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Vampires, Zombies and Acid, Oh My!
by Michele Christopher
We here at FTTW have always let you in on our passions in life. You know almost everthing about us cause, well, we write about it every day. You know we like cars. You know we like punk rock. You know we may not have been straight edge kinda kids. You know we have now turned our allegiences to Brazil in the World Cup. And now here's another thing for you to know about us: We both have a passion for horror movies. So we are starting a new feature here to go along with all the other stuff we offer: reviews of classic horror movies. Like all of our reviews, you know damn well the movie we choose to write about is just gonna be a backdrop for a story and our post will go completely off topic and somehow, some way, Charles Ingalls will find himself in one of these reviews.
So, for your reading pleasure, the first installment of movies, monsters and mayhem. We start off with two of the classic horror movies of all time. Enjoy them. - M/T
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
I'll be the first to admit it. I don't know what that means. No clue. And yes, I'm too lazy to put it in a translator. I think that's French. Or maybe German. Or maybe I took too many drugs and it really says "Free Chili Cheese Fries with the Purchase of an Extra Large Coke." I dunno. All I know is that this movie is silent. Maybe that kinda drew me to it. Silence and vampires. Don't get me wrong. I'm the farthest from goth you could ever get. Apart from me crying when I run out of toliet paper, I'm really not that sad of a person. But this movie was goth. As Goth as you could get. And it was silent. And if it wasn't? Hey, I don't like to read movies. But, at least this wasn't a talkie. Listening to people while I have to read is almost unbearable. There is only one foreign movie I can stand that I have to read and listen at the same time. Well, two, but "Run, Lola Run" gets kinda old really fast. The other one being "The Seventh Seal." That one was just cool. Playing Chess with Death. That's kinda cool. But, I won't go into that cause Bill and Ted already took my idea for a remake of that and threw it in that stupid movie. Don't worry. Lawsuits are pending. I'll get my payback.
What was I talking about.....
This movie was just absolutely creepy. I mean I know I watched it in altered frames of mind, but I never got over it. Was that stop action? Why is this so weird? Why did this do this to me? Why did I always see this movie and just think "Well that was weird?" Why?
LSD! That's right! I never watched this movie sober. I was always on something. What was I on. Beer? I'm passing out. Cocaine? I'd need to get more cigarettes. Speed? Hey dude, lets go play pool. LSD? Well, wait dude. This movie is kinda cool. It's kinda funny when you sit and think about it. This movie that had so much influence on great directors and everything about the history of film making and great actors were influenced by it and al you can think about is that everytime you watched it you were so balls out tripping you could be having a conversation with Timothy Leary while staring at a screen with this black and white vampire.
"He looks like a rat, Tim."
"Think of the bigger picture, turtle. Think of it as a mind altering experience that takes you to a new corner of the world. This will change your mind and open your world. Tomorrow, Yoko Ono will come over and she will sing you love songs and watch you sleep. This movie is life and death. Nosferatu is life. Nosferatu is death. Do you understand the meanings of life and death, turtle? Do you understand now?"
"He still looks like a rat, Tim."
LSD and vampires. Stop action and tripping with Timothy Leary while he was threatening me with calling Yoko Ono to get her to come over if I didn't understand the meaning of life. That was this movie. Completely void of anything but a creepy dude and some reading type wordy like thingies. Don't get me wrong. This movie was awesome. And also, please be aware that I am not advocating using illegal drugs while watching this. If they add to your amusement of this movie, rip it up. But dude. Rats follow him around everywhere he goes. Not Timothy Leary. That vampire guy. Well, maybe rats follow Leary around but I don't know. Is he still alive?
He still does look like a rat.
Pretty creepy for 1922.
And fuck you Timothy Leary. -T
Ok, let’s start here by telling you that I really, really want to be a zombie some day. Some people want to be firemen, some people want to be rock stars, I want to be a zombie. I’m really rooting for this whole bird flu thing to take off in the hopes that it will end in zombie infestation and I can just give up my being to the flesh eaters. Oh yea. You think I’m fighting the undead? No way. Why fight off the zombies? Why spend days running from them, trying to fend them off, beating them, shooting them, cowering in fear in the basement (shit, we don't even have a basement) when eventually, they are going to win? Once the zombie infestation starts, that's it. It's assimilate or die. You can shoot as many brains as you want, but in the end, the undead will outnumber the living and you may as well just let them bite you early on rather than attempting to put up some brave and noble fight for survival.
Had they realized this in Night of the Living Dead, things would have worked out a lot differently. Maybe if Barbra and Johnny and Ben had a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy, they could have avoided all that family-eating-family tragedy. No one wants to see that. Give yourself up at the start and you won’t find yourself staring down your zombified teenage daughter gnawing on her father.
Yea, I would give up that easily. What can I say? I'm a joiner. I follow trends, I don't set them. It's just so much easier to hold out your arms and accept what fate hands you than to fight it. It's easier to convince yourself that being a zombie wouldn't be so bad after all - no work, no taxes to pay, abundant food supply and, best of all, I could go on the hunt for people I hate and zombiefy them. How cool would it be to sink my undead teeth into Yngwie Malmsteem’s fleshy neck?
Stay on topic here, Michele. Night of the Living Dead.
Listen, there’s not much to say here. It’s a classic. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t seen it. It paved the way for zillions of zombie movies after it. Without the cheesiness and stilted dialogue and awkward social commentary of Night of the Living Dead, we wouldn’t have Dawn of the Dead or Day of the Dead or Return of the Living Dead or even Shaun of the Dead. And then where would we be? If it weren’t for Romero, I would be just another aimless human being, a worker drone living out a meek existence just waiting for death to come take me away. But, no. I have a goal. I have a plan. I’m going to become a zombie someday! Come on, bird flu! Work your viral magic! I can’t wait for the day I wake up only to find my children all bug eyed and bloody, arguing over the last piece of my neighbor’s leg. Then I’ll know I made it. I will walk out the door and down the street and look for the first large group of zombies I can find. Because they always travel in packs. And then I’m gonna climb on top of the nearest building and do the most awesome stage dive ever right into the middle of that pack of living dead things, some White Zombie song playing inside my head. Yea, it might hurt at first. The flesh tearing thing probably isn’t a whole lot of fun. But in the end, I win. I get to be zombie.
We need to pay tribute, not really to this film, per se, but to the undead in general. How many Misfits songs would have gone unwritten if not for zombies? Would there be an Army of Darkness? A House of Dead game at your local arcade? See what I mean? Don’t fuck with the zombies, man. They have added more to our culture than most Europeans.
Next time you’re enjoying brains for dinner or brains for lunch, give a little thanks to George Romero, ok? -M
*that's my kid in that last picture. he inherited my obsessive compulsive zombie disorder*