Alexandre O. Philippe likes to make light, entertaining documentaries. He entertained me with both The People Vs. George Lucas and The Life And Times Of Paul The Psychic Octopus. And this time around he’s celebrating all things undead.
What we have here is a look at the rise in popularity of the zombie movie, and all things zombie-related in popular culture today (from merchandise, to zombie walks, to immersive zombie experiences). That would be great, if it wasn’t interspersed with lots of “comedy” interludes to underline different main points being looked at. As it is, the whole thing feels like an all-too-light look at a subject that has already been so well covered by many others in recent years. And the most frustrating aspect of the documentary is how little time is actually devoted to George A. Romero’s body of work, the man who seems to be the focus of the whole thing for the first 10-15 minutes, before being sidelined in favour of a less interesting focus on zombie fans.
Romero is, of course, given a chance to talk, and he’s joined onscreen by some well-known names. Simon Pegg discusses his love of zombies, and how Shaun Of The Dead came about. Max Brooks talks about his popular survival handbook, and also discusses just why he thinks zombies are so popular right now. Bruce Campbell lightly mocks his own experiences with fans and deadites, as he usually does. Robert Kirkman discusses The Walking Dead, and Greg Nicotero, Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna, Alex Cox, Tom Savini and many others talk about their own love of zombies and their own work in the subgenre.
Anyone who considers themselves a zombie fan will soon tire of this distraction. While it’s not exactly bad, it brings nothing new to the table. Ironically, whenever Max Brooks appears onscreen it simply serves as a reminder that his books already cover a lot of the material discussed here, and he does it much better than Philippe (or Chad Herschberger, who helped to co-write this doc).
Don’t worry about rushing to see this, although it’s at least mildly amusing throughout. Instead, grab yourself a copy of each of the following: The Zombie Survival Handbook, World War Z, and Book Of The Dead: The Complete History Of Zombie Cinema. And that will provide you with a much better overview of zombie lore, both offscreen and on.
DIRECTOR: ALEXANDRE O. PHILIPPE
WRITER: ALEXANDRE O. PHILIPPE, CHAD HERSCHBERGER
STARS: GEORGE A. ROMERO, SIMON PEGG, MAX BROOKS, BRUCE CAMPBELL, ROBERT KIRKMAN, GREG NICOTERO, STUART GORDON
RUNTIME: 81 MINS APPROX