Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Faust 2.0


Faust 2.0
Directed by: Robert Selin/ Nicolas Debot / Johannes Pinter / Allan Gustafsson / Micke Engström
Horror/anthology, 79 min
Sweden, 2014
Distributed by: Njuta Films

Almost every review you read on contemporary Swedish horror film will start by telling you how rare Swedish horror is. How there really isn’t a genre scene over here, how the scene is almost non existing… But that’s wrong! Its really just bullshit written by people who don’t know their head from their ass, because if they actually did bother to yank their head out of their constrained collective bungholes, they would see that Swedish horror has never been more alive than it is today. Yeah, sure, a lot of them are still really low budget, kind of on the cheap side and have a general confusion of keeping the story tight, but mark my word. Someday soon someone will check all the right boxes and Swedish horror will make its mark once again. Sure, it may have been something of a rarity say fixe, six, seven years ago, but now there’s almost an avalanche of horror flicks from Sweden rumbling dangerously down the slope. And that is a great thing, because with the heightened competition, filmmakers who want to get into the genre scene are being forced to up their game and show some balls, storytelling skills and how to use their craftsmanship! We’ve already seen some really great examples of ferocious, delicious and minimalistic masterpieces this past decade and I don’t really see it stopping any time soon. Just fucking bring it!

I’m not going to waste your time with listing horror films that have come out of Sweden since Thomas Alfredsson’s Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right one In) 2008, but instead I’m gonna barge right into Faust 2.0 and give you the low down on this spanking new anthology horror which is set to be released domestically within a near future!

It’s a simple bang on the nail set-up, the Devil is bemoaning the simplicity of men and women of today, and how easy it is to claim their souls… with a simple “terms of acceptance”! You know that endless list of conditions that you never read every time you update or install an application or program for your smartphone or computer and cant be bothered to read but just rapidly and instinctively hit the Yes button.

Faust 2.0 is basic anthology horror done by the book, sharing five stories, strung together by Old Nick himself (voiced by Per Ragnar) and his deceptive plan to destroy the world through our obsession with our smartphones and their applications. Although with that said I would have enjoyed a bigger and more visual wraparound in the vein of Amicus horrors wraparounds instead of the brief, but still effective approach taken here.

As always, anthology horror is a mixed bag, and with mixed bags you find good and bad. I’m not here to spoil anything or even rate the individual pieces. Instead I can appreciate the work put into this piece of genuinely independent cinema. Again, the more people make movies, the more the game intensifies and people have to sharpen up. It's called natural selection, competition is good, and we won't fall into the Bergman trap a second time. (As in, everyone hailed Bergman and forgot all about the other really amazing filmmakers we had like Widerberg, Mattsson, Halldof to name a few....) 

The five stories are Robert Selin’s Bad News about a young journalist in search of the perfect scoop – about the serial killer holding Stockholm in an iron grip of fear – and discovers that she’s closer to that scoop than she ever could have imagined. Johannes Pinter’s Inspirappition about an author with a serious case of writers block about to get more inspiration and insight into an alternative life than he ever could have dreamt about. Nicolas Debot’s See Alice about the dangers of online dating and fucking strangers in your hotel room. Allan Gustafsson’s Moral Call featuring Ghosts, guilt and cooperate dirty work, and the final piece Micke Engström’s Nättrollets Diskreta Charm (basically the Discrete charm of the net troll) telling the story of a heartbroken woman who get’s help to reclaim her life but ends up with much more than she bargained for…

As you see all stories have the anthology trait, last moment sardonic twist, a generally dark comedic tone to them all, and all woven together by the presence of that damned app the unfortunate cast all find on their smartphones. Being smartphones and constant updates, I really dig the collective title of Faust 2.0, as all short entries indeed are using the same premise of Goethe’s Faust, where a soul is sold in favor of gaining something the protagonist desires. And you never sell your soul to the devil and liv to brag about it, so Faust 2.0 is a smart title. Well-done lads, especially since I know what the working title was.

