Zombie movies often traffic in reliable elements. For instance, there will always be nonsensical, dirty hordes of Zombie people. They will gather and move en masse. They go around moaning, walking crooked and eating brains. They bite non-Zombies thus infecting them with Zombie germs, which perpetuates the species.
Then, there is a group of non-zombies. These people make up the heroes of the story. The heroes are often slow in realizing there are hordes of Zombies outside their very doors. Also, they are slow in figuring out what made it all happen. But, eventually the heroes get their act together and fight a righteous fight. All good fun.
With that being said, is it possible to create mind bending originality with a Zombie film? Is it possible to scare the viewer, this viewer, even if she knows all of the above? Even if she has average to above average writing skills and can thus predict a lot of dialogue and plot devices?
In the case of Monty Pool, you bet yer sweet bippy!!
The heroes of this story are a radio disk jockey and his producer. The radio station is set in Canada. Snowy, cold Canada. The disk jockey is a bit of a crank ass and wears a black cowboy hat. He also hates his job. He wants to be big and famous. Yet there he is, stuck in small town Canada. Announcing school closings. Again, he's a bit of a crank ass.
The producer calms and cajoles a decent morning program from yon cranky DJ.
Now, let's take a moment to get some visuals. Because 95% percent of this film takes place in a basement with our two heroes. In a radio studio.
This is Mazzie. The aforementioned DJ.
Here is the producer, being patient and cajoling.
Now, about 15 minutes into the morning program, reports start trickling in about a group of protesters. A horde of chanting people, because yes o yes! The Zombie invasion HAS BEGUN!
But wait. There's less.
What got me clutching Mr. Hall, what made me literally say to myself, over and over again, "This is just a movie!", what scared the crap out of me, was the sheer spookiness of the unseen. The verbiage! The actual Zombies don't show up until well past the half way mark. Yet there I was, freaking out because of the Zombies.
This is a testament to the actors. Because really, it's all them. The DJ goes on describing reports of protesters. Protesters who are busting into buildings and killing people. Making these musical chanting noises. It's all his words describing the action.
Words people, WORDS!
And here I am, the viewer, knowing it's just words and facial expression. Knowing it's just a movie. Yet there it is, scaring the crap out of Mrs. Hall. And you think it wouldn't work, but goddamn! It did!
Then the heroes must figure out how this is happening. What is causing the protesters to gather, to kill and then eat the innards? What is the cause of all this? How is it spreading??!!!
THIS IS WHERE THE FILM GETS BRILLIANT!
It isn't Zombie bites. Or a virus or nuclear radiation. No!! It's sound. Words are the carrier of the Zombie illness. Which makes the setting of a radio station all the more brilliant of a setting, no? Because a radio station transmits words and sounds. And the Zombies being to hone in on the radio station. After all, that's where the words are coming from!
Thus the Zombies bust into the radio station. Breaking glass all that.
But here's the thing, the DJ and the producer are in sound proof booth. They are making the sounds but cannot be heard directly. So the Zombies gather around the glass. Bashing into it. This is the first glimpse of the Zombies. Making a mess of the glass. It's gross.
The first Zombie appears.
Then lots of Zombies.
Bumping up against the soundproof both, over and over, trying to get at the sound. It's really gross.
But, eventually they realize they get can't get at the sound by bumping against the glass. They wander off toward the speaker. But again, they leave quite the mess.
So, at this point in the film the heroes have figured out sounds and words are infecting people. Making them very ill indeed. But which words? And what is the cure?
I'm not going to tell you!
But, I'll give you a hint. A riddle really. When does a word lose it's meaning?
When does a word lose it's meaning?
Well, you'll just have to watch the film. Which was a phenomenally freaky ride. It's heartwarming actually. Raised my spirits beyond belief. Because I now know there are a whole host of films out there, all having what I like the best.
Which is originality. And writing that drives both crazy character development and the movie itself. Without getting all Jane Austen or Precious! Movies that are smart and freaky! And let we forget, I LOVE ME SOME ZOMBIES!!
It's a love I'm passing down to my kids. See, look at yon youngin' Halls. She how they do the Zombie!
Ok good, now go! Find the movie and watch it! CATCH THE ZOMBIE FEVAH!!!