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8 Things You Didn't Know About Zombie Movies
#1- No Genre Specifics! Zombies Allowed!
Zombie Films have proven to work in nearly all genres (even if it is only slightly proven) as we have seen work over the past decade of Hollywood film making (to be precise- 21st Century only).
Of course the horror genre is the most popular for the zombie films to be classified as being apart of as zombies tend to have a nag for feeding on human flesh which if, that doesn't scare the life out of you, then I don't know what will. To give a good example of a horror zombie film would be 'Dawn of the Dead' (2004) which did the job spectacularly well at bringing a world consumed by zombies alive. It had all of the elements to make a good horror zombie film including zombie foot chases, horrific scenes (whereby humans are eaten by zombies) and a battle for survival between people and zombies.
Although a less spoken about genre is comedy horrors which seems to work well as 'Shaun of the dead' (2004) has shown which made a substantial profit at the box office in comparison to its budget with a worldwide gross of $30 million and a $6 million production budget.
Also ''romance'' hasn't been ruled out as the successful film 'Warm Bodies' has shown which is a romantic zombie comedy film. The movie made a worthwhile $116 million worldwide at the box office with a $35 million production budget.
Even the science-fiction genre is covered as the 'Resident Evil' series which has been hugely successful, currently standing at 5 in the series so far has been an entertaining addition to the zombie collection of titles. 'Resident Evil' (2002) is a science-fiction horror film which is based on a video game series Resident Evil and evidently proved successful at the box office. At the box office 'Resident Evil' (2002) racked in a worldwide gross of $102 million with a $33 million production budget which isn't bad considering the mid level budget.
Then finally there has even been animated feature films created set around zombies which includes 'ParaNorman' (2012) which made $107 million worldwide at the box office with a $60 million which isn't crazy good but it still managed to make a profit (which is a shame considering it was a great movie).
Zombie Century, Also Known As The 21st Century!
The 21st Century has brought about a new era for zombie films as Hollywood's film studios have finally taken aboard the ideas for creating real life-like zombie films. Among the current library of zombie movies already created in the 21st Century which are worth mentioning include;
- 28 Days Later (2002)
- 28 Weeks Later (sequel to '28 Days Later', 2007)
- Dawn of the Dead (2004)
- I Am Legend (2007)
- Land of the Dead (2005)
- ParaNorman (2012)
- Resident Evil (2002)
- Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
- Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
- Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
- Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
- Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)
- Shaun of the Dead (2004)
- Warm Bodies (2013)
- World War Z (2013)
- Zombieland (2009)
I am sure we can all agree that this list of films which have already been produced within the duration of the 21st Century so far which I have listed above were well worth watching. For those who may not be a fan of violent, gore ridden or zombie movies in general would be better served watching a different type of movie all together as most zombie based films will contain elements of those things. However if you like zombie films but hate the strong gore scenes, I would advise watching a comedy horror like 'Shaun of the dead' or 'Warm Bodies' as they only contain minor gore and violence. Finally for those who may like zombie films but much prefer family oriented movies then I would advise watching 'ParaNorman' or 'Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island' as there is zero violence to contend with.
To finally introduce what is going to be discussed in the 8 points, I will start and end with the pressing matters which have and will affect Hollywood's zombie films in the 21st Century. With what has so far been a great start to the 21st Century with the Zombie films released so far, it is exciting to see what Hollywood are going to conjure up next!
It is never easy understanding exactly what is happening in the world of zombies when it feels as though it is the one of the most talked about areas of horror yet one of the less talked about subjects in films. Simply Shocking!
If like myself, you have a keen interest in zombie films, please check out the following 8 points, including the ''things you didn't discuss''...
