Monday, 8 June 2015



More zombies! And it is starting to reach the point now where there are just too many of them and it would be nice if the horror industry looked a little further than yet another undead apocalypse. Even speaking as a longstanding fan of zombie cinema, I'm starting to think "oh no, not again" every time another .... Of The Dead drops through the letterbox. We've come a long way since the glory days of Romero and Fulci and, like vampires and werewolves, they're starting to lose their bite. Against that, of course, they're generally cheap and there does always seem to be a permanent audience for them. Even if they're not being made as full-on feature films, there's a huge number of zombie shorts being produced more for enthusiasm than profit.

Zombieworld isn't, strictly speaking, a new film: it's a collection of zombie-themed short films strung together with new linking material in which news anchor Marvin Gloatt (Bill Oberst Jr in a terrible wig) introduces "reports" from around the world while slowly succumbing to a zombie bite himself. Some of these segments are several years old now and at least one of them has played at FrightFest (Brutal Relax, from Spain, which brought the house down at the Empire in 2011). As is inevitable with a collection of disparate short films, the tone varies wildly from scene to scene: there are a couple of fake Public Information Films about How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, I Am Lonely is a simple little British comedy (shot in a flat in Archway) with a hint of Red Dwarf about it; Home from Australia is moodier and darker; a couple of segments are first-person viewpoints which look like found-footage, and a short about zombie video games co-written by Alex Chandom. The film is topped and tailed with Fist Of Jesus (Lazarus' resurrection starts "the first zombie outbreak") and Brutal Relax, both by Adrian Cardona and David Munoz: absurd ultragore comedies full of excessive blood and splatter which are certainly fun but can get wearing after a while. The only odd note is the inclusion of something called Certified which isn't a zombie film at all.

The linking material with Marvin Gloatt, steadily less alive every time we cut back to him, is amusing enough though it's a pity that the ticker-tape rolling along the bottom of the screen just kept repeating the same three headlines and one joke about the Kardashians: surely they could have thought of some more gags? But overall it's too much of a mixed bag to really work. Like other recent anthologies such as The ABCs of Death, where the individual segments are made by different people, Zombieworld is less of a film than a YouTube playlist, though this certainly has a far higher hit rate than The ABCs Of Death. Still fun, especially for its head-ripping gore, and I love the bright yellow artwork on the DVD.


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