Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just Playing...

I'm just throwing this up here because I've been playing with the Big Huge Labs Motivator Poster generator. And for the record... I would totally spank it...

Time To Clean Up...

Wow! I’ve got a crapload of links that have been piling up. Let’s see if I can get through these…

I am of the opinion that one should always be prepared for the impending Zombie Apocalypse. Now in some areas, I’m not as prepared as I should be. I’ve got a Bug Out Bag, but I’ve not been as diligent as I should be in keeping it updated. I have a shitload of pistols and shotguns, but I don’t really have a good semi-automatic SHTF rifle. But, all of that stuff aside, I have always been confident (some may argue that I’m overconfident) in my own sense of self reliance. I’m an experienced outdoorsman with extensive wilderness survival training. I’m a fan of the MacGyver School of kludging. So… to that end, I’ve always felt I can handle any situation so long as I have a good pair of boots and my Leatherman Wave multitool. If, for instance, the shambling masses of ravenous undead were to attack my work, I’d be confident enough to grab my survival Murse (or man purse) from my Jeep and make my way – on foot – home. And I am never, ever, without my Leatherman. In fact, my daily ritual involves stopping before I walk out the door and doing an inventory. Watch? Check. Wallet? Check. Car keys? Check. Leatherman Wave. Check! And I think the Wave is the best out there. It has damn near everything I need to survive for several days in the woods. But all of that love and adoration I have for the shiny simplicity of my Leatherman Wave went out the window when I saw the new Leatherman Skeletool. Oooh! It’s so sexy! Truthfully, it doesn’t have anything I NEED, or don’t already have on my Wave. But damn if I’m not thinking I want it anyway. I say again…sexy!

Speaking of weapons for surviving the rise of the undead… Must. Have. One. Of. These. This makes the lizard part of my male brain sit up and writhe in orgiastic fits. My god, 300 rounds in one minute. This is at once both one of the most ferocious weapons I’ve ever seen and also one of the most beautifully designed killing machines I’ve ever seen. When do they start civilian production, because I’m going to get in line for one now…

I’m a huge geek. I’m so geekish in fact, that I’ve considered getting Bruce Campbell holding his boomstick tattooed somewhere on my body. That or Darth Vader, the Elvin script from the One Ring, Gillian Anderson, The USS Enterprise, Godzilla, or Kira Shoen from NOTLD. I’ve considered them all at one point or another, but then discarded them because a) the old adage of “How’s that going to look when you’re 80” and b) my sense of how others not as geeky as I might perceive it. Take that as you will. But, that being said, you’ve got to agree that these fucking rock…

Speaking of Gillian Anderson… my brother Richie sent me this fan art of her the other day. I had almost forgotten how much I loved her and this made my pants, inexplicably, fit tighter. Especially in the zipper area. Dear dark Pagan god…this is so hot…

Some cool movie updates

I’m such a literary geek that I almost squealed like a college coed in one of the oubliettes I keep in my laboratory when I saw this update. (“It rubs the lotion on its skin!”) Stephen King’s greatest work (besides the post apocalyptic wonder that was The Stand) may be coming to film! There are discussions for the filming of The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger. I actually had my hands on a first edition of The Gunslinger a few years back, and I seriously thought about killing the owner for it. As it was, he wouldn’t take any amount of money for it. I even offered to give him my Jeep. He wouldn’t hear of it. I truly expect future generations to look back upon King’s Gunslinger series as a perfect, classic example of late 20th century epic fiction. Now the question is… who do you think should play Roland in a film version and not TOTALLY suck?!?

This hit the news a couple weeks ago. I really, really dig Morgan Spurlock’s work. I just thought this was a cool story. If he really found Bin Laden, and managed to get film of him… could you imagine what a coup that would be? King George W. would shit himself in apoplectic rage that a liberal documentary filmmaker did what he’s been unable to do for the last six years. Of course, I am cynical enough to think that this may, very likely, be a publicity ploy to drum up interest in Spurlock’s new movie, but I also don’t get the sense that Spurlock’s that kind of guy. Michael Moore, yes. Morgan Spurlock, no. What I’m saying is that Moore’s enough of an asshole to go in for that sort of sensationalist bullshit and feel that Spurlock’s much more altruistic in his goals. I don’t know. We’ll have to see how this one pans out…

Peter Jackson’s been given the green light for The Hobbit!!!! Let’s see what we’ve got here… two movies, one ring, Gollum, the most evil dragon ever, and The Battle of Five Armies. I’m fucking speechless!!!!!

Ooohhhh! More Dark Knight goodness. First I’ve got another update on some of the cool viral campaign Warner Brothers is doing. And then we – finally – have a release of a real trailer for the film. I’m still pleased with the Joker (although I don’t know if it’s the editing or what, but Ledger can lose the Jack Nicholson impression or I’m going to be seriously pissed.) I’m feeling really good about this flick. This is definitely an opening night film…

And - finally - we've got some news on The Watchman movie adaptation!!! There's some information on the actors (although I have to say I'm not too pleased with the actor chosen to play Rorschach), set design, and other various things. All in all though, the sets look awesome - like they were taken right from the pages of the comic. And David Gibbons visited the set and heartily approves of the production. He even says that he's "overwhelmed by the commitment, the passion, the palpable desire to do this right ". This has the potential to be so fucking awesome. Even more awesome then the adaptations of V For Vigilante and Frank Miller's Sin City and 300. We'll just have to wait and see, but I can tell you that Doctor Zombie is really, really excited about this. Now if we can just get someone to option Grendel or Mage....

