Hardcore zombie action for beginners... with Grimm Up North's latest triple bill of movie mayhem...
I’m sitting here in the comfortable surroundings of the Dance House on Oxford Rd. Half student lecture theatre, half traditional ballet venue, the building fits this occasion perfectly.
Ahead of me are the hardcore fans, clad in post-apocalyptic make-up, behind me are a group of corduroy clad post-grads and the atmosphere is palpable, one of cheap beer fuelled excitement.
Topping the bill of films – one of a marathon of three – is Cuban, Juan of the Dead; a wonderfully funny zom–com romp with obvious pointers towards our own Shaun of the Dead.
What is great about this film, is that you don’t have to be a huge zombie nut to understand the humour and share the characters pain in the poignant closing scenes. This film really takes you on an emotional journey.
Next on the bill was the anticipated (North West premier) of the genetically-modified-super-zombie film War of the Dead. To sum up in one word – disappointing.
All the dialogue appeared to have been scripted in a cheese factory and received howls of derision from the now coffee-fuelled spectators. The plot lacked reason and there was no sense of empathy felt towards the two dimensional characters.
Third on the bill, as I was informed, was a genre-defining classic – 1980's Return of the Living Dead. This film epitomised everything that is good-hearted and fun about this genre.
Return is about as fun as it gets – good gags, well crafted script and a good deal of tongue in cheek, pinch of salt action.
It is worth noting that half way through the second feature I was ready to give up on the Zombie marathon; however those who stayed for Return were rewarded in spectacular fashion. Akin to a well made dessert after a bitter tasting main course.
If I were to recommend a film out of the three to a new comer to the genre I would definitely pick the Return of the Living Dead, although Juan was comedic and endearing, Return has everything you would expect from a Zombie film and more. If you haven’t seen it already, do so – now!
The best thing about being at the venue for the marathon was the atmosphere of genuine film enthusiasm. There was no chair kicking or exuberant pop corn munching, everyone was kind, affable and up for a good time.
It is gems of an evening like this one that make you love the city you live in. What’s more it all cost a very reasonable £8.
A huge thank you to the promoters Grimm Up North, who introduced the films and organised a zombie lover’s raffle for the ardent fans.
Like the title of this review suggests – you don’t have to be a hardcore zombie fan to enjoy this fare, just up for a laugh and a riotous good time.
Keep a beady, blood-tinted eye out for any more Grimm Up North nights... they are an absolute screech.
For all upcoming events see http://grimmfest.com/grimmupnorth/