great zombie movies

If you think the zombie movie is dead, you’re not alone.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies opened with a thud this past weekend. The shambling undead have become television fixtures thanks to AMC’s The Walking Dead, which has dominated the zombie conversation for so long that the genre has stopped feeling special. Countless new movies have been rightfully accused of repeatedly treading on familiar ground, riffing on a template that George Romero built with Night of the Living Dead decades ago and refusing to try anything truly new. For many, the mere thought of a new zombie movie sounds exhausting, boring.

But like all horror subgenres, a zombie movie is only as good and as unique as its makers are ambitious and clever. I’ve rounded up a group of zombie movies, some older and some new, that don’t play by the traditional rules. These are the movies that allow me to keep my faith in zombie movies alive and well, so consider these the antidote to everything else that has been frustrating you lately.

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Focus Features to Distribute ‘Juan of the Dead’

I’ll agree with anyone who says that it is time to retire the ‘____ of the Dead’ title format (along with the ‘Once Upon a Time in ____’) but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good films still hiding behind the moniker. Take Juan of the Dead, a Cuban zombie film that premiered at Toronto last year and has garnered good reviews in the four months since.

The film is about an unemployed father who finds that he can make a living killing zombies during an outbreak of the undead. Some have seen a political commentary in the movie, though director Alejandro Brugues says the film is more about society, economics and resourcefulness. (Sounds like politics to me, when taken against the backdrop of a country like Cuba.)

Anyway, Focus World, the digital distribution arm of Focus Features, will now release the film in the US. Variety says Focus World “premieres titles across video-on-demand and electronic sell-thru platforms, including cable/satellite providers, iTunes, Xbox 360, Playstation and YouTube.” Check out the trailer below if you’ve missed it in the past. Read More »

Though Fantastic Fest still has three days left packed with movies, the best of the best have been revealed. Monday night, the awards for the best films, actors, writers and directors of the festival were announced in several different categories. Some of the winners are films I’ve already reviewed and loved. The Audience Award went to A Boy and His Samurai by Yoshihiro Nakamura, the AMD Dell Next Wave Spotlight Competition winner was Bullhead directed by Michael R. Roskam (review coming soon) and You’re Next by Adam Wingard swept nearly all the horror awards. Read all the winners after the jump. Read More »

‘Juan of the Dead’ Review [Fantastic Fest 2011]

Other than its title, Juan of the Dead only has one thing in common with George Romero’s films and Shaun of the Dead: zombies. Dawn of the Dead is a subtle social message wrapped in a violent horror film, Shaun of the Dead is a romantic comedy with zombies and Juan of the Dead is an overt political statement with a zombie story stuffed in the middle. Director Alejandro Brugués has a lot to say and some very cool zombie effects to say it with, but when the characters are so obviously speaking of issues that aren’t on screen, some of the fun of the film is sucked out.

After premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, Juan of the Dead had its U.S. Premiere Friday night at Fantastic Fest 2011. Read more after the jump. Read More »

The 2011 edition of the most insane and disturbing film festival imaginable, Fantastic Fest, begins on Thursday. For a week straight some of the most violent, disgusting and frightening films from across the world will descend on the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, Texas and while we’ve already told you what films we’re most excited for, there’s only one man who knows about them all: Tim League. League is not only the CEO of the Drafthouse, he’s the co-creator of Fantastic Fest and its Creative Director, meaning almost every film and event that’s schedule has to go through his unique filter.

After the jump is our interview with League in which he discusses some of this year’s wild parties, five films he think we’ll all be talking about after the festival, why Universal’s The Thing and Toronto Midnight Madness winner The Raid (most likely) won’t be screening, his frightening fight with Knuckle star James Quinn McDonagh, the expansion of the Alamo and Mondo brands and much more. Read More »

There’s almost too much that’s good about Fantastic Fest: experiencing the Alamo Drafthouse for a week straight; the small, friendly, film fan atmosphere; the parties. Oh yeah, then there’s the insane films. Every year Fantastic Fest is filled with a ton of wild genre flicks that either you’ve never heard of yet or already have a lot of buzz surrounding them. As the 2011 festival is set to kick off this week, /Film will be on the ground telling you about the sickest, most disturbing and exciting films playing in Austin, Texas. Before that though, since there’s so much that’s good about Fantastic Fest, we’ve got three lists to get you as excited:

  • The Top 15 Films I’m Curious About – The true gems of Fantastic Fest, these are the wild cards we’re excited for from description alone.
  • The Top 10 Most Anticipated Films – These are films with familiar names or built in buzz from previous festivals.
  • The Top 5 Films of Fantastic Fest 2011 Already – This is a list of five films playing at the Festival we already know to be winners.

Read all of this after the jump and keep checking /Film from September 22-29 for all your coverage of Fantastic Fest 2011. Read More »

We’re mere weeks away from the craziest genre films in the world invading Austin, Texas for Fantastic Fest 2011. They’ve already announced not one, but two waves of films that’ll screen at the festival and now the third and final wave has been revealed. It includes the opening night, world premiere of The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence, the closing night U.S. premiere of Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, the much anticipated Juan of the Dead, Sundance darling Take Shelter, a 30th anniversary screening of An American Werewolf in London with Rick Baker in person and poster by Olly Moss and more.

Plus, Drafthouse CEO Tim League will be fighting bare-knuckle brawler James Quinn McDonagh to usher in the a screening of the documentary Knuckle.

Read the full third wave of films and see some hype videos for the fight after the jump. Read More »

I would rip off someone’s jaw to see Juan of the Dead right now. That’s how cool this first trailer is for what Latino Review calls “Cuba’s 1st Horror Film” is. Written and directed by Alejandro Bruges, Juan of the Dead takes place 50 years after the Cuban Revolution, where the island is overrun by zombies the government swears were sent by the United States. Social commentary aside, it’s then up to one man to attempt to solve the problem. Part Shaun of the Dead (obviously) but with a grittier look more akin to something culty and cool like Six-String Samurai, you’ve gotta see this bad-ass trailer for Juan of the Dead. Read More »


The Cannes Film Festival is more than just a festival. They also have a large film market where distributors try to market and sell their films to international territories. I started off my day on Thursday by attending a buyers screening. At Cannes, press are allowed admission to some of the buyers screenings, but only at the last minute with space permitting.

The 75 seat theater was filled for Gareth EdwardsMonsters, an independent sci-fi thriller which gained some high praise at SXSW. We got some of the last remaining seats. I went in with very low expectations, and was blown away.

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