In a nutshell; Faust 2.0 is a rewarding showcase of low-key horror, from a bunch of lads who obviously know what they are doing - and what they can’t do on a limited budget. One could ask where the female indie directors are in all this, because it would have been cool to see a woman’s take on short form anthology horror once the hade the rules of their stories decided – sell your soul, pay the price. Faust 2.0 is a collective piece, where story is up front and the moral of mankind is questioned on more than one occasion.  What do you desire and what price would you pay for it? There’s something for everyone here, you get intrigue, jump scares, ghosts, drills to the head, explosions, vampires, demons, serial killers and a few occasions of nudity if you’re seeking that too.

Oh, and some really fucking great shots of Stockholm looking beautiful at night!.

You can keep up to date with Faust 2.0 and check out some behind the scenes stuff on their facebook page here.
https://www.facebook.com/fausttwopointzero

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Museo del horror


Museo del horror
Directed by: Rafael Baledón
Horror, 1964
Mexico, 84min


Classic! Yeah, Rafael Baledón’s Museo del horror is undoubtedly a genuine piece of classic Mexican horror fare! This movie has it all, and one I sincerely recommend you to seek out if you like old gothic creepiness done with a Latin flair.

In the wake of the surprise success that Chano Ureta’s El monstro Resucitado (The Resurrected Monster) 1953, one of the very first mad doctor/Frankenstein movies with exploitative scenes et all, and La Besta and La Bruja (The Witch) kind of a Les Yuex sans visage (Eyes Without a Face) 1960, predecessor, atmospherically laden gothic horror with mad scientists threatening the world, became the name of the game for Mexican low budget filmmakers. Amongst them the likes of Chano Urueta, Fernando Mendez, Federico Curiel, Miguel M. Delgado and Rafael Baledón.
Where Mendez, possibly the finest of all Mexican horror filmmakers, would make a career for himself with films like El grito de la muerte (The Living Coffin), Misterios de ultratumba (Black Pit of Dr. M), both 1959, and his seminal goth pieces El ataúd del vampiro (The Return of the Vampire) 1958 and El vampiro (The Vampire) 1957, so would also Rafael Baledón, with a mixture of dramas, action and comedy movies. Although it’s perhaps his horror themed movies like El hombre y el monstruo (The Man and the Monster) 1959, Orlak, el infierno de Frankenstein (The Hell of Frankestein) 1960 and La malediction de la Llorna (The Crying Woman) 1963 that he will be best remembered for. But without a doubt, I’ll be adding Museo del horror to that list as of now.
Supposedly Baledón once wanted to be a doctor, but due to lack of funding, he started working with films instead. He started out as an actor as he built a name for himself as a director. Although he continued directing, he also worked as an actor through out his career. Perhaps this is something of a key to the solid performances he get’s out of his cast, and the desire to be a doctor his eye for details when it comes to the medical atrocities and graphic moments of the grotesque he mastered in his string of horror stories.

