Tall, Dark, and Dead – 50 – Gangs of the Dead / Last Rites
Title: Gangs of the Dead / Last Rites
Director: Duane Stinnett
Leads: Enrique Almeida, Reggie Bannister, Janine Foster
Favorite quote: “C’mon! We all minorities!”
Thoughts: Without a doubt, the best part of this little challenge of mine is the feeling I get after slogging through scores horrific zombie movies, only to stumble upon a gem, or something I connect with. It’s in that spirit that I can truly say that I liked Gangs of the Dead.
The movie had surprisingly good production values and a decent story. (And I’m not about to try and slice apart the gang politics or tackle gang stereotypes – I’m ill-equipped to do either.) There was also some great dialogue, including the sort of snarky meta-dialogue that I love – for instance, when two gang members show up at 9 a.m. instead of 9 p.m., their boss asks, “You know…post-meridian?”
Unfortunately, after a really promising beginning with lots of humor and meteor-shower zombies (yay, space genesis!), the movie turned into your typical survivor dynamic, should-I-stay-or-should-I-go setup. And frankly, at this point, I feel like I’ve seen them all. So it may just be my own personal situation that caused my interest level to drop.
The movie contained at least two solid examples of zombies who were not violent until provoked, and at least one who displayed what I refer to as “memory in death,” a concept which Romero has probably used to best effect. There was also a great scene where a restrained man shares close quarters with an equally restrained zombie, and attempts to talk to him.
Also, the cover art and copy were a little deceptive. In reality, the movie has nothing to do with warring zombie factions. I found this disappointing, as zombies can be incredibly cooperative creatures, and a zombie gang dynamic would have been fascinating to explore.