#2- History of Hollywood Zombie Films
It was in 1968 when zombie films finally became what they are today which is a horde of zombies seeking out human flesh to feed on. It was through the release of the film titled 'Night of the Living Dead' (written and directed by George A. Romero) which offered a new dawn for zombies. Before 1968 zombies within films were nothing more than corpses dug up from graves and turned into mindless obeying commands from a human master. However it was through 'George A. Romero' that zombies finally started tearing the flesh off human bones and biting humans limbs as though they were nothing more than a cooked chicken on a Sunday roast.
From that point onwards zombies finally became something of an iconic horror setting for films in the horror genre to take a tackle at. Although the results have not always been great in films which have tried to successfully grasp the true horror behind a zombie outbreak. Many have tried and many have failed!
It wasn't until the 1980s that zombie films finally looked as though they might actually prove great rather than descent for a change. This was through such films as Dead and Buried (1981), The Evil Dead (1982) and The Return of the Living Dead (1985).
This is why it came as a surprise to see that in the 1990s zombie films had dropped in standards with the bar seeping lower after every dreaded release (of the next zombie film). This was another bad area in time for zombie films which is why it is best left alone without too much insight into this point in zombie film history.
However, on the other hand it wasn't long until zombie movies finally regained worthiness among Hollywood film titles again as movies like 28 Days Later (2002), Resident Evil (2002) and Dawn of the Dead (2004) brought confidence back to a troubled area of movie making.
#3- How the 21st Century Brought Around the Zombie Pandemic in Hollywood
As we are all aware, zombie films are not exactly a new arrival to Hollywood which is why it is no surprise to see that the 21st Century beholds some of the latest and greatest zombie films ever created so far.
Although with the latest computer technology which has improved graphics substantially and the consistent improvements being made to graphics, it comes as no surprise to see zombie films on screen like never before.
The zombie movies of today are scarier, more realistic, more lifelike and more exciting than ever before which only raises the level in which zombie films have reached. Plus as an addition to this, video games have also adopted the idea of creating more zombie based games such as Dead Rising (series), Left 4 Dead (series) and Call of Duty- Zombie Mode (series). This has increased the level of people seeking out great zombie films to watch which offers the opportunity for Hollywood to push the boat out and create some of the best (if not the best) zombie films ever created.
Within the 21st Century arguably we have seen the best zombie films ever created with the hit film series including 'Resident Evil' and the ultimate box office hits which include 'I Am Legend' and 'World War Z'. It is certainly an exciting time for fans of zombie films as we are currently looking at the ultimate era for zombie films which have and shall be created.
Box Office Hit- World War Z Trailer
Zombie Box Office Hits!
Which Zombie Film Did You Like Best?
#4- How Zombie Films Edge Into Box Office Success
Zombie films have done well in the box office in the past before the 21st Century but they only ever reached minor success which was usually the case with 'George A. Romero's' films.
Whereas today in the glorious 21st Century we are witnessing a change of tides with zombie films reaching phenomenal success like never before at the box office. This clearly proving that there are more people than ever before who are getting into the zombie spirit which is either extremely exciting or extremely worrying. Although personally I'm going to say extremely exciting!
Take a few of these comparisons for example comparing the 20th Century zombie hits and the 21st century hits at the box office;
20th Century Zombie Hits;
- Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Worldwide Box Office Gross - $55 Million
Production Budget - $650 Thousand
- Day of the Dead (1985)
Worldwide Box Office Gross - $34 Million
Production Budget - $3.5 Million
21st Century Zombie Hits;
- I Am Legend (2007)
Worldwide Box Office Gross - $585 Million
Production Budget - $150 Million
- World War Z (2013)
Worldwide Box Office Gross - $540 Million
Production Budget - $190 Million
The clear distinction which I am sure you noticed between the 20th Century zombie films and the 21st Century zombie films is the difference in the budget with a humongous difference. That is simply how much zombie films have changed as it has been shown that audiences have a distinct liking for zombie pandemics with post apocalyptic visions and apocalyptic visions of zombies taking over the world. A horrific virus spreading across the globe which causes humans to drop dead, only to come back alive as flesh eating zombies.
