Sunday, 21 April 2013

Feature - Zombie Checklist

Today is obscurendure's second birthday. So as part of the celebrations I decided to knock up a lovely list. I love lists.

We're already 18 films into our Year of the Dead season and it's time for a Zombie Checklist. Here's a tip for budding filmmakers: put all of these features into a zombie film and you're on to a winner.

  • Slow-moving zombies. These films are all about an atmosphere of dread and inevitability. Keep them slow.
  • A character has to walk up to one of their zombified loved ones, thinking that they're okay, and promptly get munched.
  • Zombie arms burst through a window or boarded up area, preferably grabbing someone by the hair.

  • A scene of light relief where zombies do something from their old life, e.g. try to make a nice cup of tea.
  • No explanation of where the zombies came from. Don't even bother trying to justify it. I really don't care. In no way shape or form, say that it's an infection (Boyle, we're looking at you).
  • The filmmakers have to admit that they've made a zombie film (Boyle, we're looking at you, again).
  • Proper editing where you can tell what's happening in the gore scenes (Boyle, I'm getting sick of looking at you).
  • One of the main characters has to be bitten. The other characters then hang around waiting for them to turn. Then they blow them away with a shotgun.

  • A scene of zombies rising from their graves is a surprisingly rare treat. If it's in the fog, all the better.
  • Someone commits suicide rather than becoming a zombie.
  • Characters make a pact to kill each other if they get bitten.
  • A scene of a wide open area, ideally including a famous landmark, filled with zombies all lurching around a bit.
  • Protracted gore sequences, naturally.

  • The original actors should all speak in different languages and then be dubbed into English.
  • The zombies tear someone in half and their guts spill out all over the shop.
  • Al Cliver plays a supporting role.

  • Zero tolerance for dancing (or for that matter singing) zombies.
  • Zero tolerance for talking zombies.
  • Zero tolerance for zombies that shoot guns, drive cars or bake cakes. (Zombies swimming underwater is allowable though. In fact, it's encouraged.)

  • Great atmospheric music - definitely no screamo/shouty type stuff. Screamo/shouty is great as music goes, but for a zombie film it's far too obvious. And dull.
  • There should be an appearance, even if it's only in the background, of a zombie tuna.
  • A bleak ending where everyone dies.

I'm sure that you'll agree that by sticking to these simple rules anyone could make a brilliant zombie film. At the moment, I can't think of a film that hits every bullet point. But if anyone manages it, I'd like some royalties. Please thank you.



  1. Great list Keith...I'm glad you go old school with this one!!

    1. Old school is the only way to go. It will be interesting to look at the ratings for all of the zombie films that I've seen this year and find an average rating for each decade. I'm guessing that the eighties will have the highest, the the seventies hot on its heels. But we'll see.

      You may be interested in the next review I've got too, Karl. I try to post a review of a really good film on special occasions. Find out what it is very soon...