Zombie Business

In the same DCUFF program that featured Burn to Shine, I also caught Zombie Business, one of the funnier and smarter short films I’ve seen in a long time. Zombie Business, as its plot summary suggests, “is unleashed as the “invisible hand” of “voodoo economics” produces disposible people. Shot in Super 8, the film evokes the silent era, while also mixing B-movie horror, experimental cinema and political satire.”

The film opens with a nod to one of Karl Marx’s best lines: “The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.” From there we are introduced to a teenager reading headlines about Reagan’s “voodoo economics,” but the teen grows up to become a businessman who rides a train between his McMansion and a skyscraper in the city. The fleeting camera shots of advertisements for Dawn of the Dead and other 1980s zombie movies were probably unnecessary, but they do set the tone for Zombie Business’s playful satire.

Of course, beyond this political satire I also enjoyed the film’s wonderful use of silent film and B-movie horror conventions, including the silent film organ and the “gestural” camerawork often used in silent film, often used to communicate ideas when recording dialogue was impossible. These conventions are turned on their head late in the film when we get color footage of an anti-globalization protest (the specific protest is mentioned, but I forgot to write this information down).

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