Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jay's One A Week Reviews #28: Fan of the Dead

The fine folks at MVD sent me a DVD of Fan of the Dead a while back, and I'm a shamefully tardy reviewer with a too-busy schedule that I'm just now getting a review up about it.

Fan of the Dead is a short documentary by an Italian fan of the films of George Romero. French fan Nicolas Garreau, dubbed over in English, shoots himself with a hand-held home-video camera as he goes on a tour of the locations of his movies. The feel is somewhat similar to the feature in HorrorHound Magazine named "Horror's Hallowed Grounds" where a film's locations are visited and photographed. It's traditionally a surprisingly comprehensive and fascinating feature, the most recent issue visiting the locations of Salem's Lot. I have never personally understood the allure, personally, of commemorating a location for no other reason than something once happened there, but in the magazine it's an interesting, educational monthly feature. On video, it's just travelogue. (An exhausting one at that. Should I be rewarded to know that the office where Ken Foree finds the keys in Dawn of the Dead still exists? It's now... used as an office!)

Along with interviews filmed at the Pittsburgh Comic Con of many of the actors from Dawn of the Dead, he visits the locations of that film along with Creepshow, Day of the Dead, and the 1968 Night of the Living Dead. What looks most fun is a tour of the Monroeville mall from Dawn lead by Ken Foree. It quickly dawns on you, though, that this is literally a home movie of a weekend vacation made good.

It's clear Garreau knows Romero's films quite thoroughly. He navigates his way through the graveyard from the 1990 Night by the names on the headstones. I think the obsessive attention to some details, like where a medicine cabinet was hung and where a particular shot was photographed from is a level of minutia that's really a bit beyond the pale, but I can't find fault. A little slip of a documentary, and not even an hour in length, it's a home movie with credits, distribution, and some guest stars. This is also good-natured and surprisingly not cheesy. It is was it is, but I found in an enjoyable watch almost in spite of myself. The DVD has a photo gallery, but it all reproduces shots you've already seen in the documentary, and a cute trailer collection straight from the Drive-In. It's about the only place you'll ever find Julie Andrews around Zombies.

I appreciate Garreau's fascinating way to document a vacation to the US to meet some movie stars -and that he got it a distribution deal. I wish I'd taken a camera when I went to HorrorHound weekend in Indianapolis... because then the trip would have been a tax write-off.

No comments:

Post a Comment