Diary of the Dead

Have y’all seen this?  We were watching it the other day in that half-assed way you watch movies you don’t think are going to be very good.  People wandered around pooping and fixing popcorn and taking the dog out and checking their email only to come back to the movie and demand to know what’s going on.

So, I can’t say that it’s very good or very bad or anything.  It seems like a typical zombie movie.  The dead rise up and attack the living.  The living flee in terror or fight or whatever.  Blah blah blah.

But at the end–and I guess this is a spoiler, except that it has nothing to do with the plot of the movie–Romero throws in this little scene at the end that, like I said, has nothing to do with the plot of the movie, that I still cannot quite wrap my mind around.  It’s horrifying, but in a way that is completely different than the rest of the movie.

It’s like this.  For the whole movie up until this point, we’ve seen people kill zombies out of grim necessity–kill or be killed.  And we’ve seen their reactions range from grief to madness.  But at the end of the movie, there’s a clip of two guys who are shooting zombies for fun.  They’ve figured out how to catch them and so some are tied up to trees where the guys shoot them.  And one, a female, is hanging by her hair so that the guys can shoot her in the neck and her body drops away and her head still hangs there like a grim trophy.

I can’t shake it.

I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does seem to get at something about human nature that is hard to figure out what to do with–when killing for necessity becomes killing for fun.  I mean, why should it matter that these guys are shooting zombies for fun?  Dead is dead, right?  But man, it bothers me.

(I set out to read some reviews, to try to see if I could figure out what about the movie just sticks the fuck with me, even now, and it seems universally disliked.  People saw the movie as some kind of long and poorly-executed meditation on technology.  And it was that.  But more than that, it was a meditation on what it means to set yourself up as THE OBSERVER, the one through whose eyes “true” experience is defined.  I found that end clip

and, if you assume that every element in that scene is deliberately chosen, think about this.  If the point of the movie is (only) about technology, and if you are watching the movie and can see what’s going on for yourself, why does the narrator tell you the gender of the last zombie?)