Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dawn of the Dead

I feel this film is still a metaphor for consumerism.

Everyone would enjoy having the opportunity to be alone in a mall, doing anything you wish. This is seen during the film when the survivors start to enjoy themselves, breaking the rules of the mall which under normal circumstances would have controlled them, by smoking, drinking, spray painting the walls, trying new clothes and even making a sex tape. The mall provides a sanctuary from the zombies, (the song ‘Don’t Worry be Happy’ was playing in the background when they first entered) allowing the survivors to relax and do as they wish. Harper states “the survivors create a shopping utopia for themselves, a place where they can temporarily ignore the threat of the zombies.”
The zombies are drawn to the mall for an unknown reason and it’s suggested that it’s due to some form of basic instinct. It also suggests a soulless consumption.

I liked Harper’s comparison of DOTD to teen dramas (which are the more tradition films to be set in a mall) such as Clueless.

The remake also conveys how death has become a game, through the scenes where the gun shop owner shoots the celebrity look-a-like zombies. It is a sick game in which he is allowed to effectively shoot people without repercussions, somewhat fulfilling some deep seeded fantasy.

I feel the film is a good demonstration of how our lives are dominated by such pointless, material goods. The mall is full of brand new merchandise, however virtually all of it is worthless to the survivors. When faced with death, one realises that materialistic items are insignificant. The film boils down to being about life vs. death and order vs. chaos (seen when they escape the chaotic outdoors and enter the clam and tranquil mall). We see the death of civilisation and order.

Many apocalyptic films end with a glimmer of hope for the human race, and show how humans always prevail. However with DOTD the remaining survivors, after battling against the odds, are met with more zombies and ultimately death. I feel in recent times this have become more common with films, damning the human race, saying there is no hope for humanity.


"I've always felt that the real horror is next door to us, that the scariest monsters are our neighbors," filmmaker George A. Romero said in an interview with Barnes & "It's been a theme throughout my work--to bring the horror into our own homes, to fill the stories with brand names that we all use, beers that we like to drink, streets that look like our own."

This sums up for me the themes of reason for film such as Dawn of the dead. It expresses the idea that we all know that scarier things happen in daily life however filmmakers use themes such as zombies to mystify a reality that films can be more scary then life. By bringing the modern version of Dawn of the dead to show in the remake it shows the modern capitalist society through its new motifs such as consumerism. The interpretation that Kyle Bishop has about the use of Zombies in American culture is agreeable. I found this quote simply sums up the use of American zombie ideas best. "Historically, zombie cinema had always represented a stylized reaction to cultural consciousness".This perpetuates the idea that whatever issues are within American cultures there will be a zombie film to match, for the American people to still believe there is worse to come.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Week 1...The Mist

I have chosen the film The Mist, a 2007 film directed by Frank Darabont (original story by Stephen King). The main story focuses around a group of survivors which have barricaded themselves in a supermarket, hiding from the mist that has engulfed the town, bringing with it a variety of aliens/monsters. The films main focus is not the physical attack of the aliens, or the destruction they cause, but the affect they have on the survivors. The film is set in small town America and the viewer never fully knows if the ‘mist’ has affected the entire world, but you are lead to assume so.

The film convincingly displays the break down of the social hierarchy and order when faced with extreme, life threatening circumstances. We see that fear soon turns people on each other, and the significance of religion becomes a lot more prominent. One ‘preacher’ manages to convert the majority of the survivors into believing that they are experiencing the ‘end of days’. This leads to fights and even murder (or sacrifices) and makes the viewer feel that its people, more than aliens, that we should fear.

We also see an unconventional approach in that the one woman who does not listen to the ‘hero’ and does her own thing actually survives and manages to save her family. In the majority of apocalypse films, the hero is always right and manages to save the day, however in the mist he makes awful decisions that result in the deaths of many characters.

Toward the end of the film we see how the American army has managed to organise a counter attack and destroy the aliens/mist. I feel this is a running theme through many apocalyptic films, especially those dealing with alien invasion.
Whilst this film is unconventional in its approach to the genre, I feel it is n excellent apocalyptic film, especially when looking at the human, emotional side.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Tribe is a apocalyptic television series, created by Raymond Thompson and Harry Duffin, it is a typical apocalyptic theme where they use a Shopping Mall a their main scene setting. It is mostly aimed at teenagers around the age 8-17. The story line to this series is about a deadly virus that wipes out all the adults in the world, leaving the children and young adults to defend for themselves, which is chaos, they form Tribes to try and survive but it is not easy with food supplies running out and different Tribes wanting different things for the new world, for example power, peace or just to live. The Tribes have names, different clothing and makeup to show their loyalties to their Tribe.

I choose this apocalyptic series because from every day life of school, work and shopping, children have to live without their parents and the live with the everyday’s worries of teenage hood. This series is interesting as it goes from the modern world to living off the land, rebuilding their lives from scratch with no technology, guns, laws. With the dangers of power ridden Tribes who are only out to destroy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Apocalypse Nerd

Apocalypse Nerd is a series of comic books based on two 'average' men who survive the Apocalypse. The story followers their adaption to survival. The comics makes fun out of the inabilities of modern society when it comes to survival. At the end of each comic there is a section about the Founding fathers of America and satires what they tried to achieve.

This comic is aimed at adults though it is not rude or sexual. It shows that the idea of the Apocalypse ending is entertaining for adults. The way in which the comic uses the founding fathers as satire also reflects the idea that America has brought on its own ending, by the way in which it was founded. On the idea of the City on a hill and individualism. This will also ultimately be its downfall, as shown by the comic books.

Monday, February 15, 2010

First post

For your first posting, following our first session, please select any American text (book, film, TV, comic book) and justify your choice as "apocalyptic"