The UK Festival of Zombie Culture 10th Anniversary Review

Saturday the 12th November 2016 saw the Phoenix Cinema, Leicester, host the 10th anniversary of the UK Festival of Zombie Culture. Five feature length zombie films, a selection of zombie short films, zombie video games, zombie book authors and lots of people dressed as? You got it, zombies! There was a good atmosphere, with packed out screenings full of zombie fanatics coming together in one of the most bizarre and bloody events I’ve been to.

As mentioned, there were a bunch of short-films, as well as five full feature films, all released this year. I won’t go into much detail about the short films, other than some of them were hilariously entertaining, whilst others were pretty grim. Beyond that, I’m going to write my thoughts on each of the five films, starting with my least favourite, and working my way up to the good stuff, so, without further ado:

Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies.

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Image: http://www.liveforfilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/attack-of-the-lederhosen-zombies-poster.jpg
Image Website Link: http://www.liveforfilms.com/2016/01/25/watch-the-trailer-for-attack-of-the-lederhosen-zombies/

You know how some films are so over the top with stupidity/gore/humour that they end up being really entertaining? Well, this wasn’t one of those films. This was just stupid, badly written and surprisingly dull considering there were plenty of decapitations. A couple of snowboarders and their associates get stranded on a mountain top, there’s a bar, there’s a snow machine that infects some Russian guy and turns him into a zombie. None of it really makes sense, and its clear that this film wasn’t meant to be taken too seriously, which is fine, but the parts that seemed like they were meant to be funny were greeted with an awkward silence from the audience, and the zombie killings have been done a million times better in a million other films. Avoid this one.

Peelers

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Image Website Link: http://www.leedsfilm.com/films/peelers/

Hispanic miners, strippers, a baseball bat, zombies. That’s pretty much all you need to know about this film. It was riddled with horrible acting and bad dialogue, but it was at least more entertaining than our previous entry.

Night of Something Strange

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This one took the top prize for being the most disgusting film of the day. Zombies who infect others via an STD, you can only imagine some of the grim results. What this film did correctly that Lederhosen Zombies couldn’t, was that it worked as a stupidly over the top disgusting film. There were some scenes that had the entire audience groaning in disgust, whilst others had everyone in fits of laughter. This was actually the first film of the day, and I was terrified things were only going to get worse, thankfully, they got this one out of the way first. I’d advise not taking your grandmother to see it.

Plan Z

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Image: http://www.screamhorrormag.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/PlanZbanner.jpg
Image Website Link: http://www.screamhorrormag.com/plan-z-film-review/

Plan Z was probably the most unique of all the films, as it didn’t focus too heavily on people being eaten by zombies, but it was also the first time being screened in a European cinema. Craig is a man who has planned for a zombie apocalypse for quite some time, so when one begins, he is already prepared. What Craig struggles with however, is sticking to his plan when things aren’t quite so black and white as he’d hoped. The films primary focus is on the human will to survive, and the inner conflicts that arise in an apocalyptic setting. Plan Z did drag a bit as time went on, but it was worth the watch. Stuart Brennan who played Craig, as well as wrote, produced and directed the film was present and did a short Q&A after which was a nice bonus.

Train to Busan

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Image Website Link: https://pop.inquirer.net/2016/09/11-things-we-felt-after-watching-train-to-busan/

Wow, what a great film, probably up there in my top 5 favourite horror films of all time. Based in South Korea, a man and his daughter board a train to Busan, in order for the little girl to see her Mother on her birthday. Unfortunately, just before they set off, an infected person manages to board the train, and zombie chaos ensues. This films characters are what really made it special, they were developed well, which helped carry an emotional wallop in the latter stages of the film. The action scenes were also brilliantly shot, humans vs zombies whilst on a moving train worked better than I thought it ever could. It was nice for the survivors not to be armed to the teeth with machine guns and chainsaws, it was a realistic and gritty interpretation of a zombie apocalypse. It probably could have been a bit shorter, with a run time of two hours, longer than the average horror flick. The Korean film market has been growing quickly as of late, and if it can carry on producing such quality films, it won’t be slowing down any time soon.

All in all, the UK Festival of Zombie Culture was a great day, and I’ll likely be returning next year. Not every film was a masterpiece, but I didn’t naively expect them to be either. It’s worth going along for the terrific atmosphere, good beer and food and that gem or two of a film!

Stuart Keating

@StooReviews

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