Saturday, March 27, 2010

O Zombie, My Zombie...

Let's start with a brand new label, tonight. Welcome to the Zombie Zone's first post on Zombie Art:

You may be wondering what Walt Whitman has to do with Zombies, and I'm certainly willing to admit that the answer is: Probably very little. But the image above, done by one of the many folks who specialize in modified toys as art (and in particular, My Little Pony) for some reason made the phrase pop unbidden, like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, into my head and would not go away. In addition to My Little Zombie there, I am also very enamored of My Little Edward Scissorhands, My Little Xenomorph, My Little Joker and My Little Cthulhu.

I imagine these artists are living well off of their work. Or at least I hope they are. They are very good at what they do. I don't have the patience to work with my hands. My fingers are so clunky, it's a miracle I can type (if you can call what I do typing - I'm fast, but it is entirely my own, inadequate system). Anyway, I wish I was as capable an artist as these folks. I'd be modding all sorts of toys into Zombie versions of themselves. I'd make some Zombie Toys children should never even be allowed to see, let alone play with. And yes, while I do own an RC Zombie, complete with a brain-shaped remote (a Christmas Gift from two years ago, he watches over me as I write, sitting next to Hannibal, the Bad Taste Bear which was part of a cast gift, picked out by D), I don't have any Zombie dolls. And honestly, I don't know which is more pathetic, my lack of one or my desire for one. I just know that a well-done one would make me very happy.

And since Zombie Fashion has a direct link to Zombie Art, here's a fun little Zombie Eyeball ring from the fine lunatics at BoingBoing.

And speaking of segues, also from BoingBoing comes this week's entry in Zombie Music:

This may be a stretch, but I know that if I were making a zombie movie that required a nightclub scene, I'd hire these guys, immediately. Quirky and oh-so-creepy, The Tiger Lillies are are a rather unique and interesting trio who manage to evoke early Oingo Boingo; Leon Redbone and Creole Funeral Music as sung by Alison Moyet. Chompers and Slayers, I give you "Living Hell" (May be NFSC - Not Safe for Coulrophobes):

The Tiger Lillies- Living Hell from Mark Holthusen on Vimeo.

Creepy, eh? And quite brilliant. I think I love them and must hear more.

And finally, the Zombie Clip of the Week.

Pet Sematary was Stephen King's first foray into the Zombie genre, and he infused it with omens, ghosts and Native American folklore, while maintaining his flair for the horrors of the mundane. Reportedly, while researching children's funerals for the project, King became so distraught at imagining his own son's death, he put Pet Sematary aside until his kids were older and he could handle the material. I'd say it's pretty impressive when a writer upsets himself with his own story.

Personally, I think Pet Sematary is one King's better novels and it deserved a better film version than Mary Lambert's 1989 attempt, starring TV C-Lister Dale Midkiff; future Tasha Yar, Denise Crosby and Herman Munster himself, the late Fred Gwynne. I will admit that while the movie doesn't come close to conveying the sense of dread that King builds so well in the novel, it does have its fair share of memorable moments: Rachel's twisted sister Zelda screaming in horrific pain, the picture of a Zombie if not actually one; the fight at the funeral; the scalpel attack on poor old Jud's Achilles tendon; the look on Midkiff's face as he waits for Rachel to come home. Goosebumps, every time.

There is a remake at hand (of course) though I think that may actually be a good thing, for once. Even though Lambert didn't completely crap on her source material (unlike many other directors of King's works), I think that in the hands of a better director and better cast (no offense to Mr. Midkiff, Mr. Gwynne or Ms. Crosby -- who are all fine in Lambert's film), a new version of Pet Sematary could be one kick-ass scary movie.

Lambert is currently listed as 'In Production' on the Vampire Western High Midnight, which could be interesting, but while she has continued to work since her most successful film, she's never come close to making a movie even half as good as Pet Sematary.

King visited the genre again a few years ago with the techno-phobic novel, Cell. The Zombies in Cell are all somehow controlled by an electronic signal, initially transmitted through the prolific use of cell phones, and forced to act as part a single hive-like entity (think insanely violent Borg without the tubes, wires and telephoto eyes). Director Eli Roth (the hilarious and zombie-inspired plague movie Cabin Fever) was attached to direct a film version at one time, though Roth has since moved on (as he always seems to be doing lately) and I can find no reference to it on IMDb. That's a shame, because I totally imagined it as a movie when I read it.

