Saturday, January 30, 2010

Going Too Far

First tonight, in Zombie Films:

Uncle Prospero visits loads of movie sites and reads tons of movie news online. Virgin Media recently posted a list of the most ridiculous horror movie titles, and it was there that I found RetarDEAD, the sequel to the equally crappy (all puns intended) movie about a poop-monster (I kid you not), Monsturd. In RetarDEAD, the mad scientist from Monsturd somehow manages to get a job at school for Special Needs children, where he continues the horrific experiments he started in Monsturd.

Really? Someone actually financed these movies?

Needless to say, while trying to boost the intelligence of the students, the mad scientist instead turns them into flesh-eating zombies.

Now, you and I both know that Uncle P loves him a good (okay, even a bad) Zombie movie. But having worked with Special Needs individuals, in my youth, I find myself highly offended by this movie (and those of you who know me personally, know just how hard it is to offend me). Still...

The Writers/Directors of these atrocities are Rick Popko and Dan West, two "gentlemen" who seem to think that feces and disabilities are funny. To both of them I say "Shame on you!" And just so you don't think I've just gone off on my high horse again, here's the trailer for what is undoubtedly one of the worst movies ever made:

On the bright side, the trailer for the Spanish Zombie/Rabies sequel [Rec]2 is out. It sort of looks like Aliens meets Dawn of the Dead, but since it's made by the original's writer and director, I have high hopes. Of course, it may lead to the inevitable Quarantine 2, but that's okay; Quarantine actually wasn't a terrible movie.

In Zombie Science:

From How Things Work comes "How Zombies Work" a rather fascinating look at Haitian Voodoo and its correlation to the Horror Sub-genre created by George Romero in 1968. It's a good read, and I highly recommend it.

And finally, in Zombie Blogs:

Over at Billy Loves Stu, fellow gay Horror Blogger Pax Romano has listed his 2009 Hot Zombie Award winners for the best Horror Blogs. Uncle P is, sadly, not among the winners, but give me time...

Hungry for more? Check out The Zombie Zone every Saturday Night for more Gut-Chomping, Brain-Eating, Blood-Spurting Zombie stuff.

More Gut-Chomping, Brain-Eating and Blood-Spurting soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

AMC, BBC, Haiti and Other Zombie-bilia

Oddly enough, I have lots to talk about here on the Zombie Zone, tonight. Of course, the fact that I'm home on a Saturday night talking about Zombies instead of being out and meeting potential life partners really says a lot about how lame Uncle P's life has become, of late, doesn't it? Oh, well. It's probably not best to dwell on such things... (sigh).


In Zombie TV:

AMC announced that they will be making a series out of Robert Kirkman's graphic novel "The Walking Dead" (which Uncle Prospero received as Christmas present this year). While I have yet to dive into the graphic novel (I have Stephen King's "Under the Dome" to tackle, first), I am excited to see that the genre will finally get its due on U.S. television, even though the BBC has explored the subject before.

Next, in Zombie Films:

From The Hollywood Reporter comes this news that Jonathan Levin has been hired to write and direct the screen adaptation of author Issac Marion's Warm Bodies:

"In a tone like Twilight-meets-Shaun of the Dead, the story follows an existentially tormented zombie named 'R' who begins an unlikely friendship with the human girlfriend of one of his victims. The blossoming relationship starts a chain reaction that will transform him, his fellow zombies and maybe the whole lifeless world."

Here's the book's trailer (when did books start getting trailers?):

And, in Zombie News:

This story (via) out of earthquake-ravaged Haiti:

Haiti's Head Voodoo Priest Condemns Mass Burials; Fears Zombies

"...the nation's Head Voodoo Priest, Max Beauvoir is strongly objecting to the horrific mass burials on religious grounds. He met with (Haitian) President Rene Preval over the weekend to protest on behalf of the many Voodoo worshipers in Haiti."

And here I always thought it took exotic drugs and a believing victim to make a real zombie...

Finally, from the Gulf Daily News comes this story about "Blackberry Zombies," folks so consumed with their electronic gadgets, they have literally become societal Zombies. Yikes! Is it any wonder they call them "Crack-Berries?" Yet another reason to avoid getting a so-called "Smart Phone."

More shambling, soon.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

How Long Would You Survive?

Welcome back! I hope your week was better than Uncle P's was. No, Uncle Prospero wasn't bitten by one of the infected, but a plumbing disaster in a 60 year-old house meant some unexpected (though necessary and long-overdue) renovations I just wasn't ready to spend money on, but hey - you gotta do what you gotta do.

