Friday, November 26, 2010

The Night of the Seagulls

This is another installation in the infamous Blind Dead series.  In case you have missed the other Blind Dead movies, these films chronicle the exploits of a group of Knights Templar who sacrificed buxom, scantily clad women to gain the wonderful opportunity to come back from the dead as zombies and sacrafice more buxom, scantily clad women.  The Blind Dead were Spainish films made by Amando de Ossorio.

In this installation of the series Ossorio gathers inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth.  I know many zombie fans love this movie, but I can't stand with them.  Despite the Lovecraft references, this movie was laughable.   This movie begins, after the obligatory Knights Templar killing a mostly naked woman scene, with a young doctor taking a new job in a village that I can't believe would have been realistic even in the 1970's.  The village looks like it fell out of the dark ages.  All the women cover their heads and wear black all the time.  There are no cars, no electricity, no phones, and the old doctor flees town on a donkey.  The locals are strange and hostile and their main activities seem to be beating up on the town idiot and sacrificing virgins.   This doesn't scare off the young doctor, however, who breezes into this archaic town in full 1970's bling.  He wears high heals and sweaters that are so 1970's I had to squint to see them.  His wife has similar fashion sense and is an utter, blithering idiot.  Together this couple take over a medical practice in what looks like a decrepit barn and wonder why they aren't getting any patients. 

Of course, the couple ignores the old doctor's advice to stay inside after dark and not ask questions and quickly find themselves fighting to save the lives of one town idiot and one victim meant to be sacrificed.   Zombie Knights Templar descend on them in full force moving about as quickly as an injured slug.  This doesn't stop the women from backing away from the zombies even more slowly while screaming.  Of course, if I had on platform shoes that high I might not be able to run or jump out of a window down five feet either, but that is another story.  After the town idiot is killed by the zombies, our heroes decide to take the zombie horses and run away.  Who would think the zombie horses might be bad?  Zombie creatures are usually so trustworthy. But these zombie horses are bad.  They are bad zombie horses.  The bad zombie horses take our little group of idiots back to the castle of the Knights Templar where the doctor finds a statue of a toad god and concludes that this statue must be the source of all their problems based on nothing but the ugliness of the toad god. The doctor pushes the toad god over and the zombie Templars explode in a bloody mess.  Of course, the villagers have spent centuries sacrificing virgins to the Templars and never figured this out.  I guess that explains why they are trapped in the dark ages and are too dumb to find any other occupation besides chasing the village idiot with sticks.

This movie is definitely worth seeing if only for a laugh.  It is silly without meaning to be and all its inconsistencies make it amazing to watch.   Watching a grown woman scream and lay in one place while a skeleton hand spends 2 minutes creeping towards always funny.  This movie is definitely in the so bad it is funny category.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Walking Dead Spread the Dead Contest!

The Walking Dead is one of my favorite graphic novels. It is not shocking that I am very excited about the release of The Walking Dead series on AMC this Halloween.  The Walking Dead will debut at 9pm central time and 10pm Eastern.  It should definately be worth the watch for any zombie fan.

In order to celebrate the release of this wonderful show. I'm spreading the dead.  You can help spread the dead too by clicking on the link below.  By helping partcipate in this fun, you can also enter to win $5,000.  So click here and help spread the dead!

To enter to win the $5000 follow the website links to spread the dead and follow the instructions!  Good luck.  Let me know if you enter too and I'll be sure to share and click on your link as well.  Just post your link in the comments below.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife

I have been sadly neglecting this little blog lately.  That is particularly sad, since Halloween is zombie time.   I did take time to see the latest in the Resident Evil movies this weekend, however.   I know.  It is debateable whether or not these films are actually zombie films, but I'm not going to debate that issue now.  I'm just going to say that this movie was everything it possibly could have been.

The Resident Evil movies are not the best zombie movies out there.   They really are very few people's favorites, however,  they are consistent.  From 1-4 they are all equally as good and exactly what you expect.  They are fun action flicks with lots of zombie mayham and  a few extra monsters thrown in for good measure.  I also believe they are some of the best video game based movies out there.   The plot of this latest Resident Evil is a basic zombie plot.  After our heroine kills everyone at an umbrella company base,  she goes looking for her friends from Resident Evil 3.  She finds one and they fly to LA together where they enter a prison besieged by zombies just in time to help them escape from a new breed of burrowing zombies.   They find a ship that looks like salvation, but turns out to be Umbrella Company and monster madnes and  people that are worse than monsters show down against our heros.  It is a very predicatable plot, but it is lots of fun and there is enough action and blood t make it worth a watch.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Help! Zombie Make-up Tips Needed!

I have been running lately.  I've been following that most important rule for surviving zombie apocalypse from Zombieland,  Cardio.  Next month I will be running Halloween style, which is the best style.  On October 30th there is a fun run for diabetes.  It is a 5k, which is just my speed.  I can run a 5k in about 36 minutes, which isn't great, but isn't embarrassing either.   For my fun run,  I can wear a costume and I really want to run as a zombie.

Which brings me to my question for all you zombie people out there.   Is there a makeup or something I can put on to look dead, rotten, and zombie vile that will not sweat off of me when I run making looking just regular vile?  Does anyone know of resilient zombie makeup?  I need all the advice I can get.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The City of the Living Dead or The Gates of Hell

This was Italian master Lucio Fulci's final zombie film. It was released in Italy as The City of the Living Dead but was called The Gates of Hell in the states.   Most versions now call the movie The City of the Living Dead. Zombie is Fulci's most famous film, but this film, made in 1980 actually did better at the box office.  Most Fulci fans would also say Zombie was his best film, but I have to say I loved this film and this is my favorite of Fulci's work.  It is absolutely wonderful from start to finish.  The film opens in a lovely cemetery.   A priest hangs himself.  At that moment, somewhere else, a medium goes into a trance and seems dead.   She rises from the dead with knowledge of  an upcoming apocalypse in which a priest has opened the gates to hell by hanging himself. 