Museo del horror is gothic horror, with a dash of German Expressionism, Mexican style, and done to perfection I must say. This is a movie that is nothing less than a masterpiece!
A young woman walks dark shadowy streets. The shadows are bold and stern, menacing. As she walks through the park, she’s kidnapped. Sparing time, this is all done during the title sequence. The masked figure that snatched her, takes her to his underground lair where she has molten wax poured onto her screaming face… Pretty strong for 1964! The Police are stood clueless as to where the young women of the city are disappearing. A classic newspaper headline zoom-in explains that at least three young women have disappeared previously. The manager of a wax museum, Luis [Joaquin Cordero, who you may recall from Julián Soler’s Pánico] guides tourists around his exhibit of female Opera characters and ecstatically explains about two empty places where the missing pieces are to be created by his own hands within a near future. At the same time the police are trying to figure out the latest kidnapping, and just a few blocks away from them Dr Raúl [Julio Alemán] is performing some odd kind of experiment. No slow sludge, here Baledón moves at fast pace and establishes a grand gallery of characters that will be the leads of this piece. Within a few minutes we’ll see Dr Raúl lift a head out of formaldehyde in a true moment of Mexican shock cinema, and Baledón proves that he’s going for the jugular with this one.
Basically Museo del horror plays out of a love triangle, between Dr. Raúl, Luis and Marta [Patricia Conde], with an investigation plot with horror themes at the core. Museo del horror sees Police Commissioner [David Reynoso] searching for the kidnapper. Not only a kidnapper, but also a murderer, as the same assailant is killing off those who know his true identity by shooting them with poisonous darts!
Marta has a superb nightmare at the half point mark, showing her profound fear of the dead being reanimated – ironic as we all know what fiendish Dr. Raul – with a constant craving for fresh corpses to use in his “research” is up, Professor Abramov [Carlos López Moctezuma who also starred in Rene Cardona’s Luchadora Horror La horipilante beastia humana (Night of the Bloody Apes) 1969] has spent the majority of the movie tampering away with his secret taxidermy, and Luis with his wax sculpting… we know that in this genre, this will all lead to something terrible!
One doom-ridden night, Marta’s mother has a sudden fatal encounter with one of the “secret killer’s” deadly darts as she realizes his identity! Seconds later, the fiend tries to kidnap Marta. Saved by the police at the nick of time Marta tells them that the kidnapper looked like a mummy! The cops round up a bunch of suspects, as in Dr Raúl and Professor Abramov, whilst Marta goes to Luis at the wax museum to tell him the of dreadful news as the movie kicks into the last act and its baleful climax.
Screenwriter José María Fernández Unsáin was undoubtedly penning a free adaptation of André De Toth’s House of Wax, possibly a dash of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera, and using that classic Mexpoitation trait of the mad scientist… well actually several in this case! But nevertheless, Museum of Horror is a splendid piece of Mexican horror. Full of great gothic atmosphere, creepy secret laboratories, loads of sinister characters and a whole bunch of fantastically grim moments of terror.  A masterpiece of thrilling and fascinating Mexican horror not to be missed!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

GODZILLA


GODZILLA
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
USA/Japan, 2014
Kaiju/Godzilla, 123 min

Blah, blah, blah, Gareth Edwards. Blah, blah, blah, Monsters, blah, blah, blah, amazing debut movie. Blah, Blah, blah what to do with the legacy of Godzilla. You know all that, so let’s not waste time, and chill. I won't spoil anything for you if you haven't seen it yet.

FINALLY, it hit the screens, the most anticipated monster movie this year, or the last three years if you have been waiting as long as I have. So there we where my blogging buddies Fred from Ex-Ninja and Jocke from Rubbermonsterfetischism (who also reviewed GODZILLA today), fidgeting, worrying, fretting, trying not to focus on the negatives we’d heard before hand, but remind each other of the positives we’d heard too. If you’re a listener to the Podcast that Fred and I run, The Human Centipod, then you know all our backstory with Godzilla, and just what our hopes where for this one and what we where expecting.
Well it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I wanted monster movie mayhem non-stop, instead I got semi interesting drama with monster movie mayhem in it. But, that’s all right, because even though I feel that there was to little Godzilla in the movie, the monster mayhem was absolutely foot stomping, building crushing fantastic and gorgeous in every possible way. It took its time getting there, but boy does it pay off. It’s a genuine goose bump moment when she finally shows herself and a damn mighty scene that will stay with you for a long time. I shit you not, if I'd have had my kids with me at the screening, I would have fucking teared up at sharing the moment with them. At the same time, this is probably on of the most serious Godzilla movies made, on par with stuff like Godzilla Vs Destroyah, because it’s a big bad, dark toned movie without place for goofy standoffs, corky dialogue, and as Joachim would say, "The cheapest, poorest western actors possibly available, to play the Americans".
But despite a cast of really good actors, Bryan Cranston, five minutes of Juliette Binoche, Aaron Taylor-Johnson Elizabeth Olsen, the characters where still really paper thin. No real character development, no real character arcs, no attention grabbing multifaceted dimension… but wait… This is a GODZILLA movie, there has never really been any dimension, development, or arcs for that matter, in any Godzilla movies. But still, in the world of Godzilla, character dimension is huge, because it’s all found in the title character, GODZILLA! So where I could waste precious time yapping about the lack of all this I’d rather focus on the real character of the piece, Gojira! 

