I can hear alot of you groaning before this review even begins. Zombies Zombies Zombies. They’re everywhere we look at this point, from the hundreds (if not thousands) of movies that were released this year alone to popular cartoons and TV shows, comics, action figures, hell there’s even zombie thongs, lingerie and stripper shoes at this point (….Whoever buys that shit needs serious therapy and shouldn’t be allowed within 500 feet of funeral homes) Most of it is just crap to capitalize on the success of Walking Dead, I’ve said that countless times and you know what, I’m going to be straight with you now. I DON’T LIKE WALKING DEAD, in fact I think the show is nothing but a pretentious, over blown, often badly written recap of things that have been done countless times in films as far back as the 60’s. It offers nothing new to the genre and is really nothing other then a place for admittedly talented special effects artists to show off..Is this necessarily a bad thing in and of itself? No, not at all. I grew up watching and loving films that were little more then gore fests and alot of those films were zombie movies..But it’s how out of control the show has gotten, how revered and downright worshiped it is and the show never gives thanks to the countless films it “borrows” from, it simply allows the audience to think what it’s doing is new..That’s what makes me dislike it, hell even hate it…With that said i still love zombies, they’re one of my all time favorite monsters and one that continues to spawn some of the most innovative and fun films of all time.
The first film I’ll be discussing tonight took the concept that the main focus of zombie films should be the survivors to the next level..by not having zombies in it at all!
BLAMING GEORGE ROMERO follows 4 horror nerd pals who during a party get attacked by strange, blood drooling man who attempts to bite one of them. Having had a few drinks and been talking nonstop about the living dead, they know a zombie when they see one and bash the attacker’s head in before taking to the road and trying to prepare themselves for the oncoming zombie apocalypse..only one problem, there’s a very good chance that it wasn’t a zombie that attacked them and that there is no apocalypse going on!
I really had a fun time with this one, there’s so many little winks and references to other zombie classics in it that it’d make a great drinking game to try to take a shot whenever you spot one while watching it. I won’t get into too many because i want you to spot them on your own, but even just glimpsing the poster art should give you an idea who Sam is a homage to.
The story here was wonderfully done, playing on the paranoia we’re now seeing with uprise of popularity in the zombie genre, as well as showcasing just how unprepared even the most adamant zombie nerds amongst us are when something goes down. It did a wonderful job in creating random events and coincidences that illustrate how even the most innocent of situations can back up the delusion of someone (or in this case a group of people) in a state of panic.
The film also plays out well as a dialog driven character piece with each and every one of the characters on display having their own little quarks and problems that play off each other very nicely; particularly in the case of lowlife funnyman Bobby and hardworking over serious Sam who are at each others’ throats like only lifelong friends can be and who’s contradicting personalities create some truly memorable exchanges.. But don’t underestimate the rest of the group either, Dan, (who’s the zombie fighting Rambo in his mind and an overzealous gym teacher in reality) also created some very funny moments with his Macho, know it all attitude and awkward almost shy under current making him seem like a mash-up of Meat from Porkeys, Booger from Revenge of The Nerds and White Goodman from Dodgeball. Loarina, the group’s odd woman out (and Bobby’s girlfriend) also made for some great comedy, in fact creating what i felt was the most memorable scene in the film when she argues with the rest of the group about Vampires being scarier then zombies. I don’t want to give the scene away so I unfortunately won’t be able to go into that any further but trust me, if you’re drinking when you watch this you may want to put your drink down when the scene comes up to avoid either spitting all over the place or having it come out your nose.
The cinematography here was rather low res, but for an indie production it was better then most, and the night scenes were surprisingly well shot with none of the static I’m used to seeing when indie films go for outdoor night scenes. The camerawork itself was basic but very sure handed and considering this was a psuedo-zombie buddy comedy it really doesn’t need an artistic flare, just a sure hand and well shot footage, both of which this one has plenty of.
Overall I give this film no middle fingers up, it’s quick, witty, at times literally laugh out loud funny and it manages to pay homage to several classics without coming across as ripping them off. Is it a great zombie movie? No, not at all, but it is ONE HELL OF A BUDDY COMEDY!
In A Bar scene of BLAMING GEORGE ROMERO The group sees the end of an “old” zombie film which serves as a plot device to help Sam come to the conclusion that he must return home and kill his brother (who he’s convinced is a zombie) The clip showcased smooth smokey black and white and a great late 40’s propaganda movie feel that instantly caught the attention of the cinemaphile in me. I wanted to see more and thankfully writer Samuel Platizky teamed up with director William Dautrick and made that happen by expanding the footage into a feature length film called RED SCARE.
RED SCARE follows American Agent, super patriot and all around badass Rex Steel. Years before Rex and his brother fearlessly traveled into Sovient Russia along with his fearless brother Charlie “Happy” Steel to stop the insidious plot of the evil sovient scumbag Vlad Sinisterski who has uncovered a secret weapon buried by the nazis and plans to use it against the U.S.! While trying to stop the madman Happy is captured and his mind is melted by a tortur device leaving him a simpleton and leaving Rex a broken shell of the man he used to be. In present day (late 40’s early 50’s) Rex is called upon to once again match wits with the bastard who stole his brother from him, as Sinisterski has brought the battle to U.S. soil along with an ever growing army of zombies made from our own God fearing citizens! Will Rex prevail or will the U.S. fall to the hands of Soviet Commie scum?
A delightfully true to form parody mash up of 40’s spy film, Propaganda movie and classic Noir film, RED SCARE derives it’s humor not so much from making fun of the genres it homages but by staying so on key and true to them, emphasizing the elements that made them unintentionally funny to begin with. The overacting, the blatant sexism, the overly macho and downright irrational heroes. This film really hit the keys just right. and it also managed something that I very rarely see in parodies or homages of this era..It captured the niave innocence! In the the 40’s the heroes were manly men, there was never a doubt of who the hero was and although the approach and beliefs in the films seem misguided and outdated at times there was a level of kindness to the heroes, a politeness that isn’t seen in today’s movies where every hero has become the punisher or wolverine. To capture this in a modern film, and a parody at that is something that should not only be celebrated and commended but awarded.
The story here was another place where this film stayed dead on. It’s full of excitement drawn plot devices and moral codes like the importance of being yourself and that life isn’t worth living if it’s not shared with those we love. That’s not to dismiss the little site gags and the running joke about the antiquity of some of the ideas in the film, they at times literally had me in tears, but the old fashioned (and still very true) morals and lessons here were very refreshing in my opinion, they presented a much needed break from the sideways ethics of today.
In contrast with the cinematography in Blaming George Romero, the cinematography here was absolutely gorgeous, the silk smooth almost dream-like black and white here could easily pass for an actual digitally remastered film from the late 40’s and the slow pans and dissolves were perfectly executed.
The characters here were also perfectly done, showcasing exaggerated accents, theatrical movements and a flourish that is almost exclusive to 40’s and 50’s cinema. Even the most minor of characters was on Que here, but the leading men, both Rex and Sinisterski stole the show. Rex is the perfect mans man hero with his thin mustache, loud voice, completely confident attitude and dedication to America, education, and irresistibly to women and Sinisterski perfectly captures the ultimate villain with his thick Russian accent, nonstop barely contained anger, hatred of America and utter disregard for human life. This is a story where there is no doubt who is the hero and who is the villain.
Overall I give this film two middle fingers cut off and sanded to the bone, It manages to be a fun parody and a wonderful time capsule to a forgotten era. I highly recommend it.