Thursday, October 14, 2010

Zombieland: Bringing the fun, and a few rules to live by

Like most horror fans, I love zombie movies because they’re fun, gory, and suspenseful. I find the survivalist angle intriguing, too (I often find myself wondering if and how I could survive an initial outbreak of the walking dead. Equipped with my copy of The Zombie Survival Guide I’d like to think at least I’d have a fighting chance. But probably not).

But in the end the zombie films I like best are those that aspire to more than just empty action. Like all good movies, the best zombie films contain underlying social and/or political messages that give them an added dimension and another level on which they can be enjoyed.

I’m not a horror historian, but as far as I can tell the zombie film as social commentary started with George Romero. Broadly, zombies have always been a metaphor for death, but it wasn’t until 1978’s Dawn of the Dead that the walking dead were used to critique concepts like capitalism and unchecked consumer culture (as a sidenote this is why I didn’t like the new Dawn of the Dead as much as the original—the 2004 version is not only too nihilistic, but it removes all the subtext in favor of high-speed, sprinting zombie carnage).

Since Dawn other zombie films have hopped on the bandwagon of zombie apocalypse as societal/cultural critique. The most recent example is the comedic zombie horror of Zombieland (2009). Zombieland tells the story of a group of survivors trying to find their way in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. These include 20-something “Columbus” (played by Jesse Eisenburg), a nerdy, World of Warcraft playing recluse; “Tallahassee” (Woody Harrelson), a modern cowboy with an apparent death wish, a sardonic sense of humor and a mean streak a mile wide when it comes to zombies; “Wichita” (Emma Stone), a beautiful, guarded, hard-bitten realist, and “Little Rock” (Abigail Breslin), Wichita’s younger sister and resourceful partner in crime.

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Lagomorph Rex said...

yes indeed, I really enjoyed this movie.. it was a nice sort of movie to go with Shawn of the Dead.

I was kind of disappointed I wasn't able to get an an Extra spot on this one.. all I can say I got is one on " Vampire Diaries ".

Brian Murphy said...

Wow, that sounds like a story that needs more explanation, Lagomorph!

Lagomorph Rex said...

well, I'd found out about Zombieland ages ago when they first started working on it. And had put in to get a job as an extra.

But for whatever reason I didn't hear back from the local company who was handling the extras until about 8 hours before they needed me, and I had to work the day they needed extras. which was at Great Adventures or whatever it.. the Theme Park scene.. which is outside of Macon Georgia. about 2 hours from my house.

It wouldn't have been the first movie I'd been an extra in. But I couldn't skip work, making 120$ to go and be an extra and make 50$..

With Vampire diaries I just responded to a Address in the local paper, part of the show is filmed in the Highschool I went too. So I sent them my headshot, and since I look like I'm about 16 still.. I got to do a couple of walkbys in the hallways.

However, I've not gotten the DVD's of that from netflix to try and get screenshots of me.

But I try to keep abreast of film projects.. right now Robert Redford is doing a Civil War era film in Savannah, and while I would have loved to have been an extra in that I just can't manage it.

Brian Murphy said...

That's pretty cool, too bad you could't make it into Zombieland. Eight hours isn't much lead-time.

I would think that going to the theme park now would add a whole dimension and has probably increased business there ("look, here's the ride where those two chicks were stranded--and there's the ticket booth where Woody Harrelson had his shootout with the zombies!")

I admit I have not seen Vampire Diaries.

Lagomorph Rex said...

you aren't missing anything at all by not having seen that show.

But I've not been to that theme park since I was way little. so I can't say for sure.