2013 Golden Zombey Nominations

As Year 4 of Zombie Movie Night concludes, the undead continue to be all the rage.  We saw a record number of theatrical releases and/or things people may have actually heard of.  Zombies maintaining a stronghold in the pop culture mainstream is definitely being reflected in the nominations for this year’s Golden Zombeys.  Gone are the days of scouring the globe, looking for any country that might have made an obscure zombie film.  We watched so many domestic releases in the past year that we had to change the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ to just plain Foreign, so that the UK could fill in the blank slots.  It’s true that we are not quite the Razzies yet, but if zombies as a thing keeps growing exponentially, it won’t be long before we’re handing out real awards at a horror festival or something.  As it stands now, there are no physical awards, but if you do happen to win one, stumble upon this blog and choose to accept the award, we will gladly send you a certificate or something nice.  My brother loves creating fancy stuff with his computer.

…You may laugh, but my brother and I have both had comments left by actors  in the films we reviewed within the last year.  That is clearly the first step to becoming legit.

You can find links to previous Golden Zombey Awards at Zombie Shakespeare’s blog here:   http://askmeaboutzombies.wordpress.com/the-golden-zombeys/

As always, the film doesn’t have to be new to get nominated; we just have to have watched it in the last 12 months.  And now without further ado, here are the nominees for the 2013 Golden Zombeys:

 

BEST ZOMBIE PICTURE

The Cabin in the Woods

Dead Alive

Juan of the Dead

Warm Bodies

World War Z

 

BEST ACTOR

Alexis Diaz de Villegas- Juan of the Dead

Nicholas Hoult- Warm Bodies

Eric Peter-Kaiser- Evilution

Scott Peat- Dead Season

Brad Pitt- World War Z

 

BEST ACTRESS

Kristen Connolly- The Cabin in the Woods

Jane Levy- Evil Dead

Marissa Merrill- Dead Season

Teresa Palmer- Warm Bodies

Sarah Spencer- Harold’s Going Stiff

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Rob Corrdry- Warm Bodies

Vinnie Jones- Legend of the Bog

Fran Kranz- The Cabin in the Woods

Jorge Molina- Juan of the Dead

Bill Oberst Jr.- Scary or Die

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Christa B. Allen- Detention of the Dead

Danielle Chuchran- Osombie

Tawny Cypress- Remains

Daniella Kertesz- World War Z

Analeigh Tipton- Warm Bodies

 

OUTSTANDING ZOMBIE IN A ZOMBIE PICTURE

The Bog Body- Legend of the Bog

Fucko the Clown- Scary or Die

Harold- Harold’s Going Stiff

Quinto- Zombie Dearest

Vera Cosgrove- Dead Alive

 

BEST NON-ZOMBIE VILLAIN

Korrok- John Dies at the End

Harry Cooper- Night of the Living Dead

Ollie- Hunting Creatures

President Svetlana Belikova- Resident Evil: Damnation

“The Zombies”- Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead

 

BEST ZOMBIE FIGHTING DUO

Dead Season- Elvis & Tweeter

Gallowwalkers- Aman & Fabulos

Insane in the Brain- Sloan & Goldie

Juan of the Dead- Juan & Lazaro

A Little Bit Zombie- Max & Penelope

 

BEST ZOMBIE COMEDY

Bloodlust Zombies

Dead Alive

Detention of the Dead

Insane in the Brain

Juan of the Dead

 

BEST NUDITY

Bloodlust Zombies

The Cabin in the Woods

Dead Season

Infected

John Dies at the End

 

BEST FOREIGN FILM

Dead Alive

Hunting Creatures

Juan of the Dead

Legend of the Bog

Harold’s Going Stiff

 

MOST MEMORABLE MASSACRING OF ZOMBIES

Dead Alive- Lionel +Lawnmower

Detention of the Dead- “Revenge of the Nerd”

Gallowwalkers- Aman’s Revenge

Juan of the Dead- Mass Decapitation

Osombie- Introduction to the Team

 

MOST ORIGINAL ZOMBIE ORIGIN

Black Swarm- Wasps

Infected- Deer

Insane in the Brain- Funky Pheromones

Scary or Die- Blood, Piss & Moonshine

Zombie Dearest- Wishing on a Corpse Penis

 

BEST SOUNDTRACK

The Cabin in the Woods

Detention of the Dead

Humans Vs. Zombies

Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead

Warm Bodies

 

MOST BIZARRE ZOMBIE BEHAVIOR

Dead Alive- Sentient Guts

Monster Brawl- Wrestling

Remains- Sleeping

State of Emergency- Giving Up

World War Z- Piling Up

 

