Gesundheit, babies! Ambush Bug here with the winners for our ANGRY NAZI ZOMBIES Contest we ran a while back. One thing or another prevented me from posting this, but I finally was able to do it, so my apologies to those who were waiting. I posted my review of the independent horror surprise ANGRY NAZI ZOMBIES a while back and the filmmakers were so gracious they wanted to put together a contest to commemorate the release of the film on DVD. The film is directed by a trio of up and coming directors; James Eaves, Pat Higgins, & Alan Ronald and features three stories featuring Nazis and zombies and angriness and it turns out, awesomeness as well.
Below are the ten winners of the DVD and their stories of the first zombie film they ever saw.
Jon Cohorn: The first zombie movie I ever saw was the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I was six years old, in kindergarten, and had gone to my friend Adrian's house for a birthday party and sleepover. The night started with pizza, ice cream, and games, but ended with a double-shot of Romero that left me unable to sleep properly for weeks and began a life-long obsession with the flesh-rending ghouls. You see, Adrian's mom decided that the perfect movies to show us kids were "Night of the Living Dead" followed by "Creepshow". When "Night" started up, I was interested but didn't expect to be too scared. My young mind equated black and white films to the types of movies my parents watched, so really how scary could they be? I felt the tension rise as the first zombie appeared, as Johnny tried to fight him off and as Barbara ran toward the farmhouse. The true shock and horror hit after the truck explosion when I was first exposed to what the zombies would do if - and when - they finally got hold of you. I stayed there, eyes glued to the screen, unable to turn away (and a little afraid to wander an unfamiliar house to find a bathroom in the dark) until the devastating final scene had played out. The lights came up briefly, we grabbed popcorn and sodas, and they next movie began - "Creepshow"! I wasn't familiar at the time with Tales from the Crypt, but based on the intro to the film, I didn't expect to be too scared. And several of the stories balanced their scares with humor. The image that stayed with me most was that of the waterlogged zombies coming back for revenge. As so often happens at a slumber party, we stayed awake until we absolutely could not keep our eyes open. Once I returned home, the nights of the next few weeks were long and unfriendly things. My mind kept returning to the hungry, implacable ghouls. Needless to say, it took a while before I stopped sleeping with the closet light on, and with a tiny pocket knife hid underneath my pillow - just in case those things came calling in the night. That double-dose of Romero goodness at an early impressionable age has stayed with me, and made me a rabid fan of (almost) all things zombie to this day, over three decades later!
Jason Spore: I'll start this off with the disclaimer that I am very much a child of the 1980s. I was hatched in 1981 and my love of all things horror began at the ripe old age of.....three. my grandfather, being a huge fan of the Universal horror flicks of the 1930s, introduced me to them at a very young age. That was the kick start. Much as I would love to claim the granddaddy of all zombie flicks, Night of the Living Dead as the first zombie movie I ever viewed and loved, it was not. That honor belongs to none other than......THE VIDEO DEAD. A microbudget 50 cent rental from Video World (my favorite childhood mom & pop) paired with pizza and most likely a 3 liter of Lotsa soda, it was a recipe for Friday night heaven-on-earth. Something about watching those low-rent FX corpses scramble out of a (cursed?) little black and white television set through the chaos of swirling fog really resonated with my little pre-adolescent brain. I began to save my soda can money and allowance and embarked on a search for my very own VHS copy of The Video Dead. For years I constantly asked every mom and pop video store I could get to, but to no avail. There was no internet and 80 or 90 bucks for a new copy was clearly out of the question. I eventually gave up on the dream, but when I started college in 2000 I found a copy in the wall of hundreds of VHS on sale for $1 at a local mom & pop. I now own The Video Dead on VHS, DVD and blu ray. Over the years I've introduced many friends to this little gem on bourbon fueled nights of tear-streaming laughter. It'll always have a special place on my shelf and in my heart.
Robert Salony: First zombie movie for me was the original DAWN OF THE DEAD. I had never seen a Zombie movie and it blew me away. When the zombie gets the top half of his head chopped off by the helicopter blade me and my friends were in tears from the laughter. That movie stayed with me thru the Pot and acid years when me and my friends would trip out and play this movie religiously. Laughing like mental cases for hours. And of course playing the helicopter scene in slo-mo over and over again.
