Sunday, 24 April 2011

EASTER SPECIAL! #16 The Bible: Are There Zombies In The Bible? (Part 1)

Given the time of year, there really was no other alternative for this week’s blog. I ummed and ahhed about doing The Passion of The Christ as our movie this week- but that belongs more in the Saw/Human Centipede genre than the movies we’re interested in, so I decided to go right back to the book.

But this isn’t just about making cheap jokes about other people’s deeply held religious beliefs (although it is partly about making cheap jokes about people’s deeply held religious beliefs). I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but the zombie apocalypse genre is a genre with a long standing habit of cannibalising what went before. And through the last 2000 years (give or take a few centuries) one of the most popular sources to plagiarise has been The Holy Bible. If this was a blog about Movies Where Friendly Aliens Visit, the drinking game would probably feature the rules: Does the alien have amazing powers (Take an extra shot if those powers are healing powers)? Do they try to spread a message of peace and love? Do a frightened and warlike government kill the alien because they don’t understand it? Does the alien then come back from the dead? (Take an extra shot if the alien then ascends to the heavens in a stunning light display).
These are all Jesus
 And the zombie apocalypse genre with its, well, apocalyptic imagery and all the gore and violence and penchant for preachers who totally kick ass (for the Lord), seems like it wouldn’t have wasted any time before raiding the good book. One of the most iconic lines from any horror movie is “When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth” from Dawn of the Dead. It’s a line that sounds like it ought to be a Bible verse, although there’s no line even close to it anywhere in the good book.

So, looking at the Bible, just how many zombies, or zombie like entities can we find?

Candidate A: Lazarus
As seen here, and immortalised in a brilliant pun here. Lazarus is probably the second most famous example of someone coming back from the dead. There’s definitely some zombie-like qualities here, the wandering around in his burial clothes, the fear that after being dead for four days he’ll stink up the joint, his insatiable lust for flesh.... Okay, I made up the insatiable lust for flesh.

No, truth is, Lazarus pretty much just gets up and goes about his business as usual.
Admittedly, he really looks like a zombie
 Candidate B: Jesus Christ
You may have heard of this one. Jesus note only rose from the dead- as I just pointed out, he caused others to rise from the dead. And he was quite big on the eating of flesh and the drinking of blood, as shown here, here and here

Who knows, maybe the New Testament would have turned out very differently if the Romans had decided to skip crucifixion in favour of removing the head or destroying the brain.

But, although he did have some cool/gruesome scars after he rose, Jesus still seems pretty much articulate and none-flesh eating, which isn’t really in keeping with the zombie apocalypse tropes. And raising one person isn’t exactly an pandemic- for there to be an argument in favour of a zombie apocalypse, you’d need a whole bunch of people rising from the dead.

Candidate C: When Jesus Causes A Whole Bunch of People to Rise From The Dead
Taken from Matthew 27: 50-53 – right at the moment when Jesus dies on the cross. 
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!””

This is way, way more impressive. Tombs breaking open, a whole horde of the dead rising, this is the kind of shit they really ought to be telling kids about the Bible in school. This imagery is proper, classic Romero stuff.

I know several of you are now clicking the Bible open in a new tab and excitedly reading on to the next bit. You’ll be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, Matthew 27 is one of the better chapters- as well as being the bit where Jesus gets crucified, this chapter also features Judas hanging himself- admittedly, the least cool of the two Judas deaths described in the Bible. (The best one can be found here) but there’s nothing more on the zombie uprising. It’s not said whether the risen saints feasted on the flesh of the living, carried on from where they left off, or simply dropped dead again, necessitating a massive clean-up operation. The Bible pretty much skips that whole thing.

And deep down, you know it’s not enough for the dead to just rise. So far, the only gore we’ve seen at all is a couple of holes through Jesus’s hands. Dead rising and just walking about, while creepy, isn’t what we came here for. We want some violence!