That’s all for now, dear readers, I think I just heard some Xmas carolers at the front door. Talk about good timing; I just got my oscillating 50 watt plasma rifle working and I need to do a beta test.

Silent night? Holy night? Not if I can help it…

Friday, December 14, 2007

Movie Review - Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006)

So I finally got the chance to catch this. Mrs. Zombie was out of town on a business trip, I’d put Zombie Boy and Wolfgirl down for the night, and I’d sat down to watch some TV. I fired up the barbecue, threw on some long pork, and settled in with the intention of fixing my recent jones for some flesh chomping zombie carnage. I’d actually planned on re-watching Army of Darkness, but imagine my surprise when I saw that the most recent NOTLD remake had hit my cable’s On Demand menu. (I should note I didn’t see it in 3D. It was a regular 2D version, but I wasn’t too disappointed. I expect that I didn’t really miss much when it comes to the hokey 3D gimmick. I don’t think 3D technology hasn’t really changed THAT much since the days of William Castle – or even the 80’s wonders of Jaws 3D. All it does is give you a headache and the stupid 3D glasses give me paper cuts on my ears and nose.)

So, anyway… a couple clicks of the remote and $3.99 later, I’ve queued up NOTLD3D.

“WOO-HOO!” says I. “I get to watch some zombie goodness!”

Truthfully, I went into this fully expecting to be disappointed. I can say though, that I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t really that bad.

The movie opened familiarly, with the now iconic black and white footage of a winding road with the Breakneck Creek in the background. “Wha?” I thought, “did they actually film this in Evans City Pennsylvania?!? Will this movie take place in the same iconic cemetery where the great George Romero filmed his masterpiece back in 1966?!?”

Unfortunately, the geekish thrill I felt was short lived as the scene pulled back to reveal a television showing the original movie in a road side - and obviously Californian - gas station. The camera pans to a window where a Mini Cooper drives by outside, swinging past the creepy image of an abandoned SUV. PArked askew next to a discarded gas pump, the SUV's door is open and its occupants are nowhere to be found.

We learn that the Mini is driven by Johnny (Ken Ward) as he and his sister Barbara (Brianna Brown) make their way to a funeral for an aunt they don’t know. They get to the cemetery to find it abandoned and, as the tension builds, they find themselves in the midst of the zombie apocalypse.

Story-wise, the remake quickly veers from the original after this point, but it does so in a way that actually works. Johnny is attacked, runs to the car, and drives off – leaving Barb to fend off the zombies (including her now undead mother). Barb runs to the funeral home where she meets Junior Tovar, as played by the incomparable Sid Haig. She is chased away by Junior and meets up with a young handsome guy named Ben (Joshua DesRoches) who rescues her and takes her to his friends’ farm. The farm, of course, is run by the Coopers.

General undead shenanigans happen, the house is surrounded by shambling zombies, there’s some arguing, and everything degenerates – much like Romero’s classic and the lesser 1990 remake.

The story has been updated and it asks for some suspension of disbelief. But, since I’m watching a movie where the main idea is that hell is full and the dead walk the earth, I’m pretty well committed to a trip down the path of “this can’t really happen”. Henry Copper is now – instead of a caustic, belligerent, know-it-all jerk – an aging, peace-loving, pot farmer. Ben is white (!!!), and Tommy and Judy fuck in a barn, run around naked, and die within the first 20 minutes or so. Barb is reminiscent of the character Patricia Tallman portrayed in the 1990 remake.

Although some of the character changes feel like a stretch, other plot points work well. One of my current peeves is the change that cell phones have had on the whole horror genre. Michael Meyers wouldn’t have been such a problem if Laurie Strode had a cell phone and 911, so I like to see how newer horror films deal with the evolving technology. In this remake, Barb loses her phone while fighting off zombies, and Henry Cooper – in line with his “Dude! Chill, we’re growing some bud here!” attitude, - refuses to have cells because that’s “how the government tracks you, man”.

The story, while not the best, worked. There were some plot twists and the overall revamping of the story wasn't oo onerous. I was disappointed that they felt the need to explain the reason for the zompocalypse though. I don’t need to know why, I just need to know that headshots work and that I have enough bullets to survive.

The acting, on the other hand, suffered from the low budget production value. All of the primary actors had the skill and talent of second year college drama majors. Brianna Brown was better than the others, but not by much. Sid Haig though, being the icon that he is, was the one shining star – and his skills dwarfed those of the amateurs he was working with. Now don’t get me wrong… Sid collected a paycheck and you can tell he only did this because he was probably late on a couple of Cadillac payments; but even his phoned in performance was on an entirely different level than his co-stars.

