I Was a Zombie for the FBI (1982)
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Critic Reviews for I Was a Zombie for the FBI
Audience Reviews for I Was a Zombie for the FBI
Review opening 1: Independent filmmaking in the HD, Uber-FX era parallels programming for the Wii. When Nintendo was working on the Wii, they focused nearly all their development money on implementing its innovative control scheme, eschewing the next round of processor and graphics upgrades that Microsoft and Sony pursued in creating their current-gen consoles. As a result, Nintendo?s current crop of games excel in play control but lag behind on graphics. Thus, game designers are forced to come up with innovative design choices to keep players from getting too caught up on this issue. For example, the designers of Mad World created a cartoony, Frank Miller knockoff world in which everything looks like inked black and white comics, reserving color only for blood. As a result, the style takes care of the need for all the graphics kickassery a modern fighting game usually requires. I Was a Zombie for the FBI pulls the same slight of hand, dodging the need for special effects or complex cinematography by hewing closely to the style of 1950s crime thrillers, which use a more direct, less flashy mise-en-scene. Review opening 2: Netflix has a column on the queue page titled ?Expected Availability.? Most of the titles in the queue are labeled ?Now.? For example, of the 480 movies in my queue, seventeen are labeled ?Short Wait? and one is labeled ?Long wait.? Contrary to my instinct, short and long waits are much more common for niche movies than for the big blockbusters. I have never had to wait for a big screen, big money movie. By memory, I?ve only had to wait for two movies: Spaced (disc 1) and I, Zombie. I?ve also occasionally had to wait a bit longer as my movie was sent from some far away shipping center; such was the case with I Was a Zombie for the FBI. In retrospect, the wait has much more to do with the coolness of the title or the rarity of the actual disc than with anything like quality of the film. Originally made in 1982 and punched up for the DVD with some intertitles and establishing shots, the film works pretty well if you enjoy genre thrillers and SF from the 1950s and 1960s. The dialog is corny without being stupid, and the pacing holds together (though the film got a bit slow for me toward the end). The plot generally focuses on a conspiracy by two mysterious human-looking aliens to turn everyone into mind-controlled zombies through a change in the Uni-Cola ?Healthcola? formula. Embroiled in the story are two criminals, two FBI agents, and one plucky reporter who never actually gets to be plucky. A few more thoughts: * I thought the film had a strange mix of cinematic touches (it feels like it was shot on film) and modern low-budget effects. I read up on the film and learned about the recent re-edit. I?m glad to hear that the movie was trimmed, as the current version gets a bit long for my taste. I bet the original would try my patience. * Anyone looking for conventional zombie mayhem will be sorely disappointed. The zombies in this film are much more like the ones from I Walked with a Zombie ? mostly harmless. There?s a monster (the glorious stop-motion ZBeast) and an evil Phantasm ball that shoots swirly lines of zombification rather than sharp spikes, but no cannibalistic ghouls. * Best dialog exchange, from memory so sorry if it?s not exact: Doctor: Have you ever heard of Zombies? Webster?s dictionary defines them as people without internal motivation who mindlessly follow commands from their masters. Agent: And what, this magic ball zaps them and? zombies them? Doctor: The term is zombifies. Or clinically, we would say they are in a zomboid state. * I loved the clueless way the agents drove around a whole town full of zombies for most of a day before they figured out something was wrong. * The criminals are the best part of this movie, gleefully killing and robbing, smirking the whole way. * My biggest disappointment with the film was the lack of infiltration the title implies. The title, of course, refers to an infamous series of columns and a film from the 1950s in which a fictional narrator tells the story of his time spent with the morally corrupt Communists infiltrating our country. Using the parallel title makes sense within the genre conventions the film relies upon, but it ultimately disappoints as the movie does not actually use the plot point implied in the title. Overall, it?s a film worth seeing for fans of b-movies from the 1950s, but as a standalone movie, there are far better choices out there.
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