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.