Candidate D: Some Really Really Nast Shit Goes Down
You wanted it. Here it is- this line is taken from Zechariah 14:12-15
“This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. On that day people will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.”

“Flesh will rot why they are still standing” “eyes will rot in their sockets”- finally, we’re getting to the really gruesome stuff. Admittedly, there’s nothing here to suggest that they are actually dead, but as we’ve established before, and outbreak of the Rage virus still counts! According to the book of Zechariah, attacking Jerusalem will result in an outbreak of zombie madness.
Pictured: Rational justification for a pro-Israel foreign policy
Candidate E: The Book of Revelation
Of course, “attacking Jerusalem will result in an outbreak of the rage virus” is one of the lesser known Biblical prophesies, and considering that all those saints rising from their graves sounded like quite a big deal, it’s been pretty much underplayed by churches and R.E. lessons alike. No, it’s generally acknowledged that when the end times finally roll around, the book to look to is the book of Revelation, which Biblical scholars tell us predicts that before the end of the world, we will see the dead rise.
Pictured: Biblical scholars
Well, unfortunately Winston Zeddemore doesn’t have great Biblical recall. There is a resurrection in Revelation, only it’s just all the really nice people being brought back from the dead. Then, later, they bring the rest of the dead back only to quickly chuck them into Hell
And quite frankly, in the Book of Revelation, that’s some of the tamest stuff that happens. And this is something we should go into right now, because it turns out this book might be about to become extremely...

Then the screen flickers, and the image of the witty but informative zombie blog is replaced by the pale visage of Locutus of Borg.

This Blog is to be continued...

In the mean time- time for the drinking game!

Well, there’s not much of people under siege, or incompetent/dangerous rescuers (Unless you count Judas). There’s not even much of mankind being the real monster. However, there are walking dead (One shot) who do rise without being “infected” (Two shots) and nobody calls them zombies (Two shots).

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

#15 Fido: I Don't Want You Thinking That What We Did is Normal or Okay

A film opens on two men robbing a darkened house. As they grab as many valuables as they can and stuff them into their swag bags, the window behind them is illuminated. The camera cuts to show a car pulling into the driveway. And the audience’s first thought is- get out of the house!

We’re talking about burglars stealing someone else’s stuff, and the audience is rooting for them to get away. Whenever it comes to storytelling, we’re willing to forgive all kinds of crap if the person doing it is the protagonist. That’s why Macbeth, a play about a good man who defeats the power-mad serial killer who murdered his wife and children, is known as a tragedy.

You can see this right across the zombie genre. It’s obvious nowhere more so than I Am Legend, but numerous times, in Dawn of the Dead, The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later and Braindead, we see our survivors doing completely bastard-like things which we’re happy to forgive, because we’re rooting for them.

Which brings us to our blog on the film that I believe is Billy Connolly’s greatest acting achievement, Fido. There will be spoilers (Also I spoiled Macbeth back there... sorry about that!)
Yeah, this shits all over Mrs Brown
Fido is, in short, Lassie, but with a flesh eating zombie instead of a dog. It’s set in an idyllic, 1950s style society, fenced off from the barren, zombie-filled Wild Zone. The 1950s are a strangely popular setting for zombie stories, given the first proper zombie movie didn’t turn up until 1968. You’ll find 50s like settings everywhere from this information film to the videogame Stubbs the Zombie- Rebel Without A Pulse, not to mention the apocalyptic 50s settings of Bioshock and the Fallout games. You could argue it’s down to the contrast between the wholesome, sanitised imagery of the fifties and the looming nuclear threat, or just because they had better music back then.

