My friend James and I used to spend our time making zombie apocalypse contingency plans. James would always say apologetically, “I’d have to shoot you in the head if you were slowing us down.”
Why do I bring this up so close to Valentine’s Day? Well, because romantic relationships are what screw you over in a crisis situation, at least according to the movies. It seems like every zombie movie has the moment where the husband has to shoot the wife who’s turning. (Resulting in the infamous, “He’s not the man you married” line.) In every war movie, talking about your girl back home is a recipe for death by mortar shell. In I Am Legend, its Will Smith’s unhealthy attachment to Fred the mannequin the is the beginning of the end.
The recent triumph of Zombieland, the little zom-com that could, has given the studios permission to greenlight other zombie products that don’t fully fit in the horror genre (i.e. the 28 ____ Later series and the Resident Evil trilogy.)
This is not to say that zombie comedies (or ZomComs or Zomedies, depending on who you talk to) haven’t been greenlit before. Shaun of the Dead is the most obvious example, but films like Canada’s Fido, a Lassie pastiche with a zombie as the collie (played brilliantly by Scottish comedian Billy Connolly), cannot be overlooked as part of the larger march toward “Zomedy” as a genre.
Further back there’s films like Zombies on Broadway and King of the Zombies, which weren’t necessarily all that funny, but they did try. The zombie as a comedy device can be found in An American Werewolf in London and Idle Hands (with Seth Green as the reanimated corpse in question.) Overall, you don’t really get comedies set in a post-zombie apocalypse world until after Romero and Raimi, whose Army of Darkness set the precedent for horror comedy as a B-movie go-to. The genre doesn’t lean hard on the comedy side until Fido and Shaun of the Dead in terms of “Oh, the apocalypse. Isn’t this fun?” Continue reading