Jul 9, 2012

The Day of the Revenants

"The Day of the Revenants" - the first zombie film ever

This long lost masterpiece of early cinematography for decades existed only as a myth of the movie industry, until it was finally rediscovered in 1995 inside a hidden screening room of Erich Honecker's mansion in East Germany, the former German Democratic Republic.The movie was probably filmed in 1909 but was immediately censored and confiscated. It's only existing copy was taken to France as loot during the chaotic period of the German Empire's collapse some time towards the end of World War one. 

When Paris was later occupied by the Nazis it was returned to its country of origin. Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels himself called it a "höchst entartet" (extremely degenerate) work of art. However, after Germany's defeat it was found by Soviet troops in his own private film collection. After that, the Iron Curtain concealed the further history of this unique production.

When it finally resurfaced in '95, unlike today, nobody really cared much about zombie films. The great zombie wave of the 80s was long gone and so only a few diehard fans, a couple of art students in Nuremberg, Bavaria took up the arduous task of restaurating and remastering the by then severely damaged material. It was screened on a handful of film festivals and raised a few eyebrows, but then it disappeared once more... until now.

At last, film history will have to be rewritten!

The Day of the Revenants from FuFu Frauenwahl on Vimeo.

(I made this film in 1999 together with my dear friends S. Jerger and A. Breinbauer)