Arnold and Natalie are off to Pennsylvania for the Doctor of the Dead’s birthday, and chat about more Halloween shopping as well as three films: The Italian zombie “classic,” HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980); the recent Netflix documentary, HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE (2017); and MATILDA (1996)! It’s Sweet Death and more in this all-new DOCTOR OF THE DEAD podcast!
100! This epic-length landmark episode provides the list that YOU and many other listeners demanded! Listen as Arnold and Natalie take on the Herculean task of talking about 100 zombie movies you need to see, covering the entire history of the genre with sections covering everything from all-out gorefests to Voodoo-themed chillers to romantic romps. There’s something for every kind of zombie fan, and maybe a few things that you’ll want to seek out and see for yourself, as we celebrate 100 episodes of the DOCTOR OF THE DEAD podcast!
…And see below for two lists: All the previous episodes of the show that delved more into some of the films we only mention briefly here as well as three feature-length audio commentaries, and an EPIC list of Amazon affiliate links to as many of the 100 films as we could find that are readily available. If you click through to get any of them, you’re helping to support this podcast too!
Arnold and Scott tackle a favorite Italian zombie movie, BURIAL GROUND: THE NIGHTS OF TERROR, with the preternaturally perverse and potentially psychotic Peter Bark playing a boy suffering from an unhealthy obsession with his mother and death-tinged cloth, and a horde of clay-faced zombies wielding farm implements and laying siege to a posh house party. It’s the definitive European living dead-fest, with the G2V Guys giving it their scythe-slicing all in a feature-length audio commentary! Mama, it’s only one dollar!
I’ve enjoyed Midnight Syndicate’s atmospheric work for many years now, and if you’re a zombie fan that has never yet sampled their unique blend of synthesized sounds and orchestrally-shaped compositions to create a themed melodic exploration of the macabre on every album, you now have the perfect way to discover the nightmare world of Midnight Syndicate. If you’re a zombie fan and gamer, well this is just about the closest thing to Heaven…I’m sorry, Hell on Earth!
ZOMBIES!!! OFFICIAL BOARD GAME SOUNDTRACK is Midnight Syndicate’s brilliant new release, offering a horde of zombie-themed tracks to accompany the long-running Twilight Creations ZOMBIES!!! game and series of expansions. It’s also one of the most enjoyable and skin-crawling musical recreations of the apocalypse you’re likely to hear, and “It Begins” with a propulsive first track that avoids heavy rock clichés, bringing us into the end of the world with a melancholy, almost heroic sound.
“Where Did Everybody Go” conveys tentative and disturbing discovery that leads into a sense of urgency – a mission begins? “They’re Coming For You…” builds slowly, incorporating unnerving ambient sounds like shuffling footsteps and barking dogs to create an unsettling soundscape of terror. There’s a definite sense that the living dead are converging and no one is safe. Hissing and groaning fills the soundscape in what feels like a night-time urban environment of gated alleyways and rainswept streets.
“Slight Miscalculation” is big and bold again, but things go even wilder and more epic in a sort of musical Rube Goldberg running out of control. There’s a never discordant but complex blend of instrumentation as the assistant at the mortuary flips the nuclear switch and then the radioactive sandwich falls into the lightning bolt (thank you, David Cross, for perfectly capturing the descent into a zombie apocalypse in one twisty sentence). The track ends with the gasping first breath of some unliving thing rising to take over the world!
“Last Day to Live” is a melodic piano-driven track set in a windswept uncertain world with a plaintive final touch. “No Escape” feels more ambient than melodic, a general suspense piece that slowly ramps up – bits reminded me of James Horner’s ALIENS score – into a more percussive action scenario. “I Don’t Think They’re Dead” begins with steady eerie breathing, but is otherwise a slightly more generic suspense track with a nice rhythm and some satisfying countermelodies.
It’s back to the rainy “Town Square” as zombies thrash about and set off car alarms, with survivors running, screaming from afar, and shooting at anything that moves. “Zombie Master” is a track to make Murder Legendre proud! This ominous, epic theme heralds the arrival of the magical malevolent will that impels the living dead, crashing together like the cogs of an unstoppable machine of terror, with a hummable dark melody that also nicely complements the album’s opening track. This is purposefulness and madness intertwined.
This is purposefulness and madness intertwined.
“Raiding Todd’s Tool Shop” is all about urgency. As strings interweave to convey speed and purpose, ambient noise and a running radio report set the mood as our survivors seek the equipment they need to make it out alive. A sudden interruption in tempo and the crash of zombies getting in signals that it’s time to leave. And watch out at the end! “Veiled Hunter” is a short but concussive blow that suggests the battle has just begun, while “Into the Abyss” returns to Midnight Syndicate’s familiar rolling percussion approach to melodic construction, with some similarities to the “Slight Miscalculation” track.
“Alternate Food Source” is frenetic, with a visceral effect as you hear the gnashing of teeth and rending of guts. “Fear” has a metallic relentlessness that suits its title. As the track gives way to a ticking motif and distorted radio warnings, time very much seems to be running out; I particularly love the pulsing rumble at the end. “Adrenaline Rush” is the musical equivalent of grabbing your stuff and running from the horde as they bear down on you. The panic builds as fast footfalls and heavy breathing mixes in with the wild piano and percussion. You’re going to build up a sweat listening to this track…they’re right behind you!
It’s an epic, suspenseful, blood-racing and bone-chilling finale.
“Dusk” is an oppressive respite from the carnage, but surely hope is fading, and in “We’re Screwed” that becomes certain. Many of the album’s familiar motifs come together in this track as the end game approaches and the horde closes in for a very messy kill. There’s one thing left to do…and that’s give up! “Race to the Helipad” takes us on one last desperate run to escape the apocalypse. It’s an epic, suspenseful, blood-racing and bone-chilling finale to a superb album that not only expertly pays homage to the zombie genre but should serve as the pitch perfect accompaniment to a round of ZOMBIES!!! or the end-of-the-world game of your choice. Do you hear that? Quick, “get to da choppa!”
Arnold and Scott take the plunge and dive into the first two episodes of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Season 2, but they’re soon treading water and change course to chat about another water-logged zombie classic called SHOCK WAVES! Try not to drift too far off shore as this episode washes over you with wave after wave of disappointing storytelling, bland characterization, and a few Nazi zombies with goggles!