ZOMBIEMANIA (2007) Directed by Donna Davies
The scraping sound of something awkwardly dragging something heavy is near…and a deep, guttural gurgling noise is coming even closer…tension mounts as you wonder why it’s taking so damn long…you peek around the corner and-Agh!-some rotting monster is already plucking out your intestines. (Crap!)
What is it about zombies that scare us so much more than other monsters? ZOMBIEMANIA deftly explores the living dead’s transitional journey through time, delving deep into the zombie mystique and the evolution of our perception of them: ranging from fear (KING OF THE ZOMBIES, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) to humor (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD).
Along with some really great blood-soaked, gut-munching movie clips, there are many informative interviews with zombie “experts” whose names the average devourer of all things horror has understood as synonymous with all things zombie: George Romero, Tom Savini, Greg Nicotero, and Rue Morgue Magazine’s Jovanka Vuckovic & Dave Alexander. That’s not all! Insightful perceptions of the zombie stigma are also divulged by authors Max Brooks (The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z), Wade Davis (The Serpent and the Rainbow, who actually went to Haiti to study zombies!) and Brian Keene, among a few others.
The documentary’s fun aesthetics are pleasing enough, especially since each time the camera cuts to a new speaker, their image instantly transforms into a zombie caricature of themselves, courtesy of zombie portrait artist Rob Sacchetto. The viewer is treated to a quick look at the process Rob goes through to create the many layers it takes to complete just one zombie portrait. Interesting stuff!
This fantastic little documentary (zombimentary?) premiered on Canadian TV’s SPACE channel January 3rd, 2008, so it’s got an edited-for-television 47-min. running time, which is really my only complaint. For such a short doc, it whips us through all the necessary mediums to keep zombies alive via popular culture: Make-up F/X, Film, Books, Comics, Video Games, Art and even Zombie Walks! ZOMBIEMANIA may be short on time, but it isn’t short on useful information and resources that solidify our reasoning for staying a few steps ahead of that person following us in the dark, just in case…