Stake Land. 2010. USA. Directed by Jim Mickle. Screenplay by Mickle, Nick Damici. With Connor Paolo, Kelly McGillis, Gregory Jones, Traci Hovel. 35mm. 98 min.
The absolutely, horrifyingly fun Stake Land is to The Walking Dead what Night of the Living Dead was to the creation of Glass Eye Pix: a lodestar, an ur-text, transforming timeless mythologies of zombies, vampires, and gunslingers into a contemporary allegory of Mourning in America. Behold, as the gnomically named Mister (cowriter Nick Damici), a drifter, a samurai, a sherpa with a stake, guides his young charge Martin (Connor Paolo, of Gossip Girl!) across a pale landscape of devastation and loneliness—wraithlike shades of Badlands and They Drive by Night —dodging bloodsuckers, flesh eaters, and a Bible-thumping Aryan militia toward a “New Eden” along the Canada border. Courtesy MPI Media