It's zombie movie marathon month -- three tips for surviving

Dawn of the Dead 2004
What you feel like after thirty zombie movies in a row
Last night, I watched a zombie movie. Tonight, I'm watching a zombie movie. Tomorrow night, and for the next 28 nights, I will be watching a zombie movie. This is not normal. Not for me. Not for anybody. But it's what I've done every year for the past five years, and what I will do every year for the foreseeable future. Why? Because zombie movie marathon month, that's why.

See also: The top Denver-area zombie events for October 2013

Okay, I know that's not really a reason. How does "Because zombie movies are awesome!" sound? About the same, right? The truth is, there's no deep, meaningful reason that I do this to myself every year beyond the fact that I did it once, I really enjoyed it, and I decided to make it a tradition. For me, being the slightly obsessive weirdo that I am, once you call it "tradition," you don't really have any choice -- it's just what you do.

The first year's marathon was borne of poverty and boredom, a way to kill the unbelievable amount of free time I had in the wake of separating from my then-wife. I had no money but all this fucking time, and Blockbuster had a deal that let you borrow as many movies as you wanted, one at a time, for $20 a month. It also had a shitload of zombie movies. Add all these together with the tossed-off notion of "We should watch one of these a day, every day this month to get our money's worth" and boom, it was on.

That first year's marathon transformed me from "guy who really likes zombie movies" to "zombie movie guy." Subsequent years deepened this obsession, at least until about year three or so. Since then, it's just tradition, like carving jack o' lanterns or singing Christmas carols. You don't always love it, and sometimes you'd rather be doing something else, but you do it anyway. Sometimes it's awesome, though, and I'd actually recommend it to anyone and everyone who loves some niche genre in the film world.

A marathon like this will do wonders for your appreciation and understanding of the thing you love, even as it exposes you to its weakest links and biggest flaws. Watching thirty (or 31, ever since I moved it from June to the more appropriate October) zombie movies back to back made me understand the genre in a whole new way. Themes emerge, strange connective tissue that you were never aware of before. And in zombie movies, lots of connective tissue gets ripped out, as a bonus. You see the tropes and cadences that underlie the best films in the genre replayed in lesser films and you find good ideas hiding in the weirdest, worst films. Most of all, it forces you to go deep. All those films that you meant to get around to seeing get pulled out, dusted off and put on. You can transform yourself from a poseur to a connoisseur in just thirty days. And you can tell people you've done it, earning yourself strange, suspicious looks and questions like, "Why?" and "What the fuck is wrong with you?"

Also, I'd like others to suffer along with me.

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Eric Smiles
Eric Smiles

Too bad that most of them aren't worth watching.


@Eric Smiles You may be missing the point of marathoning...

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