Valentines day is coming up. For the traditionalists roses will be bought, perhaps chocolates and a romantic candle light dinner will be had, followed with snuggling on the couch. But I’m not that much of a traditionalist. Of course I love my partner and we enjoy spending an evening together. When My Bloody Valentine (2009) was released on valentines day, I was ecstatic because that was exactly how I wanted to spend my special day. To my surprise the film stood apart from the original film and was very entertaining. Both films remain close to my finger tips if I need visceral cinema to sink into. That all being said, my hunny and I can’t watch My Blood Valentine, every time February 14th rolls around. Maybe if Valentines day was like a leap year and only popped up every 4-years, I could make MBV a ritual.
So — I decided to think about some great romantic-horror films that would be fun to watch this Valentines. When I say romantic, I use the term loosely. I don’t mean romance in the traditional sense like a Dracula film. There is something innately sexual about Dracula that almost seems too obvious. I also don’t mean teen romantic like Warm Bodies. The task of thinking of a great “romantic” horror film became quite a challenge.
After sorting through the various titles in my collection, I came across Thirst (2009). The film is vastly amusing and fits perfectly into the romantic-horror category. The problem is Thirst is more of a comedic horror than a romantic horror and I don’t really want to watch a comedic-romantic-horror, like Shaun of the Dead (2004). Comedy just does not fit the bill for me this year. On the other end of the spectrum of comedy is The Loved Ones, a brilliantly eerie and disturbing film staring Robin McLeavy as Lola a deranged high school student who just wants to find love. The film is one of the best I have seen in a long time. It’s disturbing and grotesque; and McLeavy plays a perfect psychopath. But the film boarders on torture porn and goes over the line for Valentines day. While I enjoy horror, my guy is not a big fan. I have to make some compromises and not go so far off the deep end and ruin the night. The same can be said about Red, White and Blue (2010).
I think what works so well about MBV is it is harmless fun. There is nothing mean spirited about the film because it invokes the same feeling from the 1980s film and others like it. It is good old fashioned fun without taking itself too seriously. Upon another filter through the unending collection of films I have, I stop at Slither (2006). I really hated the movie when it first came out. I must have been in a mood and taking life too seriously. Don’t worry, I have since recanted my feelings about the film. I have moved it into the filing system under “vastly entertaining.” What is not to like about the film? The film is summed up with Michael Rooker as a possessive husband and phallic alien spawns possessing towns people. Now that is a loving evening.
What’s on for V day? James Gunn’s Slither (2006) — and perhaps the Bride of Re-animator after 🙂
The story has been told countless times. Boy meets girl, some sort of circumstance prevents boy and girl from being together. Boy and girl overcome said obstacle and are together in the end. What is new and fresh about Warm Bodies (2013), is that the hindrance to R’s and Julie’s ever after is that he is dead and has reanimated as a flesh eating zombie. The premise of the film surmises that love really does conquer all and prevails even over the walking dead. While Warm Bodies is an exciting new way of looking at a zombie outbreak, the execution was not all that strong. However, even tho the end result is not as effective as it could be, ultimately the love story between R and Julie is a modern day Romeo and Juliet and is entertaining.
Zombie’s have come a long way since Béla Lugosi stared in White Zombie (1932) and George A. Romero brought them to a modern silver screen in the iconic Night of the Living Dead (1968). They have evolved from slow walking misunderstood shuffling demons, to comedic mohawk wearing creatures in Return of the Living Dead (1985) to the athletic marathon runners in Zach Synder’s Dawn of the Dead (2004) cult classic remake of the 1978 film. Shaun of the Dead (2004) introduced us both to the modern day zomedy and that romance can still exist within an apocalypse. Fido (2004) and Zombieland (2009) continued the elements of a zomedy and went further into a coming-of-age story to add depth to complexity of the zombie. Warm Bodies continues this trend of being more than just flesh eating dead things. There is more than meets the eye of the undead.
The question remains as to how the outbreak of the undead began, and there is often a continual debate among fans as to what truly is a zombie. George A. Romero often is coined as being the Godfather of the zombie film. [Rec] (2007) and 28 Days Later (2002) attempted to answer the how, with that they are an infected by some sort of government experiment gone wrong. However, less often tackled is the approach to cure the infected. Warm Bodies has attempted to solve the problem and their solution is love.
The film is short, simple and sweet. To compare it to other films such as Twilight (2008) is a fallacy, because other than the fact that there are love scenes, there are no similarities between these films. Warm Bodies is first and foremost a comedy. It is meant to be a bit absurd and you have to watch it with an open mind. Of course there are some scenes that make you roll your eyes, because the cheese factor is over the top. But you can’t help but smile for a lot of the movie, it is a sweet love story about how humanity is exhumed.
In a genre that is dominated by filmmakers trying to one-up each each-other in the gore factor, it is refreshing to see a film that utilizes the same subject matter but in a beautiful fashion. The message is simple, we can all be saved by loving our fellow man if we just open up to the opportunity to feel and engage with each other.