June 28, 2010

Zombies Take Over MAD in New York

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July 8 - 29th: the Museum of Arts and Design will play host to the "Zombo Italiano" film series, an exploration of the boundry-pushing aesthetics of Italian zombie films.
Italian zombie cinema comes alive at the Museum of Arts and Design this summer in its latest film series, running from July 8 through July 29. At once gruesome and poetic, the 10 films showcased in "Zombo Italiano: The Italian Zombie Film Movement" underscore the prolific visions and technical achievements of noted Italian directors -- including Lucio Fulci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and George A. Romero -- who pushed the boundaries of low-culture through pioneering special effects to deal with the body at its most material. Presented in conjunction with MAD special exhibition Dead or Alive, which explores how contemporary artists incorporate once-living materials in their work, the series marks the first time a cultural institution has highlighted the under-recognized Italian zombie film movement, emphasizing the zombie's role as a profound symbol of nature and humanity.
For the most part MAD has a great zombie lineup of 10 films, from the most obviously artistic -- Dellamorte Dellamore -- to the plainly trashy -- The House by the Cemetery. Fulci, Romero, and Argento are all well-represented. Three films in particular, however, strike me as decidedly un-zombie. Forgivably, they are showing Demons and Demons 2, which I do not consider zombie films although the similarities are so striking the cross-over is unavoidable. On the other hand, they are also showing Porcile (aka Pigsty or Pigpen), an obscure Italian cannibal film -- but clearly not a zombie film from its description. A cannibal is not the same as a zombie. While not a zombie film, I can see why MAD would have to pad out its series. There are not a lot of high-quality Italian zombie films. For a trip into the trashy, you can check out my own special feature: ZOMBIE ITALIANO (beat you to it, MAD!)

Before some films, MAD also has special seminars from the Zombie Combat Club. For example, before Zombi 2, you can attend "Zombie vs. Shark vs. You: A Zombie Combat Club Demonstration" in which the ZCC will present vital underwater combat skills for aquatic encounters with the living dead and great white sharks.

MAD's "Zombo Italiano," the inclusion of some non-zombie films notwithstanding, looks like a great event. Zombie fans in New York city have no excuse not to check this out. Dawn of the Dead! Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy! Come on! Highbrow meets lowbrow.

I only wish I could go. Sad Zedword will have to sit this one out in the barren wastes of Canada.