DVD/Blu-ray Review: Doc of the Dead

Director: Alexandre O. Philippe

Writers: Alexandre O. Philippe, Chad Herschberger

Starring: George A. Romero, Bruce Campbell, Simon Pegg, Robert Kirkman, Max Brooks, Greg Nicotero

Synopsis: A documentary about the zombie genre and its worldwide popularity.

If you haven?t already succumbed to the zombie media invasion, be prepared to hear more about the popular sub-genre thanks to Alexandre O. Philippe?s Doc of the Dead ? a comprehensive history and analysis of the undead in popular culture. Using interviews from zombie-related icons, including George A. Romero, Bruce Campbell, Robert Kirkman and Simon Pegg, Doc of the Dead is everything a zombie fan needs to learn and continue to wax lyrical about the walking dead obsession.
Like many other documentaries focusing on a specific subject matter, O. Philippe tracks the history and effect of the zombie character ? looking back to the 1920s, onward to popular 40/50?s sci-fi, and up to the present day craze. It?s a very well-researched and assessed investigation of why the zombie creature has infiltrated the mass media, still leaving room for discussion and interpretation. As many fans will agree, there are certain types of zombies that catch your fancy more than others, and whilst this film is pretty neutral about the style and speeds of certain film/TV zombies, there are opportunities to hear your favourite actor or director give their humble opinion. It all adds up to a documentary where fans can ? and will ? talk at length about what it really means to be a fan, and as to why.
The query of how zombies have become so beloved is the main thread running through the film, constantly being interrogated. It isn?t something that is, or could be, answered ? a point that will disappoint some. Because the sub-genre is constantly evolving, there would be no way to pinpoint the answer without zombie interest completely drying up. What can be said about the popularity is entertainingly left to experts and key figures in its uprise. Best is Bruce Campbell, joking around about not only his stardom, but the ghouls that helped him find fame. It?s never self-indulgent and people like Campbell and Pegg give it a humorous and down-to-earth tone.
Given the violence and gore that marries the zombie stories, this is not a universal documentary, and is aimed at adult audiences, many of whom can stomach the gruesome bodily damage. This is also, as you can imagine, purely centred on those groaning, decaying living corpses; it would be very tedious for anyone out of sync with the zombie hype. So, for fans it?s a must, but understandably lacks a larger demographic. If you?re a regular Walking Dead viewer, or have watched Shaun of the Dead over 20 times on its endless ITV2 run, then have a look at this doc, just to get an overview of the seedlings that helped create some of the most popular horror entertainment today.
 Both light and detailed, this is nearly everything you could ask for in a zombie documentary. It is never self-indulgent, despite having interviews and focuses on some important people.
4 out of 5

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