Thursday, December 16, 2010

Unhealthy Obsession with the Obscure and Bizarre

So I'm sitting here on a cold December night listening to the musical masterpiece that is Sting's If On A Winter's Night... and musing about my obsession with all that is weird and bizarre.

Outside, lake effect snow falls like fluffy dust motes from an industrial gray sky, and the bitter 15 degree bite of the air sneaks through the cracks and holes of my drafty century home like a thief -- and I realize that I've been musing quite a bit about the bizarre, the grotesque, the obscure and the odd.

Part of this has been driven by what I am certain will soon become one of my favorite reality shows. It's on the Science Channel and it's called Oddities. It's about a couple who own and run a shop in New York's East Village named - appropriately - Obscura. They specialize in the bizarre and unique and it's the sort of shop that I would totally love to own. They collect everything from human skulls, to bizarre and torturous 18th and 19th century medical devices, eclectic and disturbing antiques, and everything a purveyor of the dark and bizarre (like myself!) would love to own. I'd be helpless to walk out without buying something.

Check it out. Seriously. I've watched a couple episodes and I want more! I'd almost give in and go to New York with Mrs. Zombie if I could visit Obscura. She's been bugging me to go to NYC for a few years now, if only because she wants to visit the Today Show and visit - insert a wistful sigh from Mrs. Zombie here - Matt Lauer. It'd of course be difficult to stomach that brushy haired goof, but Obscura would totally make it worth it.

Another contributor, tangentially, is a book I recently started reading. It's called Creepy Crawls: A Horror Fiend's Travel Guide by Leo Marcelo. I picked it up mainly as a result of my visit to the wondrous Monroeville Mall this last summer. Visiting the filming location of George A Romero's classic Dawn of the Dead spurred in me a bug to visit other great sites from horror history. This book looked like the ticket and - although it's filled with all kinds of awesome locations and photos from which I can plan my own sojourns into the darker side of life (who wouldn't want to visit the graves of Edgar Allen Poe or HP Lovecraft, or the location where John Carpenter filmed his classic Halloween?!? Seriously.)

That said, the book's kind of hard to read. The author has an annoying habit of speaking of himself in the third person and constructing every sentence like Forest Ackerman. It's alliteration overload, man. It's a cute convention for titles, or intros... but it's fucking annoying every other sentence. Believe me, this gruesome garroulous ghoulish gourmand of the grotesque is good and goddamned done with it.

But probably the main reason I've been so focused on the bizarre and ghoulish is because the CFO of Dr. Zombie's Midnight Theater of Terror (namely, Mrs. Zombie) has given me permission to build a mancave in the basement! I've been obsessed with planning and designing the space... and my obsession with the oddities of life have played a major role in that planning. I know that it must be have a home theater or else it won't be what I've hoped and wished for for so long - namely a true home for Dr. Z's Midnight Theater of Terror.

The problem is when I start thinking about a theme for it.

Part of the allure is that I will finally be able to display some of the memorabilia and trinkets of horror history I've collected over the years. My Limited Edition Todd McFarlane Movie Monster Action Figures, my vintage horror movie posters, my collection of vintage Halloween art, my extensive collection of books on Jack the Ripper, my Universal monsters collectibles, my John Carpenter's Halloween collectibles... even my geekish Star Wars and Star Trek memorabilia will finally have a home -- and I need to design a mancave around that.

The thing is - I see myself planning for down the road. I would love to collect really off the wall shit like the sort you would find at Obscura. Hell, I'd love to own a store like Obscura! I mean - really - how fucking cool would a real mummified human hand, a monkey paw, or a deformed hydrocephalic human skull be?!?

So - the planning and the google searching go on for ideas and themes. I've gone back and forth between a steampunk/neo-Victorian sort of decor, to a classic 1930's or 1940's movie theater, to a more traditional home theater and mancave set up for entertaining mine and Mrs. Zombie's 'straight' friends. The sort of friend's that really don't get me or my weirdness, but I still have to a - according to Mrs. Z - "be nice to and try not to scare them" as she forces me to have cocktail parties and Super Bowl parties with them.


All that said - one of the main components I MUST do is the door below. Some background is in order before you check out the video though. You see, our basement - in the area that will soon become the greatest mancave ever, has a door that I've opened twice since I moved into mine and Mrs. Z's historic century home some 14 years ago. At the rear of the house, behind a door that is scarred and covered in peeling, chipped lead paint from the early part of the 20th century -- we have an old coal room.

It is a scary room.

It has big fucking spiders living in it.

It is an evil place and looks like it should have manacles chained to the wall and a drain where a serial killer can hose the blood of his victims down in preparation for his next guest.