BEST UNINTENTIONAL COMEDY

Black Swarm- Romantic Backstory

Hunting Creatures- The Origin of Boris

Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead- Fast Motion

The Revenant- Incompetent SWAT Team

Rise of the Zombies- Bad FX Car Crash

 

BIGGEST “WTF” MOMENT

John Dies at the End- John Doesn’t Die at the End

John Dies at the End- Meat Monster

Legend of the Bog- Wacky Cab Driver is a Murderer

Legend of the Bog- Zombie Exchanges Boot For Hand

Tokyo Gore Police- Freak Show Auction

 

WORST ENDING

DeadHeads

Infected

Resident Evil: Damnation

The Revenant

Zombie Dearest

 

BEST POSTER ART

All Eligible Films are Nominated.

Sorry, The Bay! 😛

 

Total Nominations

(including Best Poster so no one gets left out.  Except The Bay)

Juan of the Dead: 8

Dead Alive: 7

Warm Bodies: 7

The Cabin in the Woods: 6

Legend of the Bog: 6

Dead Season: 5

Detention of the Dead: 5

John Dies at the End: 5

World War Z: 5

Harold’s Going Stiff: 4

Hunting Creatures: 4

Infected: 4

Insane in the Brain: 4

Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead: 4

Scary or Die: 4

Zombie Dearest: 4

Black Swarm: 3

Bloodlust Zombies: 3

Gallowwalkers: 3

Osombie: 3

Remains: 3

Resident Evil: Damnation: 3

The Revenant: 3

DeadHeads: 2

Evil Dead: 2

Evilution: 2

Humans vs. Zombies: 2

A Little Bit Zombie: 2

Monster Brawl: 2

Night of the Living Dead: 2

Rise of the Zombies: 2

State of Emergency: 2

Tokyo Gore Police: 2

Gangs of the Dead: 1

Shadows of the Dead: 1

The Bay: 0

 

 

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Zombie Movie Night: Year 4 Capsule Reviews

Oct ’12

The Cabin in the Woods: Zombies are a key part of the plot but it’s not a zombie movie at all, really.  It’s hard to explain it and to do so would create massive spoilers and believe me when I say Cabin will be a million times better if you have no idea what it is going in.   A+

Shadows of the Dead: This might be interesting if the dialogue wasn’t atrocious and repetitive.  Do yourself a favor and avoid this one at all costs.  F

Evilution: … This one landed on the pleasant surprise list.  Decent plot, decent acting (mostly), effective intentional comedy…  and even a halfway decent unexpected twist on the normal zombie movie tropes.  B+

Dead Season: The film does an above average job of delving into the human element of the apocalypse.  Like is it enough to just survive?  Some might see Dead Season as a pretty obvious rip off of Day of the Dead, but I prefer to consider it an homage.  Better to be well-made, yet derivative than a 100% original turd.  B+

Nov. ’12

DeadHeads: …This movie can not get out of its own way in its apparently never ending quest to be terrible….not one choice made by the actors, directors or writers turns out to be a good one.  And let’s not get started on the ending that goes for romantic reunion at the expense of literally everything else.  D

Legend of the Bog: …Suffers most from not really knowing what it wants to be.  It has funny beats and it has dramatic beats but the parts don’t add up to a decent whole.  B-

Dead Alive: …A triumph of campy, gory fun.  I didn’t get sick this time, but it is still the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.  And I say that with all the affection in the world.  Dead Alive may be early Peter Jackson, but it holds up just as well as anything he’s done since.  A+

Juan of the Dead: …Another absolute gem.  There is a pureness of heart lurking underneath all the inanity and it is genuinely moving how far Juan is willing to go for love of friends, family and country.  I highly recommend getting your hands on this one.  A+

Night of the Living Dead: What the film does well and what I think is one of the main reasons it holds up (mostly) and has spawned so so many imitators over a forty year span is that it understands human conflict.  Individuals have the need to feel like they are in charge of their own fates.   I’ve seen bummer endings before and will again, but this one is so bleak and callous and jarring, it’s amazing.  A+

Dec. ’12

The Revenant: The plotting, pacing, and tone are all over the map.  …It is the ending where the Revenant really goes off the rails.  There might be some drama to mine from an immortal undead’s inability to commit suicide but not after eighty minutes of weak comedy.  It’s frustratingly close to being something good, but it just couldn’t quite get there.  C+

Insane in the Brain:  Once you get past the brutally long zombie intro and first murder and the pointless and tiresome exposition of the prostitutes’s characters only to have them be offed, the proceedings get much more interesting.  The silly dialogue, wacky sound effects, looping and reversing of the same shots all give Insane in the Brain a hilarious “what the hell am I watching” kind of charm.  C+