The medium teams up with a reporter to find the town of Dunwich (yes, this film was greatly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft).  Their plan is to kill the priest zombie and thus stop the armies of the living dead from rising from the grave and destroying the world.  This seems easy enough.  These zombies have extra powers, however.   They can stare at their victims and make their eyes bleed.  If you look at them long enough,  your intestines will start oozing out of your mouth.   They can also teleport.

This film is campy and the dubbing is terrible, but it is worth it.  What wonderful horrors can you expect in Fulci's masterpiece?   A great scene involving a drill bit to the head,  intestines oozing out of victim's mouths,  lots of squishy brain scenes,  a scene in which it rains maggots, and zombies that look like they are covered in vomit and worms.  This is an absolute must see for any zombie movie lover.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dead Clowns

It has been a while since I indulged my zombie passion.  Real life has pulled me away from zombies.  Its tragic really, but I'm back on routine now and spent my morning workout watching Dead Clowns directed by Steve Sessions.  I found this gem in a going out of business bin at Hollywood Video for $2.  I'm not sure it was worth it.  I had high hopes for this one.  I love Killer Klowns from Outer Space and I was hopeful that this would merge zombies with the silly horror of my youth.  Unfortunately,  Dead Clowns was done with the slow, steady pace of a movie that intends to truly horrify its audience.  The movie has potential, however.  The potential was never realized in this film, but that may be because of lack of funding and resources rather than lack of ability.  It is clear from the beginning that the director has seen Fulci's early zombie classics and paces his movies with the same slow build up.

Dead Clowns begins with a hurricane.   A small town has been evacuated and only the brave remain.   The movie spends a considerable time with build up and character development.   The story of  a circus car accident during another big hurricane is told.  All the clowns died in the storm.  They went down with the calliope.  Even though this story was told straight, with no intention of humor,  I couldn't help giggle as a traumatized woman recited this silly story as if it were something scary. The movie progresses slowly from this story.   The characters endure the storm as the dead begin to rise. As the zombie clowns crawl out of the sand,  calliope music plays in the background.   Unfortunately,  there isn't enough character development in the world to make me care about these poorly acted characters.  So even though there are plenty of characters to kill,  I really couldn't care less.  The zombie mayhem begins with some beautifully, bloody death scenes and the gore in this film is pretty well done. However, the zombie effects weren't what I had hoped for.

Overall,  I would pass on this low budget zombie indie unless you are a die hard fan.   It has its moments and it certainly has potential, but it is still too rough to create interest and the premise of zombie clowns would have been better placed in a campy, tongue in cheek kind of film rather than a serious attempt at horror.   I'm still hopeful that some day someone will blend Killer Klowns from Outer Space with zombies,   but I haven't found it yet.  I guess I'll just watch the original Killer Klowns.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Book Review: The Boneshaker

This book is a steampunk, airship, zombie adventure.  That should say it all, but it is so wonderful I have to say a little bit more.  The basic backdrop for this book is Seattle with a rewritten history.  In a steampunk landscape in which Victorian society has much more advanced technology than it ever did,  one man builds a drill to get to the gold in Alaska.   This man lives in Seattle and when the drill is accidentally set off it leads to a catastrophe which leaves Seattle drowning in a green smoke that turns people into zombies.

Our heroine is an outcast.  She and her son live in the shadow of her husband's mistakes.  When her son goes into zombie infested Seattle to clear his father's name,   the adventure begins.   The Boneshaker is a wonderful, zombie filled adventure and worth reading for any zombie or steampunk fan.  If you like both,  this is your lucky day!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review: Zombiekins

Anyone who knows me well, knows I'm pretty immature.  One of the best parts of being a mother for me is discovering the childhood I missed.   I bought Zombiekins for my son yesterday.    He  loved the book, but I think I've loved it even more.   Zombiekins is middle-grade fiction, but some of the best books ever written were middle-grade fiction.   Can anyone say Harry Potter?  

Zombiekins is the story of a boy who live next door to a rather dark and foreboding mansion.  One day all his neighbors and he gather up their brooms and pitchforks and head towards this gothic mansion with only one thing on their minds. Yard sale.   The lady who lives in the house isn't necessarily a witch.  She does cast spells, turn children into toads, and fly a broomstick, but the author doesn't want to make stereotypes and neither does the main character in the book.  He buys a somewhat messed up looking teddy bear he calls poof.  He also throws out the box and all the instructions.   Madness follows as the zombie teddy bear leaves a trail of destruction behind it.   It manages to infect the entire school, although the staff seems oblivious to this, and it is up to our young hero and his best friend to save the day.

Zombiekins is quirky, cute, and funny.  The zombie illustrations are hilarious and the writing is brilliant.   For a zombie lover,  I found this book to be a welcome addition to my growing zombie library.  It is a little bit a levity in a dark apocalyptic part of my library.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Re-Animator

There is no better mixture then a not so subtle blend of Lovecraft and zombies. The Re-Animator is that mixture. Based on the Lovecraft story "Herbert West Reanimator, the Re-Animator is set at Lovecraft's infamous Mistkatonic University and follows two medical students in their quest to save their medical careers. The two medical students have been thrown together by odd circumstances. One is your typical hero type and the other is a mad scientist trying to find a way to bring the dead back to life.

