Monday, October 15, 2007

Now I'm Feeling Zombified

I love zombie movies.
From classics like 'Dawn of the Dead' to the modern take of '28 Days Later' to cheesy B-movies like 'Flesh-Eating Mothers'--I just adore zombie movies. There's something about the particular rules zombies follow, the survival strategies, and the over-the-top gore that just gets me every time. In fact, I've never seen a zombie movie I didn't like.

Until last weekend.

'Night of the Living Dead 3D' was released on DVD about a week ago and, needless to say, my friends and I were excited. From what we could tell, it was essentially a remake of the original (and amazing) 'Night of the Living Dead'. The only difference: 3D! Zombies lunging towards you! Internal organs flying in your face! Bullets whizzing past your head! Awesome, right?

Wrong. It was, in fact, not a remake of the original at all. It was the worst zombie movie I have ever seen, by a lot. There were barely any zombies in it, the plot made absolutely no sense, and the characters were all annoying. I mean, look at that picture! Consider the fact that they're slow-moving and can basically be shoved to the ground with one hand, and you've got the least threatening zombies ever. But the main character commits suicide in the end when faced with them? Even though she's outside and could easily run away? I don't get it. And yeah, I just told you the ending. Be grateful.

Fortunately, our evening was salvaged by the movie's only saving grace: 3D. Maybe it's because I'm a child of the 80s, or maybe I'm just a geek, but 3D will always be completely amazing in my book. Though my dreams of airborne intestines never quite came true, my friends and I spent the duration of this wretched film pointing out to each other everything three dimensional, "That gun is 3D! The casket is 3D! Her hair is so 3D right now!" Ok, so maybe we're easily amused, but 3D is still cool.

3D images like the one above are actually called anaglyph images, and consist of two layers of color that are superimposed on top of each other and offset slightly. The red and blue glasses cause each eye to filter out a different color, which results in each eye seeing a different image. Normally, your brain perceives depth by comparing the subtle difference in the perspective of each of your eyes. So when the brain combines the two colored images of the anaglyph, the differences created by the offset color give the illusion of depth, essentially tricking your brain into thinking it is seeing a three dimensional image.

Not all 3D images require glasses. Remember those annoying Magic Eye pictures that were everywhere in the mid-90s?

Now you do. Those were autostereograms, and can be viewed in two ways: the first, and most popular, is to look 'past' the picture; the second involves crossing your eyes. The idea here is to get your eyes to abandon their normal ways of seeing single images and look at each side of the picture separately, so that different images will be perceived. When an object is fairly close to you, your eyes rotate in a way that allows you to see one solid image. This rotation (convergence and divergence) does not happen when looking into the distance, and the eyes instead see exactly what is in front of them--the left eye sees to the left and the right eye sees to the right. When viewing an object that is too close, such as your nose, the rotation goes a bit too far and the eyes cross--the left eye sees to the right and the right eye sees to the left. In both cases, separate sides of the picture will be perceived and subtle differences in the illustration will create two corresponding images like the red and blue images in the anaglyph.

I find that the cross-eyed autosterograms are the easiest, although anaglyphs are certainly fashionable. In fact, you can even get your own 3D glasses that no movie theater can ever take away from you here. However, I strongly recommend NOT using them to watch 'Night of the Living Dead 3D'. Ever. For any reason.

Note: In spite of my obvious distaste for 'Night of the Living Dead 3D', it is not the worst movie I have ever seen. The worst movie I have ever seen is 'Cheerleader Ninjas', which is not even bad in a good way, so please don't try to watch it. What is the worst movie you've ever seen? And why the hell did you see it?

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