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Monday, May 31, 2010

NIGHT OF THE LIVING... MEMORIAL DAY


This Memorial Day... prepare to commemorate 'til you DIE!

OK, so we don't have a Memorial Day horror movie to embody this holiday. It's probably because the holiday itself is gruesome enough and doesn't need to be recognized with an over dramatic genre piece. Or so one might think! I say that there are as many horror movies to recognize this holiday as there are malls in America... or at least as many as there are ZOMBIE movies! So let's look at this holiday a bit kiddies. It's got it's origins, and we've got our spin.

-History of Memorial Day
-History of Zombie Movies
(Surely you can see the resemblance)

So according to one of our beloved sources, The History Channel, Memorial Day originated as a Decoration Day post Civil War.
Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.
So wait a minute here. We've got a holiday that initially starts off as a day to recognize the men and women who have given their lives to protect this country? It's a beautiful idea and the only thing I'm not thrilled about is that I find it very hard to pay an accurate tribute while eating hot dogs, barbecuing and lighting off fireworks. But it's the second half of this newly formed holiday... the visiting cemeteries part that I think truly embodies what physicians of the horror world might find newsworthy. Our scholarly pursuit... our specimen... our subject for autopsy is NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD!!!

-The Night... not just for zombies anymore
-Night of the Living Bunnies
-I'm ready for my close up Mr. Romero
-The Zombie Awards for Bravery


"That's so disrespectful," you may say, but I mean this with the utmost respect. What better way to celebrate a day that embraces human spirit and survival against all odds than this George Romero classic. We're talking about ordinary Americans displaying what is great and righteous in our spirit. The sense of justice, the abolishment of racial prejudice, the battle despite all odds being against our protagonists and the victory of the American militia over the domination of the tyrannical undead. It's like WWIII... substitute your favorite Nazi/S.S. General/kamikaze death ship for Johnny's initial attacker/murderer. It's Pearl Harbor.

-Watch the movie here!!!
-Beatles Vs. Zombies
-Find a Grave
-World's Most Famous Cemeteries


I'm sure that this little film crew from Pittsburgh, PA didn't plan on re-enacting the Alamo when they made this film, but that's exactly what Romero and his crew did. The last stand of a group of youths against the enemy forces. Ben (Duane Jones) is the fearless General leading his men into a battle they simply can't win, but leading them for all the right reasons. And what happens to this group of brave souls? They fall in battle. Buried beneath a fort not built to withstand enemy onslaught, but fortified with the hearts of a courage.

-Interview with George Romero
-Offical Website of the Alamo
-Alamo Drafthouse... Check it out


I'm not making light of Memorial Day, but if a Memorial and a tombstone are, in fact, one and the same and men and women fighting side by side for freedom and for the lives of many is the embodiment of Memorial Day, I can find few movies that my memorialize this holiday better. From Wiki:
Since the release, critics and film historians have seen Night of the Living Dead as a subversive film that critiques 1960s American society, international Cold War politics and domestic racism. Elliot Stein of The Village Voice saw the film as an ardent critique of American involvement in Vietnam, arguing that it "was not set in Transylvania, but Pennsylvania — this was Middle America at war, and the zombie carnage seemed a grotesque echo of the conflict then raging in Vietnam".[68] Film historian Sumiko Higashi concurs, arguing that Night of the Living Dead was a horror film about the horrors of the Vietnam era. While she asserts that "there are no Vietnamese in Night of the Living Dead, [...] they constitute an absent presence whose significance can be understood if narrative is construed". She points to aspects of the Vietnam War paralleled in the film: grainy black-and-white newsreels, search-and-destroy operations, helicopters, and graphic carnage.[69]
I'm not completely certain it's internal war against citizens of the United States as I don't know if the founding fathers truly embraced zombies as citizens (future revisions to the Constitution may prove quite telling on this subject). If Memorial Day was founded post-American Civil War, and if this is about the internal struggles of the time being manifest in proper satirical zomboid metaphor, then it's highly appropriate further to embrace NOTLD on this holiday.

-Asbury Park Zombie Walk
-Zombie Walk ... Nationwide!
-How to Purchase a Coffin

Countless sequels, rip offs and homages pay tribute to this movie and the spirit of freedom... and of life that Night of the Living Dead represents. Some films more political than others. Some involving the battle for refusal of admission to the prom of 1986. Today we remember the heroes and the dead... the living and not the undead. Those who did not shout, "BRAINS!" and run into the night... hungry... starving. The living now dead... not the living dead.

- General Terror

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