Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 019: The Siege Narrative and Willow Creek (2014)

HMP Sidebar SiegeBarricade your doors and board up your windows, because for HORROR MOVIE PODCAST, Episode 019, we’ll be discussing The Siege Narrative. To help us examine this story type, Jay of the Dead, Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh broadly discuss “Night of the Living Dead,” “Maximum Overdrive,” “Tremors” and “The Mist.” But before we jump into the theme of this episode, Wolfman Josh and Jay of the Dead bring you an in-depth Feature Review of Bobcat Goldthwait’s found footage Bigfoot movie “Willow Creek” (2014).

Horror Movie Podcast is a bi-weekly show that’s released every other Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! And remember, we love getting your voice mails, so call in with more recommendations and comments at this number: (801) 382-8789 Thanks for listening to Horror Movie Podcast!

SHOW NOTES:
I. Introduction
— HMP receives multiple nominations for the First Annual Podbody Film & TV Podcasting Awards
— Ep. 018 poll question results on genre coverage

II. Feature Review: WILLOW CREEK (2014)
Jay of the Dead = 7 ( Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 3 ( Avoid )

III. Theme: THE SIEGE NARRATIVE
— Introduction
— What makes an effective siege narrative?
— The monsters of siege narratives
— The survivalists of siege narratives
— Some other siege narrative films

IV. Ratings: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)
Jay of the Dead = 8 ( Buy it! )
Wolfman Josh = 8 ( Must-Own )
Dr. Shock = 10 ( Buy it! )

V. Ratings: MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986)
Jay of the Dead = 3.5 ( Avoid )
Wolfman Josh = 4 ( Rental )
Dr. Shock = 5 ( Cautionary Rental )

VI. Ratings: TREMORS (1990)
Jay of the Dead = 7 ( Strong Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 9 ( Must-Own )
Dr. Shock = 9 ( Must-Own )

VII. Ratings: THE MIST (2007)
Jay of the Dead = 8 ( Buy it! ) – watch the B&W version
Wolfman Josh = 7 ( Rental )
Dr. Shock = 7 ( High-priority Rental )

VIII. Miscellany
— iTunes review from Sn3ak3rn3t (Thank you!)

IX. Wrap-Up:

NEXT ON HMP — IN TWO WEEKS: Releasing on Friday, July 4, 2014 — Episode 020. Definitely don’t miss it!

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, there are 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar on the right.

Leave a comment or e-mail us here: HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com

Links for this episode:

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dr. Shock’s daily movie review Web site: DVD Infatuation.com
Dr. Shock on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation
Dr. Shock’s other horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Jay of the Dead’s links:
Jay of the Dead and Horror Movie Podcast Official Twitter: @HorrorMovieCast
Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Wolfman on Twitter: @IcarusArts
Wolfman Josh covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
Wolfman covers movies streaming online on: Movie Stream Cast

Check out our premium CUJO COMMENTARY for $1

Check out the Movie Podcast Weekly Halloween BONUS episode on: THE SHINING and ROOM 237

Dr. Walking Dead on Twitter: @DrWalkingDead
Dr. Walking Dead’s books American Zombie Gothic and Triumph of The Walking Dead

You can always contact us by e-mailing HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com. Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram for the use of his music for Horror Movie Podcast.

Thank you for listening, and join us again in two weeks for another episode of HORROR MOVIE PODCAST!

Thanks for listening.
Jay of the Dead

56 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 019: The Siege Narrative and Willow Creek (2014)

  1. Oh man, I can’t wait to listen to this one! I’m really looking forward to Willow Creek.

    And guys, I’m going to watch Maximum Overdrive again because, man: that movie is terrible, but it is hilarious.

  2. The approach to analyzing the siege narrative and simply rating the four films attached was interesting. I think more comparison between how each film succeeded and failed would have been great, but this was a really good episode! It was the best listen I’ve had this week.

    But great…now I’m going to wait for Willow Creek to hit streaming. No rental now. Sigh.

    • Hey man, I just wanted to let you know that I recently listened to your discussion about “High Tension” on Terror Troop and was so happy to hear your thoughts on it. I came to some of the same conclusions and was getting frustrated when it seemed like the rest of the world kept giving the movie flack for a twist perceived to be nonsensical while ignoring the fact that the story is being related by a less than reliable narrator.

