This is difficult. Nobody wants to lay the boot into one of their heroes. Who the hell am I to sit here and throw lazy insults towards George A Romero, a man I have admired most of my life? A father figure of sorts who has taught me so much.
We’ve been through a lot together George and I. As a horror film junkie, many of my life’s most significant moments were spent with George. Like the time he introduced me to my first zombie. I was young and naive, sheltered from the outside world, too safe behind the walls of suburbia to realize that the dead could ever rise from the grave. But sure enough, there they were on late night television in glorious black and white. Thanks to George and Night of the Living Dead, my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of zombies and nothing would ever be the same again.
Not long after that initial discovery, George guided me through another significant rite of passage, this time in crisp, cutting-edge VHS quality. Dawn of the Dead showed me the consequences of being trapped in a shopping mall with flesh-eating zombies forever lurking outside its walls. Years later, he was there for me again with the dark, twisted Day of the Dead.
Where would I be today if George didn’t hold my hand throughout my first zombie machete hacking, my first realistic shotgun blast to the head, my first screwdriver stab to the neck or my first encounter with the grizzly effects of a zombie bite? All such valuable lessons that have equipped me throughout my years.
Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead were to follow, but both these films left me feeling unsatisfied. I suppose every son has that moment where they look at their father and realize how uncool and out of touch they are. Is this what was happening to my zombie father figure? Could George A Romero, the inventor of the undead, be out of touch? His recent work was certainly suggesting so, but I decided to give him one more chance with Survival of the Dead.
It pains me to say it, but George’s latest foray into the wonderful world of Zombie cinema is, simply put….a rather large and obnoxious pile of steaming excrement, freshly laid from the diseased anus of a hideously deformed troll-like creature living on the stench-ridden banks of a sewer infested swamp.
….but that may be too kind a description.
Romero fanboys will muster up every morsel of their remaining faith in George and insist that this entry in the “Dead” series isn’t as bad as I am making out, but with films like Zombieland, 28 Days Later and even the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake setting new benchmarks in the genre, it’s time these fanboys set aside their devotion for George and realize that it is looking more and more likely that yes, the king is dead.
From what I can gather, Survival of the Dead is a strange attempt at an undead western. A head-scratching homage to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly with a painfully weak cast and an even more agonizing script. Sure, there is gore, but the tacky “look at me” attempts at original ways to kill zombies, executed with grade-school level CGI effects, are too laughably crap to impress even the most easily pleased gore hounds. There’s no Tom Savini latex or fresh pig guts in sight, just hokey looking computer generated blood and guts. Lame.
Unlike many zombie purists, I was happy to welcome in a new generation of films that depicted the undead as fast-running killing machines, but seeing a zombie riding a horse in Survival of the Dead was something I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with.
Yep, you heard it right; A zombie riding a horse.
The king must truly be dead.
By Adam Fay
Read more film reviews by Adam at http://iseefilms.wordpress.com