Some filmmakers enjoy researching topics of horror, famous classic movies, though the ultimate question what determines the status legendary works of art, is the countless articles and equaled to onslaught rabid attention by fans, and how will future audiences deem these creations. Well, a few of these questions are asked/answered and others aren’t even approached, but one must note not to confuse this film with the documentary Document of the Dead [1980], which solely is about George A. Romero’s films with behind the scenes of Dawn of the Dead [1978]. This production comes from collaborators Alexandre O. Philippe (78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene [2017]), as well as director and writer Chad Herschberger Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist (2019), though never actually had a true release in the United states, rather occasionally appearing on cable networks from time to time.

If you seek a fairly quick overview of the zombie films and culture with a little history on the topic then this 81-minute runtime is perfect for you and face most horror fans know this topic extremely well when it comes to the main staples of the subgenre. One hopes that someone will venture into the unknown territory of discovering both slick indie creations and their rotting cousin corpses of wretchedly bad movies too. Alas, it is marketed as “definitive zombie culture documentary,” well perhaps in a cliff note manner it can be described as that. Let’s venture forth discover some of the areas found within this movie.

It starts with a version of ‘asking the person on the street’ late night talk shows do this often, it’s all about asking random individuals their thoughts on a topic, here what is a zombie? Some answered in the politically manner and others physiological and then finally some horror fans, this all doesn’t last too long before diving into more in depth look, which many of today’s lovers will consider the data as old information, likely the hardest aspect for the filmmakers was deciding what direction to venture into first, as the documentary bounces around a bit and lands in some curious spots, which ultimately makes to a so-so informative guide. As I unveil certain portions, you’ll understand that remark further. The film traces the origins of ‘zombie’ back to the framework found in the Voodoo religion, noting the cultural aspect and that turning one into zombie is against the law for its equal to slavery, and uncovers an interesting topic of slaves revolting against the colonial masters. As for cinematic references they noted in White Zombie [1932], which starred Bela Lugosi and then Val Lewton’s I Walked with a Zombie [1943], but largely skipped over the 1940s and touch on the films from 1959 which had similar themes of aliens control humans as the undead Invisible Invaders and Plan 9 from Outer Space. Finally, it comes to Night of the Living Dead [1968], George explains how he was merely attempting to create a new screen monster and gave a humble thanks of his movies inspired so many others, with many other interviewed, among them Max Brooks, Robert Kirkman, Greg Nicotero, and Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead [2004]), recalling the memories of seeing it. Then moves onto Dawn of the Dead [1978] and lesser bit on Day of the Dead [1985], however an interesting commentary from Howard Sherman, concerning the 1978 film as every Black Friday you see same the horde of consumers bursting into the mall; while Max Brooks states the movie is “the death of the 1960s Love Generation and the rise of the consumer-driven Me Generation”. Both are true and thought-provoking statements, something to observe when viewing the movie again.

The debate of slow versus fast zombies, was comically handled, yet a clear establishing understanding that the rising of the dead is slow in nature, but rarely are they shown losing or missing limbs, after all rotting corpses. Then fast creation is infected with a virus, hence different metabolism aspect is at work, and with those you basically f**ked, paraphrasing Nicotero. They also noted the nearly indestructible undead from the way cool The Return of the Living Dead [1985], even when Bruce Campbell was interviewed he told of how the Deadites were more demonic forces, but that the undead rose in Army of Darkness [1993] though joked about they talked without to guess and stayed together while a pile of bones, finally how he presided over a zombie wedding.

Now, for the stranger aspect, there’s actual children describing zombies which shows their enthusiasm for the subgenre, very cool, but then Philippe steps to first pop culture references puppets and political ads, then switching over to survivalists and incorporating adult film director/star Joanna Angel (The Last House [2015]) who’s given ample time to discuss “Walking Dead” parody X-rated film, rather than exploring video games such as Resident Evil, hence automatically dinging as something to watch children. They include the zombie walks, mud runs, pub crawls, which is interesting however exclude the musical bands.

Overall, a fair assessment of the subgenre of zombies, however the major disappointment comes from the complete overlooking of first the Italian Zombie influence namely Zombie [1979] and Burial Ground [1981] and international influences; secondly whiffing on discussing Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead [2004] remake. There’s a brief clip of Tom Savini mentioning how he liked the Thriller zombie Dance, then a zombie walk. In the end the zombies movies keep rising from the dead and sick minds of fans, and therefore this documentary makes an interesting add-on for your collection.

IMDb Rating: 6.4/10

Baron’s Rating: 6.0/10