      – David

  3. Great to see this episode up already! I plan to barricade myself indoors with a stash of rations (a variety of interesting beers and some peanuts and some popcorn) and prepare for the siege!

    It’s especially cool to see that the 4 movies relating to the theme are all ones I’ve seen, although my memories of Maximum Overdrive are hazy at best, in fact I think I remember more about the short story on which it was based than the actual movie.

    Anyway, I’ll give this a listen and no doubt return to throw in my own slightly inebriated two cents.

    – David

    • Is the topic of beer a horror related one? Because I’m curious as to what beers you’re drinking. I’m a big beer aficionado so anything beer piques my curiosity.

      • A beer aficionado and a horror fan. You’re a man after my own heart Juan!

        And I judge beer to be absolutely related to horror, after all tomorrow morning I’ll no doubt be greeted by a pallid Romero ghoul in the bathroom mirror.

        Firstly I’m drinking a bottle of Fraoch which is an ale produced to a 16th century Scots recipe which uses an infusion of heather flowers in the brewing process. It’s characterful but also quite a sweet and easy drinking beer. This one would be a great accompaniment to any horror movie involving paganism. “The Wicker man” being the obvious choice.

        Also on the agenda is one called “5 Barrel Pale Ale” which is from the Odell Brewing Company in Colorado. Generally we British like to talk smack about the USA’s weak and characterless beers but in the past few years some of the best beer I’ve had has come from American craft brewers and the Odell Brewing Co. are no exception. Everything I’ve had by them has been fantastic but the “5 Barrel Pale Ale” is my favourite. This beer is so hoppy that it might be wise to drink a few of them before watching a bunny horror movie such as “Night of the Lepus”.

        Then there’s an expensive bottle of Smoked Porter from the Alaskan Brewing Co. that I’ve been saving for a siegey day. I’ve had this one once before and it is incredible. It’s the perfect warming accompaniment to the snowy solitude of “The Thing”.

        Anyway, there are more but I think I should stop now. It’s bad enough when I ramble on for hours about horror movies but I’d imagine my beer mini-reviews will be even more unwanted!

        -David

        • David, if I ever get to go England, I must have a beer with you my friend. I’ve had the Smoked Porter from the Alaskan Brewing Co. and I wasn’t impressed. Having said that, I’ve only been into the craft beer scene for about 4 years, so I still consider myself a newbie and my palate is not as sophisticated as yours probably is. I might need to give it another try. American craft beer has been on the rise and let me tell you, there’s tons of great stuff over here. It’s too bad that there’s not a whole lot to pick from as far as European imports (at least not in Texas). And from what I read, I am missing out big time. But the scene is growing fast, particularly here in Houston. Have you tried any beers from Saint Arnold? Although not my favorite brewery, they are constantly getting better and their Bishop’s Barrel and ICON series are always a treat. If you can, I highly recommend that get your hands on the Saint Arnold Pumpkinator. It’s one of my favorite spiced imperial stouts. I also recommend saving it for a cold, rainy day. I promise it’ll hit the spot!

          I feel bad posting about beer when just last episode I was rambling on about horror only topics haha, but I couldn’t resist. Let’s do this David, every time we post a mini-review, let’s also post a nice beer that you’d pair the movie with. I think in that way, we’ll keep it horror enough.

          • And by the way, you already did the pairing of the beer, so I give you full credit for that great idea. I love it!

          • Well I don’t want to pass myself off as anything more than a beer novice myself good sir. My palate is no more sophisticated than anyone else’s at all, I just drink a bunch of beers and see what I like. I’ve done a quick bit of research on this Saint Arnold Pumpkinator you speak of and it sounds exactly my kind of drink and a good strong one to boot! There’s a brilliant shop called “The House of Trembling Madness” in the city of York and they have an amazing array of beers from all over the place and that’s where I pick most of my favourites up so next time I’m there I’ll have a look for the Pumpkinator and if they don’t have it I’ll see if they can get it in. Obvious it may be but it sounds like the perfect tipple for a “Pumpkinhead” rewatch!

  4. I’m still listening to the episode, but your comment about the “what went wrong with M. Night episode” sounds like it could be a lot of fun. I actually really The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Sings, and even The Village (I’m with you on that one Jay), so I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts on that.

