Fright Club: Future Oscar Winners in Horror

One of the most fun facts in acting is that most of the greats, even the truly greats, started off in horror. And, apparently, they all co-starred at one point or another with Keanu Reeves, whose Oscar is apparently still forthcoming. Today we look at some horror films with casts dripping with future gold.

5. Constantine (2005)

Two Oscars plus three nominations. Not for Constantine, obviously, but that’s the hardware and would-be hardware shared among the cast of this one.

We have no explanation for this, but Keanu Reeves shows up three times in this countdown, regardless of the fact that he’s never been nominated for an Oscar.

No!

Francis Lawrence (of the many Hunger Games fame) made his directorial debut with this big screen take on the comic Hellblazer. Reeves mumbles his way through the lead role of John Constantine. Destined to hell because of an early-life suicide attempt and cursed with the ability to see demons and angels in their true form, Constantine battles on behalf of the light in the hopes of regaining favor and avoiding his eternal fate.

Tilda Swinton plays the angel Gabriel! Peter Storemare plays Satan! I don’t know what else you need to convince you to waste two hours, but Rachel Weisz also plays twins, Pruitt Taylor Vince plays a priest, Djimon Hounsou plays a witch doctor, and there’s absolutely no reason any one of these people said yes to this job. Glorious!

4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

OK, well Coppola alone has five outright Oscars and one Thalberg Memorial Award, as well as nine additional nominations. Add to that Oldman’s win and nomination, Hopkins’s win and three nominations, Ryder’s two nominations and Richard E. Grant’s nom and you have to just wonder why this movie doesn’t work better.

Overheated, overperformed and somehow undeniably watchable, Francis Ford Coppola’s take on Stoker’s classic vampire tale is a train wreck.

Keanu Reeves is awful. Winona Ryder is awful. Anthony Hopkins is so over the top as to be borderline hilarious. And yet, Coppola somehow matches that ridiculous volume and pitch with a writhing, carnal atmosphere – almost an oversaturated Hammer horror, all heaving breasts and slippery satin.

At the heart of the film is a glorious Gary Oldman, who is particularly memorable as the almost goofily macabre pre-London Dracula. Tom Waits makes an impression as Renfield, Richard E. Grant offers a nicely wearied turn as the asylum’s keeper, Dr. Seward, and the lovely Sadie Frost joins a slew of nubile vampire women to keep the film simmering. It’s a sloppy stew, but it is just so tasty.

3. The Gift (2000)

Blanchett has two, Swank has two, Simmons has one, writer Billy Bob Thornton has one plus, including Danny Elfman and Greg Kinnear, there’s another 11 Oscar nominations for this cast and crew. And yet…

Thornton co-writes this supernatural backwoods thriller, allegedly about experiences his mother had as a clairvoyant. Sam Raimi, who’d just directed Thornton to an Oscar nomination with A Simple Plan, directs a star-heavy cast: Cate Blanchette, Keanu Reeves, JK Simmons, Gary Cole,  Hilary Swank, Giovanni Ribisi, Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear.

Blanchette is a small town Georgia fortune teller (though she doesn’t like that label). Recently widowed and raising three young boys, she’s the picture of vulnerability and Blanchette is, of course, excellent. This is one of Reeves’s stronger performances, too, as the violent rube suspected of murdering a lovely young missing person (Holmes).

Ribisi does the best by the film, which is a fun if predictable little spook show. Raimi can’t quite find his tone, and humorless horror is definitely not the filmmaker’s strong suit. Still, the cast is just about enough to make the film really shine.

2. Zombieland (2009)

Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray each have at least one Oscar nomination; Stone’s also won one. And in a lovely change of pace, the movie they made together kicks all manner of ass.

Hilarious, scary, action-packed, clever and, when necessary, touching, Zombieland ranks as one of the most fun zombie movies ever made. How much of that is due to Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s spot-on screenplay? Loads. How much credit goes to director Ruben Fleischer? Well, he did stage that utterly fantastic theme park kiosk shootout of death, didn’t he?

But let’s be honest, the chemistry among the four leads, their comic timing and simple, undeniable talent is what raises this film to the highest of genre heights.

