Homecoming Joe Dante

The concept of the Masters of Horror series is to give renowned horror/thriller directors an opportunity to work with full creative control. With that in mind, Joe Dante (Gremlins, Piranha, The Howling) has taken this freedom and ran with it to the extreme in Homecoming. Easily the best and most talked about entry in the series, Dante’s vision is one that openly confronts his unsettled feelings towards the current political state of the U.S. The story is a bold one — fallen soldiers of an unpopular war take revenge through an unlikely course of action. On the verge of a Presidential election, a Republican spokesperson triggers an unexplainable reaction when he wishes that those who perished in the war were alive and able to vote. Instantly, deceased veterans rise from their Star Spangled Banner-draped coffins looking to find peace and stop another term with a right-winged president, not by eating the brains of the administration that sent them to their grave but by stuffing the ballot boxes. A political satire that Dante admitted "was never intended to be subtle,” Homecoming delivers its biased message clearly (complete with an impersonation voiceover that is undeniably Dubya), which is a fascinating example of brave filmmaking. Equally as remarkable, however, is how Dante approaches the zombie flick. Not only does he trade in the age-old mindless brain-munching threat for the civilised act of voting, but he also converts the oft villainous zombies into heroes and provides us with an even more terrifying enemy: Republicans. Though it suffers a little from some inept acting and moments of insufferable cheese, Dante’s "blunt hammer to the administration” works both the requisite serious and comical angles needed for attempting an art form so subversive. The extras, again, show that Masters of Horror goes out of its way to make the hour-long film worthwhile, but other than exploring Dante’s career and hearing some expected comments about his controversial vision, it’s just a lot of filler. (Anchor Bay)