    Here are my scores on the movies that you reviewed:

    Tremors: 10
    The Mist: 8
    Maximum Overdrive: 6

    Sadly, I haven’t seen Night of the Living Dead :( and I’m super intrigued about Willow Creek. I can’t wait to see it!

    • Juan, my friend!
      You’ve got to see Night of the Living Dead now! It’s in my top five all-time faves! Plus it is so easy to see– being that it’s public domain, it’s free on everything that streams from youtube to netflix. Watch it with the lights out– still holds up 45 years later.

      HDITO

    • Yep, Juan, seeing “Night of the Living Dead” is your first priority, asap. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts… And remember — don’t let the beginning discourage you; it goes from being not scary at all to freakin’ scary! Let us know what you think.
      Jay

    • Of course I absolutely agree with HDIITO and JOTD because who the hell am I to disagree with acronyms! But I will point out that of Romero’s movies “Night of the Living Dead” is the one complimented most by a solitary viewing. I’ve watched it with “the guys” before and the creeping sense of dread tended to get lost with the company. “Dawn” and “Day” are those beautiful anomalies that can be enjoyed in a group and alone but in my experience “Night” is at its most effective when the weird creaking noise you just heard can’t be explained by any friendly activity because you’re alone in the house!

      • Totally agree with David. My only suggestion is that if you watch it, don’t worry about high def or getting a really high quality version to watch. I actually like it best when it has a grainy almost documentary feel. I think some of the DVDs that come out are too “clean” and take away some of the atmosphere. But that’s just me.

        Hdiito

        • I concur absolutely. “NOTLD” is similar to “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in that a part of it’s atmosphere is fostered by it’s grainy low budget aesthetics. I’m generally not a fan of High Def ultra gloss treatments of these older movies anyway (it’s like autotuning a Replacements album or something) but those two movies in particular warrant fuzzy VHS viewings in my book.

          Also I agree that “what went wrong with M. Night” would be a really fun and interesting topic. I think it’s pretty fascinating that a director could go from something like “The SIxth Sense” to “The Happening” and “The Last Air Bender” in the space of a decade. As for his earlier movies I adore “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable”, “Signs” I didn’t much enjoy but I haven’t seen it since it first showed on TV so maybe a rewatch is warranted, and “The Village” I thought wasn’t nearly as bad as the detractors make out. It’s no masterpiece but I really, really like the atmosphere.

  5. A quick comment having just reached the end of the “Willow Creek” review.

    Firstly it was really cool to just listen to you guys discuss the Patterson-Gimlin film and the Bigfoot legend in general and it got me thinking that a great theme for a future episode might be horror movies that deal with cryptozoological creatures.

    Also I found myself wondering what Josh’s opinion on “The Legend of Boggy Creek” is? It’s likely he’s covered it before and I’m just being forgetful and if that’s the case I apologise but knowing that Josh is a Bigfoot fan and a documentary extraordinaire (Of course I’m aware that it isn’t an actual documentary) I’d be interested to hear his take on that movie.

    • That sounds like a cool idea for a show. Not sure how many of those would actually be good movies, though. Have you ever seen a movie called “The Barrens?” I think it’s about the NJ Devil, but not sure. Anyway, I bought it like a year ago and am waiting for someone to say how awesome it is to watch it.

      • I’ve never seen “The Barrens” but earlier today I was coincidentally listening to the single episode of this podcast that I had somehow previously overlooked (Horror movie Podcast Ep. 007) and I’m pretty sure Jay did a little mini review of that movie in that very episode.

        Also you are totally right Hisdinnerisintheoven; It’s hard to come up with even a handful of cryptozoology themed movies that are even slightly good. Which is really sad but maybe Doc, Jay and Josh could suggest some hidden gems?

      • His Dinner’s in the Oven!
        Please let me be the first to say I LOVE “The Barrens”! I’ve sung its praises on this podcast before (yes, Ep. 007 of HMP and Ep. 017 of MPW), but by all means, please watch it right away.

        For me it’s an 8 out of 10 and a buy it (so I’m glad you already own it)! And it was ninth on BillChete’s Top 10 list of 2012.

        Yes, it’s about the Jersey Devil. And I absolutely LOVE how, for most of the movie, you don’t know if the devil is real — or if the father is just nuts… (I won’t reveal which is the case…) But that movie is very pleasing to me. It delivers the goods. Watch it tonight!

