Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Non-Christmasy Post

So - in lieu of a happy, cheery Christmas post - wishing you and yours some saccharine greeting... I've decided to wax nostalgic.

So - three weeks ago, I called up my brothers Richie and Phil because I saw, in one of the advertising sidebars of my Facebook page, that The Sisters of Mercy was touring. And, by sheer luck, they were coming to Cleveland like a week later.

Doctor Zombie, being the old school Goth that he is, could not pass up the chance to see Ian Eldritch and whoever else he was playing with. I LOVE The Sisters of Mercy. It is one of my favorite old school Goth bands of all time. And Richie and Phil feel the same. We grew up listening to Temple of Love and Vision Thing and, best of all, Floodland.

Floodland is one of those albums - like the Cure's Disintegration - that is an essential part of my life. They were both life changing when I first heard them and I still listen to them today.

So we went to Cleveland's House of Blues, had some dinner, and then made our way over to the theater... to find ourselves in an empty room. Seriously. After a few beers, and after the opening band started playing, a few more people filtered in. By the time The Sisters of Mercy finally started playing, there were probably two or three dozen people total.

Which I find amazing. Even allowing for my obvious bias towards the band... I was honestly shocked that there weren't more people. Sisters of Mercy, in my mind, is on par with The Cure, or Bauhaus, or any of the other influential and formative alternative Goth bands from the 80's. I was almost embarrassed for Cleveland.

The show itself was fucking awesome. Ian, who's now bald, still has a weird affinity for big Highway Patrol cop sunglasses, but he sounds as good live as he does on the albums. He did go a bit overboard with the fog machines (there were times where the entire stage and band was obscured by fog) and, for some unknown reason, they left the house lights up throughout the show.

But the concert was incidental... at least to why I'm writing this. I'm writing this because I realize that my love for 80's Goth bands is one more sign that I'm getting old. I turned 38 twelve days ago... and I'm in a weird place as a result. There are times when I still feel like I'm in my 20's, and then there are times when I'm struck by the fact that I'm middle aged. I got that feeling at the concert. There I was, in a room full of old people; some of them still firmly believing that it's 1985 and dressing like it. Yikes! Thank the dark gods that I at least dress my age - besides a predilection for black clothing and horror movie themed t-shirts.

But the point is... have I become like my father?

My father only listens to the classic rock stations and, sometime back in the 8o's, stopped listening to new music. I love that he gave me an appreciation for classic music. Mrs. Zombie is amazed that, while she was listening to 50's and 60's music with her parents; my musical education included Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, The Moody Blues, and Ted Nugent.

And - here's where my father frustrates me - he doesn't believe that Pink Floyd made anything worthwhile after The Wall.

That's where my fear lies. That I've reached an age where anything new is alien and foreign; something to be avoided and shunned.

I do make a point of listening to more modern music. I love some of the new bands out there and have enough self respect to make sure I stay up to date... but I'm also noticing an inflexibility to my tastes. I've always been a music snob with an abhorrence of the soullessness of Pop music. And country music is just as bad. But I also find myself now dismissing nu-metal's rap, and despising Emo-rock.

And the aches and pains I feel now weren't there even a mere five years ago.

For instance... back in my middle twenties, I had an incident occur that may or may not have involved a pickup truck going at least 30 miles an hour, a not insubstantial amount of Guinness and Irish whiskey, and the misguided notion that I could successfully jump and roll harmlessly to the frozen February ground from said moving vehicle. My attempts to act like an action hero resulted in my tearing all of the ligaments, and severely damaging the joint, in my left ankle. Being young and stupid, I killed my pain with more Guinness and Irish whiskey, did a few months of rehab, and then, in April, through-hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail.

Now though, especially considering the bitter cold we've been experiencing here in northern Ohio of late, my ankle has been constantly throbbing. I suspect there may be some rheumatism setting in.

Is this the way I'm going to go out? Old and unable to walk, while my children roll their eyes behind my wrinkled back as they have to suffer - once again - through Robert Smith and the Cure's Disintegration, when they'd just rather be listening to Rihanna on Q104?