As I said, this was obviously a low budget film. But that actually didn’t hurt the movie too much. The director of photography and the lighting guys deserve the lion’s share of the salaries for the work they did. They managed to make a film that looked great, and the high point could be seen in the exterior shots of the farm house as the shambling, stumbling masses of undead banged and wandered aimlessly about the beautifully framed and lighted porch and yard. It also helped that there were no apparent sound stage shots. The use of all location shooting (again - no doubt an offshoot of the meager budget) added a sense of realism to the film.

All of the cheap production value, though, and all of the great shots did little to allay my disappointment with the makeup effects. There was little true makeup work. Most of the zombies were people in masks and coverall suits that looked like – quite honestly – masks and coverall suits. It’s obvious when someone is wearing an all body costume. They look like kids look when they have to wear a Halloween costume over a winter coat. And the few actual makeup shots were terrible. When Karen Cooper turns into a zombie and stalks the other actors, it’s great that they paint her face a grayish-green, but the thing is – she’s wearing A MINISKIRT. Here’s a hint…you need to paint HER LEGS TOO!


But – all in all, it wasn’t too bad. I enjoyed it and, in the beginning especially, the film conveyed an edge of the seat expectancy of horror. Romero’s legacy wasn’t damaged and, in most instances, his mythos is secure and unfucked with. My recommendation is to catch it, but go into it with the understanding that it is not the best zombie movie ever, but it is in no way imaginable the worst ever made (That’s right, Uwe Boll. I’m looking at YOU!). Enjoy it for zombies, enjoy it for Sid Haig, and enjoy it because it’s not that bad.

Doctor Zombie’s rating: 4 out of 5 Chomped Brains!!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Did You Get the Flowers I Sent?!?

Dear SciFi Channel,

I know I said some pretty bad things about you the last time I wrote.

Truth be told – after the whole Flash Gordon thing – I was mad at you and I said some very spiteful things. The thing is, I just watched Tinman, and I now realize may have been a little upset and speaking from a place of anger. What I’m saying is I’m sorry and I was thinking, maybe, we could get back together for some coffee, or a drink?

All those things I said about you not being innovative, or sacrificing quality for the bottom dollar – well, I’m not afraid to say I was wrong. And that I’m really, really sorry. I sometimes wish that we could go back to the way things used to be, back when it was just you and I curled up together on a Friday night reveling in the glow of Farscape. You remember when, right? Back before Ben Browder was at Stargate Command and back when Claudia Black was all surly and sexy (and not ditzy Stargate Command).

I mean, we both may be a little bit to blame here. I may have been spending too much time with G4 and her reruns of both classic and next generation Star Trek. And I may have gone out a couple times with the BBC and her deliciously accented Doctor Who and Torchwood. I’ll admit I may have gone a little astray... but who could blame me? Although I hold some of the blame, I daresay we shared some of it as well.

I could only stand so much of watching you cavort like a filthy whore with that slimy, untalented, evil hack - Uwe Boll. A man can only take so much House of the Dead, Alone In The Dark, or endless reruns of BloodRayne before he wants to either tear the very eyes from his head or find solace in the arms of another channel. At least those other channels weren't unfaithful tramps who lack the moral decency to even recognize Boll's films are best dealt with as one would an unwanted pregnancy. What I'm saying is, there's nothing wrong with House of the Dead that an abortion clinic or a coat hanger and a couple good flushes of a toilet can't fix...

And the dark gods know I tried to forget the night I turned you on to find you showing Dragonfly, with Kevin Costner. I don’t know what hurt more; watching you spread your legs for an actor whose skills are so bad he can’t even bother to put on an English accent when he plays Robin Hood, or the fact that you thought that the abysmally bad, boring, and romantic treacle that was Dragonfly would even remotely appeal to Science Fiction fans. And don’t even get me started on the horror and pseudo-scientific codswallop that is Ghosthunters

But that's all in the past, baby. What I’m trying to say is that my infidelities - too -are a thing of the past. I promise.

I knew that I may have wrongly spurned you after I watched Battlestar Galactica: Razor. And I especially knew I was wrong after having watched the wondrously twisted and beautifully rendered Tinman. I even said to myself, “Hey! Doctor Z! You've really gone and fucked up!”

And, again, I can only apologize.

And I promise that, if you find it within your heart to take me back, I’ll never stray again. I mean it this time. As long as you continue to cast actresses like the deliriously breathtaking Kathleen Robertson in roles like Azkadellia - in Tinman - I swear I’ll be faithful… forever. I’ve turned a new leaf! You’ve wooed me with Kathleen’s incredible cleavage and those magical tribal monkey tattoos perched upon the alabaster slopes of her swelling and corseted bosom.

And the inventive re-imagining of L. Frank Baum’s tales of Oz pushed me over the edge; made me realize the error of my philandering ways. If you’ll forget what I wrote before, and find some small ounce of forgiveness for my indiscretions, I’ll never write badly about you again.

Please consider it? Please honey, take me back?

Hoping against hope for forgiveness,
Doctor Z.

p.s. – Oh yeah, if you renew Flash Gordon, or start showing movies that don’t have Bruce Campbell in them in some way, all bets are off you psycho bitch! Love and kisses - Dr. Z...