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Movie Review: Zombie Christ

Drawing of Jesus as a zombie

It’s always the films that seriously analyze the concepts of faith and Christianity that get “banned” by the church rather than the comedies. Monty Python’s The Life of Brian can come out and get scant attention for being “sacrilegious,” but Martin Scorsese shows Jesus banging Mary Magdeline for a few seconds in The Last Temptation of Christ and people go nuts.

I do understand religious types getting mad or not appreciating twistings of their faith, but to all out “ban” a work of art and try to get certain things not shown is ridiculous. If the message of God is so powerful, then it can probably withstand a cheezy potboiler like The Da Vinci Code. Granted, it’s an entertaining and intriguing potboiler, but it’s completely goofy fun at the same time.

The weirdest “banning” I’ve heard of is I have a friend who taught grammar school for a few years — until the little bastards drove her batshit insane — and would read her students the Harry Potter books during “storytime.” All the good little Christian kids had to leave the room lest their minds be poisoned by all the Satanic concepts. By the way, if you want to get little kids really interested in a book: Tell them they can’t read it.

Then here comes along Zombie Christ, which given the title you might assume it falls into the Life of Brian category, but is actually more along the lines of The Last Temptation of Christ and isn’t as sacrilegious as one may assume. Ok, yes it does have Jesus rising from the dead three days later as a flesh-eating zombie. That’s one of those brilliant kinds of concepts you can’t believe nobody’s ever done anything with before.

The main focus of the film, like The Da Vinci Code, is Mary Magdalene who has her faith tested when she discovers that her savior eats human flesh. After witnessing that type of horror, she refuses to believe that the situation isn’t anything other than the fulfillment of divine prophecy and the will of God. The main set piece of the film is a discussion on faith between Mary Magdalene and Simon Now Called Peter after they’ve been kidnapped by a rogue gang of sodomy loving bandits. The big question is: Is Mary’s faith misplaced?

Zombie Christ is a short film, clocking in at around 30 minutes, as if the filmmakers knew that there’s only so far they could take their sacrilegious premise, especially on a very limited budget. But I think the concept could hold up for a feature-length film since they’ve already taken their idea beyond the one-note joke premise. While the movie is very funny, the biggest joke is that writer/director Andrew Whitwell Larrison has actually made a serious film about faith.

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