Posted on Friday, February 4th, 2011 by Adam Quigley
Ready for another zombie movie? How about another zombie comedy? Well, ready or not, here another one comes: A screenplay based on the cult classic video game Zombies Ate My Neighbors has been written, and now the film is starting to come together. It’s being described as “John Hughes meets Judd Apatow meets George A. Romero”, which sounds like an ultimate pairing of things-everyone-loves, assuming it can be done right.
Loosely based on the early ’90s Super Nintendo game, the film is a coming-of-age high school tale about two best friends — Zeke and Julie — who naturally find themselves contending with their zombie-turned neighbors. Learn more after the break.
News of the film’s development comes from First Showing. Here’s the log line:
It happened one typical night in suburbia; two best friends amongst a sea of teenage angst, battle for safety against the mysterious uprising of neighborhood zombies.
Some may recall, the game — a comical tribute to both classic and horror films of the 1950s through the 1980s — was the subject of some controversy upon its release. It was made prior to the existence of the ESRB, and before then, Nintendo didn’t want blood and gore in their games. As a result, the blood-drenched game over screen had to be changed to purple ooze. Meanwhile, other censorship issues ensued overseas, with the game’s title being renamed to “Zombies” in Europe and Australia and certain content needing to be changed (such as insane chainsaw-wielding enemies being replaced with axe-wielding-lumberjacks).
So the game has some clout amongst gamers as being one of the earliest to feature hysteria-causing levels of violence, but needless to say, for a film that’s presumably going to be geared toward teenagers, there’s little chance of it replicating that no-holds-barred attitude. Plus, the film has a number of other strikes against it: (1) There has never been a good movie based on a video game. (2) The zombie comedy subgenre has lost much of its novelty after recent popular entries such as Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. (3) It’s based on a run-and-gun game that, outside of the title, has literally no story.
On the other hand, that last point could work to the film’s benefit. As has been proven by Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl — based on the Disney theme park attraction — sometimes it’s the adaptations without a narrative that turn out best. The source material provides a simple starting off point, and it’s up to the writers to create something fun and interesting with it. And speaking as somebody who has an affinity for ’90s cheesiness — hell, even Super Mario Bros. and Mortal Kombat have their so-bad-they’re-kind-of-amazing charms — Zombies Ate My Neighbors has plenty of potential to become a goofily enjoyable zombie romp.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t lose the tone of the commercials.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is an independent production written by John Darko, and produced by Darko, April Wade and Ahmed al Baker. The film is still in the process of securing rights and finding a director and financiers, but we’ll keep you updated as news on the project breaks.