March 18, 2008 The Iraq War turns 5 years old on March 20. It seems like a good time to look back at the Top 10 films of the past 5 years that were clearly influenced by this war that looks like it will last another 5 years at least.
It's hard to imagine that for every 15-year-old reading this article right now, the war has really been with them since they have probably been conscious of current events. This war has now run longer than World War II. Like the Vietnam War, which definitely influenced horror films of the early 1970s, the Iraq War had a real impact on the horror films of the past half decade. Filmmakers are all influenced by the current events they are operating in, so it's no surprise that horror films have been affected too. So here are the Top 10 best Iraq War-influenced horror films.
Eli Roth's mega-hit horror film was undeniably influenced by the goings on at Abu Gharaib -- whether Roth is conscious of it or not. Iraqi soldivers dehumanized, forced into naked human pyramids -- vs. Americans dehumanized and cut up by twisted businessmen. Truth is often stranger than fiction.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Looking at the apocalyptic anarchy that gripped Iraq after the invasion, it's hard not to draw parrallels between Zack Snyder's remake of "Dawn of the Dead" and the terror that has gripped Baghdad for the past five years. What's more horrifying: Flesh eating zombies or suicide bombers?
28 Weeks Later (2007
With smiling faces, American troops take over a war ravaged nation -- then attempt to exterminate that nations' citizens when they lose control. This is what happens in Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's superior sequel to "28 Days Later." The horror of "28 Weeks Later" is actually quite real for a nation run by friendly, smiling occupiers – and it's happening now.
Diary of the Dead (2008)
George Romero's best zombie film since 1978's "Dawn of the Dead" has a documentary-like feel. With troops reduced to nothing more than thieves and anarchy taking over our society, while it's all captured on YouTube, it's once again hard not to compare it to the apocalypse that has gripped Iraq.
The Mist (2008)
The Stephen King novella upon which this is based dates back more than two decades. But the story seems more relevant today, with the U.S. government opening a portal to another dimension and raining death on middle America. The terrifying militaristic ending -- different than the book and written after the Iraq war started -- is undeniably a sign of the times.
Land of the Dead (2005)
It's not a coincidence that two George Romero movies are in this list. In "Land of the Dead", the world has ended but money is still king. And so is military might -- and the form of a truck known as the Dead Reckoning.
The Signal (2008)
Similar to "28 Weeks Later," but different because the rabid killers think, feel and rationalize, "The Signal" may help us understand how we thought, felt and rationalized our way into the Iraq war. In "The Signal," it's hard to know who the evil characters are vs. the good ones, because everyone thinks their side is right.
Planet Terror (2007)
Yet another apocalyptic zombie film, "Planet Terror" was funny, but also one of the few horror films to reference Osama Bin Laden. The military are the real bad guys in this one.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
A mutant is stabbed with an American flag. If that isn't Iraq War inspired, what is? In this film, U.S. government shenanigans create "blow back" in the form of desert mutant killers who attack and kill middle Americans. The film opens with U.S. scientists getting their asses kicked in an Iraqi-style desert.
Masters of Horror: Joe Dante's 'Homecoming'
Not technically a movie, but actually an episode of "Masters of Horror," Joe Dante's excellent episode "Homecoming" had U.S. troops rising from the dead upon their return home from Iraq so they could vote in the next election. When they are denied the right to vote because, after all, they're dead, things really get out of hand.
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