Another point which needs pressing on is the fact that the two 21st Century Hollywood successes which have been listed above (I Am Legend and World War Z) both had a Hollywood A-Lister leading the way. Will Smith played the seemingly last man alive on the planet in 'I Am Legend' and Brad Pitt played the family man turned human race saviour in 'World War Z' which were admittedly brilliant films.
Although however it is worth pointing out that in the 20th Century the fact that directors like 'George A. Romero' had to create zombie films with a small budget and still managed to create great zombie films proves just how good they are as a director. But I'm sure we can all agree that the big budget zombies films are the ones we love best (unless of course you hate modern graphics and special effects in the films).
We Love Zombie Films!
Are You a Fan of Zombie Films?
#5- Are Zombie Films Increasing In Popularity!
This is a question which can only be answered by looking at the box office results and they are simple since today's zombie movies have gathers hundreds of millions. Now that's a great result with 'I Am Legend' bringing in a luxurious $585 million at the worldwide box office. 'I Am Legend' is currently (6th July 2014) ranked at number 97 in the list of the highest grossing films of all time at the box office. That is amazing considering before 'I am Legend', zombie films were lucky to gather $100 million at the box office which is proof that the tides are changing with zombie films growing more popular than ever before.
A more later addition to the zombie film collection is 'World War Z' which was released in 2013 and brought in a whopping $540 million at the box office, ranking at number 111 in the list of the highest grossing films of all time at the box office. Which again proves that the audience demands zombie films. Then finally to add to the stacking evidence there is 'Resident Evil' which is the only zombie film series to have 5 consistent success's one after the other. This is how 'Resident Evil' did at the box office;
- Resident Evil (2002)
Worldwide Box Office Gross - $102 Million
Production Budget - $33 Million
- Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Worldwide Box Office Gross - $129 Million
Production Budget - $45 Million
- Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
Worldwide Box Office Gross - $147 Million
Production Budget - $45 Million
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Worldwide Box Office Gross - $296 Million
Production Budget - $60 Million
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Worldwide Box Office Gross - $240 Million
Production Budget - $65 Million
'Resident Evil' is certainly a series to look out for at the theatres as it doesn't look as though they have quite squeezed the full potential out of the series just yet as the box office numbers rise further after every release. I always find that popularity in any area or genre in films is best judged by the box office numbers and as you can see from the success of the films listed above, the popularity for zombie films is only on the increase.
#6- Is The Future Bright For Zombie Films?
With the increase in exposure for the zombie based ideas and the increase in budgeting for the zombie films, it is highly likely that we are going to see more A-Listers play roles in zombie based films.
It takes bravery to attempt to create a zombie film as it may seem from the films which I have been talking about, as though all zombie films succeed. However I am sorry to announce that isn't the case as there have been so many failures when it comes to zombie films.
To name a few rubbish zombie film titles include;
- Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)
- Undead (2003)
- The Zombie Diaries (2006)
Those were just a few of the rubbish movies which have been created based around zombies, which is why it must be said that although zombie movies are great, it is difficult to successfully create a great zombie film which will attract audiences to flood to the theatres,
In saying that when a zombie movie is done well and marketed well, it can become one of the greatest horror movies. If done correctly should scare audiences as well as allow them to ponder what a world consumed by flesh eating zombies would be like if it was to actually happen. At least that's my belief anyway!
#7- Even a Hit Zombie TV Series!
The Walking Dead
I am sure that you have already heard or watched the US hit TV series called 'The Walking Dead' which is a post apocalyptic horror drama which is based on a comic book series (uses the same name).
After 'The Walking Dead' premiered in 2010 on the 'Fox' channel it reached success straight away making it one of the most watching TV series on the television. This is exciting since it is a series based around a world consumed by zombies which is interesting considering we haven't ever seen a zombie TV series before (of this calibre).