So, in order to raise my spirits a bit, I thought I'd start with some Zombie Nonsense:

The very funny folks over at The Oatmeal have posted this handy Zombie Bite Calculator to let you know how long it would take you to become infected, if in fact you were bitten (unlike me). According the calculator, Yours Truly would last an hour and 20 minutes, plenty of time to say my goodbyes before asking my best friend to blow my brains out (or at least letting the zombies know just how I feel about them).

Then there are these wonderful T's at HumperBumper in this week's Zombie Fashion entry. Delightful. And their bumper stickers (like all bumper stickers) are just hilarious.

Finally this week in Zombie Films, the teaser trailer for the upcoming Irish Zombie Flick, Portrait of a Zombie, about a family who decides to keep their zombified son contained.

Looks like fun, yes?

Well, I'm off to work on my latest Zombie Screenplay. I need to unpaint myself from a corner, but I think I can do it. Special effects can do almost anything, these days.

More things that taste like chicken, soon.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Zombie Babies and Other Disturbing Nonsense

Since I just did a whole nonsense post on Caliban's Revenge, I thought I'd keep the momentum going and start this week's post with a bit of Zombie Nonsense.

Of course, this adorable image is from I Can Has Cheezeburger, a site to which people submit cute and funny cat pictures and videos and then occasionally clever people caption them. But I always amused by the thought of a Zombie Baby,* especially when thinking about the ridiculously over-the-top zombie baby in Peter Jacksons Braindead/Dead Alive in which our hapless hero Lionel takes the spawn of a zombie nurse and a zombie priest (inexplicably named "Selwyn") to the park in a barbed-wire-covered pram.

I also thought you might think it was a baby picture of your old Uncle Prospero. Actually this is a baby picture of Uncle P.

Anyway, here for your viewing enjoyment, is that hilarious, dark and absolutely Pythonesque Zombie Baby clip from Braindead/Dead Alive:

*And yes, I am the first to admit that the thought of an actual zombie baby is rather dark and not exactly a laugh riot (see Grace) but when used in an obviously absurdist way, it's really very funny.

And this week in Zombie Music, an old friend (rediscovered via Facebook), posted this lovely little video of Nellie McKay's "Zombie" on my wall. How could I not share?


Also at Caliban's Revenge, I posted about the movies I most want to see in the next three months. So this week in Zombie Films, I thought I'd talk about Zombie Movies I most want to see in the coming year. Of course, topping the list is George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead. IMDb lists its U.S. release date as November, 2009, but I'll be damned if I know a single person who has seen it. Hopefully, a wide release will actually play theaters, rather than go straight to DVD as Romero's Diary of the Dead did.

And then there's the Spanish horror sequel [Rec2]. I don't speak a word of Spanish, but if you never saw the original (or it's inferior, but still effective American remake Quarantine), you'll have no trouble figuring out what's happening in this film which picks up immediately after the original's end. Is it just me, or does it have an Aliens feel about it? It doesn't matter, I still want to see it.

I wish I could report on more, but most of the stuff listed on the various movie sites have no video available yet. And most of the video available on YouTube is for rather less-than-stellar fare like this:

Not exactly the kind of thing that makes you wanna run out to see that movie on opening weekend (or even it's on-line premiere). And I'm so sorry to do this to you, but because it is now stuck in my head, so why shouldn't it be stuck in yours? -- all I can hear in my head is: "Won't you take me to... Zombie Town?" Even Disco never really dies... sigh.

Finally, in Personal Zombie Film News, Uncle Prospero received a pretty exciting phone call last month from a rather well-known production company regarding his screenplay Army of the Dead. They are pitching it for certain genre cable network movie-of-the-week. And while I will admit that said basic cable channel's movies aren't always the highest quality, as long as I get paid, I don't care. Of course, you will the first to know as soon as I do. And I have also started a new Zombie screenplay, which I think adds an unusual, though familiar element to the genre. As soon as I have a linkable version, I'll be sure to post it.

More shambling, soon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Decade!

So, 2010 is upon us. Not just the start of a New Year, but a New Decade. And every blogger is posting lists. I'm even guilty of doing it over at Caliban's Revenge (which, by the way, has a whole new look for 2010). I've done the Top 10 Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Movies of the Decade. And I'll be posting my Ten Best Films of the Year and of the Decade, soon enough.

Of course, since The Zombie Zone is All Zombies, All the Time, I'm happy to announce Uncle Prospero's Top Ten Zombie Movies of the Decade.

