Original zombies have lost their luster

I’m taking it way back to the middle of the semester when we had our zombie category. I’ve been waiting to make an argument about how zombies aren’t respected anymore.  They’ve been the butt of all the jokes and they simply aren’t the same zombies from Night of the Living Dead, etc. To further prove my point, and without using too much of the movies Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, here is a classic clip about horny zombies from the well known show Saturday Night Live:

zombies from Amber J on Vimeo.

Zombies have needs too!

The next thing I found were humorous books about zombies. Not only are they making fun of zombies but the authors seem like they’re saying that zombies are so cliche and that they’ve figured them all out and now everyone could survive a zombie attack. The books were found from http://www.thinkgeek.com/

This first book I found really caught my attention. I remember that scene from Shaun of the Dead where they tried to act like zombies to get into the bar.

Here’s some of the description of the actual book:

“Remember that scene in that zombie movie where the people survive by adopting the mannerisms and speech patterns of the zombie horde? They walk right through the undead and nobody even notices them. Totally the best idea ever, right?”

This second book is pretty self-explanatory. I guess humans have finally figured the zombies out. Now if only people in funny zombie movies could whip this out when in need…

Here’s their Top 10 lessons from their book description:

Top 10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack

  1. Organize before they rise!
  2. They feel no fear, why should you?
  3. Use your head: cut off theirs.
  4. Blades don’t need reloading.
  5. Ideal protection = tight clothes, short hair.
  6. Get up the staircase, then destroy it.
  7. Get out of the car, get onto the bike.
  8. Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert!
  9. No place is safe, only safer.
  10. The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on.

The last thing I noticed were all the different ways zombies are made fun of, especially on the internet.  I can pretty much guarantee you that there are more sites making fun of zombies than there are praising them.

Here are some of funny pictures I found on http://dailyzombie.com/comic-archive/

The original zombies have just lost their appeal. They’re so easy to make fun of and, in my opinion, could be easily taken care of in movies except all the humans work against each other, thus allowing the zombies to take over the human race.  Also, the original zombies have been overshadowed by the enhanced zombies that we see more often today (the more physically fit ones that can run, especially). I foresee that in another 10 years, those enhanced zombies will be the only type of zombies you’ll see in movies except for when they make parody movies that make fun of original zombies.

Jesus Camp

After reading Stephen’s post, I was inspired to write about how children in the US are brainwashed. I had recently watched a documentary called Jesus Camp and I thought it was an excellent example of the indoctrination of children. It reminded me of The Manchurian Candidate and Melley article (Stephen covered most of the points so I won’t spit them back out).

The movie is basically about an evangelical Christian summer camp. Like the video below says, these children are training to become preachers or “warriors for Jesus.” As you can see, all the attendees of this camp are children.  Children are most susceptible to new beliefs and ideas. The pastor in this documentary also compares her teachings to Islamic schools that prepare their children for jihad.

Although this is not as extreme as the topic Stephen posted about, there are obvious signs of brainwashing. In the trailer (below), one of the boys was talking about how he was saved at the age of 5 because he wanted more out of life (:40 mark). When I was 5, I barely knew what life was; I went to school and had friends and family; that was pretty much it. I wasn’t thinking about what life had in store for me or if there was something more to life.

This next clip about Harry Potter pretty much speaks for itself.

I feel that it’s sort of over the top. Both the camp and the parents of these children are just pumping certain information into them and the children will obviously believe it all.  They home-school their children so they won’t be influenced by information that might be contrary to their beliefs and they even pray to a Christian flag, for instance.

So I was just wondering how you guys feel about this now that you’ve seen faith-based brainwashing in two different cultures.

Also, I recommend you watch it if you get the chance!

Devil in a Blue Dress & Neo-Noir

First off, I’d like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching Devil in a Blue Dress. Every Denzel Washington movie I’ve ever watched has never disappointed me. Don Cheadle as Mouse was also very good; he was actually only nominated for his supporting role by the Screen Actors Guild but never won like someone had mentioned in class.

The film is set during the same period that traditional film noirs were set in; it’s after WWII and in a big city, Los Angeles. Easy Rawlins is just trying to make ends meet after being fired from his job. Easy is in need of financial security; agreeing to work for Albright is easy money but it puts him in a whole world of trouble. Much like the protagonists in other film noirs we’ve watched, Easy takes it one day at a time and doesn’t look too much into the future because there’s always a chance that he might not have one. Just like Borde and Chaumeton said in one of our readings, “the presence of crime…gives film noir its most distinctive stamp.”

I noticed a few things about the film that I suppose pay homage to noir films of the 40’s and 50’s.  Easy began to go down the road to becoming a morally ambiguous protagonist, much like the male protagonists of 40’s and 50’s film noir, once he took the job from Albright. There were also uses of flashbacks several times in the movie. I also felt that the character that kept trying to cut down the trees in the neighborhood was similar to the hotel caretaker in Touch of Evil; they were both borderline crazy and provided instances of comedic relief.

In the Schrader reading, one of the elements of film noir that are common is the attachment to water. In this one scene in Devil in a Blue Dress, Easy is supposed to meet Albright at the pier to do business. According to Schrader, “docks and piers are second only to alleyways as the most popular rendezvous points” (220).

Another thing I noticed about the film was Daphne as the femme fatale. Daphne is mysterious when she is first described; she hangs out in black clubs and hasn’t been seen by her mayoral candidate boyfriend, Carter, in a while. The first time we see Daphne, she stands out; she’s very beautiful and is also very seductive. In one scene between Easy and Daphne, Easy asks what Daphne’s weapon of choice is and she responds with: “why don’t you search me and find out?”  Daphne is intended to be looked at throughout the whole film. Her wearing of blue dresses throughout the whole film makes her stand out amongst her dullish surroundings.

By the end of the movie, I was glad that Daphne and Easy didn’t die. Happy endings aren’t all too common in noir films. Devil in a Blue Dress isn’t your typical noir film, but noir none the less. I did like how Easy started to get used to being a private investigator and how he was going to start his own business; it’s a shame that the rest of his stories were not put into film.