        Thanks for listening and commenting, everybody.
        Jay

        • JOTD,
          Sold! I thought I remembered you mentioning it, but didn’t see it listed in any of the archives– which by the way, I’ve been re-listening to many episodes. Man, I love this show.

        • Just watched it, Jay. Def. worth the watch!

          I’d give it a 5.5-6, and call it a solid rental.

          Thanks!

    • I admit that I am a fan of The Legend of Boggy Creek, but mainly because it is likely the best Bigfoot movie out there. I enjoy most of them, actually, even the worst among them. My favorite of the group would be Hammer’s Abominable Snowman, but they are all pretty terrible. Boggy Creek, however, deserves more in-depth discussion. I will figure out how to work that into a future episode.

      • Thanks Josh,
        I’m going to check out abominable snowman again. I’m a huuuuuge Hammer fan… (Would love to hear you go over some of your favorites at some point). I remember seeing this on tv when I was about nine. Didn’t do very well holding a 9-year-old’s attention– but you reminded me I need to give it another shot. By the way, wonder if you’ve seen my favorite Hammer: captain Kronos?

        Be well!

        Hdiito

        • Yes! Big Captain Kronos fan, although I am a relative newcomer to it. We definitely need to do a Hammer horror episode at some point. Been watching a bunch of Lee/Cushing Dracula and Frankenstein Hammer flicks recently because I was given a set of the DVDs as a gift. Having a blast with them. Also saw a terrible “werewolf” (in name only) movie, because Cushing was on the cover, called The Beast Must Die. I will be discussing it on the show soon.

          I am 100% in on a cryptozoological episode. And I know Jason is into the Loch Ness Monster as much as I am the Abominable Snowman.

          Also, on a recent pilgrimage to Red Bank, New Jersey to visit some Clerks locations and Kevin Smith’s comic book shop, I bought several issues if a new(ish) comic book from Bryan Johnson and Walt Flanegan (Smith’s TESD friends from the AMC show, Comic Book Men) called Cryptozoic Man, featuring an anti-hero who is 1/4 human on top of being 1/4 Bigfoot, 1/4 Jersey Devil, and 1/4 Loch Ness Monster. Very excited to dive in.

          • Sounds like a cool comic– I’ll check it out. Also, check out Vampire Circus if you get a chance and haven’t already (I seem to think that maybe Doc talked about it during one of the casts– but I could be wrong). It’s another offbeat Hammer Vamp movie.

            I’ve actually seen “The Beast Must Die.” I was like nine, but at the time, I liked it… mostly because they actually paused the movie to see if you could guess who the werewolf (German Shepherd in a fur coat) was. It’s basically 10 Little Indians, if I remember correctly, and I’m sure it wouldn’t hold up if I watched it.

            Also, funny thing about that movie, since we were talking about Blacula a couple weeks ago, I think I read that it was at one point, it was going to be called “Black Werewolf” to capitalize on the blaxploitation craze at the time (as bad as The Beast Must Die may be, it CAN’T be worse than Blackenstein). Of course, if they kept that title, there wouldn’t be much of a mystery to the movie (spoiler alert). Either way, I totally look forward to hearing you talk about it!

            Also since we’re on the subject of Amicus films, was wondering what you thought about their movies.

            Be well, and thanks for consistently putting on a great show! I’m going to finish up this week’s in about ten minutes.

  6. Holy crap! How is it that listening to this podcast is the first time I’ve ever heard about the movie “Feast”? Monsters, gore, folks trapped inside a bar, Henry Rollins, Clu Gulager and from the trailer it looks like there’s a fair bit of practical effects going on! This movie is going straight on my watchlist. This is why I love you guys.

    – David

    • Yeah I have been kind of surprised the FEAST didn’t come up earlier, especially given Jay’s love of Creature Features. This one is not to be missed. It is a very fresh take on your typical Creature Feature films. Skips the last two in the trilogy though unless you are a completest.

      FEAST (2005) – 8 out of 10.

      Abide

        • I second the Dude’s recommendation, though I wouldn’t skip the sequels. While it’s true that they are much less effective than the first movie, they do provide tons of entertainment value via their WTF moments. You could even think of them as parodies of themselves. I won’t rank them since I haven’t revisited them since they came out, but I would say the first one is at least an 8.