Gangs of the Dead: …Opens with some solid zombie action but quickly grinds to a halt once the characters become trapped in a warehouse.  There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done better somewhere else and for that, I just can’t recommend it.  C

Jan. ’13

A Little Bit Zombie: …Not as aggressively horrible as Deadheads…  [but] it still isn’t very good.   …The first five minutes and last five minutes are pretty solid…It’s the eighty minutes in between those two points that are the problem.  C

Bloodlust Zombies:   I really enjoyed this one.  If you purposely turn on a movie where top-billing goes to a porn star famous for having a big butt, then you can’t set your standards too high.  Between intentional comedy and unintentional comedy, it ends up being just about a laugh a minute.  B

Monster Brawl: …A loving tribute to both movie monsters and pro wrestling.  …Once you know who wins the matches, it would probably take away most of the fun, but for one night, I found Monster Brawl to be absolutely hilarious and well worth my time.  A

Feb. ’13

Zombie Dearest: The film tries vaguely to be a take on the monkey paw tale, where making wishes has unintended consequences, but there is no continuity to this at all.   …The more I think about it, the more I hate it.  We also get the most offensive ending…Deus Ex Machina.  D

Resident Evil: Damnation:  The style of the movie takes some getting used to, as it plays like a 2 hour video game cut scene.  The whole thing is a jumbled mess of fake politics that is hard to get into.  I’ve never played more than half of any RE games, so if I can’t be distracted by saying, “oh cool, it’s Leon!” then what’s in it for me?  C

March ’13

Scary or Die: …Five short films of varying lengths…the first one is the best.   It’s hard to give Scary or Die a grade because of the varying length and quality of each story so I’ll just stick to the middle of the road and say it’s a C.  If you’re not going into it expecting an interlocking zombie story, you might bump it to a B.

Rise of the Zombies: This movie is an absolute joke and you get the sense that the actors know it too.   It holds your interest the way a car crash holds your interest, but ultimately we were enjoying it for all the wrong reasons.  D

April ’13

Hunting Creatures:  …All the trademarks of an amateur shoot.  Bad acting, bad effects, minimalist plot.  It’s too bad to recommend a watch, but there are definitely worse zombie movies you could waste your time with.  D+

The Bay:  If the victims had all turned into zombies or even just crazed killers, the movie would have not only qualified but probably gotten a good grade.  As it is, all the decent build lazily climaxes and the resolution to the disaster occurs offscreen.  So much wasted opportunity here.  And definitely no zombies.  Grade: N/A  (Disqualified from Golden Zombey contention)

Remains:  The acting isn’t bad… but the problem lies more in the characterizations.  It gets a better grade than Hunting Creatures simply because of the better production value, but honestly, to me, it was  more of a trudge to get through this one  C+

Warm Bodies: This film is so much more than a supernatural teen romance.   It is a disservice to dismiss this film as tween fodder.   …The subtle ways R slowly regains his color and indeed the whole world regains its life is beautifully rendered.  The performances all range from solid to outstanding.  I walked out feeling not like I had just sat through some tween garbage, but like I had seen a Top 5 zombie film.  A+

May ’13

John Dies at the End:   I didn’t get it, yet I understood it perfectly.  …it takes a hit on the grade for the lack of zombies and not being as apocalyptic as it could have been.   I would recommend seeing it for yourself  but don’t see it for its zombie content.  B

Osombie: …Above average in most areas.  A surprisingly fun little romp [that] turned into an unlikely first pager on our official rankings list.

Evil Dead: There’s nothing groundbreaking or innovative about this new film.   I mostly walked away saying, “That film seemed unnecessary.”  C+

June ’13

State of Emergency:  …a test pattern might have been more compelling.  This is a paint-by-numbers zombie flick which goes out of its way to shoehorn in just about every cliche you can think of.   Most of it is the fun kind of bad movie, but it just doesn’t pack enough punch on the scales of good or bad to be very memorable.  C

Black Swarm:   I write about a lot of movies that are enjoyably bad, but Black Swarm takes it to another level.  This movie is ridiculous.  Black Swarm is gut-bustingly hilarious in its badness.  B-

Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead: …The premise is more ambitious than the budget allows for.  The acting is subpar and some of the character motivations make no sense.  Still, this is a fun little movie that is a nice homage to Night without being the total rip-off you might expect it to be.  B

World War Z:  …Delivers in every way you would expect an action movie to deliver and it’s a thrilling and effective romp through the apocalypse.  It’s a solid zombie movie and even has enough action to satisfy someone who might not be into the undead craze.  A

July ’13

Humans Vs. Zombies:  The first half hour is a waste of time as we get to know each and every potential zombie entree.  Just something about the whole film didn’t click for me.  It’s above average to be sure, but it’s pretty run of the mill.  …I do give them credit for a dynamite ending…  B