In Fido everything has this sanitised veneer, full of wholesome, suburban, all-white neighbourhoods with vintage cars and worrying what the neighbours will think. The movie is, if anything, post-post-apocalyptic. The standard of living is good, and the zombies are being used as a slave race controlled by ZomCon radio collars, not much unlike the zombies at the end of Shaun of the Dead. Some zombie fundamentalists will be enraged by the idea of friendly, subservient zombies, but I point them to Bub in Day of the Dead. Actually, the zombies in this movie stick incredibly close to the Romero Rules.
"You're welcome!"
Beneath the whole exterior, it’s no surprise to find the world of Fido is all kinds of wrong. There’s the sinister weirdo over the road who is very probably fucking his zombie. There’s the family next door who were shipped out to the Wild Zone so that ZomCon’s head of security could get the house cheap, there’s the zombie-phobic father who’s biggest aim in life is to save up for funerals for him and all his family.

The dialogue is littered with tiny clues that this is seriously dark, off-kilter society, and none of the characters realise it. Then opening scene shows the ZomCon head of security asking a class of children “How many of you have ever had to kill a zombie?” followed by three or four reluctant hands. The closest Timmy gets to a father-son moment with his dad is when his dad says: “Now, I know you're not supposed to have a hand gun until you're twelve... but it can come in real handy.”
Pictured: Wholesome
Now a worse film than Fido would have made its protagonists the likeable anachronisms of this society, the one family who, despite severe up-fuckedness of everything around them, somehow developed a set of morals and principals that are perfectly in line with those of 21st century viewers who haven’t had to face a zombie apocalypse.

What’s great though, is that Fido allows its protagonists to do incredibly wrong things throughout the film, without ever pulling punches or calling them on it. When Fido, Timmy’s pet zombie (Billy Connolly) kills an old lady (a mean old lady, but still) Timmy doesn’t hesitate to cover it up. When a scheme by two bullies ends with them both being killed, Timmy’s mother drags their corpses into a shed and sets it on fire. When this leads to Timmy’s zombie being taken away, the inevitable plan to rescue him involves damaging a zombie’s collar in the front lobby of ZomCon headquarters, resulting in many, many deaths. And the film’s climax ends with Timmy switching off Fido’s collar to sick him on the ZomCon head of security. All these acts are treated with the exact same level of seriousness and sincerity that you would see from the characters in Lassie or Skipper the Bush Kangaroo. Except neither of those shows had much in the way of brutal, gory murder.
Despite the fact that that is all they ever think about.
A wussier film would have found a way to make none of these deaths Timmy’s fault, or would have included some miraculous escapes to keep Timmy’s conscience clean. Fido doesn’t bother with any of this because the film makers realise that we don’t care. The people who die horribly are people who are either anonymous, or who, while not actually evil, are people we don’t really like all that much.

Okay, this week’s drinking game:
The first shot is controversial. The characters are not under siege in some manner of building, but they are in a fenced off community, and the film’s climax involves that fence being breached.  One of the ZomCon head of security’s  key lines is towards the end, when he says: “Take a look- out there is chaos, and in here, is safety.” So, for that reasons, we’re going to have a shot.
ZomCon is shown as not exactly competent, and is pretty much the villain of the piece, so we’re going to have two shots for that, with a chaser for “Mankind is the real monster”.

The zombies are proper Romero zombies, who are walking dead (One Shot) who move slowly (One shot) and can only be killed by destroying the brain (Head shot). No less than three kiddy zombies are seen in this film, so have yourself two shots for that. And the public information films warning people against trusting the elderly show that the dead rise regardless of whether they were “infected” (Two shots).

Friday, 15 April 2011

#14 Everything You Wanted To Know About Zombies (But Were Afraid To Ask Daniel Defoe): Everything New is Old Again

Welcome to our most belated, longest titled blog entry yet. Now it takes a great man to admit when he’s been wrong. From the very beginning of the blog, I have emphasised that the zombie apocalypse genre is one that is, for want of a better pun, cannibalistic. I have argued that everything in the genre today can be traced back to Night of the Living Dead, which itself is traced back to I Am Legend.

