George A. Romero butts heads with Douglas Sirk in this bizarre but endearing horror/comedy. In the years following zombie wars which pitted man against hordes of hungry undead, the victorious human population was stuck with a major problem: What to do with the remaining zombies and, even more importantly, those unfortunates who might turn into zombies after the war? Put them to work! Using a high-tech collar that controls the zombie appetite for human flesh, man reduces the undead from brain-munching predators to docile servants.
The plan works too well. Having a zombie soon becomes the ultimate status symbol, as every spit-polished, Leave It to Beaver-ish, retro-'50s household has a decomposing slave pouring cocktails, serving dinner and walking the dog. In an effort to keep up with the Joneses, a seemingly typical family decides to get a zombie -- named Fido by the son -- but he turns out to be more humane than expected. Fido becomes a surrogate father, protector and object of infatuation, causing the family to question the nature of death/undeath and master/slave, but also allowing Fido to get away with some antics on the side that disrupt the entire town. Scottish actor Billy Connolly stars as Fido, and he is both mildly funny and threatening. These descriptors encapsulate the film, as well. Fido has its heart in the right place, but it is in dire need of more laughs and screams. (Phil Morehart) Grade: B
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