Thursday, December 28, 2006

Do you smell something burning?

Just a quick update because I’ve been woefully negligent in updating…

It was a good Yule. Zombie Boy and Wolf Girl got everything they asked for from Santa (except for the two or three things they asked for within twelve hours of Christmas. Sorry, kids - - Santa braves the rude and claustrophobia inducing masses at the local mall only once or twice during this ‘alleged’ season of good will. Sorry - - you gotta let him know about the Heelies BEFORE he’s done his shopping.)

So – what’s the new year got in store for Doctor Zombie?

Well – I’ll be working on more writing. I need to finish my current novel and also try to get some freelance work. I’d love to write for some Indie horror movie rags; mags like Fangoria or Rue Morgue, so I’ll be pestering their as yet unknowing editorial staff to let me contribute. I expect I will most likely need to come to the editor’s houses at night, while their sleeping, and do various evil things to them in a coercive attempt to further my own nefarious writing ambitions.

I’ll also be doing more movie reviews in general. Expect a big change in the site within the next few months. I’ll be redesigning it and making it more of an online zine. Don’t worry though, my lvoely undead minions - - I’ll still be blogging.

And then, there’s the big project on the horizon…

I’ve got one word for you: Solar Death Ray.

I’ve been perusing various sites and have decided to start work on my very own Solar Death Ray. Some of the cool sites that have inspired me are, some coolness over at Zombie Squad, and this article on Wired that I found. That and I caught the Mythbusters episode where they attempted to recreate Archimedes Death Ray. I’m not sure about the design I’m leaning towards, but I assure you, you will see updates and pictures of my alpha and beta melting-shit-just-because-it’s-cool! tests.

So - - the new year promises much for Doctor Zombie and my plans for world domination. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Movie Review - The Gamers (2002)

So I’ve mentioned before a small and as yet unrealeased independent film starring an old friend of mine, the lovely Carol Roscoe (actress extraordinaire!). She worked with a group of improv actors in Oregon called The Dead Gentlemen. These crazy guys have expanded their comedy empire to include several low, low budget indie films; including The Gamers: Dorkness Rising which features my friend Carol.

Well, I managed to get my cold, undead hands on a copy of their first production - The Gamers – and I’ve got to say it is a piece of cinematic fried gold!

As I said, it is a really low budget flick. That being said it was actually well written, had decent (if bottom dollar) production quality, and was downright hilarious.

The plot revolves around a group of college age guys who return to their dorm from a movie on a Friday night to begin a night of role-playing. They are involved in an adventure in an AD&D-type universe and, as they play, the action shifts from their dorm room to the adventure itself - with the actors playing both their real life and game world characters. Leaving on a quest to stop the evil Shadow and save a princess, the adventurers make their way across a fantasy world filled with harrowing evil; or at least some members of the local SCA Guild.

What works so well about this movie is that it resonates in that geeky part of you. You know, that part that anyone who’s stayed up all night – casting spells, or crawling through dungeons, or arguing how their Dwarven Cleric could totally kill a dragon with his +12 Hammer of Inconvenient Doom - must recognize. Basically, it is a movie by gamers for gamers. Anyone who’s gamed will recognize the in jokes of the gaming world. There’s the guy who has to argue every rule. There’s the mishap where the other gamers accidentally kill one member of the party. There’s even an attempt to backstab an enemy in a bar with a ballista that does 264 points of damage.

This flick has it all, dear readers!

I’ve always said that it takes a special kind of person to role play. There’s an intelligence, wit, and creativity that many in the outside world lack. And it is a quality, an essence, that other gamers can sense. Basically, we geeks can smell one another. And the Dead Gentlemen smell like my kind of geeks. Huzzah!

In fact, I’m half thinking I might make Mrs. Zombie watch this as she’s never understood the nerdiness Dr. Z’s capable of. It’s that kind of movie, friend. It is laugh out loud funny, it’s quotable, and it will even appeal to those who aren’t part of the RPG’ing world.

My only complaint was a small one in that the copy I had would not turn off the English subtitles. It was at first distracting, but actually helped later when the poor sound transfer showed. Other than that, it should be obvious how much I liked this movie. (So much did I like it in fact, that I will most likely be shelling out the $20 to pick up the Director’s Cut that was just recently released. It makes me salivate even more for the sequel - -The Gamers: Dorkness Rising.)

So, my final verdict on this is that you MUST purchase this and encourage these guys to make more movies! Doctor Zombie commands all of his undead minions to go to the Dead Gentlemen Site and give them some hard earned sheckels! Do it, my lovely zombie minions! Do it now!

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

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Furry Raccoon Bastards, Part Deux...

So - - my brother Curt stops by a few weeks ago.

“Hey!” says he, “You’re a psychopath. Do you have any bottle rockets?”

“I resent that!” I protested, “Why would you assume that I’m a psychopath who would have dangerous and illegal (in the state of Ohio) explosives just lying around the house?!? I have kids, for chissakes!”

He arched an eyebrow at me.

“All right,” I said, “I’ve got the better part of a gross left over from the Fourth of July. I may also have a Roman candle or two. What do you need them for?”

Well, it turns out my brother had been having some trouble at his new house. He has a nice addition off of the back that has a big fireplace in it. Apparently he had a family of raccoons living in it and he was looking for a way to get rid of them.

Now, you’ve read of my previous battle against the raccoons, so you know I and the furry interlopers have history. That said, though, I had to ask, “So why don’t you light a fire and smoke ‘em out?”

“Well,” replies Curt, “I can’t light a fire because the chimney needs to be cleaned, and the chimney sweeps won’t come clean it with a family of raccoons lurking inside. Also, lighting a fire seems somehow… cruel. That, and I’m sure it’d cook them and it’d smell bad. You know?”