So it is with all due humility that I say- it turns out I was more right than even I suspected.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Zombies (But Were Afraid To Ask Daniel Defoe) was a lovely event held in London last week, hosted by the Birkbeck Literature Club where various academics and zombie geeks met up to listen to a series of talks and readings about the zombie apocalypse genre- and how it related to 18th century literature- specifically, the historical recordings of the events surrounding the spread of the plague in that period.

From the very start the venue for the event gave off mixed signals. On the one hand, the walls were littered with red crosses and pleas for God’s mercy- on the other hand, there was free wine and nibbles. I poured myself a glass and found myself a seat.

The opening talk came from a man named Peter Jones, who told us about the “Anointers” from Alessandrro Manzoni’s  Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed).
Not this Peter Jones. He knows nothing about 18th century literature or the zombie apocalypse
Faced with the horrific death and destruction, medieval peasants (Here we are defining the word “Peasant” to mean- “Anyone who doesn’t own a TV”) reacted the way they always have in the face of horrific circumstances- a great big group prayer meeting. Modern scientists have responded to the idea of fighting a contagious disease by getting everyone in your community together in a poorly ventilated building, or having them march through the streets from one end of the city to the other en masse as “Oh for the love of God no! What are you doing! And Jesus Ever-Loving Christ do none of you wash your hands?” but community leaders at the time hung up a big “Mission Accomplished” banner and told everyone to go back to their daily business.
Known today as the Mayor Larry Vaughn Technique

Those of you who have just finished googling that pop culture reference (Come on! There was picture of a fin on the poster behind them! Surely that was a give away?) will probably be able to guess what happened next. If you guessed lots and lots more people dying, you can have a gold star.

As this highly crumpled hand-out I still have left over from the event says (In an extract from The Betrothed):

“The men who had fought so long and so resolutely against the view that a seed of a disease had from the beginning been near at hand, or in their very midst, which could multiply and spread by natural means to cause a disaster – those men were no longer able to deny that the disease was in fact spreading through the city. But they could not admit that it was due to natural causes without also admitting that they had completely misled the public and done great harm thereby. That disposed them to find some other reason, and to accept any explanation of the sort that might offer itself.”

This sounds not just like Mayor Larry Vaughn (For Christ’s sake people, he was the mayor in Jaws! The one who kept insisting that there was no shark because it would damage tourism? Jaws is only one of the most successful films ever made! For once, watch something that came out before Kung Fu Panda!) but also rings a bell pretty close to the news reports we hear at the beginning of every zombie movie. It’s taken as read that when the zombie apocalypse starts, our government will leap right into action to fuck it up. And while we’d like to believe that we’re better than medieval peasants (those of us with televisions anyway) deep down we kind of know we aren’t.

So, if prayer meetings don’t work, what do medieval peasants do next?
If you answered "Horror" have a gold star
Yes, it turns out, face with unimaginable tragedy and worrying uncertainty, people’s first reaction was to find people who “didn’t fit in” and weren’t from round these parts” and then torture them. Fortunately people are much more civilised now.

Specifically, in this book the plague was blamed on “Anointers”- suspicious, shady types who would sneak around, “anointing” people with plague. Now apparently there don’t exist that many visual representations of these Anointers, and other academics (for the purposes this article: Wussydemics) would have been stopped by that. Peter Jones however showed he was a good ten times more awesome than his Dragon’s Den counterpart by giving his talk dressed like this:
Peter Jones dressed as an Anointer. Photos courtesy of Hannah Eiseman-Renyard, the Jimmy Olsen to my Lois Lane.
Peter Jones’s talk was followed by a break, where we all got more wine and sat down to be suddenly interrupted by a man bursting in and angrily reading from  'God's Terrible Voice in the City' by Thomas Vincent, who stayed in London and was giving sermons during the plague. It was while he described the gruesome, terrifying sights of the plague to us in an underground room a little way out from King’s Cross, that I decided that I wouldn’t be going to any more apocalyptic pandemic based events in London. Thinking about this stuff is the best fun in a small, out of the way city that even the Romans had trouble clinging onto- thinking about it near the centre of a huge mass of humanity that has historically dealt with plagues by burning itself down is a little more disquieting.
I've no idea what I did to him but I am so very, very sorry!
The final talk of the evening, before the Q&A and the retreat to the pub, was Amy Cutler, who delivered a great paper on how Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year is echoed by modern zombie movies.