After being expelled, the two medical students decide that the only way to save their careers is to raise the dead and prove to the world that they are geniuses and deserve to be doctors (Why not? It went well for Dr. Frankenstein). Of course, our mad scientist isn't really raising the dead as much as re-animating them, but it doesn't seem that much different to me. This movie is a gruesome shock fest and a half and the madness that follows this half-baked scheme is fabulous. From a medical director that has to carry most of his head around on a dish as he tries to rape the heroe's girlfriend to a zombie's intestines grabbing hold of our mad scientist med student and trying to kill him, the shocks are endless.
Re-animator is a campy, cult classic and is one of the best of the 1980's zombies films. It is funny and over the top and so shocking you have to laugh. If you like zombies or Lovecraft this is a must see film.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Tombs of the Blind Dead

This Spanish Zombie classic is known for its slow pace and beautiful settings.  It is also known for its gratuitous half naked girls and bikini shots.  There are lots of screaming women having their clothes torn from their bodies in this 1971 zombie, cult classic.   It is not a brilliant film, but it is worth seeing at least once.  The plot for this is wonderful.

A young couple is vacationing when they meet a bikini clad beauty that the boyfriend finds attractive and the girlfriend had a lesbian affair with years ago.  The boyfriend invites the bikini, bisexual beauty with them on their train trip and the girlfriend becomes crazy with jealousy.  She eventually leaps from a moving train to escape her boyfriend's flirtation with her ex-lesbian lover.  As unwise as this may sound,  it is actually much stupider than it sounds.  She jumps from a moving train in an isolated nowhere somewhere between hell and France.   She finds a ruined old castle and ,as there are no people anywhere, she decides to get undressed and camp out in it.  She plays the radio and relaxes as the blind dead rise from their graves to devour her.  This describes every vacation I've ever had.

The blind dead are Knights Templar that were hung for their satanic crimes while birds ate out their eyes.  They rise from the dead nightly in the exact castle where our young heroine is camping.   She is eaten and her bisexual friend and boyfriend come looking for her.   Blind, zombie madness follows.   The most interesting parts of this movie use the combination of atmosphere and silence to create fear.  The zombies hunt by sound so there are many scenes where protagonists try to stay quiet.

Overall this is not my favorite zombie film.   It is silly and the characters are beyond stupid, but it is unique in its campy 70's charm so I have to say that I still enjoyed watching it. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Walking Dead on AMC

 The Walking Dead is a brilliant comic series by Robert Kirkman.  I  find it engrossing and keep buying them even when I know I shouldn't.   Even the tag line for these comics is brilliant "In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living."  The comic is a blend of the best parts of post apocalyptic fiction and the best parts of zombie fiction.  It reminds of me of what would happen if  The Road met 28 Days Later and was spiced with Night of the Living Dead.  Ultimately,  it is a story of survival and the human relations that blossom in survival situations.  Of course,  it is peppered with gruesome zombie violence.  The illustrations are wonderful and this violence is an art.

Of course,  I was giddy with anticipation when I found out AMC is doing an adaptation of Robert Kirkman's masterpiece.  According to dread central,  "I don't think there's a single other project we're looking forward to more around the Dread Central offices than Frank Darabont's adaptation of the Robert Kirkman zombie epic The Walking Dead. Casting news has been brilliant, the effects that we've seen so far have been top shelf, and everything seems to be coming together nicely."   I'm thrilled.    In order to prepare for this epic event,  I suggest you read all of Robert Kirkman's comics as soon as possible.  They are definitely worth it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Plants vs. Zombies

This has become my latest time killing device.  I love this game for several reasons.  I like zombies and it is simple enough to play on my iphone while I wait for labs in the ER or while my children are playing at the science museum.  It is the best short term zombie distraction I have ever found.    Plants vs. Zombies is a simple game in many ways, but the graphics are good and there are many types of zombies to battle.  The zombie animation is great and the dialogue between the crazy shop keeper is hilarious.  The zombies send silly note encouraging you to give up your brains.

Plants vs. Zombie is a tower defense game and has only one or two difficult levels.  If you are a veteran of tower defense games you may find this easy.  However, it hardly matters because the game is so much fun.  If you continue pass the adventure mode and try to complete all of the achievements you can have even more fun.  My only complaint is that there wasn't enough of this game.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Dead Next Door

I'm going to be completely honest.  I fell asleep half way through this movie.  It wasn't too terrible.  I've certainly seen worse.  The premise was actually kind of interesting,  although the acting was horrible.  This is a zombie movie set in a not so distant future in which the living dead are among us.   A zombie squad, which is hated by a cult of zombie loving religious freaks, is assigned with the task of keeping the citizens safe from growing hordes of zombies.

This movie was produced by Sam Raimi, whom I usually love, and released in 1988.  It was shot on 8mm film and has a grainy quality that makes it seem more iinteresting than it actually is.  It is gory and violent and the effects are good.  I really should have loved this film.  Sam Raimi and the living dead are a great combination.  I felt, however, this movie was a big disappointment.  It just lacked qualities that would make me care.  I think it was the characters.  In order for me to care if people live or die,  I have to believe they are real and find them at least a little interesting.  This moving didn't make me do that.  I guess blood and guts and zombie effects aren't enough sometimes.  I fell asleep.  I had a good nap, however.  I know some zombie lovers adore this film and I certainly don't hate it.  I just found it sleepy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Zombie Mania

If you really want to understand zombies and their history, this documentary is a good place to start. It puts together all the important people in the world of the living dead and lets them discuss the evolution of the zombie. Romero, Max Brooks, Rue Morgue editors, and make-up wizards discuss the humble beginning of zombies and the new obsession with these flesh eating ghouls.