And Facebook hasn't helped. I enjoy the social networking aspects, but I don't need to be reminded of my mortality by being contacted by people who I haven't talked to since high school or college. Just this week, I've been contacted by several college friends and a few high school friends. Nothing like seeing ex-girlfriends or college drinking buddies to make you feel the years... and make one wax nostalgic about the halcyon days of college. Those days when The Sisters of Mercy was new and I was cool and I had my whole life stretched before me like a storm cloud.

To make it worse, I got an email on one of my best of Doctor Zombie posts a few weeks ago. I had written about The Cure and how, as I'm sure everyone's experienced certain songs transport you back to certain times of your life. The post was about my old college house, and my friends I lived with. A poster named FilliaDei made me reread it again and I felt that bittersweet swell of nostalgia all over.

Oddly enough, maybe this post IS about Christmas. Is this the depression that they talk about? The depression that many suffer at Christmas?

I don't know. Either way, I'm old. And I feel it.

So... to give some closure to this maudlin and rambling post... here's a couple old videos of The Sisters of Mercy from a time when I was younger and less cynical and bitter.

Please don't mind the cheesy 80's hair and video conventions. Listen for the music because - as I said - The Sisters of Mercy (or more specifically - Ian Eldridge) are musical geniuses.

May your Yule be Crampas free, dear and constant reader....

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Can't Stop Watching This!

Found Via Dr. Fong's house of Mystery...

It's hypnotic, the music is addicting, and I'm pretty sure that everyone of these cute dancing robots will become whirling machines of death and suffering when Skynet becomes self aware and decides to destroy all of humanity.

But it's so damned hypnotic!

Dare you to watch it just once!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some Winter House Cleaning

So - once again - I was monumentally bored at my security job and spent the better part of a 3rd shift surfing the internet.

Rather than attempt to find the bowels of the WWW, or to prevent my literally killing somebody because the hospital's stupid firewall won't let me access any fetish porn... I decided to do some cleaning of the site.

Truthfully, I've made a committment to myself (and, by extension, YOU my lovely undead minions and constant readers) to be better about my blog because I need the exercise it provides me in terms of my writing. And also because the soul-sucking abyss that is Facebook has led me to completely neglect the old blog.

So, what did I do?

Well, primarily, I cleaned out a bunch of broken and dead links on my blogroll. Although many of them were hilarious and I developed some great contacts through them, many of them hadn't had any updates in as long as a year or so. Also, I added a bunch of new blogs and sites that have caught my attention as of late. You'll notice a distinctly Cleveland and Ohio slant to many of them, and that was done on purpose. I wanted to showcase some of the great creative stuff coming out of Ohio's Northcoast.

Another thing I've been considering lately is putting together a writer's group for local Horror, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi writers. I'll actually be putting an ad out on Cleveland Craigslist in the next few weeks looking for other like-minded ghouls who'd like to meet on a monthly basis to workshop some writing. I feel that writer's groups and workshopping offer an invaluable tool to any writer and are also fertile grounds for creativity.

That being said, I decided to check out some local writers and maybe feel them out to see if they'd be interested in meeting up for coffee/pints and some mutual critiquing.

So, I'll be frequently updating the blogroll to showcase new local blogs that interest me.

And - by the way - if you're a regular reader and writer, and are interested in joing a Horror Writer's group, shoot me an email at doctorzmbie(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Even if I can just get three or four writers together, it'll help us all be better writers in the end.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Where Dr. Zombie's Soul Dies...

...a little bit everyday.

We got a really nice new camera for work and I was playing around with it in my cube. It's a Nikon D40 and it takes some awesome pictures, even when you're just pointing and shooting.

So, I thought I'd post them up so you could see where Dr. Zombie works when he's not building death rays in his lab beneath the Midnight Theater of Terror!

The view as you approach the Cube of Doom!

The shelf with my Stars Wars/Star Trek/Horror/Voodoo/Happy Meal toys. Yes, it's like a kindergarten playroom at my desk!(Take special note of my uber-tactical Maxpedition Last Resort attache case. It carries my laptop and most anything I need to get home in case there's an EMP or zombie apocalypse.)

A closer look at the shelf of fun!

Pictures, cartoons, Starfleet communicators, and Harley stuff...

