Gallowwalkers & Harold’s Going Stiff

Posted: 09/05/2013 in Movies
Tags: , , , , , , ,

September is the final month of the Zombie Movie Night season (Luckily, there is no off-season). This month’s movies wrap up year number 4, memorable year that it was. Knowing the movies we had lined up, I had high hopes……very dangerous territory indeed. Let’s see how they stacked up to expectations.

Gallowwalkers

Gallowwalkers

Fresh out of the cell block comes Wesley Snipes as a zombie hunting wild west gunslinger. This film seemed like it was in my unreleased Netflix list forever. I had built it up in my head as the Blade of zombie movies (Blade is an awesome film and the genesis of the comic book movie explosion that we are witnessing today).  Of course, I can’t really think of any other Snipes movies that I like all that much*, but yet I felt that this would be a good movie for some reason.

In Gallowwalkers, Snipes plays Aman, a mysterious loner who is hunting a group of baddies who have come back from the dead. Details about the bad guys’ personal connection to Aman, their intentions, and how they re-emerged from death are revealed throughout the film. They’re not really very zombie-like, aside from the fact that they were resurrected, so I found the film somewhat unsatisfying on that level.

THE GOOD: There’s a decent amount of action and the story flows nicely as the pieces of the puzzle come together. The look of the film and production values seemed adequate. In terms of acting, you get what you’d expect from Snipes and a supporting cast whose most recognizable member is former WCW star, Dallas Page.

THE BAD: Nothing was terribly egregious, but overall the film just didn’t work for me. Maybe it was the zombie-lessness, or the extended wild west posturing, or the predictability of the overall arch, but I was left feeling like this could have been a much better movie.

THE ZOMBIES: Like I said, the majority of zombies are just bad guy humans, back from the dead. They have to change skin frequently as their’s shrivels up (which must be uncomfortable) and Aman mentions that they have to be killed in the head to stay dead. They really feel more like the villains from Pirates of the Caribbean than anything found in a Romero film. Strangely enough, there are some standard zombies in the beginning of the film, but they are never seen again and no explanation is given as to why those guys are different from all of the other undead.

VERDICT: I feel like I’m being a little harsh giving Gallowwalkers a C-. The pieces seemed to be there, but it just left me feeling flat and unfulfilled.

Current ZMN Rank: #71 out of 122

Golden Zombey WatchAs of this writing, the Golden Zombeys are all but set and I can tell you that Gallowwalkers can be found competing for Best Zombie Fighting Duo for Aman and his sidekick, Fabulos, and Best Massacring of Zombies.

* Scratch that: Wesley Snipes is awesome in Demolition Man, too!

Next up was the British film that advertised, “the nicest zombie you’ll ever meet”:

Harold’s Going Stiff

Harold's Going Stiff

In Harold’s Going Stiff, an epidemic has spread across the UK (and presumably the world, I think) that effects only men and causes them to stiffen up and at one point become violent and unpredictable. The titular Harold was the first person diagnosed and we follow his story as he is in the care of a sweet but lonely visiting nurse. Interspersed are scenes of a group of dim-witted vigilantes who neutralize zombies across the countryside and appear to take a little too much joy in their task. The film builds up sympathy for Harold and the nurse as they approach their inevitable run-in with the goon squad.

THE GOOD: The posters for HGS do their best to really make this seem like a horror movie, but it is really a sweet tale of two outsiders who find comfort in one another. The best parts of the film are those that highlight the small things that the two leads do to show their platonic affection for each other. HGS is a smart film that hits all the right emotional notes alongside the fear of what will happen to them as they intersect with the fearful and intolerant general population.

THE BAD: I can’t think of much, but if you’re looking for a gory monster fest, this is not that film.

THE ZOMBIES: The infected start out as stiff and uncommunicative, then progress to sometimes violent behavior, though most of the film is spent building sympathy for the zombies. There’s some biting, but the infection is only spread through the eating of tainted sausage candies (are sausages in candy wrappers a real thing in England?).

VERDICT: Very sweet and well-made. HGS gets an A.

Current ZMN Rank#14 out of 122

Golden Zombey Watch: Best Actress nod for Harold’s nurse, who is absolutely delightfully played by Sarah Spencer. Harold can be found in the Outstanding Zombie category. HGS was also able to sneak into the Foreign Film category after it was expanded from Foreign Language Film.

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