Zombies were taken from Haitian Voodoo Mythology and originally were people who were killed and brought back to life by magical means to become the slaves of the living. White Zombie is the classic film example of this original zombie form. The Serpent and the Rainbow is a more modern look at this type of zombie. Of course, Romero changed all of this. In Zombie Mania, Romero explains that he stole his idea for Night of the Living Dead from the 1964 book I am Legend. In the original I am Legend, Vampires were hounding the protagonist, but Romero took this idea and created a different kind of monster to terrorize his protagonists and thus the modern zombie was born.
Zombie Mania continues along these lines discussing the many controversies in the world of zombies. For example, can zombies be fast? Do fast moving zombies suck? How do you survive the zombie apocalypse? Are we all really brain dead zombies?
It explores the many films and books that now exist and give the zombie lover an in depth look at the undead. I love this documentary and it is on netflix instant watch.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Questioning 28 Days Later: Are the Infected Zombies?

28 Days Later is one of my favorite movies.  I can watch this movie over and over again.  Most people I talk to call 28 Days Later a zombie movie.  Granted, they aren't zombie movie experts, but they don't separate zombies from the infected.  If we are being honest,  the movie flows and is structured like most post apocalyptic zombie films.  There are flesh hungry mostly dead people wandering the world spreading their living death.  These flesh hungry monsters destroy and eat anyone they can catch.  Like many of my favorite zombie films,  this movie explores elements of human nature and questions what defines us as people.  When all the rules are gone,  people become the real monsters.

All of this said,  strictly speaking the flesh hungry monsters chasing the heroes in this movie are infected with a virus called the rage.  They aren't the dead reanimated.  They are rotting, fleshy sacks.  Their hearts are still beating.  There have been several movies like this lately.  Quarantine has a similar plot line about "infected" people that are driven to act much like zombies.  So my question is,  are these films that act almost exactly like zombie movies, zombie movies?  Certainly a zombie lover can enjoy these movies, but can we talk about them as zombie movies or do we need to put them into a category of their own?  Should we call them infected movies?  Flesh crazed sick people movies?  What are these films?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Night of the Comet

The Night of the Comet is a mixture of several different genres.  It is a zombie film, an apocalypse film, and a science fiction comedy.  As a child,  this was one of my favorite movies.  I was nine when this came out and I think I watched it at least twenty times.   As an adult,  I still like this film that was voted number 10 in Bloody Disgusting's Top 10 Doomsday Horror Films in 2009.

The story of this film is more complex than most zombie films.   Everyone is excited to see an extraordinary comet.  There are comet parties and gatherings of all sorts.  The two heroins in this film are two teenage girls that could care less about the comet.  They hate their stepmother and they both flee her comet party and end up sleeping in metal structures.  They both awake to silence.  The world is empty and there is red sand in all the places people had once been.   The two girls find each other and come to the conclusion that the comet killed everyone on earth, but spared them because of the metal containers they slept in.   Of course, they aren't completely alone.  The comet also turned some of the population into rotting, putrid, hungry zombies.  As the girls run from these zombies,  they meet a helpful man who is romantically partnered with the older teen, raid the mall for new clothes, and end up with a government group that promises them sanctuary.  Of course,  there is not sanctuary.  The government group is turning into zombies themselves and they believe the girls' blood will save them from their zombification.  Many chases and close calls follow, but the girls are victorious and escape into the sunset with the last two men on earth. 

What more could anyone want?  The acting isn't that bad and the plot is interesting.  It is funny and it keeps your heart racing from time to time.  Although this isn't a traditional zombie film,  it is still a fun addition for any zombie movie addict.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Return of the Living Dead III

I love the Return of the Living Dead movies.  They are nothing like your usual zombie movies.  Typical Zombie films are filled with social commentary and moments that make you think about what defines us as human.  I like these elements in zombie films,  but I also like the complete and utter silliness that defines the Return of the Living Dead movies.  They take nothing seriously and make me laugh.

Unfortunately,  Return of the Living Dead III completely breaks from the Return of the Living dead formula.  It is not silly and there is nothing in this movie to make you laugh.  It is romantic and tragic.   It also seems to be a celebration of extreme body piercing.   It is the story of two young lovers,  Curt and Julie.  Curt indulges Julie's wild side and steals his father's key and sneaks on base with Julie to see what kind of crazy experiments are going on in the secret base.  They discover that Curt's father is working on a way to turn zombies into biological weapons.   Of course,  in a tragic chain of events,  Julie ends up dead and Curt takes her back to the base and brings her back to life.  Julie becomes a beautiful zombie.

After an altercation with a gang in a convenience store,  Julie bites a gang member.   Julie and Curt then flee into the sewers while being chased by the military and this crazy gang.  Julie finds the only way to prevent herself from eating Curt is to pierce every part of her naked body with horrible broken pieces of metal and nails.  A homeless man offers the couple a place to hide and is turned into a zombie by Julie.  The gang finds Curt and Julie and after she gnaws on them for a while they become zombies too.   The military catches up with them and after Curt sees Julie eat the nice homeless man,  he lets them take her.

Curt stumbles on Julie and the nice homeless man in the base and sees the horrible things the military is doing to them and decides it is best to free the zombies.  Craziness follows.

This isn't a bad zombie movie.  It is watchable,  but it isn't what you want from a Return of the Living Dead film.   I miss the laughs and the silliness.  

Friday, May 7, 2010

Why is there a zombie in my house!

Oh no! Run!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Zombie Pub Crawl and Poultrygeist

I have not written about zombies in some time now.  It really is terrible since I've had some wonderful zombie experiences over the last few weeks.  First,  I was able to attend the Chicago Zombie Pub Crawl!  This was probably my perfect moment.  At first,  I was disappointed.   People in zombie costumes met at the first pubs.  They were quiet and seemed somewhat lost.  However, as the beer flowed and the undead migrated from one bar to the next,  the moaning and stumbling began.   Zombies reached out for unsuspecting strangers crying out for brains.  It was wonderful!  If you are ever in the Chicago area during the zombie pub crawl,  it is definately worth the trip.

