#31DaysOfHorror: Oct 22

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Very few films transcend the Horror genre and even fewer kickstart a Global Phenomenon. Night Of the Living Dead was groundbreaking in it’s time and forever changed the landscape of fright films. Look no further than the success of properties like Resident Evil, Shaun Of The Dead, the Walking Dead, and Zombiewalk to see that The Living Dead are here to stay.

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In plan on doing a very in depth review of NOTLD in the future, so I won’t get too deep into things just yet. Just know that a commentary on the themes of civil unrest, racial tension, and subversion will be made. I’ll also examine the lineage of NOTLD, its various sequels and spin offs, both official and unofficial. Trust me, it gets convoluted!

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On this fine evening, I saw NOTLD presented by the Gentleman Hecklers. This is a local collection of 3 comedians who screen films, then sit in the front row with live microphones and talk shit about the film while it’s playing. Sort of a live version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, if you will. Something occurred to me that hadn’t during any other viewing of the film. It’s really boring at times! Don’t get me wrong, I still love the film, but having the Hecklers point out how much of the running time is taken up by absolutely nothing happening was somewhat of a revelation. How often do we, as devout Horror fans excuse “Nothing Happening” for a slow burn or atmosphere? I’m gonna say it goes both ways, it really just depends on how you view it. If you are by yourself or with other Horror Fans, lack of action can easily be nailed down to slow-burn psychological terror…but if you’re with your buddies and in the mood for a good time, then it won’t be long before someone yells “Boooooring! Let’s drink til Barbara gets naked!”

#31DaysOfHorror: Oct 6

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You’ve seen this film. I’ve seen this film. We’ve all seen this film. Fuck sakes, this is the third time I’m reviewing it for #31DaysOfHorror( https://doctorhavok.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/31daysofhorror-oct-26th/ seeming to be the best example) . Thats to say nothing for how many times I watch this during the year. It’s iconic, awesome, and required viewing for all my Creeps. You may ask yourselves what more could I say about the film that I haven’t already said? Still a fair bit, it would seem.

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I’ve written previously about how ROTLD is the bastard sequel to Night Of The Living Dead, and is the result of a legal dispute between George Romero and John Russo. Originally ROTLD was supposed to be a more serious story featuring Zombie Cults. The story continues after NOTLD, and apparently the Zombie Apocalypse hadn’t ended, and as such had severe ramifications on religion. I think this is a pretty cool idea, and something I’ve wondered about myself. Pretty much every religion and cult has its own interpretation about what happens when you die and it’s only natural to assume that the recently dead starting to rise from the grave would change a few things. The more I think about it, the more I hope this plot gets made sometime in the future. Once a script was settled on and production got under way there was still much turmoil and change on the set, sometimes on a day-to-day basis. FX artist William Munns was removed from the production after fucking up the punk hairstyles of the actors, turning in a horrible looking “Headless Yellow Cadaver” and an unsatisfactory corpse seen in the iconic “do Ya Wanna Party” shot. While crafting the yellow cadaver, the script called for the corpse to get up and run around with its head cut off, which naturally would require a live actor. The first treatment brought to the set by Munns was a horrible rubber suit built from Dental Dams and foam to build up the actors shoulders and hide the head. I’ve seen pictures of it. It’s fucking pathetic. Community theater wouldn’t even use it. The final straw for Munns occurred when his interpretation of the “Party” corpse was a pristine skeleton with no connective tissue, muscles or ligaments, yet still somehow with healthy eyes in it’s sockets. He was turfed, and after hearing stories of how Dad O’Bannon behaved, I assume the turfing was not gentle. Various cast and crew have said that Dan “was not one for social graces”, or that he could be hard to work with. It seems one of the producers had adamantly insisted that his wife and kids be given small roles in the film. O’Bannon, not being one to handle bullshit well when there is a film to make, resisted this request for quite sometime, until he relented just to shut the producer up. He had the Wife and children show up for a 5am calltime and had the Make-up and wardrobe folks put them in the itchiest, most uncomfortable Make-up and costumes they possibly could. The family then were made to sit around all day on the rainy set waiting for their scene to be shot, then when shooting wrapped for the day late at night, miraculously O’Bannon somehow hadn’t gotten around to shooting their scene! When told the calltime was the same the next day, the family didn’t show up, and the matter was dropped. O’Bannon for the win!

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This is just the tip of the Iceberg. There are tons of other cool stories about the production of this film. Google it, talk to Horror nerds, or just watch More Brains! A Return Of The Living Dead Documentary. Wait…why the hell didn’t I just review the documentary instead? God fucking dammit!

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Oh well. SEXY NAKED PUNK BITCH!

#31DaysOfHorror: Oct 26th

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Oct 26th: Return Of The Living Dead(1985): http://youtu.be/wylpeAXYcBQ

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For a 1985 Horror Comedy with a wacky ensemble cast and dated(yet awesome) music, Dan O’Bannon’s “The Return Of The Living Dead” holds up incredibly well. This film remains one of the most fun films ever made. From Linnea Quigley’s iconic nude graveyard romp, the the epic Tar-man, who looks like a living Bernie Wrightson drawing, to the strains of “Do Ya Wanna Party?” by 45 Grave blaring as dozens of the undead crawl from their graves, this film hits on all cylinders!

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Anyone who considers themselves a Zombie fan, and lets face it…there are an awful lot of you trendy lil bandwagon jumpers out there…owe a huge debt of thanks to ROTLD, as this was the film that introduced the notion of Zombies eating brains. Another plus for this film is the last minute inclusion of the incredible Clu Gallagher, who plays Burt, the owner of Uneeda Medical Supplies. Gallagher’s performance not only adds a fantastic presence to the film, but helped a largely unknown cast step their collective game up. But the real star of this film was, and always will be, The Tar-man!

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Not only is this a dramatic leap forward in Zombie portrayal, as far as make-up effects go, as well as over-all design, but the producers were able to find an Actor who actually had a the body type to wear the suit and make it look convincing. Take a moment to appreciate that. Not only was this person( Allan Trautman), very thin, but incredibly limber and had fantastic muscle control. He manages to pull off staggering, stumbling movements that look as iff the bones themselves will pop out of their loosened joints at any second.  It’s no secret that this film is quite silly, I think we can all agree it makes up a large part of it’s charm, but it is very ahead of it’s time. At the beginning, warehouse worker Frank, acknowledges that “Night Of The Living Dead”(it’s linear predecessor) is a real film, and that it was based off of a “real event” that happened within the universe of ROTLD. This pre-dates the wave of Meta-films we would see later on such as Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and the Scream series. The notion that a film is aware of the existence of a certain film, and opperates outside of that reality, effectively portraying “real-life” is largely lost in this film though. After the initial mentioning of it, it pretty much gets glossed over in favour of Punk Rock, Brain Munching, and tits. Fair Trade.

 

Full Film: http://youtu.be/mO9ZKzF9EmM