1. American Psycho (2000)

Truth be told, Christian Bale should have won the Oscar for this iconic slice of perfection. He did not, but he did win for The Fighter, with three nominations in quick succession after that. Reese Witherspoon has one win, one nom and Jared Leto has one win. Meanwhile, Chloe Sevigny has one nomination to Willem Dafoe’s four.

It this film better than all of those? Hell yes. These fantastic actors mingle in a giddy hatchet to the head of the abiding culture of the Eighties. American Psycho represents the sleekest, most confident black comedy – perhaps ever. Writer/director Mary Harron’s send up of the soulless Reagan era is breathtakingly handled, from the set decoration to the soundtrack, but the film works as well as a horror picture as it does a comedy. 

As solid as this cast is, and top to bottom it is perfect, every performance is eclipsed by the lunatic genius of Bale’s work. Volatile, soulless, misogynistic and insane, yet somehow he also draws some empathy. It is wild, brilliant work that marked a talent preparing for big things.

Fright Club: Amusements in Horror

A perversion of childhood innocence in an attempt to create anxiety and fear—that, basically, is the definition of carnivals, circuses, theme parks. Maybe that’s why the amusement park and its inhabitants make for such excellent horror movie fodder. Let’s discuss.

5. Zombieland (2009)

Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool) take the tried-and-true zombiepocalypse premise and sprint with it in totally new and awesome directions. An insane cast helps: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Bill Murray. That’s eight Oscar nominations and one win, that’s what that is. Plus, I cannot imagine a better cameo in a film than Murray’s in this one.

I give you, a trip to a loud and well-lit amusement park is not a recommendation Max Brooks would make during the zombiepocalypse. Still, you’ve got to admit it’s a gloriously filmed piece of action horror cinema.

Between the sisters trapped on a ride slowly lowering them toward hungry mouths (good thinking on those boots, ladies!), Columbus’s rule breaking heroism with that effing clown, and the all-time great Tallahassee shoot out, director Ruben Fleischer directs the hell out of the amusement park portion of this movie.

4. It (2017)

Clowns are fun, aren’t they?

The basic premise of It is this: Little kids are afraid of everything, and that’s just good thinking.

Bill Skarsgård has the unenviable task of following a letter-perfect Tim Curry in the role of Pennywise. Those are some big clown shoes to fill, but Skarsgård is up to the challenge. His Pennywise is more theatrical, more of an exploitation of all that’s inherently macabre and grotesque about clowns.

Is he better than the original? Let’s not get nutty here, but he is great.

Director Andy Muschietti shows great instinct for taking advantage of foreground, background and sound. Yes, It relies heavily on jump scares, but Muschietti’s approach to plumbing your fear has more depth than that and he manages your rising terror expertly.

3. The Last Circus (2010)

Who’s in the mood for something weird?

Unhinged Spanish filmmaker Alex de la Iglesia returns to form with The Last Circus, a breathtakingly bizarre look at a Big Top love triangle set in Franco’s Spain.

Describing the story in much detail would risk giving away too many of the astonishing images. A boy loses his performer father to conscription in Spain’s civil war, and decades later, with Franco’s reign’s end in sight, he follows in pop’s clown-sized footsteps and joins the circus. There he falls for another clown’s woman, and stuff gets nutty.

Like Tarantino, Igelsia pulls together ideas and images from across cinema and blends them into something uniquely his own, crafting a film that’s somewhat familiar, but never, ever predictable.

The Last Circus boasts more than brilliantly wrong-minded direction and stunningly macabre imagery – though of these things it certainly boasts. Within that bloody and perverse chaos are some of the more touching performances to be found onscreen.

2. Us (2019)

From a Santa Cruz carnival to a hall of mirrors to a wall of rabbits in cages, writer/director Jordan Peele draws on moods and images from horror’s collective unconscious and blends them into something hypnotic and almost primal.

But Us is far more than a riff on some old favorites. It’s as if Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland turned into a plague on humanity.

And it all starts innocently enough with a family outing to the carnival—an environment that has always been a perversion of innocence, a macabre funhouse mirror of the playthings and past times of children. Peele takes advantage, using this stage to create an even wilder and more bewildering look at who we are.