While I was in Chicago,  I was also exposed to the mesmerizingly bizarre, sex-filled, violent zombie chicken movie Poultrigeist.   I thought I knew B-grade movies fairly well, but this was my first exposure to Troma films.   They are famous for killer penis scenes, graphic sex, and mind bogglingly silly gore.  Poultrigeist has all of these things, right down to the giant, chicken headed, zombie penis that broke free from a zombie, chicken woman and went on a rampage.  The plot of this movie really doesn't matter, but for those who are curious.   A fried chicken chain (like KFC) builds a restraunt on an ancient Indian burial ground and zombie chickens are born amidst lesbain sex scenes and silly musical numbers.   When the zombie chickens take over,  the violence is amazing and the rest really doesn't matter.   I really don't know how to rate this movie except to say that if killer, zombie chicken penises and lesbian sex sound enjoyable to you,  you will like this movie.  Otherwise,  you might just want to watch it to know how strange film can be. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Children

Sometimes there aren't words to sum up a movie.  This is one of those movies.   I'm not saying that I've been awed by the power of this film, but rather I was so bored I think I dozed off half way through.   The Children was made in the 1980 and tells the story of children who are accidentally irradiated.   A school bus full of children vanish and the town is surprisingly calm about it.   They assume their children are at friend's houses.  There are several conversations in which mothers ask each other about their missing children in a casual almost half hazard tone.

Finally,  the children come back and the mothers run to their young to have them suck the life from their bodies.  The children kill the town with their evil, deadly hugs.   The town doesn't seem to notice this either.  People are dying left and right.  Children are missing but everyone seems unaware of the doom that is creeping towards them.  When the heroes are finally beseiged by hordes of zombie children,  they don't even lock all the windows.  They kind of just shut the doors and hope for the best.   They put their one living son to bed and leave him completely unalone while they go into the kitchen and bicker.  Meanwhile,  the kids sneak into the other child's room and kill him.   It is mind boggling the idiocy and apathy that drive the plot of this less than b-grade film.   View this film at your own risk.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave

OK.  So this movie is obviously not a Classic.  Not even close.  However,  if you enjoy the Return of the Living Dead movies this is definately worth a watch.  Return of the Living Dead and it's offspring represent a significant departure from standard zombie movies.   Most zombie movies try to make you think.  They comment on society and the nature of good and evil within the living.  Return of the Living Dead  does nothing like this.  These movies are light hearted and silly.  They are full of gags, laughs, and stupid teenagers doing stupid things.  The zombies are funny and cry out for "brains!"   They trick the living into bringing more brains.

Return of the Living Dead:  Rave to the Grave stuck to the Return of the Living Dead formula.  It was packed full of stupid one liners and silly jokes.   There are hitch hiking zombies and male interpole police men dressed as Valkries slaying the undead with rocket launchers.  There are stupid teenagers and plenty of zombies crying out for brains.  The plot of this movie is pretty simple.  Two teens find their dead uncles stash of zombie filled canisters in the attic.  They take the cannisters to a friend who is a chemistry major for analysis.   The chemistry major thinks it would be a wonderful idea to turn the goo the zombie is floating in into some kind of x like drug.   He and his friends sell it to everyone at a Rave.   Zombie madness and silliness follows.   If you are in a silly mood and you want something ridiculous to watch,  this is the zombie movie to complete your evening.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Save Yourself from Zombies: Drink Trappist Ales

Trappist style ales are a rare gem.  They are some of the best beers on earth and a rare few of these are actually brewed by trappist monks.   Chimay Blue is my favorite of these, but others include Orval Trappist Ale and Koenings Hoeven.   Whatever the brand,  these beers are not only the best beers in the world, but they will make you zombie proof!  So drink up.  It may save your life.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Zombie Nightmare

Almost everything about this film is really, really horrible.  The acting is just silly.  The plot is ridiculous and the writing is beyond bad.  This is one of the worst zombie movies I have ever seen.  It is saved by the fact that it has moved beyond regular crap into a realm of horrible films like Attack of the Killer Shrews and Plan 9 from Outer Space.   It is so bad it is actually very funny.   There are wonderful scenes like the one in which a police officer interogated a rape victim whose rapist had his removed by a zombie in midrape in which the officer asks,  "What were you doing in an alley in the middle of the night with a man with a knife if you didn't want sex?"  I still don't know the answer to that question.

Staring Adam West from TV's Batman in a role that makes no sense and Tia Carrere in a role that makes even less sense,  the plot of his movie stumbles around in between voodoo rituals and body builder zombies into a climax that just left me thinking,  "What is going on?"   If you love B-grade cinema and want a good laugh,  this movie is perfect for you, otherwise leave this one alone. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Breathers: A Zombie's Lament

There aren't a lot of really good zombie romances out there.  The shelves are cluttered with copies of  Twilight and other kissy, sicky sweet vampire romances, but it is really hard to find zombie love stories.   It makes no sense to me because this book is one of my all time favorites.   It is touching, beautiful, and more romantic than every vampire romance balled up into one.

Breathers is the story of a recently dead zombie every man.   In a world where zombies are hated,  he has to find a way to survive and find happiness.  This happiness comes from a zombie support group, where he meets a zombie with a penchant for rennaisance pornography,  a beautiful zombie addicted to shampoo, and a duo of zombies with a love fror the flesh of the living.   Together,  these zombie misfits turn the lives of the living and the dead upside down.   If you love zombie you'll love this book and you should read it at least twice.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Night of the Creeps

It has been busy lately and my zombie passion was pushed aside.  However,  I have been watching zombie movies while I have been running.   My latest pick,  Night of the Creeps.   Night of the Creeps  is a brilliant homage to old b-movie classics.  