Aaahhhh! There's Borg in the shrubbery! "You will be assimilated. resistance is fut...? Oh wait! Too late! You're already a corporate zombie. You're much too boring for The Collective. Sorry. Now, move along!"

Godzilla says... "Eeearrrcccggghh! Back to work, slacker!"

Close up of the shelf of fun and some Star Trek toys. Next to Little Jean Luc Picard is the hand from a kitschy, dollar store ceramic Jesus that my friend Chrissy had on her desk and I accidentally broke. She made me take it, hoping that it would remind me of my blasphemy and make me feel guilty. Really, it just makes me laugh. I mean, it's the hand of Jesus. On my desk! How hilarious is that?!?

My prized 20th anniversary collectible Halloween snow globe. When you shake it, it snows blood!

A little Jack, The Pumpkin King and Zero to watch over my Bic pens!

Sometimes even Doctor Zombuie gets stressed and needs the inspirational wisdom of a motivational poster. My motivator is Bruce Campbell... because he fucking rocks!

Hope you enjoyed visiting Doctor Zombie at work! We should do this more often... make it an annual thing. Like, Bring an Undead Minion to Work Day. We can get some t-shirts made. It'd be cool!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Movie Review - Zombie Strippers (2008)

Zombie Strippers was actually a flick I'd really, really looked forward to seeing and I can honestly say I was not disappointed in any way. In a word -- Zombie Strippers is full of win.

Cheesy, tasty, deep-fried win.

Full of cliches, campiness, and horrible acting - Zombie Strippers tells the story of a secret government weaponized zombie virus that escapes a top secret government labratory in Sartre, Nebraska. It ends up in a strip club where... oh shit, who am I kidding?

The story doesn't matter, man. What matters is that there's ZOMBIES, BOOBS, STRIPPERS, and lots and lots of POLE DANCING.

With appearances by genre god Robert Englund and uber-pornstar Jenna Jameson, this movie revels in how awful it actually is. It dives into the bottom of the septic tank of b-movies and wallows in the fragrant awesomeness it finds there. It's sexy, funny, and self aware in its campiness.

The acting is horrible, with the exception of Robert Englund - who's slumming here - but loving every minute of it. I imagine that some of the other actors and actresses HAVE to be better actors than they let on in this, because they can't be that bad normally. We're talking high school drama club bad - - and the awfulness just makes me love this movie even more.

The best part is that - in an attempt to make a movie about zombified strippers seem somehow highbrow - the plot is a rough retelling of Romanian playwright and Theater of the Absurd movement auteur, Eugene Ionesko's, allegorical play, Rhinoceros. Add to that the reference to Existentialist philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre, and you've got a case study in irony. Remember - this is a movie about ZOMBIE STRIPPERS!

What shines in this movie is the awesome makeup work. Effects supervisor Patrick Magee blew the films budget on some great work here, folks. It's gory, and the zombie makeup is incredible. He manages to make the main stripper characters look gloriously undead, while ensuring that they maintain unquestionable zombie hotness! This movie is a spankfest for necrophiles everywhere.

Of the other actresses in the film, the standout is Jeannette Sousa as Berenge. She's beautiful and rises above the rest of the cast in terms of her acting ability. I was less impressed by porn slut Jenna Jameson. She had a lead role and one would think that, after making hundreds of porn flicks, she'd have taken an acting class or two in her day. (Of course, in all honesty, she became the queen of her chosen business for talents not at all related to acting. Moaning in a lesbian squirt porn does not an Academy Award nominee make...).

Jenna - here's some free advice, doll: If you're going to go legitimate and try to become a serious actress... take a page or two from the Traci Lords book of career resuscitation. DON'T star in a flick called Zombie Strippers and spend 80% of the movie NAKED. We get that your a filthy whore... no need to keep reminding us.

So - if you're looking for a good laugh and a great time, definitely pick up Zombie Strippers. There are times when one needs to sit down, turn off their brain, and revel in mindless, funny entertainment. Bearing that in mind, don't let any level of your higher reasoning engage while watching this. Seriously. Sometimes, it's just kick ass to be dumb sometimes and this flick is all about the dumb. And I mean dumb in the good sense! Doctor Zombie highly recommends!