  7. I rented Willow Creek out of pure curisoity how it would end (thanks for not spoiling)… and i must say after your review, with my expectations really low, and having knowledge of how rather pointless the first 35 mins were going to be.. I was able to be patience, sit back, and wait to fall into the movie because I knew eventually kinda where it was going to go………. and I must say I really, really, really enjoyed it

    But that being said if I went in Blind I don’t know how i would have felt about it, due to “slow burn” structure, which i don’t even think that it can be counted as because there is absolutely no dread, fear, threat of danger, or impending doom in the first half at all, like at all, so i can see alot of horror fans dismissing this film.

    … but I enjoyed it

  8. Hey guys, I finished the episode earlier today and it was great as always, my only criticism being that I wish it was longer (to be honest if I had my way every show would be an 8 hour monstrosity) but I know you guys are all really busy and Josh is always on the road.

    Anyway, I love these themed episodes and the “Siege Narrative” was a great choice affording lots of insightful thoughts. It’s a type of movie that invites analysis because so often the group of characters in their besieged environment will act as a microcosmic commentary on bigger societal issues. Also I think these “Siege” movies tap into an element of our inner child, at least in my case. As a kid I always seemed to be holed up in a tent or a pillow fort or a tree house, a sort of sanctuary from the adult world outside. These movies definitely appeal to that sensibility.

    As for the movies discussed, here are my ratings:

    Night of the Living Dead 8/10
    Maximum Overdrive 4/10 (An estimate seeing as how it’s so long since I watched it)
    Tremors 7/10
    The Mist 7/10

    Now with this episode being a themed one, Dr. Shocks suggestion of a “What happened to M.Night?” theme and the above discussion of a Cryptozoological theme I got a little over excited and came up with some other ideas for themed episodes that I’d love to see you guys do:

    • Early gore cinema
    • Horror films you don’t find scary but love anyway
    • Japanese horror
    • The best low budget horror (Films made for under say a million dollars?)
    • Realistic horror; horror films that could potentially happen/have already happened.
    • The Video Nasties/censorship and controversy: can movies really have an adverse effect on society?
    • Horror Documentaries
    • Horror movies that everyone seems to hate but that you love
    • Horror movies that everyone seems to love but that you hate
    • Horror movies with the best cover art

    This isn’t to suggest that the themes you fellows come up with aren’t always awesome but I just thought I’d throw these ideas out there in case of the extremely unlikely event that you someday find yourselves all themed-out.

    I love this podcast and I love all the awesome folks who post comments here. It’s such a respectful, knowledgeable, civil and intelligent community and that’s a pretty rare thing on the internet.

    – David

  9. ******BEWARE, SPOILERS FOR NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD BELOW****

    Guys, I couldn’t handle the peer pressure, so I finally watched Night of the Living Dead for the first time ever. After reading your thoughts on it, I think some of you might be disappointed with my take on it, but hopefully we can all stay friends haha. I guess I’ll begin with the things that bothered me, which most of them are technical. My main problem was the film-noir look to it. Generally, I would love the film-noir look in a movie, but here I found it kind of annoying. I guess I just wanted a clear look at everything, and instead I got shadows upon shadows upon shadows. The shadows definitely added to the atmosphere, but I just didn’t feel like they were handled very expertly. It was Romero’s first feature length film, so maybe that came into play. The grainy look didn’t bother me, I actually think of it as a plus. What did bother me were the sudden changes in lighting that plagued the film. I know it was a low budget film and the technology at the time might have had something to do with it, but that was something that I couldn’t get over. There were also a few inconsistencies that bothered me. The zombies couldn’t decide if they were slow or fast. They seemed to walk super slow most of the time, but then when they attacked they were extremely agile and even smart. I’m not a big fan of the smart zombie so that was a big turnoff for me.