1. Freaks (1932)

Short and sweet, like most of its performers, Tod Browning’s controversial film Freaks is one of those movies you will never forget. Populated almost entirely by unusual actors – midgets, amputees, the physically deformed, and an honest to god set of conjoined twins (Daisy and Violet Hilton) – Freaks makes you wonder whether you should be watching it at all.

This, of course, is an underlying tension in most horror films, but with Freaks, it’s right up front. Is what Browning does with the film empathetic or exploitative, or both? And, of course, am I a bad person for watching this film?

Well, that’s not for us to say. We suspect you may be a bad person, perhaps even a serial killer. Or maybe that’s us. What we can tell you for sure is that the film is unsettling, and the final, rainy act of vengeance is truly creepy to watch.

Fright Club: This Cast!

We are beyond delighted to have been allowed to screen Jim Jarmusch’s new zombie classic The Dead Don’t Die two days in advance of its national opening. To honor this remarkable film and its amazing cast, we look at the best other horror movies that star these actors.

5. Zombieland (2009) – Bill Murray

Just when Shaun of the Dead convinced me that those Limey Brits had created the best-ever zombie romantic comedy, it turns out they’d only created the most British zom-rom-com. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick take the tried-and-true zombiepocalypse premise and sprint with it in totally new and awesome directions.

And the cameo. I cannot imagine a better one. I mean that. I’m not sure a walk on by Jesus himself could have brought me more joy.

That’s not true. Plus, in zombie movie?! How awesome would that have been?!

Jesse Eisenberg anchors the film with an inspired narration and an endearing dork characterization. But Woody Harrelson owns this film. His gun-toting, Twinkie-loving, Willie Nelson-singing, Dale Earnhart-number-wearing redneck ranks among the greatest horror heroes ever.

I give you, a trip to a loud and well-lit amusement park is not a recommendation Max Brooks would make during the zombiepocalypse. Still, you’ve got to admit it’s a gloriously filmed piece of action horror cinema.

4. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) – Tilda Swinton

The Dead Don’t Die is not Jim Jarmusch’s first foray into horror. In 2013, the visionary writer/director concocted a delicious black comedy, oozing with sharp wit and hipster attitude.

Great lead performances don’t hurt, either, and Jarmusch gets them from Tom Hilddleston and Tilda Swinton as Adam and Eve (perfect!), a vampire couple rekindling their centuries-old romance against the picturesque backdrop of…Detroit.

Not since the David Bowie/Catherine Deneuve pairing in The Hunger has there been such perfectly vampiric casting. Swinton and Hiddleston, already two of the most consistently excellent actors around, deliver cooly detached, underplayed performances, wearing the world- weariness of their characters in uniquely contrasting ways.

There is substance to accent all the style. The film moseys toward its perfect finale, casually waxing Goth philosophic about soul mates and finding your joy.

3. Suspiria (2018) – Tilda Swinton

It is 1977 in “a divided Berlin,” when American Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson, nicely moving the character from naivete to complexity) arrives for an audition with a world-renowned dance company run by Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton, mesmerizing).

This “cover version” (The Tilda’s phrase, and valid) of Argento’s original lifts the veil on the academy elders early, via the diaries of Patricia (Chloe Moretz), a dancer who tells psychotherapist Dr. Josef Kiemperer (also The Tilda, under impressive makeup) wild tales of witches and their shocking plans.

Guadagnino continues to be a master film craftsman. Much as he draped Call Me by Your Name in waves of dreamy romance, here he establishes a consistent mood of nightmarish goth.

But even when this new Suspiria is tipping its hat to Argento, Guadagnino leaves no doubt he is making his own confident statement. Women move in strong solidarity both onstage and off, dancing with a hypnotic power capable of deadly results. In fact, most of the male characters here are mere playthings under the spell of powerful women, which takes a deliciously ironic swipe at witch lore.

2. American Psycho (2000) – Chloe Sevigny

A giddy hatchet to the head of the abiding culture of the Eighties, American Psycho represents the sleekest, most confident black comedy – perhaps ever. Director Mary Harron trimmed Bret Easton Ellis’s novel, giving it unerring focus. More importantly, the film soars due to Christian Bale’s utterly astonishing performance as narcissist, psychopath, and Huey Lewis fan Patrick Bateman.

