Sunday, June 04, 2006

Zombie Honeymoon

Directed by David Gebroe, 2004

Zombie Honeymoon official website

Zombie Honeymoon is a surprisingly sweet love story that just happens to include a bit of zombie in it. Once the initial psychobilly furor calms down and it focuses on the young newlyweds, it's easy to overlook the husband's zombie bite and appreciate the psychology of relationships. In fact, as we watched we felt that zombies seemed inserted into the story as an analogy for something else. My theory was that the ongoing tension between a living wife and an undead husband echoed an abusive relationship. However, as bonus materials on the disc show, Zombie Honeymoon was made for the director's sister, whose husband died shortly after their wedding. This is probably why the movie captures the grieving process so uncannily. It's really touching.

Things I particularly liked:
  • The couple starts out vegetarian, which is always a nice counterpoint to cannibalism.
  • The first zombie's appearance is quite creepy. He slowly floats through the ocean waves, initially unidentifiable, finally rotten and threatening. We giggled and posited that a zombie had escaped from Shock Waves.
  • This is quite possibly the first time we've witnessed a feasting zombie protesting “it’s not what it looks like!”
  • Zombie movie shout-out: a video store clerk wears a Zombi 2 shirt.
  • The slow descent into zombification is compared to fatal illness in the film's IMDB write-up, but the inherent animosity of zombies clears the way for the survivor to wish guiltlessly for the zombie's death. It's a strange way to commemorate one's dead brother-in-law (even though his representative character is very sincere and truly wants to protect his wife from his appetite).

Zombie explanation: Just being bitten won't do it; these zombies have a specific life cycle. At the end of their feeding phase, as they start to rot beyond the ability to hunt, they vomit contagious zombie ooze into their victims' mouths. It's an odd viral tic, but after the crazed biology of the zombie-alien-things in Slither, I will never again complain about zombie biology.

Contribution to the zombie canon: The movie is an incredibly sincere and accurate depiction of zombie survivor psychology when losing a loved one, though the slow corruption differs from traditional films. This zombie knows what's happening to him and he's even able to hide it from his beloved wife for a while. Technically, there's also living-undead sex. There aren't a lot of zombie love stories (and I don't mean living love set against a backdrop of zombies as in Shaun of the Dead-- I mean the exploration of love in spite of zombiedom as in Cemetery Man, Day of the Dead 2, Night of the Living Dorks, Return of the Living Dead 2, and possibly RotLD), so I appreciate additions to the genre.

Favorite moment: Well, I got a little teary-eyed at the romantic candlelight dinner. I'm going to break my tradition of spoiling the hell out of these films because this one is worth seeing on multiple levels and I think you'd enjoy this moment unspoiled.

Favorite zombie: Why, the cute emo surfer husband zombie, of course. He loves his pretty wife and wants to make all their dreams come true. He's just so hungry.

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