The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

A Very Special ZRC Review: ‘Zombie Bohemia’

Readers of the blog might be wondering by this point whether there were any Zombie movies at Chicago Fear Fest that we actually liked. It’s true, I admit; the ZRC can be hard to please, and our standards may be a tad exacting. But look no further, for today we’re reviewing ‘Zombie Bohemia’, which truly came as a breath of fresh air during the festival’s largely Anti-Zombie programming schedule.

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Zombie Bohemia tells the story of a struggling Zombie artist named Michael, trying to make his way as a creative professional in Brooklyn against nearly impossible odds. From the perspective of a documentary crew we see Michael and his colossally self-involved manager/agent Anton try to navigate an art scene that is hostile enough for the Living and downright perilous for the Differently Animated.

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(Michael doesn’t have it easy, as a Zombie or an artist)

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Michael tries a little bit of everything to get noticed, from paintings to sculptures, mixed media, even various traditional public artforms like sidewalk chalk and caricatures. All along it’s clear that he aspires to create something really meaningful and communicate about the Zombie condition with the larger Living community.

And all along he faces difficulty and, let’s be honest, prejudice. Anton doesn’t understand Michael or the struggles of being a Zombie, and tries to treat his angst and anger with ‘psychic adjustment’ while ignoring his nutritional needs and pushing a vegetarian diet on the Differently Animated artist. Prominent members of the art community also fail to show sensitivity to Michael’s needs, and an admittedly unfortunate incident with a housecat leads to serious career repercussions.

But perhaps worst of all are the machinations of Michael’s arch-rival in the art world, Lester Onedowski, who conducts a one man media war against Michael and his burgeoning career.

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Does Lester see Michael as an artistic threat or an Undead one? I will leave that question for you, dear readers, but the impact of this persecution on Michael is heartbreaking, and his resilience in the face of said persecution is quite frankly inspiring.

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(Michael with his adoring public)

I won’t sugarcoat ‘Zombie Bohemia’ for the ZRC blog readership; this is a difficult story, at times Michael is hard to sympathize with entirely. He’s erratic, temperamental, secretive and, yes, he may occasionally backslide and harm others in the pursuit of his dream. Or as supplies for his art.

(Of course, Michael *is* a professional artist, and that often comes with some rather colorful personal baggage. Interesting topic for post-film discussion: Do Zombie artists have to hold themselves to a higher standard to avoid condemnation than their Living counterparts, and how do we fight that double standard?)

Michael isn’t perfect. But tipping the balance for the ZRC is the fact that Michael clearly sees himself as an artist first, not merely as a stereotypical Zombie. Michael doesn’t want to eat the Living, he wants to sell them paintings. He has no interest in fomenting an Apocalypse and isn’t going to be seen shambling around a mall when there’s creating to be done. Michael may not be a perfect role model but he can still serve as a very positive example in film of a different role Zombies *can* play: the thoughtful creator, rather than the thoughtless destroyer, as seen in the work of Brooks, Kirkman and Romero.

Michael is a person too, an artist too, and that meant a lot to the ZRC. We were genuinely moved by his plight.

The Zombie Rights Campaign awards ‘Zombie Bohemia’ our highest rating, that of ‘Zombie Friendly’. Very good job by all involved.

Zombies can be artists too. Zombie Friendly.

For more on ‘Zombie Bohemia’ feel free to check out their website.


About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.

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