    Now let’s move on to the positives! A big positive for me was the use of the irradiated satellite as a possible explanation of what was happening. I actually find that a much cooler explanation than the usual “virus” disease. Another big positive for me were the really low angles that were used throughout the film. I think they were very effective at adding a touch of insanity, which enhanced the literal insanity of some of the character The way the story ended was pretty excellent too and was one of my favorite parts of the movie. It must have been a very refreshing back then to not have a happy ending. I mean, here’s this guy fighting tooth and nail to not only survive, but to have everyone else with him survive, and you only want good things for this guy. He’s likeable, he’s strong, and he’s clearly the hero of the story. You want him to make it and just when things are looking brighter… he dies, literally right at the very end! I think it’s the perfect ending for a zombie film. Yeah, sure, you can have a message of hope, of humanity prevailing, but that’s too easy to digest. I like the dire ending much better. It just fits the zombie apocalypse.

    I went in knowing that this movie is, for many, the holy grail of zombie movies. There were very high expectations for it, and I think for the most part, it delivered. I think this is one instance where the age of the film really affects its impact. There are other very old films that I think still hold up, but this is not one of them. Perhaps it’s the fact that I waited to see this film until now that lessened its impact for me. Either way, this is still pretty damn good and I give it a 7 and say watch it.

    By the way, what if the stylized look of the Sin City movies were to be applied to a zombie movie? I think that needs to happen!

    • Oh and I would pair this with an American dark lager. Perhaps the Victory Dark Lager from the Victory Brewing Company which just so happens to be from Pennsylvania. See what I did there? 😉

    • Glad you checked it out! I see your point about the inconsistency of zombie behavior– But in my book, this will always be a ten!

      Have you seen any of the others in the series?

      • You know what? I just watched Savini’s remake of Night of the Living Dead along with two documentaries — Birth of the Living Dead, and Doc of the Dead and I have to say that they enhanced my experience with and appreciation for the original Night of the Living Dead. So I’d like give Night of the Living Dead a point and a half more and score it an 8.5 instead of my original 7. And I’m not scoring it higher out of pressure or because the documentaries put the film on a golden pedestal. I still don’t think it’s as great as everyone raves, but I really was able to see more clearly things that I missed the first time around. After watching the remake, I particularly missed the eery atmosphere (shadows and all) that was completely missing from Savini’s version. As far as having seen Dawn and Day, no I haven’t seen Dawn (it’s in my list of shame), but I have seen Day. I have a score for Day, but I’ll save it until I see Dawn and then post my thoughts on here :)

        • Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on “Dawn” and “Day” Juan. “Dawn of the Dead” is a bit of a tonal shift from “Night” and, maybe due to the transition to colour, feels a lot less atmospheric. It makes up for that however with an emphasis on awesome action sequences and much more intense gore. Try to see the uncut version if you can.

          – David

        • That’s awesome! And for the record, I don’t see any problem with changing ratings with perspective. Just means you’re still thinking about it. I can think of a dozen movies where at first I was like “that was awesome.” And then after some thought, I realized it wasn’t so great after all. And vice versa.

    • It’s really interesting to hear a fresh take on such an acclaimed film. I’ve never been a fan of the “sacred cow” concept so I really appreciate your objective take and the criticisms you gave. In the movies defence I think it’s worth noting that it was pretty much the first of its kind (though obviously not the first zombie movie) so the framework of zombie rules and conventions that we know so well today had yet to be established. What seem like inconsistencies to us now may then have been a terrifyingly unpredictability.

      As for the shadowiness of the movies look, I’d be a liar if I said the murkiness had never bothered me before but it’s something that I’m willing to forgive given its budget and age. I also think that to an extent that murkiness and the resulting frustration we feel as we try to make out what’s going on in the shadows adds some extra anxiety and tension to the experience.

      Anyway I’m glad you enjoyed the movie and I very much respect that you were honest and objective enough to throw in some insightful criticism. It’s an 8/10 for me; great, but not as good as “Dawn” (9/10) or “Day” (9.5/10).

      And I’ll follow up that beer recommendation as I’m pretty sure The House of Trembling Madness stock Victory Brewing Company beers though I’ve yet to try any. Next time I’m in York I’ll be sure to get some.

      – David

      • I see a lot of love out there for Day of The Dead so I thought that I would comment on my take of this film.

        If you were to look at Romero’s work as a trilogy (I am happy to forget his latest 3 entries), I think that Day is the weakest of the three. Yes I love the practical effects by Mr. Savini and in fact the finale of this movie has yet to be topped by any horror movie, but that is the only saving grace of this film.

        The strength of Dawn and Night were the characters and the conflict that surrounded these people. My biggest gripe is that I didn’t like any of the characters from Day. I didn’t care if they lived or died. The situation that has been crafted was very promising but they just failed to execute in my opinion.