Amy Cutler immediately admitted that her readings of the texts she was talking about were Marxist, which wasn’t a huge surprise. We’ve already mentioned Romero’s parodies of consumerism and capitalism in Dawn and Land of the Dead, as well as his take on I Am Legend as a story about revolution.
Although you could read it as the ultimate example of letting the free market decide...
She started out by drawing on some the more obvious parallels between zombies and plague victims- mainly that people walked around looking really gross, in the process infecting other people who then went on to look really gross. She pointed us to a quote from Defoe’s Journal that went “many People had the plague in their very blood, and preying upon their spirits, and were in themselves but walking putrified carcasses, whose breath was infectious, and their sweat poison”. She goes on to describe how: “The behaviour of the sick and infected also poses a form of geographical insurrection, for ‘they were with great difficulty kept from running out into the Fields and Towns, and tearing all in pieces wherever they came’”

Amy moved on from here to talk about more structural similarities however, such as “the ways in which the city space is performed and changed bodily by the actions of groups of people, of the bodies of the sick and the healthy.”

This is a key part of the zombie apocalypse genre- in the least few weeks I’ve furnished you with plenty of examples of pubs, shops and radio stations being reinterpreted as fortresses and streets and office blocks becoming battlefields. I think this is not only a key trope in the genre, but also part of its appeal. Unlike the Western, Space Opera or Historical Romance, you can easily re-imagine your own street as it is hit by the zombie apocalypse, a sort of instant Augmented Reality game.

Amy also talks about the mechanics of groups of survivors. She talks about plague survivors in Defoe’s book who “develop their own social, economic, and moral laws: they pool their money on the condition that any further money any one of them gains will be added to the public stock. In Epping Forest they build their own shelter, kill their own food, and almost totally avoid interaction with anyone outside their group.” She compares this to zombie movies where “The zombie film heralds the return of the ultimate democratised travel. There are typical scenes such as a hijacking on the road and the fall into what is basically land piracy. And there are no more zones of exclusion or privilege as each is broken into.”

I’m not sure how much I agreed with Amy’s idea that there is anything Marxist about your typical zombie movie survivors. If anything films like I Am Legend, Dawn of the Dead and Land of the Dead show the survivors as practicing the ultimate in Laissez-Faire capitalism, hording as much as they possibly can behind barricaded windows and locked doors, struggling to keep out or kill the baying hordes outside.

She did go on to point out some interesting trends that immediately seemed obvious after she said them, but hadn’t occurred to me before. Such as the prevalence and importance of petrol stations in pretty much any zombie movie you care to mention- which is odd considering that these same films are often built around static siege narratives.

So what do these talks teach us about the zombie apocalypse? Well, they teach us we keep retelling the same old stories, and that horrible things that happened centuries ago still haunt our nightmares today. They tell us about how we view cities- places of safety and civilisation that could be transformed into a jungle at a moment’s notice. But I think most of all these talks show that there is no threat so great, no common cause so important, no unifying action so crucial to our survival, that we will not act like a complete shower of dicks to one another.
Our zombie experts: Jennifer Cooke, Amy Cutler and Peter Jones, destroying your hope in humanity
I emailed Amy before writing this blog, asking for a copy of her talk and also inviting her to adjudicate the drinking game rules for this week’s blog (since some people still seem to think I’m being overly lenient). Her rulings were as follows:

