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Entries in zombies (30)


Sundance: Horror Comedies Shine with 'Cooties' and 'In the Shadows'

Our Sundance Film Festival coverage continues with Glenn Dunks on two of the festival's midnight movies.

Horror comedies can be so tricky sometimes. Is the film a horror movie with comedy or a comedy with horror elements? It might sound like semantics, but I feel it’s the difference, for instance, between Scream and Shaun of the Dead, both of which are excellent examples of the tight rope act that is the horror comedy genre mash-up. They knew exactly what they were doing and ultimately work as both a horror and a comedy without forgoing one half or the other. Cabin in the Woods, on the other hand, by all rights should have been a smart and scary horror movie, but instead lacked the tension that its jokes should have been buffering. It’s a tricky minefield to manoeuvre, but when it goes right the results can be fantastic. 

ravenous pre-teens and vampires after the jump...

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Oscar Rejects and Finalists: Makeup and Hairstyling

Though it's perhaps unfair to possible future Oscar nominees who are (tentatively) celebrating, the finalist lists that are announced in the categories that have "bake-offs" have an unfortunate side effect: the story by necessity becomes about who didn't make it; "finalist" status is not, we must remember, an Oscar nomination and might not turn into one but rejection is hard fact. The Oscar's makeup branch, though fond of showy prosthetics like old age makeup or fantastical creatures has never nominated a zombie movie and also isn't crazy about horror (despite horror employing so many makeup artists) so I knew the chances weren't great for World War Z or Warm Bodies or Evil Dead or any other genre films though I am a little surprised that Oz: The Great and Powerful was already culled. Yes, Mila Kunis's Wicked Witch looked dumb but this branch's history doesn't always give one confidence that they'll choose well.

Surprising Rejections and Unexpected Embraces after the jump...

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Team FYC: "World War Z" for Sound Mixing

[Editor's Note: With the critics' awards just around the corner and awards campaigning already in full swing, Team Experience decided it was the right time to begin a series championing some of our favorite contenders lurking on the fringes of the conversation. In 'Team FYC' we're individually selecting favorites in all Oscar categories starting today. To kick things off, here's Andrew Kendall on "World War Z" - Amir]

You might expect a thriller about a zombie infection spreading across the world to depend most on its visuals for effectiveness but months after seeing Marc Foster's World War Z – a uniformly impressive summer blockbuster – the technical aspect I’m still thinking about is its excellent sound design.

“Film is a visual medium”, it’s one of those phrases we hear ad nauseam, but sound didn't become a fixture in motion pictures for no reason. The work a good sound mixing team does in augmenting mood in a film is something which cannot be overemphasised. Oscar aficionados will remember that the difference between sound editing and sound mixing is the former's focus on the recording and creation of specific sounds and the latter on the film's entire soundscape, i.e. the layering, mixing and necessary balancing of score with dialogue and created sound. World War Z benefits from good sound editing, but it is the layering of the various, often discordant, sounds which forms the sometimes terrifying milieu.

From the get-go the sound team is working effectively at building the tension, like the early city scene where the silence inside the family car gives way to the cacapohony of a city under siege. But it is later sequences, like the horrific build-up to a celebration gives way to horror when zombies scale a Jerusalem wall, or the unbelievably taut silences at the WHO facility in Wales that really thrill. The sound mixing becomes indicative of the film’s own ability to know when to go big and when to dial it back, and ultimately it’s the wisdom of knowing not just what to do but how and when that makes the sound mixing of World War Z an easy choice for an FYC.

The film has received some notice for having two women helm the soundmixing team. Lora Hirschberg is an Oscar winner for Inception, Anna Behlmer is a ten time Oscar nominee. It’d be great to see them credited for their excellent work here in a year when the Best Picture hopefuls look to be hogging all the attention in the craft categories.


Why Do Zombie Movies Never Win Makeup Nominations With Oscar?

This is a question I've never been able to fully answer but one that I've asked myself (and probably you) on occasion. Since "Best" quite often means "Most" when it comes to awardage of any kind, what does the Oscar's makeup branch have against the undead?  This question came to mind again while watching Warm Bodies, a minor hit earlier this year which is now on DVD.

