Saturday, September 16, 2006

Watching zombies & other creepy stuff

Donna had to be recertified in CPR before returning to work, so was attending a class last night. I took advantage of that and our free HBO on Demand to see a couple of horror movies I haven't had that chance to catch.

The most fun was George Romero's LAND OF THE DEAD from last year. Dennis Hopper chews the scenery as a nasty business tycoon who has created a 'safe' haven for the living in what used to be Chicago. Simon Baker & John Leguizamo are mercenary types who go out among the walking dead to scavenge goods which Hopper can then sell to his clients. Plenty of zombie action, with pretty clever leader "Big Daddy" (played by former CLF offensive lineman, Eugene Clark), bringing the dead into the city. Romero's movies are always a lot of fun, as he doesn't take much of this seriously. His zombies in the mall scenes have become a zombie film staple.

While each of the four "Dead" films stand alone, Romero has created a history of sorts which you can follow. I read a neat book a few years ago called "Book of the Dead" which takes place in Romero's world. Sadly, it was one of the books I donated to the library before moving out here. Recommended for some great zombie stories by Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Ramsey Campbell and others with an introduction by Romero himself.

The second film was a sequel to one of my favorite horror films of the past few years, THE RING 2. Simon Baker is in this film also but has a smaller, though pivotal, role as a co-worker of Naomi Watts. Watts returns as Rachel Keller, whose son Aidan is the focus of supernatural forces. Once again a videotape starts the action, but it switches to that of Watts attempts to keep Aidan from becoming possessed by Samara ( the girl from the well in the first film). Not as good as the first American version (and no where as excellent as the Japanese original), there are still some nice scare scenes. If nothing else it proves that even deer can be pretty damn scary if used in a certain fashion.

I still recommend the original Japanese version RINGU with English subtitles. It is different enough from the Americanized film, but you can see why it created a cult in its native land, with novels, sequels and manga adaptations. In fact, the director of that film, Hideo Nakata, directed this American remake of his own Japanese sequel.

The first movie, along with the previous year's MULHOLLAND DR. made me a huge fan of Naomi Watts.
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