"Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide (Second Edition)" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Chicago Review Press
Written by Glenn Kay
2012, 438 pages, Non-Fiction
Released on October 1st, 2012
Zombies. They're everywhere. Even before the explosion of The Walking Dead (TV or comic, doesn't matter), the flesh eaters were slowly invading pop culture. Anyone who keeps a thumb on the pulse of indie horror films knows that market has been flooded with the undead for way too long. But it's gotten far worse since Rick and his band of zombie hunters have taken to the small screen. There's even a movie coming soon, Warm Bodies, that is a romantic comedy where the main characters are a zombie boy and living girl. For fuck's sake, enough already.
I've mentioned before that I'm just about done with the whole craze. With very few exceptions (The Walking Dead being one, and maybe the upcoming World War Z), I'm just...tired. That's at least what I thought before Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide (Second Edition) hit my doorstep. After reading it, I was reminded why I loved those rascals in the first place.
Zombie Movies is, without trying to be clichéd, the bible for those who love those who eat others. It really does live up to its subtitle of The Ultimate Guide because it is jam packed with the reviews and analysis of zombie films worth mentioning and those not. Starting with 1932's White Zombie, author Glenn Kay digs through the decades, giving his thoughts on hundreds of movies (and some TV episodes) right up to 2011's Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption. Obviously with the blowup of these movies in the past decade or so, he can't review them all, so at the end of some chapters there is a listing of "Rare, Obscure, and Less Important Titles." While I don't agree that one of my favorites, Hide and Creep, should be on this list, I can't say Kay is not diligent in his work.
If the sheer amount of movies covered wasn't enough, sprinkled throughout the chapters are interviews with people who played a part in the genre. Kay not only talks to the heavy hitters like Greg Nicotero and Tom Savini (two you should know by name, and if you don't, shame on you), he also speaks with people like Jennifer Baxter (zombie #9 in Land of the Dead), Andrew Currie (Fido director) and Bruce McDonald (star of the brilliant-up-until-the-shit-ending Pontypool). Adding to the mix are pieces such as "Know Your Monsters!" and "The Highest-Grossing Zombie Films of All Time" that makes the book go far above and beyond my original expectations, regardless of the title.
Zombie Movies closes out with "The Greatest Zombie Films Ever Made", and I have to admit that while I may not agree with some of the placement decisions, it's a pretty solid list. It doesn't hurt that my favorite horror movie of all time made the number one spot.
After finishing Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide, I was reminded of the famous line spoken by Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in The Godfather 3 (a horrific movie in its own right), "Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in." That's what Glenn Kay did to me here. I thought I was done with zombies, but with his book he reminded me that even if the sub-genre is currently a broken record, I still have a nice collection that I can always go back to and enjoy. Well played, sir.