The Book of the Dead

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The Book of the Dead

Viesti kirjoittaja Admin lähetetty Ti Marras 21, 2017 2:28 pm

The Book of the Dead
Chapter 1: Coopers benefit of the doubt
Chapter 2: Consumers utopia
Chapter 3: Militarist takeover
Chapter 4: Other Romero films

In memory of George A. Romero (1940-2017)

The godfather of the zombie genre, Mr. George A. Romero has passed away. In order to tribute him, Book of the dead has been written. Romero's six zombie movies have influenced more the zombie scene than every other films combined.
I've written about all the films, especially about the original trilogy. First I'll issue Night of the living dead. Cooper had a point there. Then in Dawn, there were clear signs of a cult in regard of hiding out in the supermarket. Day had aspects of a militarist takeover, as Land, Diary and Survival's society critic were more subliminal.
I really think that these essays will do enough respect towards the passed Romero.

Chapter 1: Coopers benefit of the doubt
"There's not going to be five, six or ten of those things, but millions of them and as soon as they know we're in here this place will be crawling with them!"
- Harry Cooper, Night of the living dead

In Night of the living dead the main actress Barbra escapes a ghoul into a seemingly abandoned farmhouse. After Ben arrives we meet Harry, Helen and Karen Cooper as well as Tom and Judy. Harry is presented as the antagonist and his plan is to barricade into the cellar. As his opposing force, the protagonist Ben wants to leave the house and reach a rescue station.
In the end, Coopers view is the correct one as the only survivor Ben endures the night of horror in the underground bunker. To me, Cooper seemed always as the sensible one, as he was a parent who had an injured child and a wife to take care of. Ben seemed like a thief, who just used and stole everything he got his hands on.
Cooper's child was badly injured because she was barely conscious. There was also other aspects that promote that Cooper was right. Though I know that while he was right, he wasn't definitely happy. They had only one car which couldn't carry everybody (there was 7 persons, afterall). And the zombies would hinder their journey. Though this time the authorities would be an assisting force.
But back to the point. Cooper was unequivocally right, but not happy. But Cooper did one thing that to me differs him as being the bad guy. What he didnt do is to give Ben the benefit of the doubt. This proves today more in synch with reality than anything else. Its not a virtue, but a mistake, to give others the benefit of the doubt. The reality tells us all: Ben got them all killed, one way or the other. He had stolen the truck from somebody else. Ben had said: "I can carry the kid", when they were discussing about leaving the farmhouse. Yeah right like I'd like to give you my precious child!
Today more than ever, people should not give others (or to unknown people) the benefit of the doubt. Because he can be anyone: a thief, a molester or some other hideous psychopath or monster that will seek to destroy your life. I am not being some cynic or a stubborn pessimist, but rather a realist. Cooper did the right thing, he didnt ever trust Ben. It was the 60's USA, racism was at its top.
But today, people give others the benefit of the doubt too often. I am not saying that Ben surely was a snake, who would betray his fellows given the right moment, but I am just saying that Cooper was right, his plan was sound and he only tried to protect his family. In that regard, it was too sad that he had to perish. I believe that he was truly a good and decent human being just being corrupted by power too much. He did mistakes in regards of Ben for wanting his rifle, and paid a high price for that. But as a principle, Cooper was right. I am too sorry he wasn't happy. But he taught us a hard lesson. Not to be blind to trust the authorities or foreign people.
Only Ben survived the night of horror, by being the protagonist portrayed by the film. Indeed he didn't stay alive until the next morning. The daughter Karen was barely conscious, until she turned into a zombie. Tom and Judy were innocent cattle being sacrificed to Ben's noble ideas. So even though Mr. Cooper was supposed to be the antagonist, he had the right attitude and plan, and to me, its the thought that counts. He wasn't ready to give away his power to outside forces but sticked with his simple idea of staying out of sight.

