Zombies have been prevalent within the horror genre for ages, but with films such as Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland in the 2000’s, as well as the comic and TV series The Walking Dead, zombie culture has crossed over to a mainstream audience. I’m a firm believer that zombies make everything better and more entertaining. In fact, today is the beginning of a new series in which I’m aiming to prove that point. Over the next several weeks (possibly forever), I’ll be pitching regular movies that would improve with the inclusion of zombies. Today’s film, and the inaugural film of our series, is James Cameron‘s Titanic.
Titanic won 11 Academy Awards at the 70th annual ceremony, but there’s always room for improvement. How do you make a Best Picture winner better than it already is? By adding zombies, of course.
Titanic is a long film. Clocking in at more than three hours, there is a great deal of romantic plodding in this disaster film. Though an iceberg is what eventually brings down the “unsinkable” ship, the true villains of the film are high society and Billy Zane. What kind of bullshit is that? The audience spends the majority of the runtime watching Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) run around the ship and fall in love. Gross.
Allow me to describe a more entertaining film:
Pompous Billy Zane (his name is Cal in the film, but he’s just Billy Zane now) is disgusted by the sight of all the lesser individuals on the dock preparing to board the Titanic, so he moves to an empty alleyway between two buildings to collect himself. “It’s okay, Billy Zane,” he mumbles under his breath, “You only have to mingle with these vermin for a few minutes more and then you can take it out on Rose in the luxury suite.” Billy Zane turns toward the back of the alley and notices a disheveled man stumbling towards him. Unbeknownst to him, the man… is a zombie. Why is there a random zombie in an alley? Nobody cares. Billy Zane raises his voice at the zombie (“You keep away from Billy Zane, you putrid swine”), but it attacks him and bites his hand. Billy Zane knocks the zombie to the ground and stomps it to death, returning to the dock with his bloody hand in his pocket to avoid complications while boarding the ship.
Upon boarding the ship, Rose notices that Billy Zane’s face is sweaty and even whiter than usual, prompting her to smile and daydream of his death. When they reach their room, however, she fakes concern and asks if he’s feeling well. “Billy Zane does not feel well,” he says while removing his hand from his pocket and holding it toward Rose, “Billy Zane was bitten.” The bite is obviously gross and infected-looking, so Rose suggests that she go find a first aid kit. Billy Zane is hesitant in sending her off by herself, but eventually agrees with her plan.
While roaming the halls of the ship, Rose meets Jack for the first time. Jack has a knack (rhymes!) for being able to tell when something is wrong, so he persuades Rose to speak of what’s troubling her.
Rose: My fiancee was bitten by a man in an alley. He’s bleeding.
Jack: (smiles at her and pulls a handful of band-aids from his pocket) Here, take these.
Rose: (teasing) Do you always keep this many bandages in your pocket?
Jack: (still smiling because he’s charming as fuck) Of course. You never know when you’ll come across a pretty woman whose fiancee has been bitten in an alley.
Rose, obviously flattered, takes the bandages and heads back to her room. After a long argument with Billy Zane about the length of her absence, she storms off and prepares to end her misery by jumping overboard. Just like in James Cameron’s version of the film, Jack convinces her not to do it. Twisting the content of the film, however, this scene ends with Jack and Rose happily roaming the ship together. Meanwhile, Billy Zane is turning into a zombie.
After a long night of falling in love with the poor boy, Rose returns to her room and finds Billy Zane entirely zombified. He attacks her, but she escapes without being bitten. In an understandable panic, Rose forgets to close the door as she’s running away, thus setting Zombie Billy Zane free.
While the 1997 film spends an eternity setting up the epic romance of Rose and Jack, this version of the film splits that time by focusing on the horror of Billy Zane attacking passengers of the ship and the mass zombie outbreak it results in. Rather than hiding from a rich douchebag, Rose and Jack are now hiding from a rich douchebag who also happens to be trying to eat them – as well as hundreds of other zombies.
I know what you’re wondering right now. Does the Titanic still crash into an iceberg? You’re damn right it does. This version of Titanic draws inspiration from George A. Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead, in that all of our heroes die tragically. Be it at the mouths of zombies, or the freezing water, nobody survives this endeavor. This ending will do one of two things:
1.) It’s going to please people who thought that Rose could have easily moved over slightly and allowed Jack to not freeze to death in the original version.
2.) It’s going to make people realize they’d rather at least have Rose alive than nobody at all. My money, however, is on the previous result.
Sure, Titanic With Zombies re-writes history a little bit, but if Quentin Tarantino can do it, so can we. Rather than a slow-moving epic romance disaster film, Titanic is now a contained horror film with romance, a historical disaster, and zombies. I’d pay too much money to see that film, and I’d like to think that you would too.
Do you have any films you’d like us to zombify? Comment and let us know! All suggestions are considered. Join us again next week as we turn another normal movie into a zombie film!