Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 035: Black Friday – The Horrors of Consumerism

HMP035 Artwork

It’s Black Friday on HORROR MOVIE PODCAST, where we’re Dead Serious About Horror Movies… We hope you had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. To show appreciation to the listeners of HMP, we have prepared a BONUS episode, where all four hosts — Jay of the Dead, Wolfman Josh, Dr. Shock and Dr. Walking Dead — dive deep into the analysis of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) for an episode that we’ve titled: Black Friday: The Horrors of Consumerism. We also bring you a review of the 1980s, semi-slasher oddity, Chopping Mall (1986). This episode is dedicated to a listener called “Snowy Otter.” (We’ll get to “Videodrome.”)

And make sure you haven’t overlooked Episode 034, our first Cryptozoological Horror. Our next episode releases in one week, on Friday, December 5, 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!


I. Introduction
— Welcome back Dr. Walking Dead Kyle Bishop
— Wolfman Josh explains the theme

[ 0:06:39 ] II. Feature Analysis: DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978), BLACK FRIDAY and CONSUMERISM
Jay of the Dead = 8.5 ( Buy it! )
Wolfman Josh = 9 ( Buy it! )
Dr. Shock = 10 ( Buy it! )
Dr. Walking Dead = 10 ( Buy it! )

[ 1:10:59 ] III. Feature Review: CHOPPING MALL (1986)
Jay of the Dead = 4 ( Low-priority Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 4 ( Rental )
Dr. Shock = 4 ( Avoid )

IV. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending
— iTunes review from CrazyWacFunk (Thank you!)
— Horror book give-away!

HMP035-give-away Artwork

And to become eligible to win Jonathan Penner’s “Horror Cinema” book (pictured above), simply leave a comment here on Episode 035 naming your favorite consumerism-themed horror film and why it’s your favorite.

E-mail us at HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com to receive a free eBook of Dr. Shock’s movie reviews, in exchange for writing him an honest review on Amazon.

— Friday, December 5, 2014 for Episode 036.

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

Jay of the Dead recommends watching the first 3 minutes, 39 seconds of The Purple Smurfs (aka Gnap! aka The Zombie Smurf episode). Sadly, the complete version has been removed from YouTube, due to copyright infringement.


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

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

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

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.

If you like Horror Movie Podcast, please subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes. If you want to support the show, we have PayPal buttons on our sister site, Movie Podcast Weekly.com, in the right-hand sidebar where you can make a one-time donation or you can become a recurring donor for just $2 per month. (Every little bit helps!)

Thanks for listening, and join us again Friday after next for HORROR MOVIE PODCAST!

Jay of the Dead

55 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 035: Black Friday – The Horrors of Consumerism

  1. Great show! I have been looking forward to this all week. I really enjoyed hearing Dr. Walking Dead discuss Dawn of the Dead, and the clips of news coverage of actual Black Friday events were truly creepy. I am ashamed to admit that I have not seen the original Dawn of the Dead (I have seen the remake). I have seen the original Day of the Dead and I liked it quite a bit even though I limit my zombie movie watching due to the fact that they almost always give me vivid nightmares.

    My husband and I put “Chopping Mall” on last night for our Thanksgiving guests as part of a fun/weird movie marathon. I really enjoyed it as a piece of 80’s silliness and we all found it pretty funny. Not at all something I would consider scary, but I have seen other Jim Wynorski movies and had a general idea what I was in for. It was a staff pick at our local video rental store for one dollar. (We are lucky to still have such a great rental place a short drive away).

    As for my favorite movie of this type I am going to have to go with “The Stuff”. I think the original “Dawn of the Dead” would be a better choice, but I haven’t seen more that a few clips. “The Stuff” isn’t a scary movie by any means but the commentary about what’s in a lot of our food is pretty spot on. The first time I saw it I thought of the 80’s Slim Fast shake ads that were all over the place when I was a kid. I also always resented being forced to eat anything when I was young, so I really felt for the main character when his parents tried to force him to eat the stuff.

    Thanks again for another great show, and especially for putting out so much extra content during a holiday week.

    • Woah! You watched Chopping Mall?! Hilarious. You know, I enjoyed it more for what it was than I gave it credit for on the show. I was focusing in on the theme more than the redicilous 80s fun.

      Kyle is incredible, isn’t he? Makes the rest of us look bad. Hopefully he’ll be in a lot more as his schedule clears up at the University.

      I’m glad you chose The Stuff. That’s a film Id really like to discuss in greater detail. Thanks for your entry. So far … you’re the only one! Your chances are looking great!