I nodded, not relishing the image of cooked baby raccoons. I added, “Besides, how would you get their charred furry bodies out once they’d died?”

“Exactly!” my brother said, “So, I thought I’d just, you know, get some firecrackers and scare them out. Besides, the Raccoon Removal Guy is REALLY expensive.”

I frowned, thinking through his plan. Although the idea of submitting the raccoons to an artillery barrage not unlike the German Blitz on World War II London seemed somehow less humane, there WAS the opportunity of playing with explosives. Also, it would save my brother some money. And I'd get to play with firecrackers.

The eight year old part of my brain won the argument and fell firmly on the side of firecrackers.

“Cool,” I said, “Let’s go.”

So we retrieved my bag of thunderous doom from the laboratory. (That’s how I 've labeled the waterproof container I keep my firecrackers in. It is emblazoned in big letters “DR. Z’S THUNDEROUS BAG OF DOOM!!!”. That’s so it’s not confused with, say, the Christmas ornaments.) and we headed over to Curt’s, after a short stop at the store for a couple of 8 packs of Guinness.

We arrived and proceeded to set up. His wife peaked her head in and asked what we were planning. We only got as far as “Firecrackers” and “Big Ba-Da-Booms!” and "Han's team is on Endor and they should have turned off the shield generator..." when she shook her head in disgust.

“I’m going to my sister's because one of you two idiots is going to lose a hand or an eye and I’ll be damned if I’m going to drive you to the hospital,” she said.

Why is it women never recognize a good plan when they hear it?

Anyway. We set up and, as we drank a few beers, came up with the finer points of our plan. We retrieved a piece of plywood and a cinder block from the garage. After setting a ladder against the house, we lugged these to the roof. Our intention was to, once the raccoons were extricated from the chimney, run up and put the board over the top. We would, after a few days, replace it with a screeen when we could afford it. (We’d blown any available cash we’d had on us on Guinness and beef jerky at the local Quick Stop. Plus, Curt’s wife had refused to give us any more money because of some nonsense about “not contributing to our stupid, drunken, Irish shenanigans.”)

So, after placing the wood and brick, we scurried back down and ran to the family room, where we proceeded to have a few more frothy Irish adult bevarages. After locating a box of Blue Tip matches, we let loose with the barrage.

I’m sure the neighbors must have thought we were insane as, for the next 40 minutes, it looked like hellfire was spewing from my brother’s chimney. After we had drank the rest of the beer and shot through several hundred bottle rockets and a dozen or so Roman candles, we called off the assault. (This was roughly about the time we were drunk enough that it sounded like a good idea to get some duct tape and make a super bottle rocket by taping 50 or so of them together. Remarkably, and defying the expectations of either of our wives, we showed rare good judgement and decided that the raccoons had most likely had enough.)

So we staggered drunkenly outside, up the ladder, and placed the board over the top of the chimney, securing it with the cinder block. I'm not sure, but I think this is the point at which I fell off of the roof. In an act of brotherly love, Curt left me unconscious and snoring in the fallen leaves in his flower beds, assuming in his drunkeness that I'd planned to stay there in the first place.

I woke up some hours later and staggered home.

“Jackass,” my wife said, seeing my drunken state. She rolled her eyes at my disheveled appearance. (My clothes were muddy and torn, I smelled of gunpowder and Guinness, and I was well and truly blotto.) I staggered off to bed without so much as a good night kiss. I'm not sure why.

I was awoken the next morning by my wife, who woke me by throwing the phone at me where I lay on our bed; snoring, farty, naked, and in the grips of a horrible hangover.

“It’s Curt’s wife,” she said, “You two idiots have done it now.”

It turns out that there were some inherent flaws in our initial plan. Curt had left me asleep in the planter and went inside to find that, now that we’d capped the top of the chimney, all of the bluish smoke and haze from the metric fuckton of bottle rockets we’d sent up the chimney was now backing up into the house. So, in his drunken state, he’d gone back to the garage and placed another piece of plywood against the bottom of the fireplace - - holding it in place with several straegically placed pillows. He too, then staggered off to bed.

That’s were the flaws of our plan became apparent. In retrospect, it would probably have been a good idea to post a lookout outside to see if the raccoons actually CAME OUT of the chimney. Although a seemingly simple idea to any Monday morning quarterback, I have to admit that it wasn’t so apparent when you’ve got a hand full of fireworks just dying to be blown off.

Remember my World War II analogy from earlier? Well, while we were bombing Oxford Street and Picadilly Circus like Germans in Messerschmidts, the raccoons were holed up like Londoners in the Underground. They apparently waited out our artillery, like the furry balls of evil that raccoons are, and waited until the house had grown quiet later that night.

It was then that they crawled out of the chimney like ninjas - - furry, spiteful, angry ninjas.

They knocked over the plywood in the family room and in an act of wanton rage and disrespect, proceeded to shit all over the room; tear up the pillows and couch; and defile my poor brother’s almost priceless collection of Dragon Magazines.

He and I spent several long, hungover hours cleaning it up the next day. We then called the Raccoon Removal Guy - -who charged us an arm and a leg to remove the furry interlopers.

So - - what’s the aftermath? Well, it didn’t turn out too well for me. I’m now required to check with Mrs. Zombie every time I think about any unauthorized uses of DR. Z’S THUNDEROUS BAG OF DOOM!!!; all harebrained, money saving schemes Curt and I come up with must be submitted to a panel that includes at least three wives; and – worst of all – I’m not allowed to participate in anything that involves the word ‘raccoon’ in it anymore. Uncool.

I swear, the furry bastards are out to get me…