Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Monday Strangeness

Just some stuff I've been meaning to post about...

The first is this link I found that proves beyond a dount that I am an irretreviable geek. No matter how much I deny it, and no matter how much I fight it... I will always find this incredibly hot. I'm helpless when faced with this. Seriously. Groan....

On the reading and wasting time at work front: I found a really cool on-line zombie novel called Empire that looks like it's hosted off of Blogger. I've only read the first four chapters, but it seems really good. I gotta have my post-apolcalyptic zombie fiction! Speaking of which, I just picked up and started reading Max Brooks World War Z. What a phenomenal novel! Brooks (the son of comic genius Mel Brooks) wrote the original Zombie Survival Guide and built on the success of that freshman outing by putting together a fictional account of mankind's fight against the ravenous undead hordes. I highly recommend it, and I promise I'll post up a review when I finish it...

I'm sure that this site is commonly visited by some of my more technologically adept readers, or at least it should be known by them. For my part, I've found it absolutely fascinating. It's become one of my new daily checks. Social, technological, and cultural hacking in a one stop shopping sort of way. Very cool site and very highly recommended!

Other than that, nothing else going on right now. I'm still waiting to hear back from my doctor about my damned liver biopsy. I'm hoping for good news, especially considering it's autumn and Great Lakes Brewery will soon be releasing my most favorite microbrew of all time: Great Lakes Brewery Nosferatu. Mmmm....tasty. Quite honestly, I can't see spending halloween this year without some vampire themed blood red ale. Nope. No sirree!

That's all for now, my sweet undead zombie minions. Back to your cages before the good doctor pulls out the stun gun and the weed-whacker...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Friday Night Horror Theater - The Last Man on Earth (1964)

So I finally cracked open my box set of 50 Horror Movie Classics and decided that I needed to do some reviews of the movies within. I consider it my responsibility as an evil, undead scientist to expose the world to many of the classic horror films that spawned me and my twisted world view. In that vein (jugular or otherwise!), I’ve decided to watch and post a Friday night review of every movie in the box set.

Why? Mainly because I love these movies and, like I said before, they’re responsible for who I am today. And why Friday? That’s an easy one, Friday is the day that - when I was a child and teenager - I used to get to stay up late, huddle in fear beneath a blanket in the darkened living room, and watch Cleveland’s own late night horror hosts…Ghoulardi, Houlihan, Big Chuck, Little John and The Ghoul. I created Doctor Zombie as an homage to those denizens of my youth. And this is a tribute to them.

So, watch the blog every Friday for a new movie!

Tonight, I’m reviewing The Last Man on Earth from 1964. Starring the great Vincent Price as the main character in the first film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s seminal story, I Am Legend, this is a far superior adaptation than the later Omega Man starring Charleton Heston. What works so well about this movie, and carries it even through its cheesier moments, is the breathtaking performance of Vincent Price. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: Vincent Price is one of the greatest actors to have ever lived.

The Plot: Vincent Price plays Dr. Robert Morgan, the only man left in a world decimated by a mysterious plague that first kills its victims and then brings them back from the grave as vampires. He has been alone for three years, hunting vampires and scrounging for supplies by day and locking himself up at night. Behind doors covered in garlic, mirrors, and crosses; he tries to maintain his sanity through the constant din and pounding of vampires trying to get him. The film is divided into three distinct acts, and it is the first act that is the most powerful. Morgan’s thoughts are narrated aloud by Price as he goes through his daily rituals. The second act flashes back to the introduction of the plague, and the poignant death of his daughter and the resurrection of his wife. The final act wraps the story up by introducing a group of half infected vampires who have come to stop Morgan and his hunt to destroy every vampire in town. Aided by the lovely Ruth, the vampires end up hunting Morgan, making the entire story end tragically for all.

What works: As I said, it’s all about Vincent Price. This is one of the most powerful performances of his I’ve ever seen. He shows an incredible range as he acts out the emotional gamut of Morgan’s character. He effectively conveys stoic resolve as he goes about his daily tasks, rages at the loss of his life and family, expresses despair at his loneliness, grieves for his situation, and slowly goes mad in his isolation. Additionally, the story is a much better adaptation of Matheson’s work than The Omega Man. Vincent Price brings a pathos to the role that is elevated beyond the tawdrines sof Heston's macho swagger. Adding to this standout performance, there is something about the quiet desolation of the Italian city it was filmed in that gave the film an otherworldly quality. For those who, like me, are drawn to ideas of a post-apocalyptic world; this movie brilliantly and truly captures the idea of the last man left on earth. Another excellent choice by the director and DP was the use of wind and leaves to express the change of scenes. It gave the film a creepy feeling that worked so well in an empty world.

What didn’t work: My only real complaint was the vampires themselves. They were really just actors dressed up in dirty clothes. With the exception of Morgan's now infected friend, Ben, none of the extras spoke because, most likely, they couldn’t speak English. Despite being vampires, they had no pointy teeth and, quite frankly, acted more like slow, plodding zombies. Which I’m cool with, but zombies don’t generally talk (Except in ROTLD – but that doesn’t count!). And they were easily defeated by a strong push whenever they attacked Morgan. It wasn’t as bad as the space vampires in Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires, but it was - again – at least reasonably faithful to Matheson’s work.

