Zombie Film Festival This Week

This week, the Alamo Lake Creek will host the first (hopefully annual) Dismember the Alamo Zombie Film Festival. I’ve just finished a run of festivals and I’m severely wiped out, so I probably won’t make it out to much–but I’m really excited about Wednesday’s screening of Sugar Hill, a blaxploitation horror that first popped up on my radar through a 70s trailer compilation. It was made by the same folks who produced Blacula, but it’s not available domestically on DVD, so I’m excited to see an actual print of it instead. I’m a little put off by the PG rating–but tell me that trailer doesn’t look good!

I’ve done a quick rundown of the festival’s program over at Austinist (here), if you care to read it. But since then I’ve been trying to come up with my own “dream lineup” for a Zombie film fest. It’s tougher than it sounds, because in order to keep things interesting you need to balance the comedic films with some dramatic and horrific selections. Here’s what I’ve come up with sofar… but keep in mind this is just my personal list, and is subject to the late-night limitations of my brain:

1) Zombie Honeymoon
This film seems so strangely serious about itself that it’s creepy and confusing. As a dramatic zombie love story, this film should, by all rights, be a spoof. But I love the fact that it isn’t. Surely a strange, disorienting film to start off with.

2) Shaun of the Dead
What can I say about this one–funniest zombie film ever. It may even be the best horror spoof ever. And after Zombie Honeymoon, you’ll need something a little more straightforward.

3) Versus
A zombie martial arts film? Trust me–it works. It’s super funny, and violent enough to keep the most avid horror and action fans paying attention. It runs really long, but for the most part it keeps you entertained throughout.

4) Pet Sematary
At this point, we’d need a bringdown. This movie freaked me the hell out as a kid, partly because it quite earnestly deals with issues of fear and loss and selfishness, and partly because Fred Gwynne gets his achilles tendon slashed. This one sticks with you, as any film involving so much familial death will. And while it’s not a traditional zombie flick, it does involve reanimated corpses, so it counts.

5) Cemetery Man
Now that you’re bummed, you need to come back up a bit. Cemetery Man is a film that’s deliberately funny without being a spoof–but it’s also kind of a serious love story. It’s a beautifully detailed film (director Michele Soavi is an Argento protégé), and it walks the same tonal tightrope that Zombie Honeymoon does, with fantastic results. Plus, it fills our Italian Horror requirement.

6) Wild Zero
This one is just plain fun. Starring the Japanese rock band Guitar Wolf, Wild Zero takes the best elements of Warped Ones, Terminator 2 and 28 Days Later and throws them all into a blender. Then it pours that high-octane mixture into the gas tank of a jet-powered motorcycle and… okay, now I’ve gone too far. But it’d be a fun way to close things out!

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