Skip to main content

Direct To Video Picks For August 2012: Zombies


Regardless of their origin (evil ancient gods, government experiments, comets, voodoo curses, etc.) zombies have always been an easy metaphor for humanity's propensity for mindless behavior. And although zombies are so VERY overdone right now, this month's direct to video picks are all zombie movies.

Despite the overwhelming, shall we call it, "popularity" of zombies, I want to remind people that there are still some great zombie movies out there. And there are some 'okay' and 'interesting' zombie movies still being made.

After my last foray into video picks got a little unwieldy, I've decided to keep these movie descriptions a bit short so I can tackle three of them.

Boy Eats Girl (2005)

The Skinny
A teenage boy dies, his mother brings him back to life, and a zombie rampage follows. Ah, high school...

Type of zombie(s)
Good old voodoo. Usually this origin is reserved for tropical island dwellers so it's interesting to see coming out of Ireland.

Zombie metaphor
Boy Eats Girl falls into one of my favorite sub-genres of horror; the teenage monster movie. I wrote a bit about this previously but let me quickly touch on it again - puberty is complex and confusing and can easily be talked about in horror films through character transformation into monsters (The Lost BoysGinger Snaps, etc.)

Boy Eats Girl makes a wonderful comment on how out of control teenagers can feel. Their bodies are changing, their place in society is changing, etc. I also think that's the reason that this movie has a reversal at the end - children who survive puberty come out as functional adults on the other side of it. Otherwise said, "zombie-ism" isn't fatal in this movie as puberty isn't fatal.

My $.25 opinion
This movie is wonderfully campy (think Fido not Dead Alive - despite some other similarities.) with hilariously cheeky dialogue, some fantastically gory deaths, and possibly one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen in a zombie flick (full reversal of the zombie "infection" - sort of like the wrap up of a vampire movie.)

Boy Eats Girl trailer

Deadgirl (2008)

The skinny
A couple of high school delinquents blow off school and break into an abandoned asylum and find there's one patient remaining. And then things get terribly out of hand...

Spoilers ahead. Of the 3 movies discussed here, Deadgirl has the most serious tone. Also. This is a rape movie. No plot synopsis tells you that. If you're not comfortable with lots of rape, don't watch this movie.

Type of zombie
One of the things that actually worked really well for this movie was the lack of explanations, you never find out where the zombie comes from and she seems to be the only one - although the boys do discover that her "condition" is contagious.

Zombie metaphor
The zombie in Deadgirl is a metaphor for silence; more specifically our silence in the face of abuse. It's also the pivot point for a conversation about coming of age - unlike Boy Eats Girl where the transformation into a zombie is a metaphor for the struggles of puberty - in Deadgirl the zombie acts more as a "rite of passage" for the teenagers around her.

My $.25 opinion
That leads into the thing I liked most about this movie; it's not really about zombies, it's about the choices we (humans) make. This movie asks us, "would you do something that you know is wrong if you knew you'd get away with it?" It also asks if that things becomes "more wrong" the more you do it and the more people you convince to do it as well. It's this slippery slope of increasingly disturbing behavior.

The movie itself has low budget production values but a fairly decent looking zombie. The acting is acceptable (not award winning) and the same goes for the writing. Conceptually the movie is fantastic.

Deadgirl trailer

Doghouse (2009)

The skinny
A "boys weekend" in the countryside goes terribly awry when a group of men find themselves in a town of ravenous, man-eating women. 

Type of zombie(s)
These zombies are created by a governmental experiment gone awry. Isn't that always the way with government experiments?...

Zombie metaphor
Doghouse is so tongue-in-cheek it's difficult to make an argument for any type of metaphor however, it is a hilarious commentary on the "battle of the sexes." You know, "all men think women start out as hot, sexualized beings but turn into man-hating monsters that want to devour them." kind of stuff. And the women aren't just zombies but mind-control victims, kind of telling us that "media" brainwashes normal women into man-hating monsters. However, with all the men dying at the end of the movie, Doghouse also tells us that the gender war can't be won and is really screwing both men and women.

My $.25 opinion
Doghouse is outwardly misogynistic and completely hilarious with terrific gore. I absolutely love the final scene with the remaining men making a run for their lives in a shopping cart, laughing. It's very nearly an homage to the final scene in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Everything about Doghouse is a beautifully articulated reversal of your standard horror film conventions; the typically exploited women are here the killers.

Doghouse trailer


  1. Doghouse wasn't that bad, Deadgirl is just a bit weird though.. Nice blog by the way

  2. Doghouse made me laugh - I appreciated the absurdity of it.
    Also - thank you. :)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Rebuttal: 17 Disturbing Horror Movies You Will Never Watch Again

When I'm not watching movies, I'm reading about movies. I stumble across all kinds of articles, blog posts, book excerpts, etc. in my quest to absorb as much movie knowledge as possible. Now, I'm snotty and loud-mouthed and opinionated but I'd never begrudge another human their opinion. Seriously. You're absolutely welcome to have any opinion about any thing you want. However, I must warn you, if I think your opinion is stupid, I'm absolutely going to say so. I've recently stumbled on an article completely  brimming with so many idiotic opinions that I'm actually compelled to craft a response. Here's the gist of the original article: there are some horror movies out there that are so disturbing , you'll only ever want to watch them once. I've have taken her original list and refuted her claims without pulling her entire article over. You can read the original article here . Let's start at the beginning, with her opening statement

Escape From Tomorrow

I love creative people who are willing to take risks with their art. I appreciate the refusal to do things by the rules. I'm also terribly impatient with mediocrity. Enter  Escape From Tomorrow . Created by a team of rogue filmmakers, the movie was shot in the video mode of high-end still cameras. Actors shared scripts and shooting locations across their smartphones. Shot on location at Disney World, the parks were completely unaware this was all going on right under their mouse ears. I wanted to love Escape From Tomorrow. More than that, I wanted to be completely taken with its ingenuity and creativity and - oh yes - its originality. And there is really a simple brilliance to their covert plan; all families are roaming around the parks, taking videos and chatting on their phones. Just blend the fuck in, act like you belong, and you won't get caught. Too bad the movie can be summed up as: ambitious but Rubbish. As you can imagine (or possibly know), there was a ton of con

The Witch (2015)

You know the drill - there's ALWAYS spoilers. Don't want the movie ruined for you, come back after you've seen it. Also - I'm still without an editor - typos and bad grammar await you! I keep hoping that the cultural obsession with zombies will end; literally every other damn movie that comes 'round seems to feature some sort of shambling, undead being bent on devouring the weak flesh of regular humans. Once upon a time, zombies have have been used as a metaphor for the blind consumerism created by our capitalist society, or the perceived depletion of resources by immigrants, or even the ravages of time and disease on our frail bodies. Now it seems that the deeper social commentary has been lost as audiences mindlessly consume "zombie fiction" in an attempt to keep up with trends. ( How very meta - a film buddy of mine commented on this assessment! ) All of this is just a sideways rant, leading up to my actual point: it seems that zombie may actually