DVD REVIEW: DOC OF THE DEAD / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ALEXANDRE O. PHILIPPE / SCREENPLAY: CHAD HERSCHBERGER / STARRING: GEORGE A. ROMERO, MAX BROOKS, ROBERT KIRKMAN, SIMON PEGG, BRUCE CAMPBELL, TOM SAVINI / RELEASED: MARCH 30TH
Alexandre O. Philippe’s latest documentary looks to discover just why zombies are now a popular piece of mainstream entertainment. To do so, Philippe looks at a whole host of different angles and brings in plenty of familiar faces to give their thoughts on the matter.
Going back to the very beginning, the film looks at initial efforts like White Zombie before switching attention to the godfather of the zombie subgenre, George A. Romero, and taking audiences on a joyous history lesson of the walking dead over the ensuing decades. Whilst there are plenty of famous genre names on show – Romero, Sid Haig, Tom Savini, Simon Pegg, Bruce Campbell, Max Brooks, Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Greg Nicotero, Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna, to name just a few – Doc of the Dead also speaks to fans, explores the serious origins of zombie culture, addresses the notion of Voodoo zombies, looks at virus-infused zombies, explores the scientific concept of zombies in the animal kingdom, explores zombie subculture as a satirical tool, and even throws up the age-old debate of slow zombies vs. fast zombies. Whereas it’s always informative, the film is also never afraid to poke fun at its subject matter, and even goes as far as introducing us to zombie porn (honestly, something we definitely didn’t know existed before seeing Doc of the Dead. Honest).
Philippe’s film manages to cover a whole host of zombie-based bases, and comes across as a passion project for not just the director but for the very people who are featured in the feature, be they fans, creators, actors, scientists, or even porn stars. Granted, there are a few notable omissions (most notably the non-mention of Lucio Fulci), but Doc of the Dead serves up something for near-enough everybody. Whether you’re a hardcore zombie fan or just a casual viewer with a fleeting interest in the shuffling hordes that are seemingly everywhere these days, Doc of the Dead will entertain and likely educate. Hell, there’s even Bruce Campbell carrying out a legally-binding wedding service between two of the undead! And if that wasn’t enough, additionally there’s some real-life tips on how to survive should a zombie apocalypse finally happen.
Whether used as a veritable historical tool or viewed merely as a fun companion piece to an often-crammed corner of the horror genre, Doc of the Dead is an excellent look at what is so special to so many about the vast variety of zombies that have populated screens, books and video games over the year, providing plenty of food for thought and enough interesting viewpoints and titbits to satiate even the most demanding of zombie appetites.
Special Features: None
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