Night of the Creeps is about an alien experiment that is accidentally lost on Earth.    Brain eating slugs infest the brains of the living and the dead and turn them into zombies.  These slugs end up in a sorority house and this leads to all kinds of chaos and screaming girls and nerd love stories.   Interlaced with this amazing plot,  are subtle references to the b-movie classics that have inspired the movie.  A police man, in the middle of all this madness, stops to smell a single yellow in a salute to Plan 9 From Outer Space.   A woman watches Plan 9 From Outer Space right before she's killed by an axe carrying zombie.

The movie is also packed with wonderful one liners like "I've got good news and bads news.  The good news is your dates are here.  The bad news is their dead."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

I read a recent list of the top ten zombie movies ever made somewhere and it was the first list I completely agreed with.  Featured prominently on the list was the remake of Night of the Living Dead.  Normally,  I dread remakes.  I hate the follow-up Omen and I am actually mad that they are remaking A Nightmare on Elm Street, but this movie is the exception.  

The original Night of the Living Dead was made on a shoe string budget and at the time Romero was frustrated by his inability to fully realize his vision.  In the 1990 remake, Romero was able to complete his vision with the budget he didn't have to begin with.  The difference between this remake and other remakes is that the same director remade it.   This was not another example of Hollywood running out of ideas so they steal someone else's.  The same team that made the original Night of the Living Dead made this film.

I know that this is heresy to many zombie movie fiends, but I have to admit I enjoyed this movie more than the original.   I wanted to kill that limp, blond bimbo in the first movie and I was happy to see the remake driven by a dynamic female heroin that was able to handle herself.  I also appreciated the modern zombie make-up and affects. I believe that this movie belongs on the top 10 zombie film list because it is the completion of Romero's vision.  This is the way he would have done it the first time if he had any money.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This zombie move makes me giddy.  I can't explain why and I don't pretend to make any sense but I just can't stop watching this one.  I really enjoy the basic boy and his dog story with a zombie theme.  It's touching in all the ways Lassie was.   Fido is what would happen if Pleasantville, Lassie, and Dawn of the Dead had a wonderful deformed baby and dressed it in pink bows and gave it a kiss. 

Fido has everything.  Zombie mamings.  Zombie love stories far more moving than any Julia Roberts movie and some bizarre zombie, bondage sex scenes that are probably more realistic than they should be.   Somewhere, sometime, after the zombie apocalypse, society has moved on and somehow reverted to photocopy of 1950's suburban America.  In this strange society,  zombies have become the fashionable slave labor that every family has to have.  One little boy doesn't have a zombie and is very sad.   When he finally gets his zombie,  a touching friendship is formed that makes his mother question her marriage and society question the role of zombies and everything else in their little universe.

I love everything about this movie, from the zombies devouring flesh to the love story between a forgotten house wife and her son's beloved pet zombie.  You should see this movie twice while eating popcorn with a box of tissues.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Diaries of the Living Dead: A Double Feature

This was a double feature of possibly the crappiest and least watchable zombie films I've ever seen.   These films weren't even funny b-movie fun bad.  They were just terrible, put you to sleep, hit yourself in the face, painful to watch bad.  Both of these films probably had a combined budget of $53 dollars and they look like they were made by some of my high school friends while spoking pot.  Everything about these two films is bad.  The acting is painful.  I could and have done better zombie makeup affects for halloween costumes using the zombie make-up pack at party city.  The cinematography made my stomach hurt and I'm not sure if there was a real director at all.   The script was probably written by a group of high school dropouts whose only education was watching Night of The Living Dead over a hundred times.   In short,  unless it is your goal to see every zombie movie ever made, you can probably skip this double feature

The plots of these films were summed up by netflix as follows:  In Dead Summer, a Pennsylvania community is quarantined after the undead invade, leaving only a group of young survivors and the military to stop the walking corpses in their tracks. In Deadhunter, a construction project in Seville, Spain, dredges up zombies, and it's up to a Special Forces unit to end the carnage; Beatriz Mated and María Miñagorri star.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dellamorte Dellamore

Released in the states as Cemetery Man, Dellamorte Dellamore is a deliciously funny and well written zombie classic. This movie is a work of art.  It is the grand ending to a wonderous time in which Italian film ruled the world of the zombies, and what an ending.  Staring Rupert Everett as the keeper of a cemetery in which the dead wake nightly, this film is so beautiful and so strange I rewatch it on a regular basis just to sink myself back into it's disorienting mists.

Rupert Everett's primary duties as the keeper of a gothic cemetery in which the dead rise nightly is to prevent the living dead from escaping from the cemetery and feasting on the flesh of the living.  He is assisted in his job by his endearingly simple friend Gnaghi.  Gnaghi is Everett's antithesis.   Everett's character is a bored apathetic loner who seems unaware that killing the living dead for a profession is in any way odd.  He is quick witted and funny and lives only to mock the small self centered world of the living that surrounds the cemetery until he falls madly in love with a beautiful unnamed woman played by the exquisitely beautiful Anna Falchi.  After Falchi is killed while having sex with Everett,  Everett's grip on reality begins to weaken.  Everett attempt to keep Falchi's zombi as a love toy, but is thwarted by the good meaning Gnaghi.  When Gnaghi falls in love with a zombi head,  Everett's grip on reality completely slips and he begins killing the living as well as the dead as he mutters, "The living dead and the dying living are all the same."   Every woman Everett meets becomes his lost love and every female part is played by the lovely Falchi.  This strangeness is compacted by the fact that no one seems to notice that Everett has become an insane serial killer that shoots people for no reason at all.   The plot unwinds from here into a disorienting and surreal ending that leaves you wishing for more.