        This film is still worth checking out if only for Savini’s effect but I would rate it third in the trilogy:

        NOTLD: 9/10
        DAWN: 9.5/10
        DAY: 7/10

        Let the fighting being but remember that this aggression will not stand…man!

        The Dude

        • Cue Billchete impression: “Wow Dude you’re killing me here!”

          Actually this might be the first time that I’ve strongly disagreed with you on something but hey debate is what the comments are for right?

          Personally I think the characters in “Day” are some of the strongest in the series. The protagonists may not be as likeable as the ones in “Dawn” but I liked them more than anyone in “Night” and the antagonists are the best of the series by FAR. Rhodes is just such a despicable macho jerk that I find it extremely fun to hate him. Also “You’ve given us a mouthful of greek salad!”.

          Now in Sarah we pretty much have an audience surrogate, she’s grasping at the last threads of the civilization that she and of course the audience are so accustomed too. I’d say she probably doesn’t have as strong an arc as Francine and maybe isn’t as likeable as a character but she’s definitely the best representation of a strong and resourceful female and miles better than Barbara. I also love the Jamaican guy and the drunk. They knew that everything was going down the pan, saw through the veneer to the futility at the heart of the situation and realised that the only practical course of action left to take was to escape and try to enjoy the rest of their days in peace. That’s as close to an epiphany as any of the characters in the series ever get. Also the first time I watched the movie I kept thinking “This drunk guy ain’t gonna last, these kinds of characters never last” and it saddened me because I really liked him so…..yeah, you know how it goes.

          Of course we also have Bub who must be one of the most likeable zombies ever to grace the screen. He manages to express so much humanity and elicit real sympathy while being an almost wordless walking corpse. Bub is awesome.

          The special effects obviously are some of the best that any zombie movie has to offer to date but I also love a bunch of other elements to the film: the constant rising tension, the bleak claustrophobia of the location, the score, the subtext (Although I personally think that people play up the subtext a bit too much in Romero movies, it’s their but it’s hardly the most subtle or complicated commentary around).

          At the end of the day though it just comes down to personal taste. My favourite decade for horror movies is the 1980’s and to me “Day of the Dead” just feels like the quintessential 80’s zombie film. It’s bleak but not as unrelentingly so as “Night” and it’s fun but not quite as goofy as “Dawn” sometimes gets.

          It’s great to read your opinion on these movies anyway Dude. I’m pretty sure you’re way more knowledgeable than I am when it comes to horror movies and as much as I may agree with some of your comments I can’t help but respect them.

          Peace.

          – David

          • Wait until you read my review on THE SHINING (1980), that will piss some people off! As you said it does come down to personal tastes at times. I am also a big supporter of the concept around the movie viewing experience. Sometimes the stars align (or don’t align) and a movie is more or less impactful. What happened today at work or a collection of events in a persons past can all influence the movie experience. That is why you have so many personal tastes and that is why forums like this are so much because you get to hear everyone else’s opinion.

            I rib Jay a lot over his lack of respect for NOSFERATU (1922) but it is all in good fun. Hell life would be pretty damn boring if we all liked the same things.

            I will always respect someone’s personal opinion, regardless how well formed it is, unless they turn to personal attacks. Feel free to continue to disagree with me and challenge me at every step and I’ll promise to do the same for everyone else out there!

          • That last sentence should read “as much as I may DISagree with some of your comments”.

            Too much coffee.

          • That’s a very good outlook you have man, and part of why I love posting on these comments so much. Everyone is honest and passionate with their opinions but also respectful and open minded.

            As for “The Shining” I’d be really curious to read your review. It’s a 7/10 for me, it is good but I think it’s overrated and I prefer the book.

    • NOTLD is a top tier horror movie for me. I will admit that there may be a little bit of a nostalgic hangover for me because this was one of the first horror movies that I latched onto as a youngin’. That said I still get excited to watch it.

      Some modern viewers may have a problem with the black and white or with the cheap production values, but to me that just adds to the experience. I still find the film to be chilling.