Please consider this post an early FYC

After the movie I found myself watching the extras and especially enjoyed "Extreme Zombie Makeover" which charts the evolution of the makeup design by Adrien Morot (who was Oscar nominated recently for Barney's Wedding). It's easy to make Nicholas Hoult look beautiful but how do you make him look sexy AND undead? It's a silly question but the answer is crucial to the success of this particular horror/romance hybrid. Adrien had to make sure he looked like the same species as the other zombies but also sexier. Where do you place the scars? How do you keep the veins in the same exact spot every day? How do you keep your leading man's mouth looking unhealthy without making him unkissable? 

The answer to the latter question involves "zombie juice" --black food coloring with mouthwash! After the juice, the makeup artist would then fuss over Hoults mouth with a q-tip to clean his teeth so you'd still wanna makeout with him despite him being, you know, a rotten corpse. 

The inside of the lip being black is still considered to be sexy somehow but having green teeth that doesn't work!

Hoult preferred his zombie juice strawberry or vanilla flavored. The more you know... ⌒★

P.S. Since zombie movies are still all the rage I loved this little aside from the director when watching the big makeup team transform 100 or so extras at once.

You know it's funny because extras -- when they're playing humans, sometimes extras can overract a little bit. But when they're dressed as zombies and in zombie makeup, they're all like Meryl Streep. They're all just really in character and amazing. 


Reviews: Monsters University & World War Z

This double feature review was originally posted in my column at Towleroad

Another Month. Another Apocalypse

If the world can be powered by screams, as Monsters, Inc and its new prequel MONSTERS UNIVERSITY claim, then we've surely got a surplus to run on for decades to come. The horror genre in all its shapes, sizes and moods (including children's film) has rarely, if ever, been more popular. Brad Pitt warns a surely soon-to-be zombified family in WORLD WAR Z who have holed up in their apartment that "movement is life". They should run! But where are they supposed to run exactly? Zombies, werewolves, vampires, serial killers, and monsters are everywhere on film and television. Even outside the horror genre, dystopias (Hunger Games anyone?) or apocalypse awaits; at some point every superhero and action movie now blows its (budget) load on laying waste to New York City and/or its counterparts across the Globe. If pop culture is mass catharsis for our intangible mood, than we are all terrified children and in need of much therapy. 

Apologies for the armchair psychology but this must surely be why we've made our zombies crush-worthy (Warm Bodiesjust arrived from Netflix as I was typing this, no joke, - Hiiii, Nic Hoult!), our vampires twinkly, and our monsters cuddly. I mean just look at this guy "Art" to your left! He's practically built for wrap-around hugs... 

[More on cuddly monsters and Brad-chasing zombies...]

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April Showers ... With Zombies

April Showers each night!

Have you ever seen Cemetery Man (1994), a schlocky Italian horror flick from 1994 starring Rupert Everett as the titular character? He fends off pesky zombies including his lover (the busty Anna Falchi) with some regularity.

Despite my long dormant Everett fandom (I was there right at the beginning with Another Country / Dance With a Stranger), I've still never seen this one all the way through. I was just thinking about this because I was in Nashville and some years ago when I juried there with Nick Davis, who loves the movie, he showed me pieces of it.

Everett's character Francesco Dellamorte apparently takes a lot of showers and apparently he's used to getting attacked by zombies -- just part of the job. more... But on this particular night in the movie they come earlier than expected. The lights go out in the shower, he sees one approaching in shadow (shower curtains = scary in movies), and then the zombies, in what looks like boy scout uniforms (hee!) begin to attack. He does what one does in these situations, shooting the zombies in the head.

The most hilarious thing about the gorey sequence is that Rupert is attacked in the shower but when he fights back in the very next cut he's wearing pants. How did this happen? Zombies move slowly but slow enough for their victims to slip on a pair of pants before finding a weapon? It's not for some 'no nudity' clause either -- since Everett gets naked elsewhere in the movie.

This final post shower attack makes me giggle. Who can blame the little shit for wanting a nibble?

If you were a zombie, which Brit beauty would you consider fine dining come shower time?