An Actual Zombie Jamboree! And Other Movie Notes

An Actual Zombie Jamboree! And Other Movie Notes July 23, 2015

What I’ve been watching.

The Gallows. Out now. To call it “bog standard” would be an insult to God’s honest bog. This is a haunted-school/revenge-of-the-past flick. Lead actor is handsome and appears able to act. The sets for the school play are terrific, very spooky and effective. Otherwise this feels padded at an hour and a half. Tons of yipping exposition and repetitive arguments from shrill teens; the girls are damsels in distress. Found-footage, which at this point, if you’re just going to hit all the check-boxes of a found-footage film I feel insulted. Twist ending is fine, and well set-up, but overall no, save yourselves.

Ways to improve this movie: More stuff about its being set in Nebraska specifically–more sense of place. Also, if you’re going to take me deep into the creepy tunnels of an institution, I kind of think the movie should in some way be about the chilling past or complicity of the institution itself.

The Ruling Class: What if The Idiot were written by Ippolit, who’s also a British leftist in the early ’70s? Also, what if “love” were just a euphemism for heterosexuality?

No, I mean, I never regret watching The Ruling Class. And I’m sure somebody has already done a dissertation on “surprisingly positive portrayals of Jesus Christ in British satire of the ’70s,” with like this and Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Super acting, strong writing & direction sell a worldview that is not as mind-blowing as maybe it was back in the day.

American Zombie: On the one hand I hate this thing of sticking “American” in front of a movie title to make it more sinister or intense. On the other hand this is a fairly panoramic view of “what if zombies were just another minority group in our cracked national mosaic?”

Enjoyable short mockumentary; the satire will be especially fun for you if you’ve spent a lot of time in any kind of social movement. The insights into those movements were sharp and unexpected: the way that the most socially-acceptable, competent, or privileged members of a subgroup often get to define its issues, for example, while the people who struggle and suffer the most get ignored even by their own movement. I was reminded of this post on celibacy and socioeconomic status, which is a sign that American Zombie has a brain to eat.

If you think about the plotline too much it becomes reactionary well beyond what even I would endorse. A fun time.


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