Every weekend, we pick a movie you can watch at home that dovetails with an event from the previous week. Old, new, blockbuster, arthouse: They’re all fair game. What you can count on is a weekend watch that sheds new light on the week that was. The movie of the week for October 23 through 29 is Fido (2006), directed by Andrew Currie and available to digitally rent on Amazon or stream on Amazon Prime.
I don’t watch The Walking Dead, but I understand it premiered last weekend to a lot of yelling and upset. (“Pointless, sadistic, and dumb,” quoth our own Todd VanDerWerff.) And even those who don’t watch the show will probably see some zombies wandering around their neighborhood this weekend thanks to Halloween festivities. In short: It’s a big week for zombies.
And who doesn’t love a good zombie movie? Night of the Living Dead (1968) is the most iconic of them all, establishing many of the conventions of the genre — and you can stream it this weekend on Amazon Prime — but the weirdest, goofiest zombie movie you can watch at home this weekend (keep those doors locked) is Fido, a little-known indie from 2006 starring Carrie-Ann Moss, whom you know as Trinity from The Matrix.
A spiritual sequel of sorts to Night of the Living Dead, Fido is set in the 1950s, when a company called Zomcon has created a “domestication” collar that turns the living dead into, essentially, household pets and helpers, thereby controlling the zombie population and rescuing civilization.
The patriarch of the Robinson family, scarred by the zombie near-apocalypse he witnessed as a kid, is dead set against having one at home. All zombies, in his view, are murderous and dangerous. But eventually his wife, Helen (Moss), prevails upon him. Son Timmy names their zombie Fido. (Yes, this is a Lassie joke.)
It turns out Fido is a better companion for Helen than Timmy, but it also turns out that perceptions about zombies may be all wrong. This serves as a great follow-up to Night of the Living Dead, which most people agree was a stealth criticism of the Cold War: It challenges our ideas about who is dangerous, and why. This film, made nearly 40 years later, challenges our notions of our historical enemies and makes a plea for kindness.
Also, it’s a goofy movie for zombie fans, with lots of self-referential pop culture jokes and a heartwarming performance by Billy Connolly as Fido, which is a thing you can’t say about a lot of actors playing zombies.
So bolt your doors, keep your meat cleaver nearby, and enjoy your Halloween weekend.