Amazon Studios has big ambitions to get into the independent movie-making game, attempting to rival Netflix and get a piece of the money to be had.  Of the 16 different projects that they currently have going, one in particular stands out as having the potential to be one of the best, or perhaps worst of the lot.  It is called Zombies vs. Gladiators and it’s about… well, zombies fighting Roman gladiators.

At first glance this sounds like something that you’d see popping up as a target for Rifftrax.  At second glance, however, you’ll find that famous horror icon Clive Barker has attached his name to the project in the form of a rewrite on the script.  Is this just an attempt to make the movie marketable?  Let’s examine the facts, shall we?

Here’s a brief release on the general plot of the film:

…a shaman about to die in the Coliseum casts a spell that rouses history’s first wave of zombies. It’s up to a gladiator to stop the spread of the zombie horde and save Rome.

Okay, still sounding like a big, fat turkey.  Let’s hear what Mr. Barker has to say about the project:

I’m excited by the opportunity to interweave two very rich narrative threads.  One of them concerns itself with the reality of the decadence of Rome and its rise and fall. The other is a fantastical narrative element – the living dead. My brief to myself on this project is to give the audience not only zombies they have never seen before but also a Rome they have never seen before.

From the way he describes it, the movie starts to sound a little tasty.  The potential for a stylistic film filled with Barker’s classic horror elements is there.  But the third and final test – will Amazon simply take his rewrite and then do whatever they feel is going to sell rather than stick to what the author produces?  Will what can be a unique and interesting concept be mired down in production and directorial decisions that defy common sense and good taste?

Here’s a hopeful statement from Barker on that note:

Amazon Studios offered up the dream ticket with this project. In twenty five years of working in this town, I’ve rarely had people listen to what I had to say as closely and as carefully as they did and then simply give me the freedom to go do it.

Well, the movie is passing the tests, at least in theory.  Unfortunately, other than the name and the blurbs, little else in known about the project.  Rumors put Barker as director, though these are unconfirmed.  Still, Zombies vs. Gladiators has the potential to be either one cool cult classic or a huge pile of grade-B cinematic vomit.

Keep your fingers crossed, Nerdreaders, and check back for more breaking developments from The Bastards.


Thanks to The Mary Sue and Chicago Tribune for the info. on this one.

Category: Film

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