DEBUT OF ZOMBCON INTERNATIONAL 2010 – SEATTLE ANNOUNCED
WORLD’S FIRST-EVER ZOMBIE CULTURE CONVENTION – HALLOWEEN WEEKEND
TRIBUTE TO THE GOD FATHER OF ZOMBIE FILMS, GEORGE A. ROMERO (IN ATTENDANCE)
25TH ANNIVERSARY GALA SCREENING OF DAY OF THE DEAD
CELEBRITY GUESTS INCLUDE BRUCE CAMPBELL, MAX BROOKS, MALCOLM MCDOWELL, LADIES OF “THE EVIL DEAD”, CHUCK PALAHNIUK
OVER 100 PANELS, FAN WORKSHOPS, PREMIERES AND SPECIAL EVENTS CELEBRATING THE BIGGEST HORROR ICON: THE ZOMBIE.
Seattle, Wash. – September 20, 2010– A three-day zombie fan culture event dubbed ZomBcon (pronounced zombie-con) will make its debut this Halloween weekend (October 29-31, 2010) at the Seattle Center.
ZomBcon arose from the popularity of Seattle’s annual Red, White and Dead Zombie Walk that recently made waves for returning the Guinness World Record for staging the “Largest Zombie Walk” ever recorded back to Seattle for the second time. The Red, White and Dead Zombie Walk confirmed over 6,000 in attendance on July 3rd reclaiming the title briefly held by Great Britain.
Featuring legends of horror and genre films, including George Romero, Bruce Campbell, Malcolm McDowell and Zombie author, Max Brooks, ZomBcon aims to build on the city’s growing notoriety as the epicenter of zombie fan culture and cement Seattle as the “Zombie Capital of the World”.
ZomBcon founder and Artistic Director Ryan Reiter says, “ZomBcon will be the first of its kind in the world celebrating the biggest horror icon, The Zombie. By design it will be a fresh break from the traditional convention experience while keeping the celebrity appearances, workshops and premier events fans have grown to expect and love at most conventions.
Highlights will include a Red Carpet Gala celebrating the 25TH anniversary screening of Romero’s classic film, DAY OF THE DEAD. The meeting of Hollywood glitz and glamour with zombie culture will precede the inaugural presentation to George A. Romero of the Golden George Award on Saturday, October 30th. The Golden George Award celebrates and honors the true visionaries and legends of horror and genre films, as well as “significant contributions to zombie culture”. Cast members from Romero’s DAY OF THE DEAD will be in attendance featuring Terry Alexander, John Amplas, and Jarlath Conroy in honor of the celebration.
Bruce Campbell and the Ladies of the Evil Dead (Betsy Baker, Ellen Sandweiss, Theresa Tilly) will attend a special screening (with a restored 35mm print courtesy of Grindhouse Releasing) of THE EVIL DEAD.
Additional highlights include innovative filmmaker, author, and zombie culture panels featuring Max Brooks (World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide), Roger Ma (The Zombie Combat Manual), Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke), among others.
The panel series will include lectures (co-presented by Zombie Research Society) by the country’s top scholars on the subject. Guests include Harvard Medical School’s, Dr. Steven Schlozman and Bradley Voytek, Neuroscientist from UC Berkley, to discuss topics ranging from brain deficiency, infection, anatomy to outbreak protocol and a political debate based on the prospects of a zombie apocalypse.
Along with attending the screenings, award presentations, panels, and perusing over 100 vendor booths, zombie and horror fans will also have an opportunity to participate in: Prom Night of the Living Dead – a Halloween costume party at Neumos (925 East Pike Street, Seattle, WA) on Friday, October 29; a blood drive donation to the Puget Sound Blood Center on Saturday, October 30 and a family day trick-or-treat event for all ages on Sunday, October 31st.
