Monday, 8 March 2010

“City of Rott; the worst place on earth and you’re looking for a pair of shoes!”

Frank Sudol’s City of Rott (2006) follows its hero, pensioner Fred, as he searches a zombie infested city for a pair of new slippers… (Yes… It is as odd as it sounds). Sudol’s innovative animation immediately entertains, though far from ‘Pixar’ perfect, it’s simplistic, low budget nature impresses and fits the film suitably. This is made all the more impressive by Frank Sudol being the sole contributor in all aspects of the films construction… (Voices and all).

The infection within this film is a virus/parasite which was spread within contaminated rain water and eventually tap water. The parasite, worms in this case, effectively control the brain and feed off of human flesh. Interestingly the film was released just a few days before the game Dead Rising which, of course, shares roughly the same concept. The concentration upon the old man is a stroke of genius, forget John McClane, here is Fred! (I lie… Nobody is more ‘badass’ than John McClane… May god have mercy on my soul).

Fred’s zombie killing expertise, witty dialogue and his motorbike/skateboarding skills, mark him as one of the greatest protagonists in zombie film history. (Maybe that’s a little rash, but he skateboards for gods sake! Marty McFly skateboards! And he’s AWESOME!). On Fred’s continuing quest for his slippers he encounters a bridge and is gradually swarmed by hundreds of flesh eating zombies… Oh no! But what’s that? He proceeds to kick ass and take names!

This is defiantly one of the most memorable scenes, as we are delighted with Fred’s masterful use of his walker and his skilful use of… a machine gun… Which, once out of ammo, he shoves in a zombies head. The mono music is reminiscent of that found in old fashioned action games, (it reminded me of all those hours playing Die Hard Trilogy) which adds, at least for me, to the scenes comedy value. The scene continues for around 5-10 minutes but by no means does this detract from its overall ‘awesomeness’.

This film also makes reference to some old zombie flicks, most obvious is the reference to the zombies within Horror of the Zombies (Ossorio, 1974) which continually make an appearance. A reference to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Hooper, 1974) is also noticeable as a shop is aptly named ‘Tex’s Chainsaws’ and of course these subtle nods are quite nice to spot for those pretentious horror film fans.

Although it seems im only giving praise here, the film does gradually loose its appeal. It lacks pace just over halfway through and soon becomes tedious. Although the animation is still entertaining, the story ends up becoming slightly disappointing. The film would also benefit from tighter editing and less lingering on events purely to show off the animation, although of course impressive. But don’t let this put you off, the film is defiantly worth watching, whether a fan of horror film, zombie film or even animation and if none of those, then just to enjoy Fred‘s nonsensical arguments with his walker.

Finally, just a word of advice, to survive a zombie attack, its probably best you don’t nail yourself into a metal box…


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