Zombie Zombie: Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free (2008) dir. Simon Gesrel and Xavier Ehretsmann
The geekout discovery of the year occurred this week at the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto. In festival’s annual ‘Scene not Heard’ program devoted to music videos, the last film to screen was an ejaculation of 80’s fandom – a fan made video for the French electronic band Zombie Zombie, inspired by John Carpenter’s “The Thing” acted out entirely by stop motion GI Joe figures.
I kid you not, this is real.
In the opening after a neat old school movie logo, the film sets the scene, “Antarctica 1983”, an overhead shot of a group of snowsuit wearing scientists gather to extract a piece of ice from the ground. One of the scientists is ‘Snow Job’ the skiing G.I. Joe character from the early 80’s. Yes, I now know this is real.
When the group brings the ice sample back to add to their historical collection of ice pieces, little do they know a virus of some sort is embedded inside, After some melting the virus is released into the air and into vodka bottle of the Dreadnok 'Buzzer'. Buzzer starts stalking the other scientists much like the shapeshifting 'Thing'. The group fight back with all means necessary, flame throwers, shot guns and finally a self-sacrificial explosion of dynamite.
While it’s not a remake of “The Thing”, most likely for logistical reasons, the homage and reverence to Carpenter is clear. Right down to Rob Bottin’s nasty creature effects, the set design of the camp and interior art direction of the base, the digitized film scratches, even the choice of music, a monotonous electronic piece, resembles the same tone as Ennio Morricone’s great score.
The articulate ‘swivel arm battle grip’ which for serious GI Joe players back in the day allowed kids like me to create realistic scenes of battle in the sandbox, on film also makes for surprisingly realistic stop motion characters.
Co-Directors Ehretsmann and Gesrel pull some great tension out of these plastic figures, and full fledged story. They are not just geeking out entirely, their visual eye, shot selection and storytelling abilities are acutely apparent in this brief six mins of fun - which, something tells me will be more enjoyable than the Stephen Somers' GI Joe movie coming out soon.
There’s no real need to write any more, because the film is available in its entirety on youtube. Here it is: