Posted By John Sears on October 2, 2015
With somewhat heavy hearts, the Zombie Rights Campaign paid our visit to the last Dark Carnival/Diabolique International Film Festival in Bloomington, Indiana last weekend, to see if the horror film world had made any progress toward greater Undead Acceptance.
We were pleasantly surprised by a few of the films on offer, and of course, grossly offended by some of the rest.
And of course, we got some good picketing in:
(The end of an era in sign-making)
Film Highlights from This Year’s Festival:
(minor spoilers follow)
First, I will admit my cultural ignorance here and say that I was not aware what a ‘boniato’ was. Apparently it’s a variety of sweet potato, but not the kind grown in most of the United States.
Which does not actually appear to be the crop harvested in the film, but that’s another matter.
Boniato is on the surface a story about an undocumented migrant farm worker who is betrayed by her boss and left to face a population of apparently feral Differently Animated folks. But the ZRC chooses to look a little deeper, and wonders about the plight of the Undead in this film as well. Who are they? How did they end up in this predicament? Who supplies them with all the little plastic baggies they use?
Despite this complexity it would be hard to call ‘Boniato’ anything but Anti-Zombie, and so we rated it thus.
“Larry Gone Demon”
We’ve written before about the overlap between demonic possession and Zombification, so the ZRC feels entitled to slip in a few comments about this short film. The titular character, Larry, may be going through a… spiritual crisis, but that is no excuse for his rampant poor roommate behavior and shocking lack of hygiene.
I think we’ve all had *that* roommate, flatmate, or dormmate though. So it’s a theme that the Living, Undead, and Demonically Augmented can all understand, and laugh along with.
This doesn’t involve Zombies at all, but it’s very funny and quite short, so see it if you get a chance.
“The Looking Planet”
Again, a film that doesn’t involve the Undead in any way. But The Looking Planet does promote empathy for very different forms of life, which, at least broadly, is the sort of message we look for here at the ZRC.
It concerns a family of aliens tasked with building our universe at the dawn of time, who are up against a tight deadline finishing our solar system. Lufo, one of their children (a scant 14 billion years old), is rebelling against his tedious workload. All they ever let him do is rings, apparently. So he sets off on an astronomical project that would be instantly familiar to all of us living on Earth these many millions of years later.
The Looking Planet is reminiscent of the best in Pixar, so the ZRC heartily endorses catching it sometime.
The Looking Planet [trailer] from Eric Law Anderson on Vimeo.
One of the most on-point films for a Zombie Rights activist at this year’s festival, Black Eyes stars two kids going through a rough adolescence who question whether the answer to their difficult lives is suicide, followed, of course, by reanimation as Zombies.
A very pleasant counterpoint to ‘Dead Friends’ a few years back, ‘Black Eyes’ works well as a Living-Undead conversation piece. Even if, as the art director points out, it is a teensy bit appropriative of Zombie Culture along the way.
The Zombie Rights Campaign nevertheless rates it as Zombie Friendly.
Sadly, due to an oversight we missed ‘What’s Eating Dad?’ this year, which our ZRC Ally Michelle Hartz assures us is a must-catch at the first future opportunity.
But overall, the trend in independent cinema is, somewhat, toward greater tolerance, whether it be of kids who want to be Zombies, aliens who want to be artists, or Undead agricultural workers. Also distinctly toward Things-Living-in-Walls, what with ‘Deep Dark’ this year, ‘Motivational Growth’ last year, and the like.
Mostly though, the ZRC focuses on the tolerance.
Thanks for a great run, Dark Carnival/Diabolique International Film Festival, and hopefully we’ll get the chance to picket some of you in the future.