Despite the fact that none of these movies that pit two famous movie creatures against each other and none of these B-movie tributes that present material that’s self-aware in its schlockiness have managed to become runaway hits, Hollywood has deemed them to be a trend. And like any other trend, it’s not going to go away until it’s run so far into the ground that it’s almost time to dig it back up for a revival.

The next big entry into the purposefully cheesy something vs. something genre is coming from Amazon.com’s Amazon Studios, and it’s going to be called Zombies vs. Gladiators. You see, zombie movies have been a thing for a long time, and gladiator movies have been a thing for a long time…so why not mash them together? It worked so well for Cowboys vs. Aliens after all.

All snarkiness and genre exploitation burnout aside, Zombies vs. Aliens does have one thing going for it that none of its predecessors did: pedigree. Amazon Studios may have a set-up where pitches and screenplays are submitted and then voted on, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t hire big Hollywood names to make the projects they decide to green light; and that’s exactly what they’ve decided to do here. Despite the fact that he hasn’t done much writing lately, and he hasn’t directed a film since 1995’s Lord of Illusions, somehow Clive Barker has been convinced to both re-write the Zombies vs. Gladiators script and serve as its director.

Why has Barker decided to come back and direct after all this time being content to just serve as a producer and use his name to sell horror movies? Perhaps it’s best to let him explain himself. Barker says of the project, “I’m excited by the opportunity to interweave two very rich narrative threads. One of them concerns itself with the reality of the decadence of Rome and its rise and fall. The other is a fantastical narrative element – the living dead. My brief to myself on this project is to give the audience not only zombies they have never seen before but also a Rome they have never seen before.”

Well, when you put it like that, it sounds like too much fun to argue with. The commercial appeal of pitting the living dead against warrior slaves might still be in question, but as long as we get one scene of a ruling class zombie being fed eyeballs by a peasant zombie as if they’re grapes, then probably this whole project will have been worth it. [via Deadline Antioch]


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