Train to Busan

Always in a hurry.

The zombies are lightning-fast and prone to hurtling through anything in sight, often employing a pack mentality, in this zippy lil’ South Korean treat.

A chemical leak has turned a chunk of the world into ravenous brain-eaters, stranding most of our heroes — not all who will make it out alive — on a train supposedly headed towards a safe zone.

I’m not a diehard fan of zombie stories, many of which substitute ever more intense gore in place of any kind of coherent storytelling. Looking at you, Walking Dead.

But this one just hits differently.

 

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

“They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”

Zombie movies (and TV shows) have gotten much grosser, substituting spilled guts and gashed brains for suspense, but the genre granddaddy still holds up.

Working with little money, George Romero turned Pittsburgh into a surreal landscape where the undead walk again, and heroes don’t always make it out alive.

It scandalized folks in 1968, and was followed by five “sort-of” sequels filmed by Romero, but is probably viewed as a quaint artifact by today’s jaded gore-hounds.

Pop all the eyeballs you want — it still doesn’t match the psychological punch of this film’s bleak ending.

 

The Return of the Living Dead

I was a teenage idiot.

Before you say, “Not much has changed over the years, has it?,” let me respond, “ha ha.”

But head back to the late ’80s and I and a fellow young ruffian were standing in the aisles of the still fairly-new Tumwater Video.

Our mission – bring back a VHS tape for our class to see.

Ignoring rational thought, we chose this bloody, funny zombie flick — a sort-of sequel to George Romero’s classic chiller — which features Linnea Quigley dancing topless on a grave.

Our teachers were not amused.

But we were legends.

In our minds, at least.

 

Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Come for the campfire smores, stay for the beheadings.

Three high school sophomores, battling a reputation for being uncool, debate staying boy scouts.

The merit badge life has its pluses, however, as the skills they’ve picked up pay off big time when the world goes bonkers.

One second, you’re trying to snag invites to the “Secret Seniors Party” in a bid to improve your cool quotient.

The next, you’re knee-deep in rabid brain-chompers, and you’re fighting for Earth’s very survival, while trying not to scream like ninnies every time you gut a zombie.

Life comes at you fast.

 

The Stuff

You eat it, then it eats you.

A strange, blobby substance starts bubbling up from the ground, and, after the glop is found to have a sweet, addictive flavor, money-mad food company execs respond with a swift “Get that baby to market!”

Soon the whole country is slurping down the white crude, while rival ice cream and cookie companies are horrified to see their stock prices sharply tumble.

But, before obesity fears can surface, it becomes apparent something darker might be at work here.

Like people happily ingesting a parasitic alien organism!

Wickedly funny, subtly creepy, and no bitter aftertaste.