Straight  up, She’s a beauty in Gareth Edwards GODZILLA. Big, strong, forceful, and as both Jocke and Fred pointed out, her face looks like that of a bear. I don’t think this is by chance, as the plot somewhat focuses on Godzilla being a mystic force of nature, risen from the depths of the ocean, as to quote Ken Watanabe’s Dr. Ichiro Serizawa character “Set the balance right!” A strange force attacks nature and mankind, that’s the MUTOs, and Mother Nature sorts things out… or should we say Mother Bear. Because just like a Mother Bear protecting her offspring, that is the exact thing Godzilla does here! She steps out from her hiding and beats the crap out of our antagonists in her genetic programmed “defend the kids” instincts. She’s also where all emotions lay, as Godzilla is the one I root for, Godzilla is the one I feel for, Godzilla is the one I cheer as that last scene closes the movie. Yeah, this one has some really iconic moments to be honest, and it’s a movie that will slot in amongst the top 29 Godzilla movies.

I’d heard it was a slow build and a somewhat tedious first act, but it never really felt neither slow nor tedious. Obviously it was thanks to the plot, not to be confused with characters, because the plot does keep stuff moving forth, and it adds and evolves the Godzilla universe, and it works. Again not the most spectacular plot, but as said, this is a Godzilla movie, no need to complicate it, and we’re only here for one thing, and one thing alone. The plot uses our history to shed light on events; it uses our history to explain the story of Godzilla. And one cannot help but think that certain scenes are taping into our horror of current events like the Fukashima disaster, the tsunamis and earthquakes of the last couple of years, and to some extent 9/11. Perhaps a rhetorical fantasy for something to come save us as we destroy our world

No matter how serious they try to cloak Godzilla, there’s always going to be a Kaiju playfulness to it, and that shines through here too. Even though it is dark and somewhat “bleakish” at times, there are fun moments where Edwards staying true to the “less is more” form that he used on Monsters shows huge destruction scenes, but has them shown as parts of news broadcasts. Framing and visually they come off as the signature wide-angle distant shots that make rubber suit monster model chaos Kaiju. The MUTO monster is grand, and looks nothing like those plastic toys that surfaced online a few months back. These are slick organic ruthless Kaiju beasts that solidly earn their place in the Godzilla universe.
Gareth Edwards has done us good. He’s presented us with a cool Godzilla flick that actually does fit nicely into the universe as created by TOHO. Screw Emmerich and, that which shall not be named, because that’s not a Godzilla movie. It’s a farce, a mockery to all that we Kaiju fans love, a parody on what they though was a Godzilla movie, it’s the Crocs of Kaiju! There, got it out of my system. Edwards has made a movie that delivers on all fronts, it is everything that a Godzilla movie should be. This one is going to be a new starting point, and I can’t wait for the sequel (in my mind it will happen) and just like Fred says, that sequel will be filled with more monsters, more Godzilla, more mayhem! Until then we have Edwards to thank for bringing that darkness back and also bringing a new life to a monster that never dies! Godzilla is KING OF THE MONSTERS and we love her!

Go see GODZILLA at the cinemas now, because this movie needs to be a hit and spawn a multitude of sequels so that we can keep shooting up our Kaiju fixes for a long time to come.

(And please, please, please, despite my complaining that the movie was a tad to long, and took a bit to long to show the monsters, please release a longer bluray so that we get to see the deleted Akira Takarada scenes.)





Tuesday, May 13, 2014

R.I.P. H.R. GIGER

In 2009 I spent three intense days in the company of H.R. Giger. It was a surreal, scary and fascinating time, and I received an amazing insight into his art. I'm profoundly saddened to hear of his passing and recall that he told me with sorrow that he didn't dream of flying through the worlds where he found his inspiration in the same way that he used to.

I can't really put into words what I feel right now. I had to take some time and process this news as it reached me earlier today. It's still kind of hard to take in.