This has been a very long and surreal day. You can catch up on why at Caliban's Revenge, tomorrow (well, tonight, technically). I'll also have my review of Comedy Central's "Ugly Americans" there, tomorrow.

More brain nomming, soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Sorry about the delay. I was a judge at a 24-hour play competition last night (more about that later tonight on Caliban's Revenge) and I got home way to late to post, so you get 'The Zombie Zone Lite,' this afternoon. So let's get started.

Tonight in Zombie Fiction:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, already slated for a film adaptation starring Natalie Portman, has a prequel. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls will be released this Tuesday.

"Readers will witness the birth of a heroine in Dawn of the Dreadfuls—a thrilling prequel set four years before the horrific events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." Or so says the press release on Quirk's site. Now there's nothing wrong with promoting a new book, whether its good or bad. But I've noticed this very bizarre trend of filmed trailers for books.

The first one I really remember seeing was last year, with the release of Stephen King's Under the Dome. Then I remember seeing one for a Steampunk adventure novel. And last week, I stumbled upon the trailer for PP&Z: Dawn of the Dreadfuls (I refuse to type that whole, ridiculous title). I was just sort trolling YouTube for a suitable Clip of the Week candidate and there it was, in all its infinite silliness, complete with bad acting, silly stunt fighting and lots and lots of blood. Check it out:

What do you think? I the acting is my favorite thing about that trailer.

In Zombie News:

From True/Slant (via) comes this excellent essay by Mark Dery on Zombies, the econopocalypse, modern society and the loss of individuality.

"The zombie is a polyvalent revenant, a bloating signifier that has given shape, alternately, to repressed memories of slavery’s horrors; white alienation from the darker Other; Cold War nightmares of mushroom clouds and megadeaths; the post-traumatic fallout of the AIDS pandemic; and free-floating anxieties about viral plagues and bioengineered outbreaks (as in 28 Days Later and Left 4 Dead, troubled dreams for an age of Avian flu and H1N1, when viruses leap the species barrier and spread, via jet travel, into global pandemics seemingly overnight. Which may be why the Infected, as they’re called in both the film and the game, move at terrifying, jump-cut speed, unlike their lumbering, stuporous predecessors.)"

A truly fascinating read and one of the best essays I've read on the topic.

And tonight's Zombie Clip of the Week:

Yes, it's Lucio Fulci's Zombie 2, featuring the infamous Zombie Vs Shark scene. I remember seeing this in a theater filled with people who spent so much time screaming at the screen, we couldn't hear a word that was being said (not the dialog was all that good, or even important), so we left and got our money back. And Tisa Farrow is indeed Mia Farrow's younger sister. Tisa made a handful of crappy Italian horror movies and then retired from acting at the tender age of 29, to be forgotten and never heard from again. Years later I finally got to see Zombie 2 on VHS and learned that I really hadn't missed much. Some gruesome effects didn't make up for the movie's overall craptitude. I have no idea why this 1979 stinker is so revered. A bad movie is a bad movie, no matter what the genre. And Zombie 2 is bad, bad movie. What say all of you?

More, next week.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Posting Delay

I'll blog about why the Zombie Zone is late this week on Caliban's Revenge, Sunday night. Watch for a Zombie Zone post on Sunday afternoon. I just hope everyone is having as good a weekend as Uncle P has had, so far.

More, very soon.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'll Take Zombie Ink for Five Hundred

I know I posted a Zombie Waldo tatt before, and since this is the second of what I am sure will be many more, and since I'm finally about to get that gorgeous Pre-Columbian Yin/Yang tatt that I posted about on Caliban's Revenge, I starting a new label: Zombie Ink.

This is from the very amusing (if not always SFW) site, Ugliest Tattoos, as was the Zombie Waldo ink. The folks at UT have determined from the "Forever Young" banner and the Zombie's hairstyle, that this is a tattoo of a Rod Stewart Zombie. Isn't that redundant? I mean, let's face it, Rod's a bit long in tooth these days. Just look at this. It's a far cry from this, isn't it?

Rod never really did it for me, despite that ridiculous rumor about the soccer team. In the 80's, at the height of Rod's popularity, I was more about Adam Ant; Paul Young; Cory Hart; Billy Idol (I wanted to imbed that Zombie-filled video, but its been disabled) and Bruce Willis. But that's a bit off topic. I would never get a portrait tattoo of anyone, let alone anyone as a Zombie, as much I love them (Zombies, that is). Tattoos are all about expressing one's self, fairly publicly (usually). Good ink is a like any good art, something one is proud to display. The two I have (and the third I am getting) are tasteful and artistic expressions about who I am and the symbols important to me, and I will never regret them. This particular tattoo is something someone spent way too much money on, to regret in 30 years.