There’s an elegant exaggeration to the satire afoot. Bateman is a slick, sleek Wall Street toady, pompous one minute because of his smart business cards and quick entrance into posh NYC eateries, cowed the next when a colleague whips out better cards and shorter wait times. For all his quest for status and perfection, he is a cog indistinguishable from everyone who surrounds him. The more glamour and flash on the outside, the more pronounced the abyss on the inside. What else can he do but turn to bloody, merciless slaughter? It’s a cry for help, really.

Harron’s send up of the soulless Reagan era is breathtakingly handled, from the set decoration to the soundtrack, but the film works as well as a horror picture as it does a comedy. Whether it’s Chloe Sevigny’s tenderness as Bateman’s smitten secretary or Cara Seymour’s world wearied vulnerability, the cast draws a real sense of empathy and dread that complicate the levity. We do not want to see these people harmed, and as hammy as it seems, you may almost call out to them: Look behind you!

As solid as this cast is, and top to bottom it is perfect, every performance is eclipsed by the lunatic genius of Bale’s work. Volatile, soulless, misogynistic and insane, yet somehow he also draws some empathy. It is wild, brilliant work that marked a talent preparing for big things.

1. Get Out (2017) – Caleb Landry Jones

Opening with a brilliant prologue that wraps a nice vibe of homage around the cold realities of “walking while black,” writer/director Jordan Peele uses tension, humor and a few solid frights to call out blatant prejudice, casual racism and cultural appropriation.

When white Rose (Alison Williams) takes her black boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) home to meet the fam, she assures him race will not be a problem. How can she be sure? Because her Dad (Bradley Whitford) would have voted for Obama’s third term “if he could.” It’s the first of many B.S. alerts for Peele, and they only get more satisfying.

Rose’s family is overly polite at first, but then mom Missy (Catherine Keener) starts acting evasive and brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) gets a bit threatening, while the gardener and the maid (both black – whaaat?) appear straight outta Stepford.

Peele is clearly a horror fan, and he gives knowing winks to many genre cliches (the jump scare, the dream) while anchoring his entire film in the upending of the “final girl.” This isn’t a young white coed trying to solve a mystery and save herself, it’s a young man of color, challenging the audience to enjoy the ride but understand why switching these roles in a horror film is a social critique in itself.

Get Out is an audacious first feature for Jordan Peele, a film that never stops entertaining as it consistently pays off the bets it is unafraid to make.

Fright Club: Died on the Toilet

Before you worry: no, we have not run out of real topics. It’s just that, every so often we need to indulge a weird little voice that says things like, “Ever noticed how many people die on toilets in horror movies? Wonder what kind of deep-seated fears that explores.”

And there are a LOT of people who die on toilets in horror movies. Michael Myers really likes to freak people out in public restrooms. We know Norman Bates likes to dispatch folks while they’re in the shower, but he is not above preying on someone while they’re just trying to pee. Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger have also done it. (The poor guy falls asleep on the toilet. Don’t judge—we’ve all been there.)

Here, however, are the best instances of nature calling you to your death.

5. Scream 2 (1997)

Phil (Omar Epps) just wants to take his girl to a scary movie. Still, he does get up in the middle of it to pee. I’m not saying that’s cause for murder. I’m not saying it’s not, either.

The whole Scream franchise does an excellent job of taking the mundane moments in life and drawing your attention to all the ways in which you are actually vulnerable. This scene plays not only on the vulnerability involved in our social contract to allow others to urinate in peace, but also touches on the ways in which anonymity (by way of the costumes everyone is wearing at the theater) emboldens people. Usually the wrong people. The kind that whisper weirdly from the next stall.

4. Zombieland (2009)

Mike White makes such a great doofus victim, doesn’t he? Here he is, minding his own beeswax, taking a leisurely in a filthy public toilet during the zombiepocalypse…No part of this really sounds wise, does it?

It’s all in keeping with one of Zombieland‘s great gimmicks: the rules. The reason the rules work so well for the film is that each one is actually an excellent piece of advice. Get some cardio, people, because zombies don’t tire out.

And for the love of God, beware of bathrooms.