Giger, a man who's biomechanoid art had scared me senseless as a child, spellbound me as young man, captivated and moved me as an adult, who had a reputation of not liking journalists, reluctant to do interviews and didn't green light my visit until the very last moment. Really, as in talking to his agent just a couple of hours before I was supposed to fly out. Terrified I waited outside the museum in Frankfurt where the exhibit of his work was to be shown, as I tried to calm down and be as professional as I could ahead of meeting him. Going over all worst case scenarios, how to react if he was as the reputation claimed. My phone rang, his assistant told me, "Giger is here, He wants to walk you through the exhibit, NOW!". Forcing my panic attack to crawl back into it's void, I grabbed my stuff and set off to what I expected to be a fear full meeting. Instead, I was greeted with open arms. H.R. Giger was the complete opposite of everything he was supposedly said to be. Instead I found a charming, shy, confident man, mourning the slow loss of the outlandish worlds he once used to dream of. A gentle, kind man, who put up with me and my array of questions for those days, and took me on a trip through these outlandish worlds guided by his own story. We shared stories of art, film, H.P. Lovecraft, ill health, our passion for cats and skulls, and I at one point, I helped him clean his fountain that stood in the back yard of his Zürich house from leaves that had clogged it up. It was a meeting that was unlike any before or since, and I will hold it as a high point of my life forever.

For me it was more a meeting with an artist, more than the creator of Alien. Alien is merely a blimp on a fascinating timeline, a detail in the worlds Giger used to soar through during his nocturnal flights.

I sincerely hope that he now flies in those worlds that he so longed for once again.

My thoughts obviously go out to his wife and close friends in this sad time.

R.I.P. H.R. Giger.



I'll add this LINK here if you want to read more about my time with H.R. Giger.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

THE RUNNING DEAD!


One of the strangest, most annoying and perhaps most heated debates amongst genre fans, second only to re-boot-a-go-go, is the one concerning slow or fast zombies! Should they be a fast running death machines, or should they be as the rules originally stated, slow shuffling deadly predators.

If we look at it from a historical point of view, the debate really exploded with Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later 2002, where the undead, filled with what in that specific case was referred to as “The Rage” ran like hell making escape almost impossible for the unfortunate bastards trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. They also shrieked terribly loud, but nobody that I've met so far ever wants to talk about moaning versus shrieking zombies. Then Zack Snyder’s remakish Dawn of the Dead, 2004 – fast zombies. 28 Weeks Later  and REC both 2007, sported faster, harder, shrieking zombies. Both movies adding fuel to the debate on fast versus slow. TV show The Walking Dead, mixes them both all depending if they want to kill someone off or not. All through this Romero hit back with Land of the Dead 2005 with zombies walking under water, but still, slowly…  Diary of the Dead 2007 on camera in found footage style, but slowly. Survival of the Dead 2009, that saw the undead feeding of horses… but again, slowly moving around the world.
It looks to be a close shut case, right? The living dead in the way Romero created them take it easy and shuffle along at slow pace. But with the revival of the zombie genre in early 2000, the undead could move with great speeds. But that’s not entirely true. This is merely when genre fans started reacting to fast versus slow, and bickering about it in the way that only genre fans can. It actually started much earlier than that. In the 1985 film Return of the Living Dead, with a screenplay by Dan O’Bannon (who also directed the epic horror comedy), and a story by Rudy Ricci, John A. Russo and Russel StreinerRusso being one of the original writers of the groundbreaking masterpiece of horror cinema, Night of the Living Dead and Streiner and Ricci both starring in it too, it is fair to say that they quite possibly might be the creators of the “fast” zombie. John Russo in more ways than one. I’ll get back to that in a moment.

I’ve heard grown men argue loudly their reasons to why the undead shall not, will not and can't run on their dead limbs, and vice versa, why it is possible. I’ve been to seminars where physicians have discussed the possibility if the dead would shuffle or run, I’ve seen pseudo-documentaries that discuss stagger or speed.  I’ve even sat less than an arms length apart from the originator of the modern zombie, Mr. George A. Romero as he sternly told me, "No, Dead Men Don’t Run!" (and no, I didn’t ask him, it was amongst his artillery of answers, because he get’t that question all the time.)