      I also love how Romero pushed the boundaries of film, especially horror film. He did a lot of things that were considered taboo at the time (the scene with the mother and daughter in the basement and of course the ending). Speaking of the ending there are very few movies that leave a viewer as ‘depressed’ as this one. I actually wish more movies had the courage to take this approach as opposed to slapping a happy ending on it (The Mist and The Thing are two of the only other movies that come to mind immediately as I type this with similar endings).

      IMO this movie is required viewing. I think that most horror fans with an open mind will get some value out of this one.

      I will also recommend checking out Tom Savini’s 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead. I know that a lot of people dislike this movie, but it is well done, throws some neat twists into the mix and has a home run performance by Tony Todd. This one is certainly worth looking at.

      The Dude

      • I’ve never actually seen the remake though I know a few of my friends really like it. Maybe it rectifies some of the problems that Juan had with the original? Isn’t there also a colourised version of the original out there?

        • There is a colourized (or perhaps I should say bastardized) version of the original out there, but like any film transferred from an original B&W source it looks terrible.

          If anyone has a fondness for zombies, er living dead, then I would highly recommend this remake. Although Tom Savini directed it, don’t expect Savini style effects but the twists on the original version are well worth it and as mentioned above Tony Todd’s performance as Ben is simply outstanding.

          If it is easy to access to people I recommend it. I might pop it into the old VCR tonight actually.

          • I’m going to back the Dude up on the 90s remake of NOTLD. A solid effort… Especially given how terrible the subsequent remakes are and continue to be.

            However, if you want to expose yourself to a true travesty– worse than colorization– look no further than the 30th anniversary special edition. It’s an abomination that adds new footage to the original film… Which includes a horrible subplot. They also replaced the score with terrible synth music. It’s truly jaw-dropping. I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear the guys take on it– esp. Doc for this one.

            David, I agree with a lot of your comments about Day of the Dead– but I did notice that one of the most obnoxious characters in horror history was conspicuously missing: Miguel. I hate that guy. Soooo irritating. Although Day isn’t my favorite of the original trilogy– it is the one I find myself returning to more than the other two.

            Take care guys,

            HDIITO

          • I actually just watched the remake and it’s quite good! I had heard mixed reviews so I went in a little wary of it, but was pleasantly surprised. Even though it’s a very safe remake, and it doesn’t stray too far from the original, it does enough things differently to warrant a watch.

          • I should also add that the remake also has Bill Moseley and Tom Towles. Horror fans will recognize these heavyweight genre actors.

          • Hisdinnerisintheoven, you are quite right in pointing out that I omitted mention of Miguel’s character in my “Day” comments. I certainly didn’t forget about him but he’s a slightly awkward character to discuss as he doesn’t really fit into the straightforward role of either a protagonist or antagonist. He certainly is annoying (though I can’t help but pity him too) but I don’t think that he’s supposed to be a likeable character, more a demonstration of the effects that such a high stress situation could have on a guy. In a way he might be one of the most realistic characters in the movie, I’m pretty sure a lot of us confronted with that kind of a situation would totally unravel psychologically. His presence also serves to add even more unease to the scenario; he’s pretty much a nervously ticking clock of instability and as irritating as he is I don’t think the film would be the same without him.

            – David

    • Awesome, I’ve returned your follow and if you check out the list of people I follow you should find Jeff Hammer and Mangloid: http://letterboxd.com/david_cassette/following/

      I’d also strongly recommend following Hollie Horror and Brian O’Blivion. Those guys write awesome reviews and their horror lists have been an endless resource for me finding new movies to watch in the last few months. They both seem like really nice folks too.

      – David

  10. @ David, re: Miguel.
    You’re right he is probably the most realistic character… And I’ll be the first in line to say a character doesn’t have to be likable in order to be compelling. I think most of my beefs with him are mostly subjective (and def not as well thought out as your points– I’m afraid). I didn’t love his performance– there is just something grating about his voice. Having said that, I think the character of “Miguel” really came alive in the remake– as he was portrayed by Nick Cannon.
    Kidding. Have you ever seen the train wreck remake? Ugh! Only thing worse: the train wreck sequel: contagion.

    • I’ve actually made a point to avoid the “Day” remake as I heard it was awful and I’m predictably cynical about modern remakes at the best of times. I have seen the “Dawn” remake, though only once and quite a while ago. I remember thinking that one was fairly decent but I should probably revisit it as the only detail I remember vividly is Jay Leno getting shot.

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