Friday, May 2, 2008

Deathdream and great zombie performances

Last night I watched Bob Clark’s 1974 film “Deathdream” aka “Dead of Night” (and others) for the first time in many years. I was struck by the chilling and yet moving performance by Richard Backus as Andy, the living dead son coming home from Vietnam, and struggling to cope with, well, being dead. What a gem this film is – no doubt to remade badly in the near future. It’s also one of Tom Savini’s first films as a make up artist. It made me wonder about other great “zombie” performances I have seen. And not just in major roles, but what about the non-speaking zombies that, no matter how small a part they played, are unforgettable? Here’s a few that I have great fondness for, large and small. (And yes, I’ve had to look some of the names up too) To name a few, but does anyone else have any particular favourites?

Jim Crut in Dawn of the Dead (1978) as the zombie who has the top of his head lopped off by the helicopter blades. He looked like ODDBOD from “Carry on Screaming”

Mindy Clarke as Julie in “Return of the Living Dead Part 3”

Telly Savalas as the Cossack captain in “Horror Express”

S. William Hinzman as the zombie in the graveyard at the beginning of “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)

Elizabeth Moody as Mum in “Braindead” (1992)

Howard Sherman as Bub in “Day of the Dead” (1985)

And…..

Ermes Blasarin as the bloated woman who briefly becomes a zombie in the remake of “Dawn of the Dead” (2004)

And I definitely recommend seeing “Deathdream” if you haven’t before.

S L

4 comments:

Charlie said...

Mindy Clarke in ROTLD 3 was a a weird turning point in my life when I realized that a zombie with artistically placed glass sticking out of her could be hot. I didn't say it was a good turning point, but...

Dr. AC, Fool for Blood said...

I have yet to go back and watch the DOTD remake, even though I thought the opening was quite strong. Unfortunately, that's about the only thing I remember about it, which isn't much of an endorsement.

DEAD OF NIGHT/DEATHDREAM is a terrific film and a much, much better Bob Clark horror offering than CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS. I had the pleasure of seeing it last year at the Music Box Massacre - at 4am.

As far as ensembles go, my nomination would be for the undead cast of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. I mean, we've got Linnea Quigley, Thom "I love you and you've got to let me eat your braaaaaaiiiinnnnsss" Matthews, the gloopy TarMan, and the immortal "Send more paramedics" zombie.

Would RE-ANIMATOR count as a zombie flick? If so, then David Gale needs a nod for his leering performance as Dr. Carl Hill. I mean, head from a disembodied head, how can you top that?

pcfoster said...

Billy Connolly as Fido. Sweet fellow. Bad-ass when you mess with his little buddy. And he nails Carrie-Anne Moss!

alyrenee said...

Hmm...my favorite zombies are in teh very kitschy but fun Night of the Comet...it's a great pre-Buffy Valley Grrrrl Power flick...filled with totally 80's zombies and the obligatory mall shopping spree scene. But there is something very satisfying about a cheerleader with a machine gun.