The weekend will feature a series of screenings of iconic zombie films created by the Seattle International Film Festival. Deemed “Films That Ate Our Brains”, films screened will include: George A. Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and DAWN OF THE DEAD, Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD and EVIL DEAD II and ARMY OF DARKNESS, Peter Jackson’s DEAD ALIVE, Danny Boyle’s 28 DAYS LATER, Robert Rodriguez’s PLANET TERROR, Paul W.S. Anderson’s RESIDENT EVIL, Dan O’Bannon’s RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, Edgar Wright’s SHAUN OF THE DEAD, Victor Halperin’s WHITE ZOMBIE, Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE, Steve Miner’s DAY OF THE DEAD – THE NEED TO FEED, as well as a Northwest Filmmakers Screening Showcase with film titles yet to be announced taking place at SIFF Cinema (321 Mercer Street, Seattle, WA) and AMC Pacific Place (600 Pine Street, Seattle, WA) on Friday, October 29.
Reiter adds, “This convention is completely interactive, embracing the rampant cult appeal of festival experiences similar to the “Burner experience” at annual rituals like Burning Man, to celebrating fan culture through costumes and self-expression known as CosPlay at San Diego’s Comic Con. The costumed trend offers attendees more than just a ticket; its offers a 360-degree fan experience with the opportunity to participate in the festivities. You have the control buttons; you can right jump in or simply watch, because you get to decide how involved you wish to be.”
Complete ZomBcon convention information can be found at www.zombcon.com. Check weekly for news, guests and events added to the schedule. Look for ZomBcon on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute announcements and more.
Special guests include:
Filmmakers and Actors
George A. Romero (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DAWN OF THE DEAD, DAY OF THE DEAD, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD)
Bruce Campbell (EVIL DEAD, ARMY OF DARKNESS, “Burn Notice”)
Malcolm McDowell (CLOCKWORK ORANGE, STAR TREK: GENERATIONS, HALLOWEEN)
Terry Alexander, (Actor, DAY OF THE DEAD)
John Amplas (Actor, DAY OF THE DEAD)
Jartlath Conroy (Actor, DAY OF THE DEAD)
Danny Hicks (Actor, EVIL DEAD 2)
Timothy Patrick Quill (Actor, ARMY OF DARKNESS)
Writers & Authors
Max Brooks (Author, The Zombie Surivival Guide, World War Z)
Roger Ma (Author, Zombie Combat Manual)
Kevin David Anderson (Author, Night of the Living Trekkies)
Scott Browne (Author, Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament)
Robert Cordray (Author, Zombies 101)
Stephen L. Frank (Author, Zombie Vs. Cheerleaders)
Steven Hockensmith (Author, Dawn of the Dreadfuls)
Scott Kenemore (Author, Zen of Zombie)
Steve Mockus (Author, How to Speak Zombie for the Living)
Chuck Palahniuk (Author, Fight Club, Choke)
Jesse Petersen (Author, Married with Zombie)
Mark Rahner & Robert Horton (Authors, Rotten)
Jeffrey Reddick (Writer, FINAL DESTINATION, DAY OF THE DEAD – THE NEED TO FEED)
Don Roff (Author, Zombies: The Record of the Year of the Infection)
Billy Tackett (Legendary Artist)
Stephen Romano, Artist (Shock Festival)
Anthony Van Winkle (Author, Night Zero)
Daniel Drezner, Ph.D. – Temple University
Mike Harris, Ph.D. – University of Alaska
Steven Schlozman, M.D. – Harvard
Timothy Verstynen, Ph.D.
Brad Voytek, Ph.D. – UC Berkely
Matt Mogk, Founder of Zombie Research Society
This happens a lot at film festivals: You intend on seeing a film (let’s say THE INVENTION OF LYING). But you go to the wrong theater. Then you figure you’ll see CREATION or GET LOW as an alternative. But since it’s too far to walk or the film’s running time is too long and timing-wise you absolutely cannot miss George Romero’s SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD…you wind up ducking in to see a Spanish/Colombian film called RABIA.
And you have no idea what the movie is about.
Because film festivals can be fun when you know how!
So, just as I sit down and settle in to accept my mystery movie fate, I tune in to a conversation about script development straight out of THE PLAYER taking place in the seats behind me. “I loved the first draft. The middle drafts lost the comedy, but it’s so hard to be funny when you’re dealing with character and structure.” “But the book is SO funny. It’s like joke, joke, joke.”
Yes, I’m sure it is. Too bad those damn characters and three act structure prevents your writer from being funny…
Finally, the film starts. Directed by Sebastián Cordero, the film also has Guillermo del Toro as a producer. However, there are so many names of producers and executive producers on this thing that I thought for sure my name was up there too for a moment.