A daunting task? Not really. There are plenty of really bad Zombie Movies. You and I both know it. But good Zombie Movies are few and far between, and to be quite honest, I had a hard time coming up with 10 to call "Best."

Still, I searched my memory, did my research and came up with a list of the 10 Zombies I most enjoyed over the past 10 years. And while I may have yet to see Dead Snow and Pontypool, I still managed to come up with 10 entertaining, gory and fun Zombie Movies to recommend. So, let's get started, shall we?

10. Dance of the Dead (2008)

When the dead rise on Prom Night, it's up to the geeks and nerds who couldn't get dates to save the day. Hilarious and original, Dance of the Dead is certainly worth adding to your Netflix queue.

9. Deadgirl (2008)

Two high school loners discover a zombie trapped in an abandoned mental asylum and use her as a sex toy for themselves and their friends. Disturbing on so many levels, Deadgirl takes the genre in a direction audiences may not prepared to go.

8. Planet Terror (2007)

I did not see Grindhouse in a theatre. Instead, I waited until the two films were released separately on DVD and only rented Robert Rodriguez's Zombie Actioner. Rose McGowan; Freddy Rodriguez; Josh Brolin; Jeff Fahey; Fergie; Naveen Andrews and Bruce Willis star in this hilarious homage to 70's gorefests. Oh, and there's Rose McGowan's machine gun leg!

7. [Rec] (2007)

This Spanish movie about a reporter, her cameraman and a team of firefighters trapped in an apartment building with teh victims of zombifying rabies strain is simply one of the most terrifying uses First Person camerawork since The Blair Witch Project. The inevitable American remake Quarantine, isn't quite as effective, though it stars Hostel's adorable Jay Hernandez.

6. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

The sequel to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (more about that movie, in a bit) doesn't quite live up to the original, though the opening sequence in which Robert Carlyle leaves his wife to a fate worse than death is fascinating, horrifying and adrenaline-inducing. Rose Byrne ("Damages") and The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner co-star as American soldiers sent to assist in the rebuilding of Britain.

5. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Screenwriter James Gunn (Slither - a film that almost made this list) lends some clever updates to director Zach Snyder's (Watchmen) re-imagining of the Romero classic. Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames and "Modern Family" star Ty Burrell have a blast in this "fast zombie" tale about a group of survivors holed up in a shopping mall. What it lacks in the social commentary of Romero's original, it more than makes up for in action, gore and humor.

4. 28 Days Later (2002)

Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) made the first "fast zombie" movie with this tale about a virus unleashed in England by animal rights activists. It introduced American audiences to blue-eyed beauty Cillian Murphy and terrified audiences worldwide.

3. Fido (2006)

Carrie Ann Moss (The Matrix); Billy Connolly and Dylan Baker star in Canadian director Andrew Currie's hilarious spoof of 1950's America with a zombie twist. Corporate greed, deviant sex and Lassie are all skewered in this brilliant parody.

2. Zombieland (2009)

An amazing cast and an hilarious script make Reuben Fleischer's 2009 movie about 4 survivors making their way to a "zombie-free zone" one of the funniest Zombie movies ever. Bill Murray steals the show, but Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisinberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin all hold their own in a movie that made my dear D hide his eyes more than once.

1. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

I snuck away from a dance rehearsal of a terrible production of "Kiss Me, Kate" that I was stage-managing to see a matinee of this movie, returning well before the choreographer was finished working a single number to death. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's brilliant 'Zombie-Rom-Com' may well be the funniest Zombie movie, ever. With amazingly funny performances from Pegg, Nick Frost and Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and, ironically, a British sit-com called "Kiss Me Kate"), Shaun is not only an hilarous parody of the genre, but an homage to Romero and the films that started the Zombie craze.

Sadly, I did not see every Zombie Film of the last 10 years, but the one I wanted to see most seems to have fallen through the cracks. I'm sill hoping to catch it on DVD. If you've seen it, please tell what you thought. Here's the trailer for Zombies of Mass Destruction, what may be the first (and only) mainstream* gay zombie movie:

And just because I feel like a bit of Zombie Music, here's the video for the Cranberries' song "Zombie:"

So, what were your favorite Zombie Films of the past 10 years? I'd love to know. Here's hoping that the next 10 years bring us bigger, better and gorier Zombie Movies than ever before.

*Otto (or any other film by Bruce LaBruce) doesn't count...

More flesh eating, soon.