Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pardon? Merci. Je suis le Grande Zombie.

France. The land of romance, yes. The land of fine cuisine, but of course. The land of haute couture, undoubtedly. The land of bright new hope for horror, actually, surprisingly, yes.


Traditionally, when I thought of horror's European summer home, Italy has always been the flourishing hot house of festering delights.We have Dario Argento with his bouyant breasts and buckets of blood set to a back drop of heavy symbolism. We have Lucio Fulci that taught us that zombies can hold their own against sharks and that a doorframe can cause some serious eye trauma. We have Mario Bava, the grandfather of Italian horror, without whom we would never had had the decades of delights we gained from Hammer Horror films or his son, Lamberto's masterpiece, Demons. Let's also not forget Ruggero Deodato, who will always be held aloft for his gut wrenching symphony of carnage, Cannibal Holocaust. Some point in the last ten years, the Gauls north of the border have managed to coax all that is dark and disturbing to take residence in the seedier parts of Paris and back roads of the secluded French countryside.

My most recent foray into French horror was with La Horde. Being that I now live on the other side of the Atlantic, I came somewhat late to the party that started in 2009. Despite my tardiness and my belly ALMOST full to bursting with the over-saturation of those lovable, cannibalistic undead shamblers we affectionately call zombies, La Horde still managed to entice a spark of excitement.

No subtitled La Horde trailer could be found...and I am a lazy geek girl.

The plot follows an unofficial unit of Parisian police officers embarking on a swift hit of vengeance on a Nigerian drug dealer they hold accountable for a fallen colleague. Confined to the crumbling corridors of a condemned tower block in an equally decaying quarter of Paris, the unit find what should have been a swift and brutal take down, inevitably becomes an irreversible failure that leaves two of it's team barely alive.

Do not, I repeat DO NOT fuck with this man.

Their capture by the hands of their prey quickly becomes the least of their problems as the growing epidemic of undead that is amassing outside is dropped right in the centre of the cramped apartment both police and gangsters are holed up in. Realising the only chance of survival is to forge an uneasy coalition, both sides of the law battle through the apartment block in hopes of finding a way past the infected and into some sort of secluded safety.

La Horde Ouessem
I was originally only going to post one picture of "Ouessem", but how can you chose between this one and the one above? The man, and his moustache are legendary.

La Horde delivers beautifully with an unsettling cocktail of paranoia, anger and frustration that fuels some of the most breath-takingly honest violence I have seen in a film of any genre. Every swing of an axe, shot of a gun and pounding of fist is brimming with conviction and passion; every spat word and hateful glare is guided to the very core, without question. It's an incredible piece of cinema that focuses on the human element, making it a character driven piece rather than just another effects movie centered on seeing how far they can push the "gross out" envelope, and yet the creature design, especially the sound design for the zombies, was nothing short of delicious.

La Horde Adewale
Your choice: forget this man has killed a few of your comrades and is an incredibly dangerous drug dealer in order to have him on your side to face the growing horde.....or face the horde on your own. Seriously, it's a no-brainer.

Maybe after watching this delight I will be able to coach myself into watching the handful of other franco-horror films that I have been too damned sissy to sit down and watch. Merci bien, La Horde, vous est Le Grande Zombie.

La Horde Le jamb....
The has to go...

P.S. Whilst looking for the trailer to entice others to watch La Horde, I found the english dubbed version for those that for some reason, don't like subtitles. I didn't know whether to give myself a hernia laughing or feel a deep rooted english speaking person shame. Observe: