Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dead with Regis and Kelly

Toys, Fashion, Film and Film Commentary all in one place. This week's post is like 'Dead Morning America' without the news, weather and travel segments.

So let's start first with Zombie Toys. I am assuming that Zombie Zach over there in the pretty lady's arms is a ventriloquist's puppet, based on his lack of legs and her unseen right arm. I imagine that's one twisted act. And potentially funny as hell. But if all the baby ever says is "Braaaaaiiiiinnnnssss!" it's probably not funny. If I were a practitioner of the Black Art that is Ventriloquism,* this is probably the kind of puppet Uncle P would have. Hell, this is the kind of puppet Uncle P would love to have now. Zombie Zach is pretty creepy, and much more convincing than Baby Selwyn (I know, Selwyn is a gag. But so is Zach... I'm just sayin', is all). I don't personally know any ventriloquists, but I did go to college with a magician who was recently arrested for fondling little girls at birthday parties. As if us carny folk don't have enough of a reputation, as it is.

Of course, there are plenty of toys I saw while Googling and Binging that I really want to have, too. Like this adorable little Zombie Bunny, this weirdly sexy Wolverine figure from the Marvel Zombies collection or this must-have Dawn of the Dead Hare Krishna Zombie action figure. That went right on to my Amazon wishlist. Of course, I really want one of these, too:

And while I'm coveting these Zombie Toys, over in Zombie Fashion, I'm also coveting some of these Zombie T-Shirts and wondering why I don't own a single one of them. Some are stupid; some are funny; some are disturbing; a few are quite clever and one is for people with better bodies than yours truly. All of them are fun, though.

And I suppose from there, we can make a semi-logical leap to Zombie Ink.. I have mentioned that I'm planning on some new ink in the coming weeks (it's finding the time). Of course, I think I've already said I won't be getting a Zombie Tatt. Especially not Zombie Pee-Wee; Zombie Hello Kitty; Zombie Stephen King (at least that's who it looks like to me) or Zombie Elvis. I might consider one o f these amusing Zombie Bite tatts, if I was 19. And I'd certainly never get this Zombie tattoo.

Of course, Rob Zombie is a director, now. Which makes for another semi-logical leap to Zombie Films.

The guys over at Go! See! Talk! have posted this little diatribe aimed at Romero and Zombiephiles, everywhere. Some valid points are made, and the fellow allows that he loves Zombie movies, despite their perceived (by him) flaws. So I checked out some of their other posts. The 3 guys are often funny, though I'm not sure which of them is writing what and their humor is pointedly sophomoric. Sadly, they seem to think they know more about movies than they actually do, which doesn't really make for a very good movie blog.

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

Le Queloune is French short about clown brought back from the dead with help of Diet Coke and Mentos. It was sent to me by the lovely Sean at Just a Jeep Guy, who shares my love of the Living Dead. Enjoy:

Dominique Pinon (City of Lost Children; Alien Resurrection) gives another amazing performance as the Zombie Clown. I love when he tries to make the screaming woman laugh - there is something very John Belushi about it. And that's one very self-aware zombie. His discovery of his condition is just priceless and his first attempt at cannibalism is just hilarious, in a very ghoulish way. Only a French Zombie would consider cooking his food. And the husband coming home to unknowingly sample his wife? Genius. Though why a French clown would be dressed as the very American Bozo, is beyond me. Of course, a quick search also brings up plenty of nightmare versions of Bozo. The moral? Stop putting Mentos into Diet Coke. Do you want to be responsible for the Zombie Apocalypse? I know I sure don't.

More scientific nonsense, soon.

*All you ventriloquists out there pipe down. It's a joke. You know people think what you do is creepy, so don't try to deny it. Just accept it and move on.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Let Them Eat Brains

Not a whole lot going on in the Zombie-verse this week.

There is though, some Zombie Pastries fun: A mom made this 'Zombie Girl' cake for her daughter's 8th birthday. Now, if your read Caliban's Revenge, you already know that Uncle P's sister has a small side business, making custom cakes, cookies and cupcakes. And while many of her cakes are quite good, she has never attempted anything quite like this (though I bet she could kick some Zombie cake ass if she set her mind to it). Of course, she said she thought it was a bit much for an 8year-old, but that really depends on the 8 year-old, doesn't it? I've known some pretty sophisticated 8 year-olds in my day. Mom also made Eyeball Cupcakes for daughter to take to school. How cool (and creative) is this mom? The zombie it that picture reminds me of the monsters on the boxes of those Ratfink hotrod models, all bug-eyed and drooling. And I particularly love the brain. An awful lot of time and effort went into this cake, and it rivals anything I've seen on "Ace of Cakes" or "Cake Boss." View the whole Flicker set here (via).

And because Uncle P was up very late last night writing his glowing review of Kick-Ass, let's get right to this week's Zombie Clip of the Week. This week, a delightful little tale from the Happy Tree Friends. I give you The Happy Tree Friends Halloween Special, "Remains to Be Seen:"

That was fun, wasn't it? HTFs are a delightful group of cartoon forest animals who have all sort sof violent and rather twisted adventures. That little zombie flick was actually quite tame, compared to my favorite HTF adventure. "Let It Slide:"

Twisted, hilarious stuff which anyone with a sense of humor (granted, a dark one) would find amusing because we all know it's make-believe. Much like Kenny on South Park (who counts as a sort of zombie, I guess) comes back for every episode, so do the HTFs, no matter what kinds of horrible things happened to them in the previous episode. The joke isn't in the violence, but in the violence's outrageous excess, much like in Kick-Ass, which I saw and reviewed on Caliban's Revenge last night.

You and I both know that all genre fans are a off our proverbial rockers to some extant, but Zombie fans are a breed unto ourselves and are apt to find humor in things others find frightening and/or repulsive. It's the utter absurdity of the thing that makes it funny, and good absurdist comedy isn't easy. Most of us live proverbial lives of quiet desperation, and the zombie reminds us not only of our own mortality, but allows us to execute the soulless part of ourselves without remorse. A well-executed zombie feeding frenzy can be both disturbing and hilarious, but there is nothing more exceptionally satisfying than the splatter of zombie heads; either by gunfire, defibrillator, explosives or in the blades of a helicopter. Hmm... I can see a new category for next week: Zombie Kills.

Let's grab a bite, soon.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Dead Invade Your TV

I had a wonderful dinner with friends tonight, followed a terrific production of a musical with which I was completely unfamiliar (more on both tomorrow at C's R), so I got home a bit late, thus the rather short post this week.

Okay, this story may be a few weeks old, but it's still rather exciting. In Zombie News, it has been announced that Frank Darabont (one of the few directors to successfully translate the work of Stephen King to the big screen) has been given the go-ahead for a six-episode adaptation of Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore's graphic novel The Walking Dead for cable channel AMC.

For those unfamiliar, The Walking Dead is the story of small-town Kentucky police officer and his family and their attempts to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. Dear friends gave Uncle P a bound copy of the full series for Christmas, though I haven't actually had the time to get around to reading it (though I hope to do so, soon).

Darabont's version of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile were terrific and his adaptation of King's novella The Mist, was exceptionally satisfying. He is producing The Walking Dead along with Gale Ann Hurd (James Cameron's former production partner), though I'm not sure that it qualifies as an American Movie Classic. Of course, like every other cable outlet, AMC has been forced to expand its programming in an effort to increase its audience and their first efforts at original programming ("Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad") have proven to be quite good, so I have high hopes for The Walking Dead. Andrew Lincoln ("Afterlife") has been cast in the lead.

In Zombie Films, Fangoria has a terrific story about Michael Simon's short "Romantic Zomedie," Gay Zombie (not to be confused with this YouTube short). I haven't seen Simon's film, but after reading this article, you know it's on my "Must See" list.

Finally, tonight's Zombie Clip of the Week, Part 2 of the animated series, "Zombie College:"

I'm actually kind of glad I went to a regular college where the students were all alive (well, most of them). I don't think I would have liked to have spent my late teens and early 20's looking over my shoulder to keep from being eaten.

More deliciousness, next week.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Dead Walk! Oh Wait, It's Just Easter.

And now for something completely different.

When I was a kid, I actually believed in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Bible. We stopped going to church when I was about 6, for several reasons, none of which are important right now. My father, who claimed he was on a path to enlightenment, studied all sorts of Eastern philosophies (too bad none of them helped - he was always an... well, we don't need to go into that here, either).

Anyway, as I grew older and made friends with various people of various faiths, I started my own spiritual journey of sorts. And I realized that most religions were all pretty much bullshit.

Religion's only true benefit, was in helping to establish a moral code for being a good person. The Ten Commandments are little more than that. The rest of the Bible, Torah and Q'uran are simply rules of order, imposed on ignorant science-less people in ancient times, so the priests and shamen could maintain a sense of control over their followers. And lets not even talk about the Bagvadhgita or The Tibetan Book of the Dead, or the numerous other "holy" books that people take for truth based on unfounded belief. For today's purposes, let's stick to the New Testament.

In the Gospel According to John, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, to the delight of Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha (not to mention the delight of Lazarus, himself). Of course, we all know the consequences of bringing the dead back to life: they will either become monsters intent on the destruction of their creator (as in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein); or they become mindless, brain-hungry Zombies intent on eating every living person with whom they come into contact. In John, Jesus attends a supper with Lazarus and his sisters six days before the Crucifixion. John makes no mention as to whether or not brains were served. Now, Lazarus had been entombed for 4 days before Jesus brought him back. I can only imagine that after four days in the desert heat, without the use modern embalming techniques, Lazarus probably neither looked nor smelled too good. But that doesn't seem to have mattered to Mary or Martha. And of course, we all know the story of Jesus' supposed resurrection after 3 days. Conveniently, Jesus was assumed into Heaven before anyone had the chance to examine Him.

Here's the thing: None of the Gospels were recorded until at least a hundred years after the events which they detail supposedly occurred. No one who was actually alive when Jesus (actually Jeshua) lived wrote a single word. And that's probably because none of them could - reading and writing were the only for the priests and scribes in those days, an most likely, none of the Disciples were capable of either. Until the Renaissance, about 1500 years after the events detailed in the New Testament, only the clergy and the gentry could read or write. The majority of poor slobs had to rely on what the clergy and the gentry told them what was written in the Gospels.

So we get fifth or sixth-hand information recorded well-after the events they describe; in languages long dead; translated from ancient Aramaic to ancient Greek to Middle-English to modern English. And we're supposed to believe them? If Snopes had existed 600 years ago, I imagine they would have had a field day with this. And don't even get me started on the Church's stealthy integration of traditional pagan holidays into Christian mythology. Just look at when Easter falls: Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon, following the Vernal equinox. How pagan is that?

So, is Uncle Prospero an atheist? Not exactly. I know that one of the laws of physics is "Matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed." I also know that the human spirit (or whatever you want to call it) is energy. When we move on (so much nicer than saying "die"), that energy has to go somewhere. I just don''t know (nor does anyone) where or what it becomes. I'd like to hope that we go on in some way. I honestly just can't imagine it's a place in the clouds where we meet "God" and get judged on the merits of the lives we've led.

Okay - enough ranting. My point is made. Do with it what you will. This pagan will go on worshiping Mother Gaea, sacrificing at Stonehenge and looking for patterns in ley-lines (yeah, right).

So, after all that, here's the Zombie Clip of the Week:

I was barely old enough to get into the theater in 1978, when Romeros' classic Dawn of the Dead was released without an MPAA rating. It played as a late show at my local $1 theatre, and I had to borrow my father's car to go, promising I would be careful (and lying when I said I was meeting friends - my friends were all too scared to go). Before the movie started, the theater manager came out and warned people about smoking during the film. Of course, that did nothing to stop several dozen folks from sparking up the joints they'd saved for just this occasion. I was probably the youngest audience member in attendance, but I was also probably the most jaded, when it came to horror movies. Still, nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of graphic violence and gore that I witnessed that night.

When all was said and done, I drove home in a daze (in part thanks to the contact high I received in the auditorium), unsure of whether I'd seen a work of genius or a work of madness. Now, many years later, I can honestly say it was both. I just knew that Tom Savini was my new hero and I would never look at a shopping mall in quite the same way again.

Okay, I know this isn't my usual Zombie Zone post. And I am truly sorry if any Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus or pagans took offense. But from what I understand, blogging is all about opinion. I don't mind if yours differs from mine. Nor should you.

I wish all my readers a Happy Easter, Passover, Ramadan or whatever. I just ask that you remember that you weren't there (nor was I), and therefore neither of us can have a truly informed opinion.


More gore, soon.