    • Glad you had fun with “Chopping Mall” Allyson. I thought the hosts were maybe a little harsh on it in this episode though I do fully understand their criticisms. It’s one of those movies that I can only really defend by saying “it’s fun and it’s from the 80’s”.

      • Waaaaay to harsh in my opinion. Chopping Mall is a classic and one of my top movies of the 80s. I know that the way Jay and the others score “bad” movies has been explained before, but I still like to score such movies on a more personal level rather than an objective level. I mean, I can’t possibly approach a movie like Chopping Mall like I would Nightcrawler—apples and oranges, man. That’s why Chopping Mall is a 10 in my book and just because it’s a 10 doesn’t mean that it’s on the level of Nightcrawler, which is another 10—whoa! you just blew my mind, man.

        • Although I try to reserve my 9 and 10 scores for movies that I think are excellent on almost all levels I do lean more towards your style of rating Juan. If I enjoy a movie then it deserves a good rating in my book. A film might have a really low budget, a nonsensical plot or bad acting but sometimes that’s the experience I want from a B-movie or an exploitation flick. Sometimes that kind of grittiness, hamminess or general imperfection is what makes a piece of cinema memorable and interesting.

          That said I do understand the obligation to rate on a more objective level when it’s for a podcast that people rely on for recommendations.

          • I agree with that last statement, David. I was just speaking out as a fan of the movie much like Josh speaks out about the remake of Psycho.

      • Gremlins is my favorite consumerism horror film, too! It’s obviously about Christmas consumerism and not heeding the warnings about what ‘Need’ & Greed can do to us. Irresponsible actions destroy an entire town, for pete’s sake!

        I need to watch it now.

      • Jay, you mentioned the purple Smurf that bites people.

        I love you.

        Also, Vegas is a dirty, filthy place on a physical and psychological level. New York City is so much better.

  2. really the first thing comes to mind is straw dogs…the original and sequel…these people were looking for a better life and then everything goes to shit…

  3. Okay so I think I’m going to disqualify myself from the competition despite the prize being really cool. This is in part because I wouldn’t want you guys paying the extra postage in the event that I won (and I also don’t own a coffee table) but also because my choice of movie is one that probably won’t be regarded as proper horror by most folks.

    I’ve discussed my opinions about the concept of “keeping horror pure” (to paraphrase Jay) at length before so I’ll just briefly reiterate that I like to maintain a broad personal definition of “horror” and that I don’t think we should be limiting ourselves by being overly dogmatic when it comes to genre conventions.

    So with that said my pick is “Krysar” or “The Pied Piper” from 1986. As I already suggested this is one that probably won’t be most horror fans cup of tea but it’s certainly full to the brim with strange nightmarish imagery as well as being a seething indictment of consumerism, capitalism, corruption and greed. This is a 53 minute long expressionist stop-animation film from Czechoslovakia which very darkly retells the already creepy tale of The Pied Piper of Hamelin with the aforementioned econo-political spin. Although “Krysar” acts as a very blatant critique of corporate greed and materialism the thing that’s most notable about this movie is the sheer insane, nightmarish style of its visuals. The twisted nature of the corrupt lifestyle it seeks to lambaste is represented by horribly angular and distorted figures who occupy a labyrinthine city that’s a kind of medieval/industrial hybrid. And although this is an animated film it certainly isn’t for kids; as well as the general horrific look of the characters and settings there’s also some bloodshed, death and implied rape.

    I didn’t watch this movie in english but there’s very little dialogue and it’s so visual that following what was going on was never a problem. It’s an 8/10 for me and I’m pretty sure you can find the whole thing of youtube.

    Another notable mention would be the film adaptation of “Needful Things” by Stephen King. I’ve not actually seen it but if it’s anything like the book (which is actually one of my least favourites by King) then it has to contain some commentary on consumerism/materialism and I was actually reminded of some of it’s more violent moments while listening to the genuinely disturbing news report audio inserted into this episode. That sickening psychotic spell that some people seem to fall under if it means they can get that special item at the right price.

    • I haven’t seen either film. Interested to check them out, now. Part of me thinks I’ve seen NEEDFUL THINGS because we did a Stephen King series when I was on Land of the Creeps, but I don’t remember anything about it and your description doesn’t sound familiar. KRYSAR sounds extremely interesting and I’ve actually always found the Pied Piper to be a scary, disturbing story.

