Despite the international entries into the zombie genre, there is something deeply American about zombie stories. You can see how Edgar Allan Poe flirted with the idea in his work, and how H.P. Lovecraft hesitantly embraced it in his stories. Sure, at its most basic level, the zombie represents our fear of death and how we need to confront it, sooner rather than later; however, there’s something deeply troubling about fighting an enemy that is us, and no matter how hard you fight, inevitably, you will become one of them. And its lack of ideology makes it even more horrifying; the starkness in its complete lack of ambiguity is disconcerting for a culture who believes “there’s always a way.” There is no way to reach an agreement with a zombie, and they will not compromise; to end the nightmare, you must either become the monster philosophically or become the monster physically. This is why the best zombie movies are such downers, because by winning, the heroes of the story must lose, whether it’s their sanity, their honor, or their principles. This sort of resolution is what truly horrifies us Americans, and it is what good zombie stories do better than other kinds of horror stories.
The Video Dead effectively manages to completely piss on all of the aforementioned ideas. Normally this would bother me; however, the movie is so nonsensical and reckless, I can’t help but love it, flaws and all.
This has been