Chapter 2: Consumers utopia
"Its ours, we took it, its ours..."
- Stephen, Dawn of the Dead

The second Dead-film, Dawn of the Dead observes the zombie apocalypse with a larger scope. A group of four persons ( two police officers and Tv-reporters) settle in an abandoned shopping centre. The world, the sticks and all the big cities have been invaded by the marauding ghouls. The group of four are driving around the country in a helicopter trying to reach Canada and more safer grounds. But after a while, they become tired and land on top of a shopping centre. After resting a while, they decide that they'll take the whole place over.
In order to do that, they'll need to secure the place and kill all ghouls residing the mall. After parking giant trucks to the entrances, Roger gets bitten to the leg and remains wounded. After a while, a three of them remains as Roger turns into a zombie for his wounds. Peter is the leader of the group and suggests early on to infest the mall. Roger is a bit sceptical, but agrees nevertheless. Francine, Stevens girlfriend is against the plan, but she gets overrun by the men.
Steven, the helicopter pilot is struggling between two powers. He is to be a father to Francines unborn child, but also needs to assist the two cops Roger and Peter in their hit and run - missions. Roger is the unfortunate one to die early. Peter takes the command after Rogers demise. In the end, there appears a group of looters who reveal their secret hideout. In the end, only the black trooper(Peter) and the white woman(Francince) survive as they fly off with the helicopter.
To me, the obscure idea of barricading into the vast shopping centre seems a bit too grand as to be an utopia. It to me seems like a consumers paradise. We in capitalist societies are easily lulled to seductive lies by consumerism. We are just innocent lambs lulled to sleep as we lose something very soulful to mass consuming material gains.
Dawns protagonists idea to invade the mall seems to just an idea of a few desperate anarchists. When the motorcycle gang arrives, there springs a war between the two anarchist groups. In moderate conditions, we humans become very violent and cruel, as Dawn of the Dead shows.
This Peter's vision of "consumers paradise" seems like an idea used by other rebel groups in our history. Think of it as an leftis anarchist Vladimir Lenin's Soviet Union, the first socialist country. As with every left wing politics, the consumers paradise in Dawn, the proletariats paradise Soviet Union and Olof Palme's multicultural society all fail. The problem with this kind of thinking is clear. Take Dawns, consumers paradise for example. It wasn't executed without setbacks, as Roger gets injured the very next morning in the truck raid. Nobody leaves the consumers paradise alive, hence Roger not getting proper treatment for his wounds and he dies to his open wounds.
They love their safe little haven so much that the remaining two originally wanted to kill themselves. Its the same thing as with utopias like socialism and multiculturalism that it never is executed without sacrifices. Communists have killed more than 20 million people, multicultural societies suffer from terrorism, violence and rapes. So whatever the goal of any of these ideals are, they suffer from serious violations of the original inhabitants rights. And all of these anarchist-communist ideologies lead to only one despicable result, that is the murder of nations and a grim fate of citizens. In the end, theres always a bloodshed and the destruction of nations.
As Dawn showcases, Peters idea of a consumers paradise wasnt done without harm or bloodshed. Roger was the cattle sacrificed for their ideal. Roger even resists treatment done to him and Peter tries to calm him down. His thought was: "Dont make waves in my world, no one escapes my paradise alive!". The group suffers from Rogers agony in that it ruins the illusion of a paradise. His cries of pain ruin the mood and spirit of the others.
Same thing is with multiculturalism and mass immigration. The original habitants are silenced with labels like "racist" or "bigot" if they dare to criticize the new order of things. As with socialism, multiculturalism or even consumerism, it all ends violently.
Along with Dawn of the Dead, the 2000's film "The Beach" portrayed this concept as well. In it a group finds a lagoon where resides a small society. It is soon discovered that no one is eligible to leave it without permission, because else their secret little hideout will be revealed.
All I am saying that Romero means with this movie that consumerism is a cult which is above all criticism. Zombies are no different from average people who wonder about in malls. Same is true with socialism or multiculturalism; they are both cults which hardly ever create any peace or harmony but only violence and bloodshed. That's why we must not be muted, because the advocats of those ideals, their errors must be revealed before its too late. Romero hits the mark perfectly and was as always a way ahead of its time!