Doctor Zombie's Rating: 4 out of 5 Chomped Brains!!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Metallica Rules!

Nice title, huh? Imagine me saying that, wearing my Metallica Ride The Lightning t-shirt, with ripped jeans, and a mullet.

Scary image, huh?

So why am I titling this, "Metallica Rules?" Well, mainly because they do. I found this yesterday and I wanted to get it posted up ASAP.

You need to go, RIGHT NOW, and check out Metallica's new video for "All Nightmare Long". It's all about, as the title says, Spores, Soviets, and Zombies. Yes, zombies. This is totally kick ass! The beginning is incredible and well put together (although poorly CGI'd), and the middle is somewhat disappointing, but the disappointment is purely a result of the switch to Heavy Metal-like animation.

But then, when you think about it, Heavy Metal fucking rocked.. so it's okay! I love it!

Let's see, what other links have I been sitting on a while?

Oh, here's a great (although somewhat lengthy) blog post by Roger Ebert about Ben Stein's scientifically sparse pro-Intelligent Design and Creationism documentary, Expelled. It's a great read and well put together. For my part, I think ID proponents are nuttier than squirrel shit... but to each his own. IF you want to believe that some benevolent sky elf put people on the Earth and that it's insulting to think that we're related to monkeys, fish, or prehistoric protozaoans - that's your deal. Don't expect me to tolerate your trying to teach your voodoo to my kids. And voodoo is what it is... Intelligent Design was created specifically to backdoor Creationism back into schools. One of the better points that Ebert makes is the idea of 'excluding the middle'. This movie does a whole lot of that. It pushes the idea that Evangelical Christians believe in Creationism, and everybody else who doesn't subscribe to it is wrong. And, when attention is drawn to the middle that they're excluding (mainly Christians who may actually believe in Evolution) they're written off as 'Liberal' Christians and are marginalized. Ahhh... "Liberal". That evil label that the right uses all the time to discredit anyone who doesn't believe what they do and is used to somehow suggest that those who are labeled are inferior, ignorant, and weak. Anyway... a great read, so check it out.

I do want to make one more point, and several people made comments to this effect on Ebert's blog post. I do see that there is bias in other documentaries out there. Michael Moore, Bill Maher, and Morgan Spurlock's documentaries come to mind. In fact, I see this as a tremendous failing in most current documentaries and - by way of extension - Hollywood's way of thinking. Liberal or conservative, there is this unneccessary political bias to these sorts of documentaries and I do want to concede that the Left is just as guilty of this as the Right.

But that doesn't mean I still won't make fun of the Right-wing, Fundie loonies!

In other zombie related news... Rob Zombie has a new website with all things Zombie on it. There's great web design work here and there are tons of cool links. Especially to my favorite t-shirt shop, Halloweentown. I have a collection of cool horror related t-shirts and the majority come from Halloweentown. Also, if you're as big a Rob Zombie fan as doctor Zombie is... you can actually get Rob Zombie autographed memoribilia from them. It's been a while since I checked, but they had autographed DVD's of Rob's movies, Posters, and thing slike that. Way cool, brother. Way cool.

Also, the new site is a great place to keeop track of the upcoming release of Rob's new animated feature - The Haunted World of El Superbeasto...

Finally - because I find that I'm fascinated by news stories about cannibalism... there's this news piece. I don't know what my obsession with cannibalism is, and I know it's probably creepy as hell, but I just can't seem to get enough of stories about the depths of depravity and starvation one must reach to gnaw on some long pork. Best quote of the story? "It tasted like beef."

That's all, dear readers. I'm on my way down to the lab nwo to fire up the charcoal and find some barbecue sauce. I'm feeling a tad peckish..

Monday, December 08, 2008

Movie Review - Zombie Honeymoon (2004)

I've recently upgraded my Netflix account so that I can actually get more zombie flicks than I've been... so that means more reviews for you, my faithful and undead readers!

Much to the dismay of Mrs. Zombie, every other movie on the queue is now a horror or zombie movie of some sort. So, between the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II, Mary Poppins, and Madagascar that were normally taking up precious Netflix space - space that I was paying for mind you - one can now find the newest, greatest, and undoubtedly lamest horror flicks out there.