3. Ghoulies II 1988

Everybody hated Philip Hardin (J. Downing) anyway, didn’t we? He knew. Sure, he claimed that his little monster gravy train, the only reason his dying carnival attracted any customers at all, had nothing to do with all those dead bodies. But, come on.

The nasty little muppety creatures from Luca Bercovici’s surprise 1984 hit (and Gremlins ripoff) have left town. They’ve found a hunting ground better suited to them alongside the carnies at the Satan’s Den attraction.

The film is not good—sequels to sloppy derivatives rarely are. It’s a mixed bag of kills and puppet hijinx. But there is something about a monster in the toilet, man, and it ain’t good.

2. Street Trash (1987)

This iconic Troma film sees the homeless population of a town turn from cheap liquor to cheaper god-knows-what, Tenafly Viper. It’s old, but this is not the kind of wine that ages well. Those who drink it, well, it’s like looking directly at the Ark of the Covenant.

The hobo-melting is honestly the least interesting and least offensive thing happening in this envelope pusher. But there is this one poor bastard who just takes a seat, just wants to rest a bit and enjoy a lovely beverage. The FX are laughable, and yet sort of genius.

1. ABCs of Death: T is for Toilet (2012)

Yes! Every single thing the previous films were trying to capture, all handled here with inspired (and brilliantly hideous) claymation. It’s perfect. It’s sadistic, funny, tender, mean, goofy and pretty clearly Australian.

It was not a dingo that ate the baby.





Halloween Countdown, Day 28: Zombieland

Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland is quite possibly the perfect movie. Just when Shaun of the Dead convinced me that those Limey Brits had create the best-ever zombie romantic comedy, it turns out they’d only created the most British zombie romantic comedy. The Yank counterpart is even better, and with this amount of artillery, it’s certainly a more American vision.

Let’s start with the effervescently clever writing. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick take the tried-and-true zombiepocalypse premise and sprint with it in totally new and awesome directions.

And the cameo. I cannot imagine a better one. I mean that. I’m not sure a walk on by Jesus himself could have brought me more joy.

That’s not true. Plus, in zombie movie?! How awesome would that have been?!

The performances kick ass, also. Thank you Rubin Fleischer for respecting each character enough to allow them a good balance of stupid mistakes, solid decisions and laughs.

Jesse Eisenberg anchors the film with an inspired narration and an endearing dork characterization. Yes, we’ve seen him dork before. One dork nearly won him an Oscar. Still, this is one of his finer dorks.

But Woody Harrelson owns this film. His gun toting, Twinkie loving, Willie Nelson singing, Dale Earnhart number wearing redneck ranks among the greatest horror heroes ever.

I give you, a trip to a loud and well-lit amusement park is not a recommendation Max Brooks would make during the zombiepocalypse. Still, you’ve got to admit it’s a gloriously filmed piece of action horror cinema.

Listen weekly to MaddWolf’s horror podcast FRIGHT CLUB. Do it!





Fright Club: Best Zombie Comedies

Prepare to be pissed off. Why? Well, because we’re going to explore the best zombie comedies today and there are hundreds of options. We guarantee that we will leave something off this list that you want to see on it. There’s really no question about it. Probably at #5. So just know that we know that there are at least a dozen great zombie comedies that we do not address here, given that we’ve limited our list to five.

And here they are!

5. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Why Return of the Living Dead? Because it was one of the very first zombie comedies, mainly. But its pedigree is impressive. The original story – one of bumbling warehouse employees who unwittingly unleash the very biochemical that caused the Night of the Living Dead in the first place – was conceived by Russell Streiner, producer of the Romero zombie classic.

Also, Dan O’Bannon, writer behind Alien and Total Recall, co-wrote and directs.

The film also introduced into the genre the abiding zombie trait of brain eating, and is the first film in which zombies grown braaaaiiiinnnnssss.

Plus, the great Linnea Quigley Leg Warmer Dance Scene, a fun 80s punk rock soundtrack, Clu Gulagar and a lot of campy fun – all of this combined to create one of the more memorable and weirdly important zombie comedies.

4. Dead Snow (2009)

Nazi zombies, everybody! Hell yes!

