ACMI Focus on the Dead film program celebrates zombies

ACMI Film and TV Curator and Focus on the dead Programmer Reece Goodwin wanted to draw a line from Romero to modern zombie movies. The program, he says, aims to offer a “thought-provoking exploration of the horror genre and its many forms.”

What about the zombie who saw it endure? “There’s more to all[zombie films]than meets the eye, but they all ask the audience a question,” says Goodwin. “What would you do to survive in this situation?”

Zombies themselves have changed since Romero’s ghouls, as has the idea of ​​survival. “Romero’s trilogy is based on left-wing politics, but actually zombie movies today are becoming a bit more right-wing and almost…survivalist,” says Goodwin.

In der langjährigen TV-Serie <i>the Walking Dead</i> the z-word was never used.” loading=”lazy” src=”$zoom_0.728%2C$multiply_0.7725%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756% 2C$x_0%2C$y_13/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/36264c2820102557e73399dcd97acbb5a646090b” height=”390″ width=”584″ srcset=”$zoom_0.728%2C$multiply_0. 7725%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_13/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/36264c2820102557e73399dcd97acbb5a646090b,$zoom_0.728%2C$multiply._15 %2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_13/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/36264c2820102557e73399dcd97acbb5a646090b 2x”/></picture></div><figcaption class=

In the long-running TV series the Walking Deadthe z-word was never used.Credit:AMC

Popular contemporary zombie apocalypses today tend to feature inept governments, the collapse of society, and the only survivors heavily armored. “Which is almost right-most in a way,” says Goodwin. “They still ask, ‘What would you do to survive?’ but they are directing us to…stock up guns and weapons, close the hatches and lock you in, wait for the attack and be prepared.”

Now a “silent majority” is coming towards us,” he says. “We’ve long said that horror movies capture society’s fears and anxieties, and I think zombie movies really capture and articulate those fears, at least in Western society today.”

The creatures themselves have also evolved. In Danny Boyle’s 2002 post-apocalyptic horror 28 days laterFor example, the vicious zombies are frighteningly athletic, as are the hyperkinetic undead aboard the bullet train Train to Busan.

Bill Nighy in einer Szene aus der „zom-rom-com“ <i>Shaun of the Dead</i>.” loading=”lazy” src=”$zoom_0.325%2C$multiply_0.7725%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_6%2C$y_1 /t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/adf2a7171f9f2c55af883047530d748e3c59899e” height=”390″ width=”584″ srcset=”$zoom_0.325%2C$multiply_0.7725%2C$ratio_1.5 %2C$width_756%2C$x_6%2C$y_1/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/adf2a7171f9f2c55af883047530d748e3c59899e,$zoom_0.325%2C$multiply_1.545%2C$ratio_1.5% 2C$width_756%2C$x_6%2C$y_1/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/adf2a7171f9f2c55af883047530d748e3c59899e 2x”/></picture></div><figcaption class=

Bill Nighy in a scene from zom-rom-com Shaun of the Dead.Credit:UIP

Focus on the dead really reflects that break in genre,” says Goodwin. “We picked out the outliers – the ones that didn’t necessarily go in that (right-wing) political direction. I think because there are many different offshoots of the subgenre, it has infiltrated many different areas of life.”

Not all zombie novels involve armed preppers – the undead have shuffled their way into comedies too (Shaun of the Dead; zombie land), queer films (Bruce LaBruce’s LA zombie), Nazi action (dead snow), “zom-rom-coms” such as Warm bodies And Pride and Prejudice and Zombiesand even porn titles (best to google yourself).

“As long as you get scared, you can do almost anything you want with horror and tell messages that reflect cultural or national fears and anxieties,” says Goodwin. “A zombie film produced in Australia, such as chargewill of course speak to cultural fears differently than a South Korean film would, but you can use them for all sorts of things.”


Where next? In The last of uscurrently streaming on Binge, those infected (we know what that really means) are afflicted by a fungus that’s thriving as a result of climate change.

“I think maybe next we’ll make it a little more personal,” says Goodwin. “We could find ourselves back inside at any moment, so maybe the horror is inside the house and not outside.”

The enduring message, even since Romero’s films, Lynch adds, is that “zombies are evil, but maybe caged or intolerant people are worse.”

“You’d think we’d be sick of these monsters, but vampires, werewolves, mummies—they didn’t have nearly the cultural staying power of zombies.”

Focus on the dead is at ACMI from March 16th to April 2nd. Mapping Global Horror: Australia, Japan and Beyond is March 17th and 18th.

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Jaclyn Diaz

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