Sunday, February 17, 2008

Zombies and Motorcycles

Just a quick couple of movie niblets here - and the films couldn't be more different!

Last night Mr. Mouse and I watched The World's Fastest Indian. Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, this little movie is the true(-ish) story of how Burt Munro, a 68-year old New Zealand motorcycle enthusiast, took his c. 1920s Indian Scout motorcycle to the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967 in an attempt to break the land speed record for his type bike. Without it being too much of a spoiler, he managed to break the record, clocking in at over 201 mph. After his triumph, Burt went back to Bonneville for the next fifteen years; some of his records still hold. This was a sweet, innocuous movie: no violence, no swearing, no explicit sex - just a man following his dream and, in the meantime, charming every single person his path crosses. It was a little light-weight for my taste, as I prefer my movies to have oodles of plot, but it was entertaining and had you rooting for the old Kiwi coot all the way.

On the other end of the spectrum entirely is the movie I watched this afternoon* when we got back from skiing/drinking beer: the 1968 George Romero classic, Night of the Living Dead. This past October many of the film blogs and web sites that I read were doing horror movie lists and every single one of them decreed NotLD as a seminal movie, the one that spawned the zombie genre as we know it today. Since I like to pretend I know a little bit about movies, I needed to see it. Unfortunately, the DVD I had rented had the main feature as colorized and the original black and white version hidden away in the Special Features menu: it would have been quite a bit scarier in the original B&W. In addition, I grew up in the 1980s watching slasher and Freddy flicks; more recently, I have scared myself silly watching The Descent (the British ending was WAY better than the candyass American one), so Romero's slow-moving zombies are not quite the stuff of nightmares (although I do not want to be trapped in my house with a bunch of them lurching around outside - let's just be clear about that). Nevertheless, I can appreciate how scary and horrifying NotLD must have been to the unsuspecting audience. I'm planning on seeing the next two in the series fairly soon, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, to round out my Romero experience.

* It should be pointed out that Mr. Mouse did not watch Night of the Living Dead with me this afternoon. Not only does he not like horror movies at all, he was busy napping at the time.

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