I, Zombie: The Chronicles of Pain is a British horror film that was released by Fangoria Films in 1998; it was written, directed, produced and scored by Andrew Parkinson.
It tells the story of a young man who gets infected by being bitten by a zombie and gradually starts turning into one himself.
The film was shown at the Fantasporto Film Festival in Portugal in 2000, and released on video in Italy in 2004.
Though the premise is somewhat slight, this is amongst the upper echelons of British zombie movies. Shot on what might politely be called ‘a tight budget’, the action is recalled with to-camera interviews with the surviving characters in a rather endearing matter-of-fact style. By far the main issue with the film is the I’m-doing -my-best-here acting which, though initially jarring, eventually lends itself to the kitchen sink drama.
Andrew Parkinson no doubt over-stretched himself by helming many aspects of the production but the end result is uncompromising and sometimes startling. The lead victim, Mark, played by Dean Sipling (who clearly recognised his limits and moved behind the camera as a producer not long afterwards) is very much everyman, with the usual tribulations of cash-flow, nagging girlfriend and beige suburbia leading to the decent into decomposing madness. The special effects range from passable to excellent, lead artist Paul Hyett, doing a superb job overall; unsurprisingly, he has been in much demand since, working on the likes of The Descent and Eden Lake.
The progression to complete zombie meltdown is handled with great compassion and can certainly be mentioned in the same breath as Cronenberg’s The Fly. The bizarre tragedy is shown in scenes such as the kidnapping of a hitch-hikers and ensuing gory feasting in the living room of his London flat, only for Mark to burst into tears whilst scrubbing himself down afterwards in the bath. By recording his mental and physical breakdown through diaries and dictaphone entries, we get a rare view of the zombie’s point of view.
I, Zombie appeared perhaps a little ahead of its time; films released in a similar vein since, such as Colin and Fido, are massively inferior and though currently out of print, this film is well worth the trouble finding, even on video.
Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA
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