Zombie Honeymoon was one of the first fruits that were borne to me with my new Doctor Zombie Netflix Selfishness Plan.

Zombe Honeymoon, appropriately, tells the story of a couple who get married and run off to the Jersey Shore to spend their honeymoon. They're both young and punky and the husband is a surfer (In New Jersey?).

They are renting a beach house from an uncle and, as they bask in their new nuptials, tragedy of the zombie-type ensues. Denise, the pretty wife, and Danny, the husband, are enjoying the beach when Danny is attacked by and barfed on by a zombie that staggers out of the surf.

Danny becomes a zombie and the rest of the movie explores the tagline of the movie..."In sickness and in health!"; and while Danny tries to control his unnatural hunger for human flesh, Denise spends the movie trying to reconcile her love for Danny and his sudden prediliction for abducting, killing, and eating everyone who they come in contact with.

This zombie movie is unique in that it throws many of the conventions of a traditional zombie flick out the window. In other words, if you're a zombie purist, this movie is going to piss you the fuck off.

If you're more open-minded, however, you may actually get some enjoyment out of it.

How does it buck convention? Well, primarily, Danny - while looking paler and a little sicker - doesn't really rot and fall apart right away. Much of the movie he looks normal. Also, he talks and acts normal, except for an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Of course - by the end he's a ravenous, gory, decomposing mess... but it takes him a bit to get there.

The movie is less a zombie movie and more a movie about the love and relationship of a couple facing adversity. Normally, this would induce cursing and wailing and the angered gnashing of Doctor Zombie's undead teeth -- but the movie is redeemed by some good gore. And, although it rises very little above its low budget niche, it does tell an interesting story.

Most of the actors were of the usual, poorly seasoned rookies who would naturally star in low budget, direct-to-video zombie fare; but the obvious standout was the actress who played Denise - Irish actress, Tracy Coogan. She was incredibly attractive and gave the character of Denise a sexiness that transcended the otherwise low production quality. She was made more sexy by the fact that she can't entirely hide her Irish accent. What can Dr. Zombie say - I'm an Irish boy and I love Irish lasses! It helps that she looks like a hotter version of Corey Feldman's wife, Susie Fledman.

And, although director and writer David Gebroe wrote this with the intention of purging some personal demons (he made the movie and based it on the true story of two friends, one of whom died on their honeymoon) he did an admirable job of making it scary enough to not get lost and wallow in the romantic crap.

One standout scene was towards the end when, as Danny becomes less and less human, he kills several people and Denise is trapped in the house with him as he feeds. Torn between her love for Danny and her trust that he won't hurt her, she's also terrified by the monster he's become. Her terror and anomie is palpable and it is made devastatingly more visceral in that, as she is cowering in her room, Danny is feeding dowstairs. The scene is downright disturbing and the sound of Danny gnoshing on his victims throughout is spot on and delightfully chilling. It makes a brilliant counterpoint to Denise's horror.

Speaking of sound, the music was great. The soundtrack was a good combination of surf rock, ska, old school punk, and reggae. The music helped the story and, honestly, pleased the Doctor immensely. In fact, the videography, coupled with the old punk opening of the movie made it necessary for me to pause and double check the date of the movie. It had a retro 80's feel to it that may or may not have made me feel like I was watching something from the golden era of 80's horror. Perhaps that's why I was so forgiving of a film that is a zombie movie only tangentially.

So, in the final analysis, I was pleased and didn't feel like I'd totally wasted my time. It had good gore, an interesting story, and - although it wasn't a traditional zombie film - it was still good. If you happen to catch it on a cable channel, or want to rent it because you need to feed your zombie habit, you could do worse. Doctor Z. recommends it. Seriously. Additionally, it's won several independent film fests and it does so by finding a good balance between being a quirky independent film and a zombie genre homage - so take that for what it's worth...

Doctor Zombies Rating: 4 out of 5 Chomped Brains!!!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Moment of Silence, Please...

It's been a rough year for the Doctor... at least as far as the death of geeky idols are concerned.