BUT… and there’s always a but, even though the granddaddy of the genre, Romero himself says that the dead are dead and cant’ run, he’s busted his own theory on more than one occasion…
Let’s start at the beginning, with the Romero / Russo connection. Romero and Russo wrote the screenplay to Night of the Living Dead, the original 1968 black and white independent horror flick that stands as the genesis point of the modern zombie.

You only have to get to pages 9-10 of the script to see how the slow zombie already is evolving.

The old man freezes and looks up. The girl raises her club and rushes toward him. He jumps into a half-standing position, like an animal hunched to spring... Barbara stops in her tracks. The man is breathing heavily. She starts to back away. The man holds very still. She backs further... Faster... total fear. The man starts to move slowly... cat-like. He steps over the body.

Barbara drops the club and breaks into a dead run down the path. She screams. The man moves after her, but he is considerably slower that she, with seeming difficulty in moving. He appears almost crippled.

In a flailing run, Barbara reaches the car, sobbing. She yanks open the door. She can hear the man drawing nearer. She scrambles into the front seat and slams the door shut ... No key. The man draws nearer, seeming to move faster, more desperate to reach the girl. Barbara sobs ... she clenches the steering wheel.

At first the “Old Man” moves slowly, cat-like.  He moves slower than she, seeming to have difficulty moving. Then he draws nearer, seeming to move faster! “Seeming to move faster, more desperate to reach the girl.” We can guess that the hunger is what makes the undead man move faster, and we all know what happens next, he smashes the car window forcing Barbara to let the handbrake off and smash into the tree forcing her to leave the possible safety of he confined space.

Page 11 of the script:

She struggles with the door handle; the button pops up ... the man draws nearer ... she breaks from the car. The man keeps coming, desperately trying to move faster ... Barbara runs, off the roadway and onto the turf of the cemetery. She falls ... kicks her shoes off ... gets up and keeps running. The man is still after her.

“Desperately trying to move faster… “ So already here in the earliest source material there’s a hint of fast animation amongst the dead.

Six years later, 1974, John Russo published the novelization of Night of the Living Dead and the same passage reads as follows.

(Page 26) 
  "The attacker looked at her. And she was startled by the sound of his breath – an unearthly rasping sound. He stepped over Johnny’s body and moved towards her in a half-standing position, like an animal hunched to spring."

Same page a few lines later:

  "The attacker was moving closer, faster, more desperate to reach the girl."

(Page 28)
  "She struggled with the door handle – but it wouldn’t budge until she remembered to pull the button up - and as the attacker drew nearer she yanked the door open and bolted from the car.
  She ran.
  The man behind her kept coming, desperately trying to move faster in his shuffling, staggering gait – as Barbara ran as fast as she her legs could carry her up the steep grade of the gravel road."

Now, Russo does indeed point out that this is dead flesh and that it has difficulty moving too. But there are still several suggestions that the undead move faster when approaching food, just like “an animal hunched to spring”, “desperately trying to move faster”. It’s apparent that there is a conscious attempt to move faster with more speed. If they have the strength to smash car windows, tear entrails out of a stomach – where the flesh, fat and muscle are pretty thick, then why shouldn’t they be able to run?

Sure, what is in text in a script can come off in a number of ways on set and in the final movie. Now think back to that scene in the landmark movie. You recall it as a slow swaggering “old man” [Bill Hinzman] that shuffles off after Barbara [Judith O’Dea] after smashing in Johnny’s [Russell Streiner] head in the cemetery don’t you? But take a look at the scene in the clip below.


Now ask yourself if that’s a slow staggering, slow zombie, or a fast, rapid zombie?

Fast forward eight years. After trying his hand at genres outside the horror realm, George A. Romero returns to expand on his world of the undead and bleak future for mankind epos with the sequel to Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead. This is undoubtedly one of the definitive shuffler flicks of all time. There is no running or case of speedy undead here at all… or is there?
Again, let’s start by looking at the script for Dawn of the Dead.

