I find few things more enjoyable than sitting down, watching a zombie movie with a craft beer. The surround sound rumbles as bullets rip into undead bodies. Foam from the Belgian Tripel slowly slips down the sides of the glass. It's a moment worth savoring, worth sharing, and worth writing about. This blog is dedicated to zombie movies, beer, and the times when the two mix perfectly.
So it's time for the last Zombie movie night in Alaska. As i prepare to pack things up for the movers i decided to have one last bash. I bought a case of flying dog, a couple of bombers, some pizza, and we're ready to go. One of the guys brought with him a bottle of North Coast Brewing Company's Old Stock Ale Cellar Reserve, vintage 2010. I so rarely accept such a luxurious gift, but under the circumstances it seemed right. So after a few "warm up" beers we piled into my living room and netflixed the French film 'The Horde'. I had just watched this movie for the first time the week before on a recommendation from my biker buddy. What a recommendation it was. This movie is proof that the genre isn't dead and out of the least likely place (FRANCE!?!?). Here is the gory horror epic that instantly earns a spot in my top 5!
The fancy painted corked bottle has me thinking I'm in store for something classy. My buddy pops the cork pours himself a beer and passes the bottle. I pour myself a short pint of this magic elixir and swirl it in my snifter. It's a deep caramel color with a tan fluffy tan head. The aroma is something special. I don't need to read the label to know that this sucker is Bourbon aged. It's viscous and full. It pounds your nose with that hot whisky burn. With 13.2% abv it will do that to you. There's also raisins, figs, dark caramel, and toasted wood. But that's not all. There's Bourbon....lots of it....more than i like. I only like the Bourbon in small amounts. In this beer it almost overpowers all the other flavors. It's rich and bursting with flavor. The complexities of this beer increase as it warms. This is definitely a sipping beer. I have tried several times to get into whisky. Ever since i read this article about famous beer writer Michael Jackson preferring the layers and complexity of Scotch over beer I've tried to enjoy them myself. I just don't have the acquired taste. Perhaps i would appreciate this beer with the 18 months of oak aging instead of Bourbon barrel aged.
The cinematography in this film is amazing (for a zombie movie). The professional feel of the movie is apparent from the get go. No shaky lo fi camera with no talent strained acting. This breaks it off right from the start with a group of French cops going into a condemned high rise to avenge the death of a fellow cop. They run into a major speed bump right off the bat and several get killed. The blood and gore is very well done. Gun shots splatter the walls and spray blood everywhere in the most awesome way possible. The gangsters kill off a few more cops but before they can finish questioning them one of the dead cops comes back to life. These are fast zombies but not sprinting super zombies. I like how the zombie makeup isn't over the top. The eyes are slightly different and there's some altered teeth but not the mutated half demon looking monsters that some movies use.
As the group is attacked they run to the roof where they also get a view of the entire city under siege by the undead. They decide (with some angst) to join forces and fight their way out of the dilapidated building. On the way they meet the coolest character in any zombie movie. This old, tubby, Vietnam vet goes medieval with an axe. He's the roughest, toughest old man in cinema. But he's not just his John Wayne demeanor that makes him awesome. He also has a craziness and a dark humor to him. He is even nonchalantly going to chop off a guys leg when he gets bitten. He's who I hope to be when i grow old.
There's the constant struggle between the cops and the criminals throughout the film. It keeps the movie moving and keeps the pace up. The actors are all very good, you don't even realize there's subtitles after a while. This movie is what I've been waiting for since 2004. The zombies are ferocious but believable and the characters are likable but condemned. It's a swirl of dark reality and horror that makes this movie so phenomenal. As of recent the majority of zombie films released have been overly silly or under budget and without the ability to really make things work. In this film all the pieces come together. This movie has my favorite death scene. After being bitten one of the cops decides to make "the sacrifice" he holds off the horde to let the others escape. Hundreds of zombies emerged on him and he fought them off till the very last second. It was perfectly written and perfectly shot. It's everything i hope my last stand would be like. If you haven't yet seen this movie and you think your a zombie movie fan, you need to rent it. It's an inspiration and i hope they make more like it. France.....you've gained my respect.