Like its portly nerd character Erlend, Dead Snow loves horror movies. A self-referential “cabin in the woods” flick, Dead Snow follows a handsome, mixed-gender group of college students as they head to a remote cabin for Spring Break. A creepy old dude warns them off with a tale of local evil. They mock and ignore him at their peril.

But co-writer/director/Scandinavian Tommy Wirkola doesn’t just obey these time-honored horror film rules. Like Scream and The Cabin in the Woods, Dead Snow draws your attention to them. It embraces our prior knowledge of the path we’re taking to mine for comedy, but doesn’t give up on the scares. Wirkola’s artful imagination generates plenty of startles and gore by the gallon.

Spectacular location shooting, exquisite cinematography, effective sound editing and a killer soundtrack combine to elevate the film above its clever script and solid acting. Take, for example, the gorgeous image of Norwegian peace – a tent, lit from within, sits like a jewel nestled in the quiet of a snowy mountainside. The image glistens with pristine outdoorsy beauty – until it … doesn’t.

The unapologetically faithful image of the traditional American horror film, Dead Snow is funny and scary, utterly gross and thoroughly enjoyable.

3. Juan of the Dead (2011)

By 2011, finding a zombie film with something new to say was pretty difficult, but writer/director/Cuban Alejandro Brugues managed to do just that with his bloody political satire Juan of the Dead.

Breathtakingly and unapologetically Cuban, the film shadows slacker Juan and his layabout pals as they reconfigure their longtime survival instincts to make the most of Cuba’s zombie infestation.

I’m sorry – dissidents. Thankfully the Cuban media is on top of this situation, letting the faithful patriots know that the violent, flesh-hungry villains outside are all dissidents. Your old, fat auntie? Dissident. Paperboy, missing a foot and dragging himself toward that priest? Dissident.

One of a thousand hilarious touches is that the word zombie is used only once, by a non-Cuban – even Juan and his friends thoughtlessly refer to the mayhem-happy characters as dissidents. It’s a whole new approach to the zombiepocalypse – not to mention social satire – and it’s entirely entertaining.

It’s such a clever, eye-opening film with some added oomph via soundtrack and closing credits animation. Juan of the Dead promises one killer dia de los muertos!

2. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

This is a hard movie not to like. Writer/director Edgar Wright teams with writer/star Simon Pegg to lovingly mock the slacker generation, 80s pop, and George Romero with this riotous flesh-eating romance. But what is easy to overlook is the genuine craftsmanship that went into making this picture.

Every frame of every scene is so perfectly timed – pauses in conversation synchronized with seemingly random snippets of other conversations, or juke box songs, or bits from the tele. (The movie will turn you British. By the end you’ll be saying holiday instead of vacation, spelling colour with a u and saying, “How’s that for a slice of fried gold?” even though you don’t really know what that means.)

Shaun offers such a witty observation of both a generation and a genre, so well told and acted, that it is an absolute joy, even if you’re not a fan of zombie movies. As social satire, it is as sharp as they come. It also manages to hit the bull’s eye as a splatter horror film, an ode to Romero, a buddy picture, and an authentic romantic comedy. And it’s more than just a remarkable achievement; it’s a fresh, vivid explosion of entertainment. It’s just a great movie.

1. Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland is quite possibly the perfect movie. Just when Shaun of the Dead convinced me that those Limey Brits had created the best-ever zombie romantic comedy, it turns out they’d only created the most British zom-rom-com. The Yank counterpart is even better, and with this amount of artillery, it’s certainly a more American vision.

Let’s start with the writing. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick take the tried-and-true zombiepocalypse premise and sprint with it in totally new and awesome directions.

And the cameo. I cannot imagine a better one. I mean that. I’m not sure a walk on by Jesus himself could have brought me more joy.

That’s not true. Plus, in zombie movie?! How awesome would that have been?!

Jesse Eisenberg anchors the film with an inspired narration and an endearing dork characterization. But Woody Harrelson owns this film. His gun-toting, Twinkie-loving, Willie Nelson-singing, Dale Earnhart-number-wearing redneck ranks among the greatest horror heroes ever.

I give you, a trip to a loud and well-lit amusement park is not a recommendation Max Brooks would make during the zombiepocalypse. Still, you’ve got to admit it’s a gloriously filmed piece of action horror cinema.