Silence for a moment. Peter still holds his gun high.

Then, with a great crash, the closet door flies open into the room. Two small children burst out. One has no left arm; the other has been bleeding from a great wound in his side. They are dead. They move directly toward Peter. Their heads are at least a foot shorter than the bullet holes in the closet door.

Peter stares down at the creatures, revulsed.  He is so startled that he cannot react quickly enough, and they are on him. The moment he feels their clammy grasp, he regains his survival instincts. He cannot effectively aim his rifle. He kicks and thrashes around. One creature flies against a wall. The other is about to bite the man's arm. The big Black grabs the small Zombie and flings it physically back. The other creature pounces on his back. He throws it over his shoulders and it crashes against its brother.

Now Peter raises his gun. As the children try to scramble to their feet the man fires several shots in rapid succession. First one creature falls; then the other.

“Flies open”, “Burst out”, “Scramble to their feet”, all of these are characteristics of something moving with force, speed and determination. Not really slow, sluggish and shuffling in any way at all.

Take a look in Romero and Susanna Sparrow’s 1978 novelization of the screenplay and the same passage reads:

(Page 82)
   "All of a sudden, a great crash sounded, and even the calm, collected Peter flinched at the noise. The closet door flew open and two small children, a girl and a boy, burst out into the room."

A few lines later …

   "As if by instinct, they ambled towards him.  He was so startled by their actions that he did not react quickly. Before he knew it their clammy grasp was upon him."

Just like in the Night of the Living Dead script and novelization, there’s a suggestion that these specific undead moved faster than the common zombie. Again, it’s the force of which their actions are described, “great crash, “flew open”, “burst out” that all hint at fast force. And if you shuffle at such a pace that you startle a special task force police officer of the scale that the Peter character is, they you must be shuffling at quite a speed.

Let’s take a look at the scene as it takes place in the movie.



What do you say… slow or fast zombies?

Now before you get your pants in a knot, this is in no way an attempt to trash George A. Romero, the universe of his undead, or the rules he indeed did establish there. I hold nothing but outmost love and respect for that man and what he's done for genre cinema. Instead I suggest you look at this as an interesting entry into the ongoing debate if the undead will shuffle or run. As you see, not everything we take a granted and as being stern rules of the genre necessarily apply, even if it is claimed to be so even in source material.

It’s also important to point out that even though Romero still to this day solidly stands by his statement that dead men don’t run, he has pointed out that he may not have had a natural evolvement of the undead in mind whilst writing Night of the Living Dead or even Dawn of the Dead. There is a scene where one of the undead tries to grab Stephen’s [David Emge] rifle away from him, which could be seen as coincidental or as a deliberate act - a call to arms. In Day of the Dead, Bub [Sherman Howard] fires a handgun and salutes a fellow soldier. Land of the Dead has its lead zombie character Big Daddy [Eugene Clark] take to arms and make a deliberate decision to invade the tower of antagonist Kaufman [Dennis Hopper]. Even building a small army of undead along the way. You can find examples of this evolution of the undead in the entire series from Night up to Survival of the Dead. Anything is possible in a universe where the undead are evolving, and who can tell where it will end, because if you can get zombies to feed of horsemeat, then they will need speed to catch their prey. 
Only the future will tell if Romero zombies will stay slow, or if they need to up the pace. But in the meantime let’s just stop debating details and falling out over stuff like fast or slow zombies, and instead just enjoy the movies as they are, in their own universes; because sometimes a zombie movie is just a zombie movie and nothing else.

Stay alive, stay cool, stay one step ahead of the undead!
/Jason.


Novelizations:
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, Pocket Fiction Edition, 1981
DAWN OF THE DEAD, Dawn Associates, 1978, SPHERE ed. 2012
Script excerpts from
(http://home.comcast.net/~axlish/NOTLD68scriptframes.htm)
(http://www.horrorlair.com/scripts/dawnofthedead.txt)