Back in February, the Great Dungeon Master hisself - Gary Gygax died. Gary G. was the creator of Dungeons and Dragons, and the architect of every weekend of my high school and college life, and left a huge geekish whole in my nerdy universe.

This last week, another childhood great passed on. Forrest J. Ackerman - the inventor of the term 'Sci-Fi', the man who singlehandedly discovered and agented Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, and the collector and owner of the largest Sci-Fi and Horror memorabilia collection in the world - sadly passed away in his California home.

Now I apologize to my more casual readers, but in the horror and science fiction world, Forrest J. Ackerman is the equivalent of royalty.

I remember; as the odd, quiet, and burgeoning serial killer child I was; riding my bike to my local comic book store - Comics & Collectibles in Shoregate (in my boyhood hometown of Willowick)-and buying my monthly issues of The Amazing Spiderman, Peter Parker: the Spectacular Spiderman, the X-Men, and Captain America comics. At that same time though, I was buying other things that weren't necessarily approved by my mom.

My mother had no clue about my darker collection of monthly magazines.

And no, it wasn't porn.

It was copies of Amazing Stories, EC Weird Tales, and Forrest J. Ackermans Famous Monsters of Filmland. You see, while I was digesting my fair share of superhero literature, I was also feeding my hunger for all things horror.

Every Friday nght, I would watch our local late night horror movie hosts.

First, it was Ghoulardi...

Then it was Big Chuck and Houlihan...

and then it was Big Chuck and Little John...

And, finally, I would get up every Saturday and watch Superhost on Channel 43.

Superhost - as you can see - was a guy dressed in tights who would show an hour of Three Stooges shorts at noon, then two back to back classic horror flicks in the afternoon. In this fashion; I would whet my appetite on 50's atomic monster movies, Hammer classics, Universal Monsters, and other various forms of horror.

It made me the undead evil scientist I am today!

And - during the week - I would devour Forrey Ackerman's Famous Monsters. I would lay in bed at night, my covers pulled over my head, and read about my favorite silver screen terrors by flashlight.

I can't tell you what was so great about Famous Monsters of Filmland. It was often stories about classic movies that were already made, or interviews with actors long since dead, but it was just awesome. Later in life, I gravitated to the gory, more contemporary Fangoria... but Forrest J. Ackerman's Famous Monsters still held a special place in my heart.

I remember especially the ads in the back of it. I would have given my left arm for some of the things offered for sale in the back of Famous Monsters. The incredibly realistic and high quality Don Post masks were gorgeous and I coveted them all - imagining how, if I wore one of them for Halloween, I'd be the coolest kid in the school (Of course, in reality, I'm sure it would have made me even more creepy than I already was.)

And, the thing I wanted most, the thing I begged my mother for the money for and was resoundingly turned down about, was a silver coffin on a silver chain that contained REAL DIRT from Transylvania. Seriously! Actual soil from the Carpathian mountains where Dracula was from! How fucking cool would that have been! (And again, realistically, how much more creepy could I have been!)

Such an essential part of my childhood. And - truthfully - I think Forrest J. Ackerman is responsible for making me the horror geek I am today.

So... a moment of respective silence, please, for one of the true greats of the Horror and Sci-Fi genre.

Doctor Zombie is sad... I need to go down to my laboratory beneath the Midnight Theater of Terror and torture some college coeds. It's the only thing that will cheer me up!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Winter Solstice is Upon Us...

Interesting article from CNN. I always find it the amusing that the religious True Believers scream so loudly about the fact that religion is being attacked, and that there's some shadowy conspiracy to destroy Christianity; and yet they'll be the first to freak out and immediately try to censor (or do a book burning) when an atheist says something they don't agree with.

So... I thought I'd point out that this holiday season hasn't always been about a baby in Bethlehem. This time of year was a celebration of another decidedly Pagan sort and the Christians subverted it for their own purposes.

As the sign that was stolen says...

At this season of THE WINTER SOLSTICE may reason prevail.

There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.

There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstitionthat hardens hearts and enslaves minds.

Either way, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, or joyful whatever to you and yours.

As the American Humanist Group wrote... "Why believe in God? Just be good for goodness sake!"