"KL24: Zombies" and other Malaysian zombie movies
Writer: Casey Lee
Watch KL24: Zombies on YouTube now!
"KL24: Zombies" is the latest project from Doghouse 73 Pictures that is trying to spread a new kind of virus in the Malaysian movie landscape.
An anthology of three Zombie-themed stories directed by James Lee, Gavin Yap and Sharmaine Othman, "KL24: Zombies" is a feature length that is being released freely and fully available on YouTube instead of the traditional theatre release.
Starring a cast that money cannot buy with Sharifah Amani, Azman Hassan, Pete Teo, Benji Lim, and Benji Lim, with a slew of hidden celebrity cameos, this new effort imagines a Kuala Lumpur that is infested with zombies after an epidemic outbreak.
While we are paying close attention to this new (or should we say viral?) mode of distribution to showcase Malaysian movies, Malaysian zombies has had a short-lived history in our box offices.
If your appetite for brains is not whet after watching "KL24: Zombies", it's probably time to revisit and feast on these Malaysian zombie movies!
"Zombi Kampung Pisang" (2008)
If there is a title for being Malaysia's George Romero who made zombie movies in the Malaysian scene mainstream, it would go to none other than director Mamat Khalid who came up with "Zombi Kampung Pisang".
When the village elder and his physician are turned into zombies due to radioactive teh-tarik, Husin (played by Awie) and the remaining survivors of Kampung Pisang are holed up in their village community hall, fending off the shambling horde as the infection slowly spreads throughout the village.
In Mamat Khalid fashion, "Zombi Kampung Pisang" takes away most of the fear and dread of a zombie survival horror flick, and makes "Zombi Kampung Pisang" a zomedy to make satirical jabs at the political and social climate at the time. While Mamat still sets a tenuous situation among the living who make "The Walking Dead" decisions, the low quality make-up zombies are being used as comedic caricatures, making fun of politicians, patriots, and government subsidies that you would probably need an SPM qualification to get.
"KL Zombi" (2013)
Adapted from the Fixi novel "Zombijaya", Nipis, played by Zizan Razak, is a penniless pizza deliveryman who aspires to be a Mat Rempit and good with a hockey stick. After an outing with his friends and twin sister starts a zombie outbreak, Nipis is on the run around KL to save any of his surviving friends, while making new ones along the way. Adapted by director Wong Min Jin from the novel written by Adib Zaini, "KL Zombi" pretty much meets the survival horror tropes to the Z, but is injected with the comedic charisma of Zizan Razak, and Wong's mischievous references to other movies (the inspired fight scenes from Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" series are dead giveaways).
"Zombi Kilang Biskut" (2014)
Mamat Khalid revisits the zombie genre with a spiritual sequel to "Zombi Kampung Pisang". Sharing a recurring cast and characters from "Zombi Kampung Pisang", this time a nefarious plot is hatched to turn people into zombies with infected biscuits manufactured in a factory where Awie works in. "Zombi Kilang Biskut" is pretty much an upgrade from "Zombi Kampung Pisang" with much prettier and stronger zombies than the white-powdered masses in Kampung Pisang, but takes away some of the comedic tone to tune up the horror factor (both in a good and bad way) to a more straight-up play of the zombie genre with a Malaysian twist.
Okay, so there's really not a lot of Malaysian set zombie movies and we definitely appreciate "KL24: Zombies" being added to the list to make it a little more comprehensive. But even if we had to resort to selecting this short film, we think it makes it no less important to the zombie genre in Malaysia. Newly minted as the winner of the BMW Shorties, "Hawa" might stretch the definition of the zombie movie in Malaysia as there is barely a zombie in sight, other than implied. Director Tan Ce Ding uses the premise of zombies in Malaysia to speak a deeper truth about the disease that is wrecking our racial relations in this country through the distant relationship between its two child leads, which elevates the metaphor of zombies in our national context.
Cinema Online, 13 January 2017