Night of the Living Tea Party?
Local Horror Movie Attacked by Right-Wing Radio
Normally, right-wing spieler Charlie Sykes focuses his selective ire on such targets as Obamacare and that by-now largely mythic hobgoblin, the “liberal media.” But for The New World Horror, Sykes tried on his film critic’s hat and lambasted a Wisconsin indie he has never seen, a film that hasn’t been completed, much less screened. Favoring fulmination over facts, Sykes and his online comrades have attacked the modestly funded New World Horror as if it was the latest conspiracy by Hollywood liberals to undermine America.
The trailer posted online for The New World Horror reveals the film’s roots: the black and white production is a tribute to George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the film that helped launch midnight movies and set the stage for zombie onslaughts to come. One wonders: are the living dead a significant part of Sykes’ demographic? Is he rallying in defense of his listeners?
The focus of Sykes’ outrage is the scene in New World Horror where a Tea Party protest is transformed into a moaning mob of zombies. “We don’t want to give too much away,” says director Adam Schabow. “Let’s just say that a demonic virus from the corners of Hell has something to do with it.” He adds: “We don’t consider it specifically a zombie movie. There are blobs, demons, patriots, just a lot of different things going on. The zombie element, while a major one, is only one facet of the story.”
Night of the Living Dead (1968) conveyed messages on the turmoil of its time. The satirical elements of New World Horror are probably more upfront. “The inception came in part from the overall frustration with politics in general, as well as my love of movies, and horror movies specifically. The two just converged—right now, politics in the U.S. can be pretty horrifying,” Schabow says.
The director denies that The New World Horror is a thinly disguised left-wing manifesto. “If anything, the movie is about extremism from all sides. We happened to chose the Tea Party movement since it’s such a visible and, in some facets, an angry movement. We touch on extremism from all areas, including the left. I can tell you that the Democratic Party would not be endorsing this film.”
The Night of the Living Dead aesthetic conveys its own message. “There’s a reason why we are shooting everything in black and white,” Schabow explains. “One reason is to show the polarization in this country. How everything is black and white to so many people, when really, almost everything is shades of gray.”