An ongoing series looking at fantastic prologues from classic and contemporary horror movies.
In this new SHOCK series, well take a look at some of the most astonishing opening scenes in genre film history. Weve already made a case for John Landis disturbing opening to the 1983 Landis/Steven Spielberg produced TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, a spotty film that fails to live up that dynamic beginning.
Then we discussed the ultra-bloody pre-credits sequence for Stuart Gordons 1985 unrated, gory and taboo-teasing horror comedy RE-ANIMATOR.
Now we’re going to cite Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s relentless, truly horrifying first few minutes of his masterful 28 WEEKS LATER as worthy of our “Greatest Openings” series.
The film is a sequel to (and, arguably a vast improvement upon) director Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland’s surprise 2004 zombie-film-that’s-not-a-zombie-film (they’re “infected”!) hit 28 DAYS LATER But while that picture’s strength rests in an almost meditative, new-age approach to its end of the world/undead killers scenario, Fresnadillo’s film gets deep into malevolent weird science, then becomes a kind of quasi-NIGHT OF THE HUNTER fairy tale, before winding down as it winds up, in a kind of nihilistic, spastic hell-space that shreds nerves, pounds pulses and is almost unbearably savage.
And oh, man! That wind-up!
In its 5 minutes, the film introduces us to Don (RAVENOUS star Robert Carlyle) and his wife Alice, holed up inside a crumbling stone cottage in the English countryside, along with a gaggle of survivors. As the “infected” ghouls scream through London and beyond, our protagonists live a solemn, hushed life, living in semi-darkness and conscious of every sound, lest they call attention to themselves and stir the horde.
Suddenly, there’s a pounding at the door. A little boy, terrified and starving is begging to be let in. They do indeed let him in. Big mistake.
Suddenly, a mob of red-eyed monsters smashes into the house, biting and barfing contaminated blood, turning their victims into instant rabid zombies….
And then it gets scary. And bloody. And scary.
Watch what happens next below…