Do the characters spend most of the story under siege in some manner of building? (One shot) NO
Are the people coming to rescue you incompetent (One shot) or more dangerous than the zombies? (One shot) YES
Does nobody ever actually use the word zombie? (Two shots) YES
Is mankind the real monster? (One shot) YES
Has anybody said “They’re coming to get you Barbra!” (Two shots) NO (didn't actually mention that film or play a clip from it!)
Are the zombies walking dead (One Shot) YES who move slowly (One shot) NO (seemed to deal more with running zombies) and can only be killed by destroying the brain? (Head shot) NO 
Kiddy zombies? (Two shots) YES
Do the dead rise regardless of whether they were “infected”? (Two shots) NO it's all about infection.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

#13 Plan 9 From Outer Space: Why Do We Love Crappy Movies?

Over the last few weeks I think we’ve made a good case from the zombie genre being full of examples of good art. Whether we’re talking about the stark political or social commentary of Night of the Living Dead, Pontypool or 28 Days Later, thoughtful dramas like The Walking Dead (Soon coming to Channel 5 for those Brits who haven’t resorted to undisclosed means!) or comedies like Shaun of the Dead and Braindead, these are works that are technically and creatively great works of art. Talking to people who work in the genre, it’s clear that these are people who care about the work they, do and put a great deal of thought into the implications of what they produce.

Of course, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there is also an awful lot of shit out there. I’m talking about vacuous, overproduced wipe-clean crap like the Resident Evil movies, the actually-pretty-okay-until-they-pointlessly-fucked-up-the-ending I Am Legend movie, and the zombie killing segment of the rape and lobotomies pop video extravaganza that is Sucker Punch. Zombies have been big business for the last decade, which means that people are queuing up for space on that increasingly overcrowded bandwagon, and not all them give that much of a shit about quality- that’s understandable.

But there is a third category of movies. Movies made with inexpert hands, using fallible production values and for not necessarily pure motives. This is where we find Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane, Billy Bobby Thornton’s heroic debut in Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town, and anything after the first Return of the Living Dead movie. These are not, by even the most charitable measures, “good movies”, many of them aren’t even trying to be. And yet there is something undeniably fun about them. These are the movies frequently known as “So bad it’s good”. So where does their appeal lie?

The obvious answer is that the people who enjoy these movies are drunken idiots. However, here at Chris Writes About the End of the World we don’t automatically accept the obvious answer. Not until it is backed up with experimental data.

In this case, what we needed to test this claim was a drunken idiot. I know some of our more comedically gifted readers will be suggesting I put myself forward as a test subject, but I can’t be a drunken idiot- I’ve had a book published. Drunken idiots can’t do that.

So I automatically went to the next best thing- Tom Harvey. You may remember Tom Harvey as my backstabbing, traitorous co-player in my Left 4 Dead review. Tom’s incredibly poor spatial awareness and understanding of team dynamics not withstanding however, Tom is still pretty stupid. Tom is a member of the band Hello Bear, of which he is the bassist- a word which comes from the Latin for “Can’t play guitar”. We are talking about a man so stupid that he once tried to hit a watermelon with a sledgehammer- and missed.  I rang his mobile and after he’d tried to eat it, stick it up his nose, and run it along the floor pretending it was a toy car, he answered the phone and agreed to help with the blog, so long as I told you all that he has a single coming out in a couple of weeks.
And Tom Harvey has this picture in his CV as one of his proudest achievements
 So, we had our drunken moron. Now we needed a movie, and for me there was only ever one contender. I am talking, of course, about Edward D. Woodward’s brilliant, iconic, amazing Plan 9 from Outer Space, that incidentally, beat Romero to the first zombie apocalypse movie by 11 years.

