I just finished George A. Romero’s latest sequel – the fourth one – to his famous zombi-trilogy. Yes the gore is there, and the humour is there but it lacks the qualities that made Romero so famous. In the Land of the Dead the criticism on modern society just doesn’t bite as hard as the previous zombies did.
On the DVD Romero explains that his new vision mocks the conservative Bush administration. I guess you can find that in the movie if know to look for it. Personally I just felt that this was just an entertaining B-class gore movie. I can’t really see this as a sequel to the previous movies. (Like I will never recognise Alien 4 or Terminator 2-3 as part of the original series.)
Harmless, I thought initially. But then towards the end of the film when the zombies finally really start their rampage, there is a weird shot that made me wonder. The zombies are staggering into the city quietly and they attack the poor unprepared inhabitants. The camera shows a lesbian couple making out in their shack. This is the only love scene in the movie. They are standing against a fragile wall, caressing and kissing. Then suddenly a pair of zombie hands break through the wall and grab one of them to her screaming death.
I just don’t get it. Why would Romero, who is famous for writing more-intelligent-than-your-regular-hollywood-stuff, plant such a scene in the movie? Yes, there is the obvious choice, that it’s there just for the teen wankers. (As there is no sex in the movie otherwise.) Still, it seems weird because it is so easy to interpret as homophobic.
Let’s see… In the movie the only persons shown in a normal intimate moment are these two lesbians. And for this they are instantly rewarded with horrible death? The grabbing hands seem be male… Female/lesbian sexuality is dangerous, and that’s why it should be punished? Sexuality in general is a sin? Homosexuals just can’t control their urges like the “more civilised heterosexuals”? (Echoes of the classic teen slasher rule: sex leads to death?)
On the DVD there is a similar bonus scene, cut out of the movie, where a boy and a girl are kissing and then eaten alive. So, perhaps the movie maker’s honest intention was to equally slaughter couples?
But bonus scenes do not count, only the scenes left in the film. No matter what Romero’s intentions might have been, the result is quite awful. Either Romero has proven himself homophobic or just unwary of his own creations.