      • Well the plot of “Needful Things” concerns a new shop opening in a small town which basically sells products representing peoples deepest material desires. It’s been a long time since I read it but I seem to remember that the items in question were only perceived to be particularly desirable and meaningful by specific customers while everyone else saw them for what they were; pieces of junk. I recall an Elvis obsessed housewife purchasing a crappy broken pair of glasses which she perceived to be a pair of shades owned by The King himself. Not only that but the creepy proprietor of the shop doesn’t sell the items for cash but instead for favours in the form of pranks played on other citizens of the town. These pranks initially seem fairly harmless but gradually snowball out of control erupting in a chain reaction of paranoid and vengeful violence; all for the sake of each persons prized purchase.

        It’s a great concept but King scuppers the ending by making simultaneously too predictable and too ridiculous.

        As I say though I haven’t seen the movie so maybe that fairs better?

  4. I would go with The Stuff. Especially in this day and age when marketing is key for a product. I recall seeing the advertising increase as the movie goes on. As far as consumerism I recall the scene where a family goes to a restaurant in the middle of the night with children to eat “The Stuff”. That scene has always stuck with me. Keep up the great work! Thanks.

  5. It may not be technically a horror movie but John Carpenter’s They Live has a strong consumerism theme. Using subliminal billboards, store signs, magazine covers with messages to OBEY, to CONSUME, to have NO INDEPENDENT THOUGHT. Money itself says THIS IS YOUR GOD. The aliens used this to keep humans in a state of mindless consumerism. This is how they took over our planet. I don’t think there are too many more horror movies on this subject that you guys didn’t mention. This is the best I could come up with…Tough one…

  6. This movie isn’t horribly scary, but I think it fits because it has vampires. DAYBREAKERS truly deals with consuming flesh. The word has been overrun with vampires to the point where they run world governments. Since it is a vampire world they have nearly tapped out their one true food source- human blood. The blood is so scarce that vampire scientists are attempting to produce a synthetic alternative before all the humans are extinct and the blood is gone. There are some interesting scenes that give the gravity of how scarce blood is from nightly news updates to the percentage of blood left in the world and it shows what happens to the vampires if they go without blood for to long (feral?). Hope this counts. Thanks.

  7. Thanks for the great episode, again(!!), you guys. I would be hard pressed to say American Psycho as my favorite consumer-horror film. You’re probably right as that one is closer to horror than Videodrome. It’s is so much fun to read the book as well and as he describes everyones outfit and every brand, it’s just insane and really makes you think about how brand names really drive us to fit in. It’s kind of beating a dead horse to go into detail about it. But that’s my pick and I am sticking to it! Thanks for the dedication also, made me blush. Keep up the awesome job.

    • I think that the book is even more an indictment of yuppie consumerism than the movie and it’s also much more hardcore and disturbing when it comes to gore. Patrick Bateman is pretty much what happens when a person is defined solely by their consumerist lifestyle.

  8. I LOVE this episode! Great commentary for Dawn of the Dead, I actually want to go back for a second listen. I love that you guys did Chopping Mall too! My mom bought me the DVD years ago on a whim and it’s still on my shelf.

    I have two movies that I would pick for my consumerism movies (other than Dawn of the Dead), They Live and Gremlins 2. I think Gremlins 2, since I grew up watching it, was what turned me off to mass consumerism especially on Black Friday. The first time I saw They Live I couldn’t help but laugh at the signs of OBEY and CONSUME because that’s exactly how I feel sometimes going shopping and seeing the ridiculous things store are selling. Something that comes to mind is the hot dog toaster I saw recently haha.

    You guys are great, keep up the great work!

  9. Jesus I’m grasping for straws now but isnt You’re Next about this…to do whatever it takes to make your life better…isn’t that what consumerism is about…not on a mass scale but on a personal level…

    • I’m far from an expert on economics and stuff but I think I’d personally define consumerism less as doing whatever it takes to make ones life better and more as attempting (often futilely) to make ones life better through acquisition of goods/services/brands etc. Sort of consuming products which are ultimately trivial and inessential in the belief that they will somehow increase ones self-worth and/or improve ones quality of life.

      I haven’t actually seen “You’re Next” though so it could apply for all I know!

  10. I’m personally not a fan but do you guys think that the “Hostel” franchise could be a commentary on consumerism. It’s almost like the idea of promoting ones superiority over others via spending taken to it’s most disturbing extreme. The killers are purchasing an experience designed to give them a sense of empowerment; they are paying to consume a human life.

  11. Also I have no problem at all with you guys not being able to cover “American Psycho” and “Videodrome” due to time constraints and the sheer volume of content you’ve been putting out recently (which is greatly appreciated) but Jay, I’m going to have to be honest here and say that it bothers me a little when you suggest that those two movies might not be worthy of coverage on this podcast for the sake of maintaining genre-purity.

