Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Good Corpse/Bad Corpse

Just as there are good horror movies and there are bad horror movies, the genre which tends to produe the largest amount of bad is often Zombie movies. For every good zombie flick there are countless, countless bad ones. As if to illustrate this there are around 42 zombi 3's out there, and not one of them is good. I've sat and 'enjoyed' most of them of course, but would be hard pressed to describe them as good. George Romero's Day of the Dead has one remake and one unofficial sequel under it's belt. How many of these are any good? NONE! Night of the Living Dead has two remakes (One good, one bad. If you've seen them you know which is which.) not to mention a spectacularly misguided survivors cut. Zombie films are like the undead themselves, a spectacularly sprawling mass of shambling, bumbling stinkiness.
However even when a zombie movie is good, or at least 'entertaining', there's always the chance that the zombie's themselves may fail in instilling you with any sense of dread. Sometimes it's budget, sometimes a lack of artistic vision, sometimes your zombie extras just don't tuck their shirt in.

More often than not your shambling undead can make or break your picture. The Italians had the best idea, throwing as much filth and decay at the screen as they could, though the fantastic work of Gianetto De Rossi actually helped elevate things beyond butchers shop meets pastry face. When I was young I always though that zombies should look like rotting skeletons clawing their way from the grave, thanks in no small part to movies like Creepshow and the 1972 Tales From the Crypt movie.
I had never seen any 'proper' Zombie movies at that point, and so what I had seen in these movies is what stuck in my head. Obviously I've since watched many Zombie movies and have come to appreciate the finer points of Zombies such as those in Romero's movies. Zombies as more than gore soaked oogie-boogie monsters, representative of some aspect of society, something not possible when you're looking at a car park full of Halloween Decorations. This sliding scale of decay below shows that my childhood views on what makes a more effective zombie doesn't always equal a good zombie film. While my personal favourite, 'Return of the Living Dead', does top the scale, there's no real way you can justify the original Dawn falling behind even Zombie Lake with it's skinnydipping netball team and gumming Nazi zombies.
Let's celebrate those zombies, both good and crap, in a returning feature I like to call 'Good Zombie/Crap Zombie'. Sometimes I might highlight a great zombie makeup, sometimes a poor zombie makeup put to stunning effect in a good movie, but to begin I think we'll start safely in the arena of 'crap' zombie. And so i present to you quite possibly the worst zombie I have ever seen -
The Partridge Zombie
(Cooganus Corpsus)

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