Empire of Corpses zombie animated movie is a Halloween treat
The Empire of the Corpses of 2015 has generally been overlooked, but its premise, animation, and characters make it a Halloween staple.
If you’ve never been very interested in zombie movies, Empire of the corpses maybe the exception. If zombie movies are your cup of tea, enjoy it. British intelligence agents travel the world to find Victor Frankenstein’s lost method of resurrecting the soul, while a young man searches for the answer that has made his own attempt to resurrect his friend gone horribly wrong.
Filled with undead action but also real philosophical questions about what it means to have a soul, Empire of the corpses has something for most people – and this Halloween is the perfect opportunity to give her a watch.
Empire of the corpses is a 2015 film by Wit Studio that drew criticism for its fast-paced pace upon release. The film throws a lot of information to audiences very quickly, adding to the confusion by using the names of historical and literary figures – and some obscure ones – alongside famous figures such as John Watson and Victor Frankenstein. Just a little background works wonders to do Empire of the corpses more enjoyable and accessible for everyone, so let’s go.
In Victorian England, Victor Frankenstein was able to reanimate a corpse in a way that also gave this creature – called The One – a soul, just like in Mary Shelley’s novel. However, Frankenstein’s method has been lost and corpses are now reanimated with false programming that can be used very effectively in a capitalist society: by replacing the working class with zombies who don’t need to pay, to feed themselves. or sleep.
Among all this, two young men, John Watson and Friday, believe they have found a way to restore the soul due to the fact that the bodies weigh 22 grams less after death – they believe the difference is the weight of the soul. Friday is sick and knows he will die soon, so he charges Watson to bring him back, soul and all. However, all Watson does is revive a corpse with nothing from his friend inside. He is soon arrested for his illegal actions, but has the option of joining the British Secret Service due to his experience with his new mission: the recovery of Victor Frankenstein’s method of resuscitating the soul.
So begins Watson’s journey to Frankenstein’s Secret, taking him from Russia to Japan and back to England. Along the way, he meets all kinds of eccentric figures such as Hadaly Lilith, named after a literary android, and Frederick Burnaby, a historic member of the British military. Friday is also dragged, recording every detail of their trip. However, Watson is not the only one pursuing Frankenstein’s secret, and the ethics of returning a soul to the body is not as straightforward as one might imagine.
The use of names in Empire of the corpses is a thrill for any lover of literature or history. For example, Friday is the name of the first “noble savage” of Robinson Crusoe with whom Robinson is able to communicate and befriend. As the film progresses, Friday’s namesake becomes more clear and intelligent. Each rewatch leads to more discoveries, and Watson faces questions from many different angles. Thinking about what makes a human being and what constitutes a soul does not only Empire of the corpses more engaging than the average zombie gore-fest, but also continues the requests that Shelley asked in Frankenstein. For those who enjoy their gore-fests, this is a society where the working class has been replaced by soulless zombies who are programmed to be obedient and submissive. What could go wrong?
In addition to all this, Empire of the corpses is visually stunning and the mechanized horror aesthetic is perfect. Merging zombies with capitalism is a bold and interesting take on the supernatural, and the fact that it’s all set in the Victorian era adds a lot to the overall aesthetic of the film. The characters are nice, the twists are fun, and there’s a balance between action and real ethical issues.
Watson and Friday’s relationship is as tragic as it is fascinating to watch it unfold, and while the film is fast-paced, it takes time to make sure the main characters matter. So whether it’s characters, aesthetics, action, philosophy, or just a fun and heartbreaking movie, it’s your preference, Empire of the corpses deserves to be on your Halloween watch list.
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