Technically speaking, this film is perfect.  It is beautifully shot and the director, Michele Soavi uses noteable close up photography and 360 degree camera shots through the cemetery to create an atmospheric zombie master piece.  The zombies have an unique, earthy look that seems to connect them to nature.  Roots protrude from their skulls and vines climb out of their bodies. 

Some might say this movie isn't for everyone.  It is cryptic and philosophical and somes times outrageously nonsensical, but it is a gem of a zombie film that stands alone amongst others.  This film is a must see for any zombie film fanatic.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dead Snow

Wow.  I have to say that this movie is one of the must blood filled, intestine covered, dismemberingly violent Nazi zombie movies I've seen.  The movie starts when a group of young people go to an isolated cabin in an isolated Norwegian forest.  Did I mention this film is Norwegian?  Once the young people have arrived they engage in the typical activies young people engage in during horror films.  They drink beer, make fun of the locals, and have sex while taking a crap in the outhouse.  Far more vile to me is the scene in which a young woman licks her partner's fingers after he's crapped and not washed his hands.  Give me a good disemboweling any day,  this made me sick.  

The plot is pushed a long by one young man's missing girlfriend.  After a disturbing and wierd local stops by to tell the young victims about a group of Nazis that were lost in the mountains,  one young man goes off to find his missing girlfriend taking the only vehicle with him.  While he is gone, his friends play loud music, drink more beer, and some get completely eviscerated.  The eviscerations are fun and the first girl to die is pulled into the poop hole and has to climb out with her intestines in her hands completely covered in feces.  It is all down hill from here.  There is a brilliant scene in which one young man catches hold of zombie intestines and uses them as a rope to cling onto while climbing a cliff.  There's another scene in which two of the characters go crazy with a machete and a chain saw. 

After the only character I cared at all about was dismembered,  I lost a little interest, but that was OK because the zombies kept on coming and their relentless pursuit of these young people was a little satisfying for me because I really wanted to kill most of them myself in the first few scenes.  Overall, this is a fun zombie film.  It has some great zombie kill scenes and Nazi zombies are wonderful.  It has all the elements that make a b-grade zombie movie enjoyable.  They just should have held onto that one character that actually seemed to be worth saving a little longer so I wouldn't start cheering for the zombies so early in the film.

Monday, March 1, 2010

American Zombie

The best zombie movies are a commentary on human nature and society.  Films like Night of the Living Dead are great because they comment on how personality and human character are actually far more destructive than any horde of monsters.  Land of the Dead commented on the tendancy of the rich and strong to exploit the poor and weak.  There is a long tradition of zombie movies as a tool for social commentary.

American Zombie tries way to hard to take this trend even further.   American Zombie starts smoothly with an interesting plot.  It follows a film group doing a documenary on zombies.   This is an interesting idea and at first it was quite engaging, but as the film drags into its second hour of annoyingly bland and all too human zombies droning on about their art and the difficulties of their lives the interest fades and boredom settles in.  In its attempt to be socially relevant,  American Zombie just put me to sleep.  All the things that make zombie films wonderful,  the fear, the suspense, the tension, the blood and guts are all absent and  if you doze off and wake-up you might think for a minute that you were watching a documentary on major depressive disorder.  All the zombies are depressed and depressing.

This is not the worst zombie movie I've ever seen, but it is the most unzombie like zombie movie I've ever seen.  I would avoid this one and rent Dead Alive instead.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

White Zombie

As far as my research shows,  this is the first zombie movie.  Made in 1932 and staring Bela Lugosi,  this is the prototype for all zombie movies.  These early zombie films are quite different to what modern zombie fans have gotten used to.   They are based on voodoo zombie legend and not on the living dead motif.   They play on Haitin settings and voodoo magic to brew a sinsiter atmosphere and create a fear that the characters could lose not just their lives, but their souls.

Lugosi stars as Murder, the owner of a Haitian plantation that seduces a young couple to come stay with them under the guise of kindness.  Unbeknownst to the lovestruck fools,  Murder (who would guess he's bad?) has been using voodoo magic to enslave the locals to work on his plantation, do his dirty work, and assist him in his nefarious plans.  As soon as Murder sees the beautiful lead actress, you know what Murder's diabolical plan is.  He wants to use voodoo magic to turn this beauty into his zombie love slave!

This movie is slow and is much like watching  any B-grade movie that comes from the thirties.  If you have seen Dracula or Frankenstien you know the pace that this movie will progress at.  It is overacted and Lugosi plays the role in the same melodramatic fashion he played Dracula.  I'm not a huge old B-grade horror fan so I will never have a passion for White Zombie, but I see in it the seeds of the movies to come.  In this tiny gem of a movie,  lies the beginning of all the zombie mayhem I love.   Every zombie lover should see this film at least once so they can fully understand the evolution of the genre.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


For those of you who are not zombie geeks,  this movie was the first in a series of zombie films made by the Italian director Lucio Fulci. Fulci is one of the premier zombie movie makers of the twentieth century and no complete study of zombie films would be complete without a look at this film.  Made in 1979, Zombie began a tradition of Italian zombie films which ended with the brilliant Italian movie, Cemetery Man.  Zombie was actually released in Italy as Zombie 2.   Dawn of the Dead had enormous success in Italy under the title Zombie.  Fulci called his film Zombie 2 to capilize on the enormous popularity of  Dawn of the Dead.

