This week on the B movie docket is Army of The Dead
B movies are the glue stuck in between all the other genres, oftentimes refusing to conform to any particular genre presets. Some but not all of the hallmarks of a B movie include scripts that read like they were written by a room full of eighth-graders, poor visual effects, cringe-inducing dialogue, low budget production design, and zany plot contrivances. You’re aware of the hallmarks, right? B-movies often reek of amateur flair. Thought you were about to watch a great white shark hunted in dramatic fashion like only Steven Spielberg can deliver? Nope, this is Sharknado.
Why do we love B movies? I think B movies are comforting. You know what you’re about to watch is bad. If you’re fortunate it may be so bad that it’s good. You’ll often scratch your head trying to work out the plot. Out of the many good films you’ve seen, I bet you can talk with more vigor about the worst ones you’ve seen. They’re unforgettable. There’s something comforting about that I think. Besides they’ve been around just as long as the movie industry.
Believe it or not, chances are there’s a B movie for you. So I compiled a list of 50 B movies you must see before you die. No decade is off-limits. No rating is too taboo. For the next 49 weeks, I will introduce and recommend a B movie for your viewing pleasure. Yes, these are exciting times indeed my fanatical friends.
WEEK 50 – Army of The Dead (2021)
It’s finally film number 50 on the 50 B movies list. This week’s movie to see before you die is Zack Snyder’s Army of The Dead. Why is the movie on this list? Because it’s a big brash Netflix-backed B movie. And there’s no better way to end this 50 B Movies column than to do it with Army of The Dead. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Why a B movie?
Because it is a ballsy gore fest that features robot zombies, tiger zombies, and pregnant zombies. And that is an awesome thing. There is nothing wrong with that. Hell, my family’s favorite auteur; Tim Burton has a movie on this list. Not every movie can be Tsotsi. And they should not. How boring would that be if every movie were the same? I, like you, prefer a smorgasbord of movies. And there is no greater smorgasbord than the glut of films falling under the category of B movie.
There are dozens of zombie movies out there. My God, we have seen so many over the years. From the granddaddy of them all; Night of The Living Dead. You know the one that takes place using minimal set locations. It was a cemetery, a house, and a barn if I recall correctly. And over the years we have even seen zombies in love, ala Warm Bodies. But have we ever seen a zombie dressed as a superhero? Not till Army of The Dead. Seriously the main zombie is dubbed Zeus, and he is very much a hero to the fallen Las Vegas. Vegas is the films setting.
Zeus, the main zombie in Army of The Dead is played by stuntman/actor Richard Cetrone. If you happen to have seen John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars; another solid B movie. Then you may recall there was that whole plot about disembodied Martians turning space colonists into hosts. And in turn, they acted like zombies. But not just any zombies. Smart zombies. Smart enough to organize and make weapons. Those zombies would make mincemeat out of Danny O’Boyle’s zombies. Allegedly. So, if there is ever a future film pitting fast zombies against fast weapon-wielding zombies, put my money on the latter any day of the week.
So, what does Army of The Dead’s Zeus have to do with Ghosts of Mars? Well, it so happens actor Richard Cetrone played the leader of the zombies in that film too. Now that is a 50 B Movies first. Two B movies. Two different leaders of the undead. Same actor. Could both zombie movies share a universe? One can certainly theorize.
It is a Zack Snyder zombie movie. He has had years to hone his approach to those glorious slow-motion shots. Admittedly his films do not contain that much slow motion. It just stands out a bit because it has usually very well done. As a fan of action movies, it felt great to sit in a theater and collectively lay my eyes upon Leonidas and his hardy outnumbered Spartans lop limbs from Persian invaders. What I am saying is fictional gore in slo-mo can be cool.
In Army of The Dead, we get to see the raspberry slushie-colored brain matter explode from a zombie cranium in slo-mo. It caps off an epic ride through a shambler-infested Las Vegas. Shamblers are like The Walking Dead’s Walkers. And since the zombie apocalypse goes down in Las Vegas, there is an assortment of zombie characters. Especially in the first fifteen minutes of the movie.
But most of all Army of The Dead has a murderous zombie tiger. Can tigers be murderous? I mean their killing is for food and is thus natural and set up by nature or God or whatever term you use to describe invisible things. So, I take that back. Army of The Dead has a wonderful scene of a zombie tiger stalking and then mauling his prey. And the good news is the prey is a giant a-hole. So, if you have not seen it yet. I promise you will be satisfied. Guaranteed. Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee your satisfaction with any movie on this list. Rock on.