Overall: A wonderful, creepy, excellent adaptation that surpassed expectations on my part, this is a definite keeper. It is quick moving and is a fascinating take on a concept that is now de rigueur in many horror films(lone man makes a stand in a post-apocalyptic infected world!). Vincent Price’s performance, coupled with some beautiful camera work and a well told, well paced story make this a must see for all of my faithful, undead minions.

Doctor Zombie’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Chomped Brains

Thursday, September 14, 2006

...W/Some Fava Beans & a Nice Chianti. Sllluuurrrppp!!!!

So get this... I had a liver biopsy yesterday. As I’ve explained before, I’ve been having some problems with increased liver function, so my GI specialist decided to do a biopsy to make sure it wasn’t anything worse than a fatty liver.

So…Can I tell you how bad that sucked?!?

First, they lay me on an operating table, find my liver, and write all over me in marker. Apparently, Doctor’s go to med school and spend a buttload of money to learn the impressive diagnostic tool of thumping your fingers on someone’s side to find their liver. And, the funny part is he thumped me, marked it, and then decided to double check with the good old ultrasound. Based on the second set of marker scribbled on my side, I can see that the high tech ‘thumping method’ was off by a good four inches. So, had he relied solely on his thumping method, he most likely would have stabbed me in the gall bladder, or spleen, or something. Reassuring, eh?

By the way, did you know that your liver is actually up UNDER your ribs? It is, which means they needed to cut through the meat between two of my ribs to get to it. Let me repeat that: THEY CUT THROUGH THE MEAT BETWEEN TWO OF MY RIBS. This is funny because the doctor told me - in the office – that he’d just poke me real quick in the side, I’d never feel it, and it’d be over in a second.

Doctor Sadist: Don’t worry; you probably won’t even feel it.

Fucking Liar.

So he makes an incision in my side, hits me with some topical Lidocaine (which doesn't ever work on me. I have too fast a metabolism.) and he makes a few exploratory pokes with the needle.

Me: Ow! Still stinging. Ow!

Dr. Sadist: Hmmm. Let’s try some more topical anesthetic.

Me: Ow! Now you’re poking an entirely different spot!

(Scraping noise as Dr. Sadist drags the needle across my rib)

Dr. Sadist: Hmmm.

Me: Owww! If I live through this I’m going to eat your children. I swear to the dark gods… Owwww!

Dr. Sadist: Now take a deep breath and hold it…

Me: Why? I’m not ready for you to…

The doctor then takes another eight inch needle mounted in a spring loaded gun, sticks it in the half-numb hole in my side, and PULLS THE TRIGGER.

Now, because the needle is spring loaded, it makes your liver jump inside your abdomen. It moved my lungs, my heart, and shifted my stomach. I actually felt things move. None too pleasant a feeling, I can assure you. Imagine getting kicked by a horse - - only on the inside. That'll give you a feeling of how damn painful, and yet chillingly creepy, it feels.

Now, being me, I asked to see the end product, which Doctor Sadist was more than happy to show me. Try this: take a look at your little finger - - see the length from your middle knuckle to the end? That's how big a chunk of my liver they pulled out. (Shudder!)

Now I have a very high tolerance for pain. (I, for instance, have tattoos and used to have a pierced nipple. I say used to because I tore it and my left nipple off whilst leaning against a fence. Not once during that whole lovely ordeal did I complain about the pain.). Yesterday though, after having my insides suddenly bounced around like Jello in a very big bowl, I saw white, and said, very loudly and angrily - "That fucking sucked!!!”

And what kind of answer does the doctor expect to the question, "Are you up for one more? We don't need to, but I'd like another sample."? I think my murderous glance convinced him that that would have been a bad idea. Well, as murderous a glance as I can give when I'm dizzy from pain and unable to breathe because my goddamned lungs have been displaced my several goddamned inches!

So, I'm at work tonight, training with a sore side because I have an incision and the doctor scraped a needle across two of my ribs and because I had my innards forcefully moved about. And I still can't breathe in all the way.

I’m so not happy with my liver right now. We're not talking to one another. When that sucker gets healed and better, I'm going on a bender. I'm going to drink until it's as black as David Crosby's.

Mark my word.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Generational Evil

So, I’ve been asked a few times about my last name. My REAL last name, that is. It’s Crowley; and yes, I am related to him.

Aleister Crowley, (also known as The Beast and The Most Evil Man to Have Ever Lived) is my great-great-uncle or cousin…or something).

Let me explain.

Dr. Zombie (Me), son of…
- Mr. Zombie, Sr. (Born 1949), son of
- Thomas Marion Crowley (born 1919), son of …
- George Marion Crowley (born 1877), son of…
- Jerome Crowley (Born 1854)

Jerome had either a brother or cousin (the records are hard to decipher),
- Edward Crowley (Born 1856), who was the father of…Edward Aleister Crowley (born 1875)

This is according to a family bible that was started by my great,great,great grandfather, George W. Crowley (Born 1834) that was left to me when my grandfather passed away.

So…what does this all mean? Probably nothing, besides the fact that evil must transcend time and generations.

How else do you explain me and my insatiable hunger for suffering and human blood?