Take it away moron:
Plot-wise I quite enjoyed it, which doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good plot, just that I'm easily pleased. The basic premise of the movie is that aliens are reanimating the dead in a bid to convince the human race of their existence, having been covered up by the government thus far. These zombies kill other people occasionally, or just scare the shit out of them. It ends with the three heroes (an airline pilot, a police detective and an army lieutenant) finding an alien ship and setting it on fire, after a minor scuffle, causing it to explode, killing two aliens.
Believe it or not- this was not done with CGI

Now that plot isn't the most complex in the world, by any stretch of the imagination. It is made entertaining, however, by the general haplessness shown in all aspects of the film. A general misunderstanding of basic science was the standout part for me, something which generally will have me bubbling up with disproportionate rage. Strangely, this film is so ridiculous that even the general mumbo-jumbo spouted throughout added to its entertainment factor, By the way, never use your electrode gun on the pineal gland of a dead person, it makes them a zombie, over whom you have sole control. I mean it. Seriously. If you make a zombie horde how will I take over the world with mine? Be fair!

So here we make our first discovery- the shittiness of the production actually makes it more enjoyable for the idiot! Maybe this allowed his small, fudge-like brain to experience novelty feelings of superiority?

This is certainly borne out by Tom’s other observations: Understandably, the special effects weren't up to much, but general continuity errors such as scenes going night-day-night were pretty common, and the acting seemed a tad on the "6 year old doing a nativity play" side.

Yet, despite the general craptacularishness of the script, special effects and acting, there is a lot to love in this film. The film’s narrator, a television psychic known as The Amazing Criswell (That’s the actor, not the character) actually gives bloody good narration, which our pet moron describes as “like the bastard love-child of Lloyd Grossman and Jeremy Paxman”. He delivers, with absolute sincerity, lines like “And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.”

That sincerity runs right through the film. Okay, so the cops may be using their guns to point to each other or pick their ears (Apparently this was part of a running dare to try and make Ed Wood order a second take. It didn’t work). But the alien leader, Eros’s big speech about how dangerous mankind was seemed genuinely heartfelt, if mostly ripped off from the Day the Earth Stood Still. Admittedly, he seemed just as heartfelt calling the humans “Stupid! Stupid” over and over again, but that just shows how committed to the part he was. The title sequence with the names appearing plastered across tombstones is so iconic it’ll be recognised by anyone who’s seen a Simpson’s Halloween Special.
It's a worthy legacy
And while it’s easy to point out the strings on the flying saucers, the make-up and casting of professional Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson as a police inspector turned zombie is actually genuinely impressive, even by today’s standards.
Seriously- does he not shit you up?
I think that part of the joy of these films is digging out stuff like that, finding these pearls of brilliance mixed in with all the shit.

More than that, I think the film has to mean it. One of the popular names in the so bad it’s good genre is Uwe Boll, who has produced a bunch of videogame licences including House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark and Blood Rayne. The only film I’ve seen of his is Dungeon Siege: In The Name of the King. I watched it with a friend, got drunk, laughed at the fact that Jason Statham and Burt Reynolds both agreed to be in it, then promptly forgot about. But Uwe Boll has kept going. His latest film is called Blubberella- and its selling point is that it features the world’s first fat female superhero (No it doesn’t). The film reuses sets, props, costumes and cast members from Bloodrayne 3 (Which as near as I can tell has exactly the same plot, except in that film it’s a hot leather clad woman fighting Nazis, as opposed to a fat one).

There is no fun to be had in these films, because you get the feeling Uwe Boll knows that he’s churning out shit, but doesn’t care. Ed Wood genuinely believed he was taking on Orson Welles.
In other words, the so bad it’s good isn’t a genre you can get into on purpose. You can only stumble in there by accident. It’s like Narnia in that way.

Drinking rules-
The zombies are walking dead (One Shot) who move slowly (One shot) but never get referred to as zombies (Two shots). Mankind is the real monster (One shot- "Stupid minds! Stupid, stupid!”) Are the people coming to rescue you incompetent or more dangerous than the zombies? If the general standard of gun safety is anything to go by, take two shots for that.