Zombies, man…they creep me out. - Kaufman
The long anticipated Land of the Dead has finally risen from its grave to haunt the night of the living shite out of us. So was it worth the 20 years wait (since 1985’s
Day of the Dead)? Personally, there is no way in hell my expectations for Land of the Dead could’ve been met. They were set too damn high and as I was entering the movie theatre, I said to myself: “Self, you need to pipe down those hopes pronto or you’re going to pay the price”. So I did my best and this is what I got out of it.
Land of the Dead had George Romero stamped all over it and for this a-hole that was good freaking “front page” news! From the axis on human evil brought up through dire circumstances, to the tasty social commentary, to the actual Zombies feeling all “Romero” and shite, this baby was mucho Georgie and I loved it for it. It’s really hard to put the middle finger on “why” Romero is all class when it comes to the walking RIP, he just is. His slow moving ghouls are the best damn slow moving ghouls on the celluloid block. Thankfully, as opposed to repeating himself, Romero wound up taking things a stab further here. Following the “Bub the Zombie” cue he had put out in Day of the Dead, the undead here were evolving, learning how to fight, communicating and even managing to emote. I grooved to that particular angle, it was slyly executed while deliciously upping the stakes of the narrative at hand. My sympathy kept swaying back and forth between the humans and the Zombies and that made for a more stimulating sit down! Finally, something fresh to chomp on! If you ask me, it was the logical path to take when it comes to the progression of Romero’s Zombies.
The deviant creativity behind the lunacy also stroked my aluminum baseball bat the proper way. Although far from Dawn of the Dead 1978 gory (the uncut DVD, if there is one, might rectify that) this sucker gave me enough inventive red splats to gratify my kill-switch. It’s always apparent when actual horror fans are behind a genre jamboree and that nectar of death seeped in here abundantly and then some! I saw stuff that I had never seen before! When that Zombie priest and his dangling by a flesh string head popped up, I almost stood and cheered! It surely helped the sauce-cause that Romero surrounded himself with the best freaking effect dudes in the biz , yup, I mean the KNB boys! They brought so much detail to the Zombie makeup and aimed to freaking please with the back-handing horrific gags. Dawn of the Dead remake, Resident Evil, House of the Dead, that skank I banged last week…they aint got shit on the goodies in this film. By far the best looking walking corpses since, well, Day of the Dead hit the light of day. Add to all that decaying sweetness an endearing Mad Max on macabre pills setting, a couple of slick action scenes (Dead Reckoning owned), a mucho groovy Tom Savini cameo (Blades is back!), a gnarly use of enhancing CGI and bleak mood galore and you get a cadaver you’ll want to revive in order to kill it again! So what was the cancer running in these veins then?
Well, the flick suffered from too many ingredients and too little time too cook them properly, with the three “social classes” (zombies, the rich, the poor) being addressed but not explored enough for my liking. I wanted more in Ever Green! More Kaufman (played by the hilarious Dennis Hopper)! More Dead Reckoning mayhem! More on those “sad sack” rebels who never really rebelled! JUST DAMN MORE! Characterization was somewhat weak as well, especially when compared to Night/Dawn/Day. Sure, characters and relationships were established but they didn’t go past the surface. I wanted to get to know these people! I wanted to care about them fully! Never happened. Which brings me to my next peeve: as a result the ride wasn’t as intense or thought provoking, as it should’ve been. Although the events at hand were compelling, with medium investment in the players/situation, they lost some of their impact. Last but not least…The DUMB HORROR MOVE OF THE YEAR AWARD goes to… that prick listening to his music via headphones in a creepy and possibly Zombie infested environment. What a moron! Guess what happens to him? COME ON!
By and large, Land of the Dead was not the uber masterpiece I was hoping for, but it was still a strong return to roots for George Romero. He still got the juice to make potent gravestone milkshakes. Here’s hoping to two more sequels! RISE! RISE! RISE!