On season 1 of 'The Walking Dead' on the premier of the first episode it had 5.35 million and then by season 4 it had 16.11 million viewers on the first episode. 'The Walking Dead' is currently on season 5 with the series going strong with a unique setting and an interesting set of characters and an ongoing plot which doesn't disappoint.
Zombie fans will have gone nuts over 'The Walking Dead' series as it really hit the mark of what it would be like surviving in a world where humans are the food and zombies are at the top of the food chain. An overall exciting series which leaves you anticipating the episode ahead before having finished the episode you are currently watching. It really is a must watch series for fans of zombies and anyone looking for a gripping drama horror to watch on a Friday evening.
#8- What's Next For Zombie Films?
Can Hollywood Do More With Zombies?
To answer this question we must consider what we have already seen from Hollywood in terms of zombie films already created. Well! We have seen the post apocalyptic angle a lot in the past but personally I feel there is more which can be done but in order for these films to become a reality we need big budgets varying between around $60 million - $150 million. Great films set around zombies need a serious backing with a large budget to make them great and this cannot be argued against considering the two greatest zombie movies of all time had a large budget.
Can Plots Still Continue... To Cease To Amaze?
Quick answer- Yes they can! With some of the greatest film directors currently creating the blockbusters which we all enjoy watching which includes Steven Spielberg (Directed Jurassic Park), Michael Bay (Directed Transformers) and Quentin Tarantino (Directed Inglourious Basterds). I mention these great film directors as I believe it is one of these following 3 directors which should direct the next big budget zombie film as they have proven in the past that they are more than capable of creating a film we all want to see.
Moving back to the point about the films plots, it is always going to be difficult to create a gripping plot set around a world of zombies when it seems as though everything which could be done, has already been done. That is where creativity comes in and clearly we need some great screen writers and novel writers to bring to life a new story which can be adapted well into a blockbuster movie set around a virus which turns people into flesh eating zombies.
Is it impossible? of course not! although there needs to be a bit of originality behind the films plot as audiences are getting tired of the same plot being covered over all of the zombie films. So the first ingredient to create the next successful zombie film is a great plot which will work well, immediately grabbing the attention of the viewers. A real pleaser!
Will Audiences Continue... To Back Hollywood Zombie Films?
I feel this question more or less answers itself as it is clear to see that audiences around the globe only become more intrigued by the idea of a zombie pandemic, the more they see a great zombie film. I am a victim of this myself as I feel the more zombie films I watch which come across well with all of the elements one expects from a good zombie film, I constantly find myself wondering about a world full of zombies.
Will Hollywood A-Listers Star In Future Zombie Films?
I believe so... as we have seen the level of success which can come from an A-Lister starring in a zombie films as proven with the success of 'I Am Legend' and 'World War Z'. A huge amount of people purely go to the theatres to watch their favourite actors and actresses which is why it is important for future zombie films to grow a bigger budget as this will allow A-Listers to star in the films. We currently stand at a lot of supporters which goes into the countless millions for zombie fans but for the audiences who aren't as keen on the idea of a zombie film will require an A-Lister to watch the movie which may as a result add further supporters.
Are You a Fan of Zombies Films?
If You Are Not a Fan of Zombie Films, Then Why is This the Case?
To conclude it is easy to forget important areas to films which we all have a similar interest in (zombies) more so now than ever before since zombie films started doing to well at the box office. I feel it is time now for the zombie films to shine and have their time in the sun and wouldn't it be great to see a zombie film make it into the top 50 box office grossing films of all time or even better the top 10 box office grossing films of all time.
Although that would only become possible if Hollywood start spending more in that area of movie making, trying to find a script or story which can be used to create the next big blockbuster (set around zombies), which could be directed by one of the best. Since Peter Jackson (directed Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and King Kong), I feel that it could even be Peter Jackson who could be the perfect director to take on such a risky project as he has done so many times before.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope it has offered you some insight into Hollywood's zombie films. If you have any thoughts which you would like to share, then please leave any comments below.