Tonight in Zombie Fiction:

i09 does it again with this post about a 'Star Trek' Zombie novel, ala Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Night of the Living Dead Trekkies concerns a group Star Trek fans who take on a horde of our favorite cannibals. Publishers Quirk Books have not announced a release date.

Finally, tonight's Zombie Clip of the Week:

I know I've talked about Survival of the Dead very recently, but I just saw this particular clip for the first time, today:

If nothing else, the Zombie kills in Romero's films get better and funnier in every film. Up until now, my favorite (even though it wasn't technically a kill), was using the defibrillator on the Zombie Nurse:

But using a flare, with the cigarette lighting, is even better. So what do you think, fellow Zombiephiles? Are you as excited to see Survival of the Dead as your Uncle P is? Have any Zombie-related anything you'd like to share? Want me to talk about a particular Zombie subject? Let me know. I always love to read your comments.

More rotting flesh tattooed onto flesh that's going to rot, soon.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cartoons, Jane Austen. Tolstoy and Oz

Tonight, I thought I'd start with some
Zombie TV.

Comedy Central has a new animated show coming out called "Ugly Americans" about a social worker at the 'Department of Integration' who's job is to help people and 'other beings' adjust to life in New York City. His boss is a demon who is literally "The Boss from Hell" and his roommate is... a Zombie, of course.

The mad brain-chewers over at I09 have several clips and more of the story, so I thought I'd just embed the first one showing on Comedy Central's "Ugly Americans" page. It looks amusing, if nothing else. Of course, embedding codes don't always work, so all you get is this link to the show's page.

There isn't really any explanation given for the why the city has been overrun with supernatural beings (though I may be mistaken) and it looks like the audience is just supposed to accept the premise at face value. I'll be sure to check it out and give my thoughts after I've seen a full episode, either here or on Caliban's Revenge. Oh, the show's webpage has an amusing ad to text for help for your "cerebral consumption addiction." I don't text, so I have no idea what you get when you text "UGLY" to the number.

Next, in Zombie Films:

I'm not sure that After.Life really qualifies as a Zombie Film, but it's about a girl (Christina Ricci) who apparently dies in an auto accident and the mad funeral director (Liam Neesom) who can talk to her. Is she really undead, or is the loony old guy just a perv playing mind-games with her? Drag Me to Hell's adorable Justin Long once again plays our victim's boyfriend. It seems a little more than odd to me that Neesom's first film since his wife's death would be about this, though I am sure it was in the can long before Natasha Richardson's untimely ski accident last year.

Also in Zombie Films, you can catch my review of the remake of George A. Romero's non-zombie Zombie movie The Crazies, here. I really liked it. It's not an instant classic or anything, but it is a solid, taut horror movie with a likable cast and some fun scares. Definitely worth seeing.

And in Zombie Fiction, there will soon be a prequel to Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Steve Hockensmith has written Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. It tells how the zombie plague started and how our young heroine became such a proficient zombie-killer at such a tender young age. PPZ: Dawn of the Dreadfuls is scheduled for release on March 24th and joins such re-imagined classics as Andriod Karenina; The Undead World of Oz and Emma and the Werewolves. It's a good thing that Austen, Tolstoy and Baum are all long dead. I can't imagine they'd be too pleased to see their works bastardized this way, though the books are really just all in good fun. Meanwhile, Graham-Smith's latest novel Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, has been reportedly optioned for a big-screen treatment. Now why didn't I think of doing something like that? No, I had to be all original and what. Damn!

And finally, this week's Zombie Clip of the Week:

From the fine, sick folks who gave us 'Happy Tree Friends' comes Zombie College, an animated series which follows the adventures of a freshman at Arkford College, which is apparently known for its Zombies. I, for one, love that Arkford references DC Comics' Arkham Asylum, itself a reference to H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham, MA, home of Miskatonic University. Miskatonic, of course, is the setting for 'Herbert West: Re-Animator,' Lovecraft's 1922 short story about a mad medical student who brings the dead back to life, which was made into the outrageous Zombie Film, Re-Animator in 1985 (a film I'll talk about, soon).

You can be sure I'll be posting more episodes of Zombie College in the future.

More flying, animated intestines, soon.