Chapter 3: Militarist takeover
"There's no one else, we're it!"
- Rickles, Day of the Dead

The Romero's zombie trilogy ends to 1985's Day of the dead. Being more grim than Dawn in all aspects, it was the directors masterpiece in my opinion. Day is set in a world where the zombies are the majority and only few humans are left. A small community of people live inside an underground bunker. There are three subgroups; the scientists, soldiers and civilians. They basically try to contact the outside world somehow, fight against each other or catch zombie specimens from the underground tunnels to find a somekind of closure to the situation at hand. In the end their disagreements grow bigger as they experience major setbacks in their actions. Only the civilians escape by a helicopter and the zombies get inside the hideout and the military personel get savagely killed.

In Day I think we are close to witness a military takeover. Now please dont pooh pooh this one; its a real threat in various countries in our world. Finland for example, is far one of the most militarist countries out there due to a close neighbour the imperialistic Russia. Our men still need to join the army, its forbidden to even try to avoid it. Other Nordic countries have deprived from the forced military training as are the majority of the European countries. Forced military training is practised along Finland, in such countries such as Russia, North-Korea or some states of USA.
In Day of the Dead the militarists tried to take over the last civilization in the world. The main antagonist, Rhodes continuously makes verbal threats towards the civilians and later on real actions. He kills many of the civilians with his own bare hands. In the grim end the militarist takeover is real. Its the looming threat thorough the entire film. As the researchers make the mistake to feed real human flesh to the zombies, the commander Rhodes blows a whistle on it. In the ending massacre, someone invites the zombies inside the complex and Rhodes is portrayed as a coward who dies a pitiful death in the hands of a tame zombie named Bub.

The leading female protagonist Sarah has had difficulties as being the only female in the group. She has over her a looming danger of being raped. The civilian group's pilot, John wants to mate with Sarah in order of continuing the genes of mankind. This situation gives the mankind a glimpse of hope.

Is, then, a militarist takeover real in any of the countries of the world? If majority of the populace consists of army soldiers, then the threat is real. With forced military training a society is grounds of a militarist property. How should we handle the defense of the country then? I've always believed that we should train an army of volunteers, like police, government or any other institution which reside inside a country. Peace with all means is no peace at all. You either build an army consisting of volunteers or you have no defense at all. Every person, male or female has the human right for his/hers autonomy and life. Quit the forced military training for once and for all.

As for the society critic in Day, Romero tells us that there always looms the threat of a militarist takeover. And without direction, it leads to outbreaks of violence. In any case, if you take the "forced" out from an army, there are only hapless individuals with no will or direction. As just happens in Day, once the spell is cast no one of the soldiers are cooperating with each other.

Chapter 4: Other Romero films
"I hate mornings...they show the weaker side of us"
- Andrew in Diary of the Dead

In my Book of the Dead, I've tackled Romero's zombie flicks from many angles. Let me finish it with considering the inferior half of the quadrology, the films, Land, Diary and Survival of the dead.
In Land of the Dead the rise of humanity had begun. Humans had built a large city for themselves. There were guards and fences to defend the citizens. But there were two floors of people; the poor and the rich. And this pressure builds ending in all out mass-attack of the living dead. This time the zombies have some intelligence like leaders and this gives the film more of a fantasy element. Aren't real world the same? There are the poor and the rich, for the rich have it more and the poor resents them for that. This film showcases Romero's talent for finding good camera angles.
In Diary of the Dead a group of teens stumbles to a sudden attack of the flesh eaters. It appears as the world is falling apart and the youngsters are trying to manage it and making a film about it. Romero follows the steps of Blair Witch Project and Cloverfeld in this. It just appears that the authorities give just as difficult time for ordinary people than the actual threat, zombies would. The youngsters have to barricade themselves into a mansion but zombies appear to surround it.

The last film, Survival of the Dead begins in a cool manner. There are two parties who live in an island, the other wanting to get rid of the zombies and the other one wanting to tame them. The zombies are being overshadowed by the disagreements of the two clans. Something tells that in this final film, Romero has said everything than he'll ever need to.

May Romero rest in peace, if not resurrect from the dead and bring them all back alive! I'll have to specially mention the vampire flick Martin, as it was filmed in between Night and Dawn. It has the same eerie feel of both of those films. May these several essays of the dead serve as a fuel to further implications.


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