Anyway, the film begins with a little post-coital pillow talk with a Colombian couple, José Maria and Rosa. It’s all afterglow billing and cooing until the “How many girlfriends have you had?” and “How many boyfriends have you had?” question comes up. Because José Maria, uhhh…not so much with the sense of humor. Then as he walks her to work, a couple guys in a repair shop make with the eyes and what have you. So, naturally, on the way back he beats the living crap out of them.
Make that no sense of humor and some hot button issues about “his girl”, capped with a nasty temper. Trifecta! It’s like we’ve got the Colombian version of Mark Wahlberg in FEAR.
Now, Rosa is a maid for a very well off couple living in a house so big there are literally rooms and parts of the house that people forget are there. This comes very much in handy after José Maria punches the construction foreman and accidentally kills him after the man fires him for beating up the first guy. Powder keg angry dude just can’t catch a break.
What are you going to do with a problem like José Maria? In Rosa’s case, you become pregnant and not-so-blissfully unaware that he is hiding in the rich people mansion you live in. Watching you and your charges, ever ready to pounce on a drunken relative making a pass or sexually assaulting you. Like an overprotective, getting hairier by the week and month, ghost.
To its credit, the film delivers a nice balance between the ever-present threat he poses to everyone in the house but Rosa and his own misunderstood, poverty-ridden and isolated situation. While it doesn’t entirely succeed, there is an effort to aim for the tragic versus the full-on thriller aspects of the story. And, there is a legitimate effort to steer away from simple cat and mouse suspense and thrills, in favor of a more real and humane dilemma the two protagonists face. Ultimately, however, I found it somewhat slight.
Time to bring on the zombies!
George A. Romero’s SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD picks up with some rogue military characters from his last outing, DIARY OF THE DEAD. Which is an interesting and cool idea. “Hey, I wonder what happened to those guys?” “Well, let’s make an entirely different movie where we follow THEM!”
And we do. To a place called Plum Island, Delaware dealing with its own private little zombie problem. You see, the island has been home for generations of two feuding Irish families, the O’Flynns and the Muldoons. And now the zombies have become caught in the middle of a bizarre custody battle as the O’Flynn patriarch wants to kill each one of them and the Muldoon patriarch wants to pen them up until a cure can be found.
After Muldoon gets the upper hand and kicks O’Flynn off the island (without even a hint of a tribal vote), O’Flynn posts what amounts to a travel brochure ad online to lure the living or anyone that still has Wi-Fi his way. The military group takes the bait and after some zombie aided fighting and mayhem, O’Flynn is back on his way to reclaim his island and take on Muldoon.
So what are we looking for in a Romero “Dead” film? New, fun and innovative ways to kill zombies? Check. At least one case of someone showing poor zombie survival etiquette of getting infected but not telling anyone until it’s practically too late? Check. Tons of dumbass human behavior inspiring you to root for zombie comeuppance? Check. At least one case of someone becoming a human buffet line? Check. Message about the dead being just like us only literally trapped in our daily routine and with an unappealing pallor and/or gaping wound somewhere? Big check. And, of course, it wouldn’t be complete until some disgruntled guy turns a shitload of zombies loose on everyone because he’s dying and what does he care anymore? Right?
Romero hits all of the notes he’s required by zombie law to deliver in SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, but it’s all at the service of so much silliness. First off, if anything was more lethal than the zombie virus, it would be the dinner theater Irish brogues thrown around between the two patriarchs. And, at some point a twin is revealed so we can have the human/zombie mirror effect for reals before the entire thing devolves into a shootout at the It’s Not Okay to be a Zombie Corral.
So, as I weigh all the good versus the bad and the entertaining versus the dubious, I have to think this is a step back from DIARY OF THE DEAD. This film strikes me as being closer to LAND OF THE DEAD in that the sheen of unreality makes it difficult to either get caught up within the dread of the moment or have any connection to the central characters to inspire concern for their well being. Not a total loss as there is clearly still more than a twinkle in Romero’s eye as he maps these things out. Unfortunately, we need a lot more than that by this point.