Tim Gallagher: A non-traditional zombie movie that gave me many sleepless nights as a kid was DEAD & BURIED (1981). As a 12-year-old, the thought of a dead person coming back to life was terrifying, and the twist ending really got to me. That was my first "zombie" movie, and it chilled me to the bone. To this day I don't know how or why I saw that movie. I guess my dad was pretty open-minded about the movies I saw. This movie, Psycho, Friday the 13th, The Shining, Salem's Lot, Ghost Story, and It's Alive all stand out for me as horror movies I saw as a young boy, and definitely gave me a taste (zombified pun intended) for horror movies.
Kevin King: My first Zombie movie was RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. I was six years old and the youngest kid in my group of brothers and friends. They had seen it before, I had not. The group of us sat in my next door neighbor's basement with the lights off and watched the movie. It was an awesome night... awesome until Tarman burst onto the scene and ate Suicide's brains. It scared my silly; I'd never seen anything like that! His melting skin, the herky-jerky shambling, his cry for BRAINS! I couldn't handle it! I grabbed my Captain Power blanket (it was my protector!) and high-tailed it out of there! I then had to endure the scariest ten-second walk home of my life. The next day I watched it under the safety of daylight and have been hooked ever since. God bless Tarman! He gave me nightmares for days and for that I will always be grateful.
Joseph Winter: When I was 4 years old my family rented Making Michael Jackson's THRILLER from Blockbuster. The video changed my life. It starts with the music video and then goes right into the magic of Rick Baker. Watching the actors having their latex appliances put on is what made me decide that I wanted to be a filmmaker. I have since graduated from film school and have made many short horror films. It's all thanks to that video. RIP Blockbuster.
Yusuf S Nasrullah: 28 DAYS LATER - it struck me as I couldn't believe the eerieness of a deserted London. It looked so deathly pale, ominous and on the point of extinction. A city I know so well portrayed in a completely different light. Frightened the daylight out of me!
Allan Riggins: The first zombie movie I ever watched was PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES. I don’t remember the exact year, but it had to be around 1971-72 because I was in junior high. I grew up in a small town in southeast Arkansas and the Saturday gathering place for those too young to drive was the Malco Theater on Main Street. Matinees started at 2 P.M and ran until 6, and if you could hide out until 6:30 the main (double) feature started and you were set for another 3-4 hours. The matinees were mostly old horror and scifi films with an occasional western thrown I for flavor. I was introduced to Hammer films, Dario Argento, and other genre favorites (Fulci!) there. I didn’t find Plague of the Zombies particularly scary, but to an 11-12 year old redneck, seeing a zombie being decapitated with a shovel was the highlight of the day. Hell, the whole week. I could probably write a book about my experiences in that theater. I wish places like that and drive-ins were still common. People are missing a lot.
Brian Rosa: The first zombie movie I watched was RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. I remember it mostly because of the naked punk zombie girl that spends most of the movie completely naked. At that young age I was so torn about how it made me feel. On one hand there was a very attractive naked woman running around, but she was more interested in eating my brains more than any thing else. That movie also introduced me to the idea of fast moving zombies. Up till then I had always thought of zombies as slow, stupid, and easily escapable. After watching the naked zombie girl run full sprint and rip people apart, I knew I'd be just as doomed by the distraction as some of those guys in the movie. It scared the hell out of me. The movie set a very high bar for me in terms of zombie movies. Once I was able to watch others, they just weren't as good. I guess cutting your zombie teeth on one of the best has its downsides.
Sal Rozzi: I was ten years-old when Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD was released. Despite the fact that the film was unrated, commercials for it aired on TV in the early evening hours (you can watch them on YouTube). I was horrified by these commercials but, as a young horror fan, was so intrigued by the movie that I was borderline obsessed with it. I was an avid reader of “Famous Monsters” and later “Fangoria” (the first issue featured an article on Savini’s “Dawn” effects), and read anything I could find on the movie. My parents were very strict as to what I was allowed to watch, however, and I knew there was no chance I was going to see “Dawn” any time in the foreseeable future. However, I did get to see it (sorta) in its initial theatrical run. My dad would take my brother and I to the driving range and it was near a drive-in theater. While he was hitting golf balls, we snuck over and watched a good chunk of the movie off in the distance (without sound, have course). I can clearly remember watching images of the police encountering zombies in the housing projects while my brother hid his eyes. Despite the nightmares that ensued, my love of zombie films was born at that driving range!
Thanks for participating, everyone and congrats to the winners! Look for another AICN HORROR Contest soon! And here’s the trailer for the film below!