun shop and a crack shot, but for reasons known only to the scriptwriters doesn’t take out as many of the zombies as humanly possible.

The Return of the Living Dead

Brilliant zombie comedy, directed by Alien co-writer Dan O’Bannion, and starring a cast of (to me) largely unknowns except for scream queen Linnea Quigley.

Plot in one sentence – the events in Night of the Living Dead actually took place and were covered up by the military, with the canisters containing the only surviving zombies accidentally stored in the basement of a medical supplies warehouse, and now they get loose and it starts all over again (yes, that was a long sentence).

Favourite bits – pretty much all of it, but in particular the zombies calling for ‘More paramedics’, the gun toting mortician, the leatherclad guy making a statement, the ‘irony’ of Linnea Quigley getting naked in a cemetery at night, the body parts that simply keep on wriggling, the ‘nice’ colonel who comes home to his wife after a hard day at the office, the explanation that zombies eat brains because it takes away the pain of being dead.

Worst bits – nothing much really, though if I want to be picky perhaps Linnea Quigley naked in a cemetery at night and dead.

Zombieland

Another zom-com, starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin.

Plot in one sentence – a virus turns just about everybody into zombies and four survivors have to learn to trust each other to get where they want to go (basically, it’s a post apocalypse buddy/buddy, buddy/buddy road movie with a side order of the living dead).

Favourite bits – again, pretty much all of it, but especially Eisenberg’s self effacing commentary and the way in which his various points are illustrated, the Bill Murray cameo, Harrelson’s flawed machismo, his love of Twinkies, the way in which the girls always outwit the guys, the piano kill, the banjo kill, the amusement park finale, especially that mean mofo of a zombie clown.

Worst bits – nope, can’t think of anything I didn’t like.

This Sunday I may have an A day, A standing for…

Watch this space.

Or not.

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