    I’ve gone over my approach to this attitude fairly exhaustively in the comments of MPW before, mainly in conversation with Josh, so I’ll try not to repeat myself too much but I just think that if we’re discounting movies like “Videodrome” and “American Psycho” we should be asking questions like “Where do we draw the line?” and “How subjective is the definition of the genre?”.

    So those movies might not be 100% pure horror but what movie is? Show me a horror film that doesn’t incorporate a percentage of conventions from other genres, be they comedic elements, thriller elements, mystery elements etc. Is there such a thing? I mean I could turn around and say that a movie like “The Sixth Sense” (considered by a lot of folks to be a thriller) is more true to the horror tradition than something like “Friday the 13th”. Horror cinema is directly rooted in horror literature (just look at the source material for most of the earliest films in the genre) and the majority of early horror literature deals with the supernatural. So is it that much of a stretch to suggest that “The Sixth Sense” is way more of a pure horror film than “Friday the 13th” which has it’s roots more in the mystery and crime genres? I don’t actually know, because genres evolve and mutate and absorb elements in their periphery, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the argument and should that discount “Friday the 13th” from being covered on a horror podcast? If we want to be dogmatic about the purity of the genre then maybe it should but I don’t think any of us truly want that so make a plea for less exclusivity!

    • This is true. Every time you (Jay) are worried about including a “non-horror” film on the podcast, you make it sound like us horror fans are only looking for blood and cheap jump scares. It really bugs me that you think that of us. The horror community shouldn’t be confined to a few broad generalizations just because that’s the abstracted perception that people have of us—and you, as a member of said community, should know that by now. Horror is so much more than bodies getting chopped up.

      • That sounded a lot angrier than I intended. Sorry Jay, I’m not angry. But don’t me angry. You wouldn’t like it when I’m angry.

      • Thanks Doc!

        Also, I wanted to ask about these E-books of yours.
        I’m sort of a Luddite and my knowledge of this kind of new fangled technology is rather limited so apologies for my ridiculous ignorance but do I need a kindle or a similar device to read an E-book or is there a way to do so on my Windows XP desktop? If there is a way for them to work on my caveman computer then I’d be more than happy to have a read and give you some feedback/a review.

        Either way I think it’s a really cool direction for you to go in!

  12. My Favorite film mentioned (and one of my favs of all time)…. is Dawn of the Dead…. just the idea of the dead reuturning to the mall like they are on autopilot sums it all up…

    Also as David mentioned, the one modern film, that I think shows the next level of the need to over consume, which eventually leads to lack of excitment or satisfaction is Hostel.

  13. Man! Everyone has already pick all the cool movies and because I’m such a jerk and want to pick something different, I’ll go with 28 Days Later. I think this is kind of an obvious choice, but I really like the movie and I think it’s a more realistic representation of how humans can become a kind of zombie when looking to consume. Sure, Romero’s film was set in a mall, but the zombies are slow—nothing like black friday shoppers in real life. 28 Days Later brought us the fast zombie (or rather infected). Infected by what? Consumerism of course! (and rage, tons and tons of rage). Isn’t that what possesses people during the shopping holidays? Take a look at this video and tell me it doesn’t look like deleted scenes from 28 Days Later.

  14. Any listeners from the future who might be hearing this and doubting Jay’s love for the obscenely commercial, listen to the beginning of the I-80 tapes. First he calls getting a Coca-Cola and Dorritos at a gas station while browsing the $5 bin “the American dream” but then, when Jason talks about a town that “beckons” to him along the road, he says “they have a Walmart, they have a Dairy Queen and I love it.” Priceless.

  15. I’m a future listener listening to these podcasts… and I forget the winning lottery numbers. But I wanted to chime in on something for the sake of JotD, so that maybe he might feel a little less lonely. I LOVE CONSUMERISM TOO!!!! Good god, I love it. Black Friday? I’ve ventured out into just to watch the shopping and not even to buy anything and it’s glorious. To watch the people purchase, consume, buy, and to watch the money change hands… YES!!! And driving down the highway to stop at a quick place for a soda and a bag of snacks while perusing the $5 bin is a grand and glorious thing. I LOVE IT!!! I’m not even kidding… I seriously love consumerism and I love capitalism and I love it all! Now I may disagree on a number of movies, but I totally get the thrill in watching the market place at work.

    • My favorite quote from the article:

      “My dad insisted on me picking up this giant Barney plush doll that was about four feet tall. I asked him why he wanted that, and he said, “Because it’s $500, so get it.” ”

      Ha, I love it. Dad’s there with the clever wisdom.

      My mom worked at Toys R Us back in the 90’s and I would have loved to have this sort of free roam on the building to get whatever I wanted.

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