Tokyo Gore Police:  While I enjoyed the film, I have to penalize it for not being a zombie flick. We were misled by a deceiving and downright incorrect plot synopsis…  But… it didn’t really matter.  B

Aug. ’13

Infected:   [It’s] the good kind of bad, elevating it from trash heap to middle of the pack.  This is a bad movie for general audiences but if you’re a zombie fan who loves snarking on things, you probably won’t be disappointed. B-

Detention of the Dead:  …Once the survivng group of high school cliches starts acting scared… the film upgrades itself from unwatchable screwball comedy to slightly more watchable zombie movie.    It’s weird for a comedy to get better when it stops being a comedy, but that’s the case…  C

Sept. ’13

Gallowwalkers:  Takes a promising premise…  and turns it into a confusing and largely boring mess.  Snipes basically plays a not-very-different version of Blade but it doesn’t really work.  C

Harold’s Going Stiff:  …A rather well-done mockumentary…It’s a character study between an old invalid and the nurse who comes to care for him.  If it had ditched the lame jokes and gone all in on the social commentary…it would have been a contender for one of the best we’ve ever seen.  A

Zombie Movie Night: Sept. ’13

The 4th year concludes with two films that only recently became available in the United States.  Would they be good enough to swoop in at the last second and steal some Golden Zombey nominations from some of the movies, actors and moments we already had in mind?  Only one way to find out!

First up was Gallowwalkers, featuring the triumphant return of Wesley Snipes to our hearts and living rooms.  Snipes plays Aman, a loner-type who roams the Old West-ish desert in search of vengeance against those who gang-raped his one true love, who later died while giving birth to a rape baby.  He finds them all in a prison and blows them away with no remorse.  Unfotrunately for him, to save his life, his mother had agreed to have a curse put on him so that everyone he kills would come back as the undead.  Not that big a deal for most people, I’d imagine, but Wesley Snipes is not most people.  So now he’s gotta go track and kill the rapists twice.

Unfortunately, Gallowwalkers takes a promising premise of “revenge movie with zombies” and turns it into a confusing and largely boring mess.  Snipes basically plays a not-very-different version of Blade but it doesn’t really work.  Part of Blade’s coolness was that he did cool things.  Snipes in this film seems to think the character is just inherently cool because he is playing him.  He speaks in a perpetually grumpy monotone and often comes off as disinterested even though he is supposedly out for vengeance and should be acting super pissed.  The villains are a bit more interesting, as instead of eating flesh, they have to steal it by killing people and fitting themselves into it, like getting a new outfit.  Even the Big Bad is given a bit of pathos as he is tortured by the fact that his son was not one of those who returned from the dead.  I’m starting to make this sound too good, though.  Mostly, this movie is a jumbled and boring mess that, like Snipes, thinks it’s cooler than it is.  Grade: C

gallowwalkers

Next was Harold’s Going Stiff, a rather well-done mockumentary about a new disease sweeping through the UK, slowly turning the men into zombies.  Most of the focus is on Harold, the first known case, and slowest to deteriorate and his caretaker, Penny.  We also follow a group of well-meaning vigilantes who take out those who have gone full-zombie, though the morality of what they’re doing is somewhat questionable since the zombies in this case are very clearly sick people and not monsters.

It seems to me like the filmmakers set out to make a wacky, raunchy comedy but none of that lands very strongly.  All the men are turning stiff, hardy har har.  I won’t spoil it, but the cause of the epidemic is another thinly-veiled dick joke.  Penny, the nurse, suffers from irritable bowel syndrome and has to carry toilet paper on her dashboard in case she needs to pull over and head off into the woods.  Yes, the comedy is really that weak.  To its credit, the film does not let itself get derailed by what it set out to be and instead turns to the central relationship to find real heart and soul in these characters.  Harold is completely coherent so this isn’t even a zombie movie in most of his scenes.  It’s a character study between an old invalid and the nurse who comes to care for him.  Sarah Spencer, whose only imdb credit is this movie, is an absolute gem in the role, reining in the silliness and anchoring it with real heart and emotion.  She is so sweet that you can’t help but want the best for her.  When her heart breaks, yours breaks with her.  Harold’s Going Stiff could have been so much better if it had ditched the lame jokes and gone all in on the social commentary about the way we treat the old, the sick and even the overweight.  We all have the same desire to be happy.  We all have flaws and want to find someone who accepts us for who we are.  And we are all going to die.  These are the issues Harold could have and should have addressed more.  If it had, it would have been a contender for one of the best we’ve ever seen.  Grade: A 

harold