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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Zombiemania: Lots of Fun, but Where Are the Italians?

With Columbus Day just recently come and gone, I thought I had effectively put my yearly Italian-American outrage behind me. But no. Just one day after watching helplessly once again as the closest thing to the Italians' version of St. Patrick's Day slowly get bumped down the holiday list till it's somewhere between Arbor Day and Boxing Day, I had to sit down and watch Zombiemania on Starz.

That's probably a bit too harsh. I want to flat out say that Starz' newest documentary on the history of zombie movies (originally released last year on Canadian TV) was a real hoot. They did a fine job for the most part, following the evolution of the zombie from the voodoo monster of old, through the Romero rebirth, and right up to the undead renaissance of the past decade.

Interview subjects include Romero, Greg Nicotero, Tom Savini, Brian Keene, Max Brooks, Jovanka Vukovic, Maitland McDonagh and others. All very well-informed, and all have a lot to add to the proceedings.

But that said, there was one glaring omission, and that would be the complete lack of a single reference to the entire Italian cycle of zombie flicks. No Lucio Fulci, no Andrea Bianchi, no nuthin. That's like doing a history of the cowboy genre and leaving out spaghetti westerns. OK, maybe not quite that egregious, since spaghetti westerns are arguably the best of that entire genre, but you catch my drift.

Still, Zombiemania was a very enjoyable little documentary, which got into a lot of aspects of the craze, from zombie walks to zombie comics to Max Brooks giving zombie survival lectures on college campuses. It's cool for a total long-time zombie geek like myself to see something like this. After all these years, I still get a kick out of seeing how mainstream America has finally caught up with us.

But I'm still not letting them off the hook for leaving out the Italians. Disgraziato...

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Two other things:

  • If you haven't yet, check out the Dawn of the Dead debate/commentary I did with Brad McHargue of I Love Horror. This is something we originally recorded a few weeks ago, but now Brad has posted it to the excellent site HorrorSquad. So go take a listen.
  • Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of The Vault of Horror. That's right, two whole years of me distracting myself from the work I get paid to do. I've got something fun and unique planned, so stay tuned...


senski said...

At least you have an Italian zombie heritage to be proud of, B-Sol. Polish zombies, however...(insert joke of choice here)

Christopher Zenga said...

As a fellow Italian I have done my duty and arranged for Zio Guido to prep the cement shoe maker, let this be a warning to all Anti - Ital documentary film makers! The Euro Un-Dead will have a voice!!!

Later Days,
Chris Zenga

Matt-suzaka said...

Being a big fan of Italian horror and exploitation cinema, it is a bummer to hear that the Eye-talian's take of the zombie genre was not included on the doc.

Starz has a ton of good movie docs, but they are known to leave some odd things out. Fantastic Flesh, for example, only barley mentioned Stan Winston and I do not think that Rick Baker was even brought up! A doc about the art of special FX without them?! Blasphemy!

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