Why so hard to make a zombie movie?

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I just don’t understand why it is SO hard to make a good zombie movie. I mean, even the Lord of Zombies, George Romero, can’t seem to get it right all the time. I mean, how hard can it be? Mix in a healthy dose of apocalyptic destruction, a pinch of claustrophobia, some up close and personal murder, and a narrowing escape attempt. (although not always successful; its can be good when they aren’t).

I just don’t get it. Almost every time I see a zombie film, I cringe with disgust and dissatisfaction.

Yes, it’s like the producers are in need of some kind of organ that will help their cognitive processes.

Because they’re a single idea that can’t be repeated ad nauseam without just being too imitative, and any attempt to inject originality is greeted with dismissal by whining fanboys.

Because that movie has already been made and remade several times.

You’d think that, with all the billions of dollars slushing around Hollywood, someone would make a fine Zombie film. Perhaps it’s not really that easy. :eek:

I predict this will become a Zombie thread. :smack:

My theory:

Romero created something that is actually quite special. I love (LOVE) zombie movies, and NotLD is still amazing. But watching the original Dawn of the Dead and especially Day of the Dead, they seem incredibly dated.

Part of that is the development of make up and SFX. Part of it is just in the nature of movies.

So you get folks like Gunn who decide to “reimagine” Dawn of the Dead. You end up with a good zombie flick, but purists get mad that they run, or that they used the title and premise of a classic and didn’t follow it exactly. Then the studios, seeing dollar bills, greenlight the Day of the Dead remake, and 28 weeks later, and other zombie(ish… the 28 days movies are not really zombies, but I’ll give it to them) movies, and you end up with some TERRIBLE movies.

Meanwhile, you get Romero trying to recapture that flame in Diary of the Dead, a good movie but a bit heavy handed. I think he’s done now, which is sad to say probably best for the genre.

To sum up:

Flooded market creates glut of bad movies. Zombie movies that are not derivative of earlier works is going to be hard, because really, there’s only so much you can do that isn’t variations on “hole up in a building and hide from the zombies”.

The flip-side is, you get movies like Fido, which is BRILLIANT. But they are few and far between.

Someone out there has a fresh, original script, with good ideas and a great eye for movies. But he’s not getting his movie made, because the studios are just about done with this wave of zombie movies.

I’m not sure I understand the question.

Zombies have a pretty good track record, especially considering, as other posters have mentioned, that there’s only so much you can really do with the idea.

I mean, in the past several years alone we’ve had the afformationed Fido, 28 Days/Weeks Later, the Dawn of the Dead remake (which I didn’t like, but lots of people did), and Shaun of the Dead (which may be the best zombie movie ever).

That’s on top of existing classics like the original Dead trilogy, Return of the Living Dead, Zombie, Dead Alive, and The Dead Next Door.

There’s been a lot of garbage, yeah, but it’s nothing new that a horror subgenre should lend itself well to a lot of schlocky material.

I always figured it was because it’s so hard to keep brains at the right temperature on those catering tables.

Keep your eyes open for the World War Z movie, from what i’ve heard from people who’ve read the leaked script it could be the best zombie movie ever. If its even 50% faithful to the book i can easily believe that.

I stand by the original Dawn Of The Dead as an exemplar for zombie movies. Oftentimes creepy, scary and fun. It is also very depressing.

(Spelling corrected.) Well, the book by Max Brooks was terrific – very thoughtful and well imagined; and the adaptation is being written by Michael Straczynski. So, keeping my fingers crossed.

By the way, Straczynski is righteously pissed off about people dishonorably leaking the script in violation of confidentiality agreements, and other people spreading it around. If anything of mine ever gets produced, and some asshole “fan” treats my work-in-progress like it’s his property, I’ll personally find him and kick his ass. Wankers need a boot in the bollocks.

A bit heavy handed? I love Romero, but subtle he is not when it comes to the social commentary.

It’s hard to make a good movie, period.

Diary Of The Dead 2

Sean of the Dead set the new standard, I figure. It’s funny, at times touching, and definitely has its scare moments.

I don’t think the definitive “zombies v. Nazis” flick has been made yet. (Talk about nihilistic filmmaking: in the oddball sub-genre cross-pollination of both zombie flicks and WWII-ish action films, who can you root for?)

Admittedly, that bar is resting at a limbo-dance-level low as it is…

My one complaint about that is that when I actually asked Max Brooks about it back in October, he seemed to be a bit out of the loop as to what was going on with the movie. He may have been being coy with a fanboy in zombie makeup, I suppose, but if he’s not involved I’m worried the tone will be lost. Dang it.
As for Diary of the Dead 2… I don’t know. I’ll watch it, but I’m not happy about it.

If you did that the zombies would have to be concentration camp victims. Which is really disturbing to think about.

Not necessarily, although that’s the most likely scenario. (There’s no reason why it couldn’t be based around a platoon on the Eastern front suddenly confronted with the zombies of their recent battlefield kills, for example. Or the zombies could themselves be resurrected Nazis, turning on their own… the permutations are endless.)

I tried watching one “zombies v. Nazis” flick that was bundled in a “50 movies for about $20” box sets from a big-box electronics place. Talk about micro-budget production values; this film looked like it was made by a half-dozen friends who were financing it on their debit cards.

We’ll see. I’m hesitant about this; I worry that they’ll lose the sense of scope that the book had and focus too much on single characters. The book worked well as a series of stories from people in widely varied capacities who saw different parts of the Zombie War. I think the movie is likely to focus too hard on building up specific characters.


The problem is that zombies are an inherently silly concept. It’s difficult to make a serious movie and convey the post apocalyptic horror because at the end of the day your like “what’s the deal with these zombies going around eating people for no reason?”

It’s also hard to wrap up the story in a zombie movie without a) everyone gets killed or b) wholesale zombie destruction…which gets silly.

Zombie Nazis led by Zombie Hitler! The Untold Story from the Last Days of World War II!

Hell yeah, I’d watch a squad of American GIs battling the only thing more evil than Nazis - Zombie Nazis!

Seconded on the brilliant “Shawn of the Dead”, the world first ZomRomCom.