The Horror Honeys: Coming Out of the Zombie Closet...

Coming Out of the Zombie Closet...

A Revenge Honey Confession by Linnie

Hi. My name is Linnie. And I really don't like zombie movies or television shows.

This isn't a blanket statement, and I'm always willing to try new things, but it's only in recent years that I finally accepted that I, no matter how popular they may be, I just do not dig the undead set (pun 100% intended). I watched The Walking Dead for a while, but got bored with it. I see every major zombie release, from World War Z to Warm Bodies, and find myself ambivalent about all of them. It's taken me a while to figure out just why it is that I've gotten so tired of watching flesh-munchers amble, or run, after the living but I think I finally get it: The stories always feel like they were written by the exact same dude.

Stop eyeballing me! I don't HAVE to like you!
George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead are some of the most brilliantly scripted films ever, not just in horror, but in ever. And since then, it has felt like the majority of zombie creations are just derivations of those original concepts. A motley crew of survivors are trapped in a location and must band together to fight off the zombie onslaught. Sometimes they survive, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they try to find the origins of the virus, other times, they just play video games.

I like Hot Fuzz & The World's End better. And that's ok too.
But in a lot of horror circles, to admit that the zombie genre does nothing for you is akin to saying you go around kicking puppies while listening to Nickelback. It's just not acceptable. However, I am here to tell you, that if you don't like zombies, it is okay! There are more of us out here! And you don't have to be ashamed anymore. And you definitely don't have to keep watching The Walking Dead even though you'd rather be curled up with a mug of hot tea watching Downton Abbey. (I surrendered to that reality long ago, and friends... it felt frigging amazing).

Preach it, ladyfriend.
Yet, in an effort to bridge the gap between lovers of the undead and those who would rather watch the TV static from Poltergeist (actually... that sounds fun), I've compiled a list of the Top Five zombie films that I think are unusual, original, or just totally entertaining in a different way. These are movies that I watch for fun, and not just because I'm being forced by zombie-loving friends. Most approach the concept of the undead in a way that doesn't involve zombie tropes, while others embrace a totally differently mythology. One of them is just hilarious! So join me, fellow NIZ-A members (Not-Into-Zombies Anonymous), as I offer some film options for when your friends just won't get off your damn back about watching a zombie movie!

*NOTE: Not included are movies like 28 Days Later or Evil Dead where the presence of actual zombies is questionable and/or hotly debated.

Fido (2006)

Bill: I'd say I'm a pretty darn good father. My father tried to eat me! I don't remember trying to eat Timmy.

Helen: Bill, just because your father tried to eat you, does that mean we all have to be unhappy... forever?

Even if you take the zombies out of Fido, Andrew Currie's satire is exactly my kind of movie. Set in a post-zombie war world that has become startlingly 50s-esque, Fido focuses on the friendship between a little boy and his family's pet zombie. This brilliant little film skewers consumer culture, gender politics, government, big business, and America's treatment of the elderly, all under the guise of a simple zombie film... with a nary a "rag-tag band of survivors" in sight. It may not be a standard zombie film, but it IS a genius one.

Dead Alive/Braindead (1992)

While most people started on the Romero films, my first real love in the zombie genre was Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. Maybe part of the reason I am harsh is because so few movies ever really stack up to this magnum opus of gore, goo, and general bad taste. Because once you've seen a movie about a rotten old woman who gets bitten by a Sumatran rat monkey and then starts eating every living thing in her grasp, well... what's left?

I clearly was misinformed about how childbirth works...
Open Grave (2013)

I watched this fairly recent film on a whim and ended up loving it, mostly because it DOES take some of the typical zombie film cliches, but totally turns them on their head. Starring Sharlto Copley, Joseph Morgan, and Josie Ho (who also starred in Dream Home, which if you haven't seen... well, you're just not the person I thought you were), this head-scratcher is about a group of strangers with amnesia confronting a killer AND a crapload of zombies, while also dealing with the possibility any one of them could be a killer and just not know it. Open Grave might be a little too slow for the big-budget zombie fan, but anyone who appreciates a taut and strange thriller should enjoy this indie. Bonus points for Copley, who I think is one of the most exceptional actors working right now!

Yes, yes. He's very... exceptional.
Pontypool (2008)

There is actually a bit of controversy over whether or not the infected people in this low-budget Canadian thriller are real zombies, but for the purpose of this piece, let's just say they are. As an infection based in the English language sweeps a small Canadian town, a radio DJ and his co-workers try to find a way to combat the disease. Even if you leave out the metaphor (and I love a good metaphor), Pontypool is funny, tense, and utterly eerie. Can you imagine fighting a virus and knowing that any single word could trigger it? Terrifying.

I TOLD you, I don't want to hear about the lord! You door-knockers are relentless!
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

If Dead Alive is my favorite zombie horror comedy, The Serpent and the Rainbow was the first (and maybe only) zombie movie to scare the ever-loving crap out of me. Directed by Wes Craven, this movie follows an ethnobotanist as he investigates a Haitian drug used in voodoo ceremonies. Unfortunately, the drug gets used on him, and we get a visual taste of the culture that many believe is responsible for the entire concept of the zombie as we know it.

I guess marriage just isn't for everyone.

Special Mentions: Pet Sematary, Slither (which is only half of a zombie movie), ParaNorman, and Dead & Breakfast...

So there you have it! While I may not heart zombies like the rest of pop culture, there are a few films that make my black heart flutter with joy.

Are you a member of NIZ-Anonymous? Or do you love the undead and think I'm crazy? Let me know on Twitter: