Film of the week: 28 Days Later
Film4, Friday July 12, 11:15pm
While other variations of the horror genre have come and gone, the zombie film has remained a relative constant since George Romero first put the walking dead on screen in 1968. It was, however, going through a pretty fallow period before the brilliant Danny Boyle brought such nightmarish visions closer to home in the terrifying 28 Days Later.
Certain movie geeks might tell us that, technically speaking, 28 Days Later is not a proper zombie film, given that its creatures are ‘infected’ rather than dead, and chastise anyone using the z-word by telling them that the real thing should shuffle and step, as they do in Romero’s films, not sprint and pounce, as they do here. But these nitpickers should be packed off to pedant’s corner, because Boyle’s depiction of post-apocalyptic Britain and implication that humanity can be as savage as its flesh-munching kin is as loyal to the template Romero set as anything that has followed since.
By importing the zombie formula to these shores, 28 Days Later opened the door for later British interpretations like Shaun Of The Dead and Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set. Crucially though, it retains the universal themes that make the genre so enduring, which is presumably why American cinemagoers lapped up its rage-fuelled, fast-running deadheads as much as we did.
Set the recorder for:
ITV1, Saturday July 13, 10:50pm
With just over a week to go until the release of The World’s End, what better way to re-acquaint ourselves with the glorious talents of Messrs Frost, Pegg and Wright than watch them lark about to such hilarious effect in Hot Fuzz. Imagine the homespun comforts of Heartbeat and Midsomer Murders combined with the brashness of Michael Bay and the ultra-violence of John Woo, and you still won’t have come up with a film half as funny as this is.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
ITV2, Sunday July 14, 4:10pm
Perhaps the only good thing about the news that Disney has hired JJ Abrams to direct the seventh instalment of the Star Wars franchise is the fact he can’t possibly do any worse than the feature-length toy commercials that were George Lucas’s prequels. Lucas neither directed nor wrote the screenplay for The Empire Strikes back, which may well be why it is the best of the lot. Dark, dirty and very un-Disney, it is unlikely that even Abrams and his lens flair-obsessed vision will ever top it.
Attack The Block
Channel 4, Sunday July 14, 10:10pm
When fans of the BBC 6 Music’s cult Adam & Joe show heard that it faced an indefinite hiatus whilst presenter Joe Cornish pursued a career behind the movie camera, they were left crestfallen that what was probably the best reason to own a digital radio would no longer light up their Saturday mornings. Although not quite enough to make up for that loss, Cornish’s directorial debut, Attack The Block, combined John Carpenter sci-fi atmospherics with South London street gang drama to give us a rip-roaring 88 minutes of monster-fuelled fun.