Fulci made several of these films, but Zombie was one of the best.   Zombie was made to be a sequal to Dawn of the Dead, although I never saw the connection myself.  The truth is Fulci was more deeply influenced by the 1943 classic zombie film,  I Walked With a Zombie and this influence is far more evident in the film than the Dawn of the Dead  influence. Zombie is a classic zombie movie about an hord of zombies that is slowly taking over a Caribbean island and then head straight for New York City.   Folci takes particular effort with his gore and has an eye gorging scene that is particularly greusome.   It was banned in the UK for its explicit violence at the time of  its release.

One of the most amazing scenes in this movie is a show down between a zombie and a shark.   First of all,  I've never seen anything like this and it is damn awewome.  Secondly,  the scene was done with a real great white shark and the man in the zombie suit fighting under water is the shark's trainer.   There is no CGI here.  That man is really wrestling a great white! 

Although this movie is a must see for any zombie fanatic,  it does have it's limitations.  The plot is thin and it is really held together mostly by blood and zombies.  The characters are a little flat and the dubbing is just terrible.  In fact, you really don't care if everyone is eaten by zombies and sometimes your just hoping they are.   Yet, this is a classic and if you really love zombie movies you can't ignore Fulci's importance in the genre and you really can't ignore this movie.   It may not be the greatest zombie movie, but it is a brain eating, eye gouging, shark wrestling good time!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

This novel was the start of a disturbing series of knock off novels.   In Seth Grahame-Smith's novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Smith artfully cut and pastes sections of Jane Austen's book with his own zombie action sequences.   The bulk of the book is still  Jane Austen's romantic tale of young girls seeking to find love in a world that doesn't favor women, however the women have been transformed into zombie killing ninjas who can take care of themselves when it comes to zombies but are unable to survive in real society.

I'm not going to lie,  I loved this book.   I'm not sure if it was Austen or Smith I loved, but Austen certainly was more compelling with ninja zombie fighting peppered throughout it.   Not to say I didn't like Pride and Prejudice on it's own and I think that this shell was still compelling.  The love story was still the same and the characters were the same.  They just needed to fight zombies off and on throughout their courtships.  I wasn't the only one that couldn't put this book down.  This book was such a huge success that it put Quirk Press on the map and there have been several follow-ups to this book that do not include zombies so I have completely ignored them.   It really was the zombies that made this marriage interesting and I just can't imagine the marriage of Austen and sea monsters would be anywhere near as interesting. 


Forget the Lord of the Rings.   Forget King Kong.  This is Peter Jackson's opus.  This is his best work.   It is funny, irreverent, and full of some of the most disgusting zombies ever put on film.   It was even rated by Fangoria as the goriest film of all time for many, many years.   This film is in a category all it's own. 

It is the story of a shut in young man who's become a slave to his disturbingly overbearing mother.  This young man finds love in the arms of a young woman but finds that he has many obstacles to his love, the least of which is his mother's slow degeneration into a complete zombie.  The best scenes in this movie are works of art.   There is a wonderful scene in which the mother has a dinner party while she slowly dissolves into her own soup and devours her ear. There is another scene in which the priest turns out to be a kung fu master and cries out,  "I kick ass for the Lord!".    Dead-Alive best scene is a classic scene in which our poor heroes are attacked by someone's colon.  This movie even comes with a zombie sex scene that leads to the birth of a bothersome zombie baby that the protagonist just can't bear to kill.

There just aren't enough good things you can say about this movie, so if you have a strong stomach and you love zombies this is one of the best.  It is a classic that will always be one of my all time favorite zombie features.  

Zombie Nation

This movie falls into the avoid at all costs category.   I decided to watch this movie even though I had never heard of it because it had good cover art and the back made it seem interesting.  However,  the movie had no scenes that resembled anything from the cover and the back was probably about some other movie the director liked because it couldn't have been about this movie.

This movie was about a serial killer who kills women who then come back to life to make a zombie nation and take revenge.  The acting is bad.  Not funny bad, but porn star bad.  The script is ridiculous and the movie has the feel of something made for less than five dollars.  Some zombie movies are so bad they are good.  They make you laugh and this is wonderful.  Zombie nation is not one of these movies.   It was flat and dead.  I fell asleep a coulple times during this movie and I'm someone who can make through all three Lord of the Rings played back to back.  It was a struggle to watch this movie and there wasn't even any good zombie action.   The zombie were hot chicks that had been brough back to find revenge while acting poorly.   There were no drippy, oozy, wonderful zombies. 

In short if you have a choice between spending your evening beating yourself upside the head with a two by four and watching this movie, beat yourself upside the head.   It will kill less brain cells and do less damage to your intellect.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dead & Buried

This is hands down one of my favorite zombie movies.  It is slow and deliberate and it twists and turns to a surprising ending that harkens back to the old Carribean style zombies like the ones in White Zombie.  It begins with a scene so violent it makes your skin crawl and you never really have any idea where this movie is going or even what the hell is going on until the very end. 

The main character in this move is a police officer played by James Farentino.  He seems like a kind hearted fellow who is investigating a series of particularly brutal and violent murders that are taking place in the small New England town he lives in.  As the violence of the crimes escalates, the police officer begins to suspect his wife as a participant in the crimes.  Books on the black arts and a spine tingling piece of film footage convince him that his wife is only part of the evil that is seeping into his town.  This film plays with paranoia and shock and twists and turns through scenes in which the sweet townsfolk of this seemingly average town kill people in ways so sickening it makes you want to hurl.  All of this is happening and throughout the movie you'll be wondering,  where are the zombies?

Wait.... the zombies are coming.  They aren't your usual Romero style zombies, but they are there and in the end you'll almost wish there were typical zombies comming to eat your brains because the zombies in this film are much more disturbing.  This is a definate four star zombie movie and a must see for anyone with a real passion for the undead.