13th November saw Leicester’s Day of The Undead celebrate its fourth year in the city. Hordes of undead film fanatics invaded Phoenix Square for the annual zombie film festival for a 13 hour movie marathon. This year saw the zombie-virus spreading: new features such as The Arcade of The Dead, zombie make-up artists, book-signings and a massive booty of zombie prize give-aways made it the biggest and most ambitious yet.
‘When we first started,’ explains organiser, Zombie Ed, ‘the people at the original Phoenix said it wouldn’t work but every year it’s got bigger and better and we’ve got more and more people involved.’
The bill celebrates every aspect of the growing zombie tradition: From the terrifyingly gruesome to the laughably abysmal, the big-budget blockbuster to the camera and ketchup schlock, the horrific and the comedic, the political, the satirical and the farcical, the surreal through to the downright perverse! It’s a broad undead church and no corpse is left unturned.
Zombie Ed assures me there’s a very complicated formula for film selection but if he told me he’d have to feast on my brains. ‘It’s very much about encouraging independent film-making: showing some big films, some little films and getting the word out there.’
Between every major feature the festival showcases zombie shorts. Some good – some truly awful. E’GAD, ZOMBIES! A period-zombie piece features the talents of none other than Sir Ian Mckellen, while lesser shorts such as HIGH HEELS FROM HELL VS. THE UNDEAD truly scrapes the very scummy bottom of the zombie sexploitation barrel. But the very best was undoubtedly created by a handful of 14 year olds featuring the very traumatic death of one Mr. Expendable and probably the most pathetic zombie get-away attempt you will ever see!
Amidst the main features included that timeless classic THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE, Rupert Everett in undeniably the night’s most dumbfounding movie DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE, and the gruesome ZOMBIES OF MASS DESTRUCTION demonstrating all the political subtlety of a chainsaw to the face.
Zombie Ed will be taking a short zombie break with his wife expecting their second sprog in the New Year but promises they will be back. ‘We’ve got Zombie-Fest coming up in August and we’ll be back with another Day of The Undead at the Phoenix the same time next year.’
The day helped raise money for the NSPCC and Help For Heroes.
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