So over the weekend I was thrilled to see that Amazon Prime had Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 available for streaming. Of course I had to watch it and my son was equally as excited to watch it as well. I’ve been gearing him up for these Fulci films for a few years now, ever since I started collecting the soundtracks on vinyl thanks to Death Waltz/Mondo and my severe record buying affliction. We watched Fulci’s The Beyond on ‘Black Friday’ of all days last year. My memory didn’t serve me correctly on that one, as what I remembered to be a classic in the genre was really kind of a turd. There was some great cinematography and the music was outstanding, but it seemed to just be a garbled mess of bizarre story line and effects that were extremely dated. The Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge looked far more “fresh” than The Beyond. So, I thought Zombi 2 would be a chance for Fulci to redeem himself in my eyes and my son’s. Five minutes in and I realized this wasn’t going to happen. Two New York harbor cops come up on a stranded boat in New York Harbor; one cop’s voice matches his lip movement while the other does not. This seems to be the case throughout the whole movie. The “acting” wasn’t horrible and the story was at least somewhat understandable, but overall it just didn’t hold up to my memory unfortunately. My son was waking me up whenever something was going to happen.
Zombi 2 was kind of a bust, but there’s still a touch of bizarre Italian magic there. Fulci always seemed to tow the line between exploitation and Fellini. He seemed to have grand ideas and a widescreen scope, but it never really came to fruition due to lack of funds to fully commit. He ended up making a name for himself as the Italian master of exploitative gore. Dario Argento was also a master of gore, but he fell more into the art camp as opposed to the woman-hating, misogynistic gutter camp Fulci ended up in. I’m refraining from watching House By The Cemetery and City of the Living Dead, as I don’t want to completely destroy those horror cinema memories from my youth. Someday I’ll go back to those. Just not right now.
This whole zombie kick started off because last week I began getting caught back up on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. I started reading TWD back in late 2010, around the time the first season of the AMC show started. Everyone was talking about how great the show was, but I wanted to go the source before I started watching the TV version. I ended up going through the first 12 trades pretty quickly but then the zombie fever sweeping the nation left me and I felt I was done with the books. I stayed caught up on the show because, well, I didn’t want to be left out of the discussions and what not. I’d grown an attachment to the TV versions of Carol, Michonne, Rick, Carl, Rosita, Abraham, and Eugene and felt invested in the show. After last season’s finale and the introduction to one of the book series’ most reviled antagonists Negan, I knew I wanted to revisit the books and get up to speed on the story. Sure, the show veers off from the books and their narratives, story arcs, and character developments/demises, but knowing the books helps to give you a guide as to where the show may go next(it also allows you to feel superior to those that don’t read the books and feel like you’re one up on them.)
So over the weekend I read the entire The Walking Dead : Compendium Three, which collects books 97 through 144. There’s only two other trades out now, so when I read those I’ll be caught up. I have to say, I’m surprised by how easy it was to jump back into that world. I have always enjoyed The Walking Dead, but diving into the world of the zombie invasion and the Rick Grimes crew I realized how little the zombies have to do with the stories. The zombie take over was merely the tool by which you get to see how truly evil the living can become. You do get to see how the strong and capable take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. You see the perseverance of strangers coming together and what lengths people will go to in order to protect their loved ones. But what’s even more striking than the good, is the evil. You see characters like The Governor, Negan, The Whisperers, the cretinous goons that Rick, Abraham, and Carl came across on the deserted post-apocalyptic highway and nearly slaughtered them like animals; sadly I think that’s where most of the reality lies in the story. We’re seeing some of this right now in this current presidential campaign. All across America hordes of what were at one point regular human beings living their lives and occasionally spouting something maybe inappropriate are now all-in and backing a misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, hate-mongering, bully ignoramus billionaire(?). They’re blindly following this turd in a suit and bad hair because he’s “gonna make America great again”, and that he’s gonna “build a wall” and that he’ll keep America safe from ISIS and Syrian refugees and Mexican drug dealers and rapists who are coming over the border and stealing our jobs. Sight unseen, they’re following his hate speech. Out of fear, like most of the followers of the Governor or Negan? No, they’re following because Trump is saying all those horrible things that his followers really want to say. They’re willfully and gleefully backing this guy, even after the “locker room talk” audio that was released last Friday.
I don’t know how anybody in their right mind would back this guy, zombie apocalypse or not. In the world of zombies, I could see Trump more like Dennis Hopper in Romero’s Land of the Dead as opposed to some villainous leader Robert Kirkman created. Hopper, if you’re not familiar with Land of the Dead, ran a ritzy skyscraper where all the rich and wealthy stayed after the zombies took over. It was walled off and you had to buy your way in to live there. While the rest of the world traveled in armored vehicles and carried machine guns, the rich stayed comfortable smoking their fine Cuban cigars and drinking single malt scotch. You see? The zombies are more or less hungry observers while the living go in being evil.
Anyways, it was great getting caught up with The Walking Dead. I look forward to keeping up with it. And sorry for the whole Walking Dead/Election correlation. It just seemed to damn related not to bring it up. And if you haven’t seen George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead, you really should. It’s a classic in the series.