My plan is to open the room, clean it out of it's big spiders, maybe put in a concrete floor, and turn it into useable space. I'd like to put my gun cabinet down there, as well as my hunting and camping equipment. With that in mind, I need to replace the door. My thought is that, eventually, I may be able to use it as a safe room during the initial panic at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.

So to do that, it needs a really cool fucking door. A door I can lock and that will impress my cooler, more understanding friends who Mrs. Zombie barely tolerates but who I get along with swimmingly, who drink lots of Guinness, and relish a good horror movie in a dank basement as much as I do.

So I give you, the anti-Zombie door!

And here - a cool geared portal for shooting the ravenous hordes of the undead!

Feast upon the steampunky goodness and watch for updates - construction begins in the next month or so!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wait! But How...?!?

How is she supposed to know that Doctor Zombie is madly in love with her if she never reads blogs?!?

Crap. I'm going to need to re-evaluate this. How in the hell am I supposed to meet Winona Ryder, leave Mrs. Zombie for her, subsequently marry Winona Ryder, and have two children and a dog named Ethan Hawke -- if she never goes on the interwebs?

You know what this means, right? It means I'm going to need to take my unhealthy obsession with Winona Ryder to new levels of creepiness. I've been trying to avoid the whole crazed fan/stalker method because, truthfully, a restraining order would severerly hinder my ability to convince Winona Ryder to spend the rest of her life with me... but I need to do something.

But that's it... I'm going to have to go full on stalker.

You're breaking my cold, undead heart, Winona.

Dear, sweet Winona.

This makes me a very sad evil, mad genius... and when that happens I start toying with the idea of bringing my Orbitally Deployed Plasma-based Death Ray online. Hey! Maybe that's the answer! I can't be held responsible for the destruction and loss of property that will ensue... but I'm pretty sure it can be avoided if Winona would just call me.

What's that you say? Blackmail? Blackmail's such an ugly word. Consider it an inducement, a carrot dnagling from a stick for the world leaders out there. Bring me my beloved Winona Ryder, and I won't fry Cincinnatti like a kid with a magnifying glass sitting over an anthill on a sunny day.

Obsession's a scary thing, man. Now I'm off to the lab...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Movie Review - Lost Boys: The Tribe (2010)

Way back in August 2008, I reviewed the long awaited sequel to The Lost Boys. Sadly, Lost Boys 2: The Tribe, was a disappointment to me of colossal proportions. You can refresh yourself with the review by clicking here.

I explained in that review how integral a part of my life the original Lost Boys was. Back in the days before vampires were sad and glittery and actually fucking rocked(that's right, I'm looking at you Twilight!), this movie was the sum of all that was great about an 80's teen horror film.

I lived the original. It is - to this day - one of my favorite films of all time. And the sequel, The Tribe, quite frankly, sucked. It was basically a remake of the original, but with worse acting and a watered down script. All of the magic was gone. Corey Feldman made an appearance, as did Corey Haim, but it was an afterthought and felt like they'd been shoehorned in only because they were experiencing some resurgent popularity because of their pseudo-reality show.

I walked away swearing never again. Never again would I suffer the indignity of watching one of my cherished movie memories thrown upon the ground and repeatedly and viciously raped again.

Apparently, I can't keep any promises to myself.

I think time (two+ years by my reckoning) has dulled the pain and healed the wound of The Tribe's violation... which is how I found myself with a copy of Lost Boys: The Thirst.

I blame Corey Feldman Curse you, Corey Feldman.

And despite my misgivings (believe me, I put in this DVD and pressed play with all the uncomfortable flinching an abused wife does when she sets a plate of food in front of her drunk, redneck husband), there is redemption in this film.

Lost Boys: The Thirst finds Edgar Frog (Feldman) barely eking out a living as a retired vampire hunter. Allan (Jamison Newlander) his brother, has been turned into a vampire, and this film shows that pivotal moment in their past when the intrepid Frog brothers rescue a Congressman from a vampiric Senator. The story progresses to find Allan holed up in a warehouse, locked away and feeding on dead animals.

As the main exposition starts, we find Edgar facing foreclosure on his trailer in the coastal Californian town of San Casador,and he is forced to sell all of his comic books. While at the comic shop, we meet his friend and possible love interest Zoe (played by the geekishly delightful Casey Dolan).

The plot is moved along when Edgar is hired to rescue the brother of novelist Gwen Lieber from a band of vampires - led by a vampiric DJ named, ironically enough, DJ X. Gwen is British, hot, and played by Tanit Phoenix. She writes Twilight-like books about sad, emo goth vampires.

Fortunately for her and Edgar, DJ X and his posse happen to be coming to San Casador to host a rave. The vamps, meanwhile, are also turning the raving-attending youths into vampires by feeding them a new drug called Thirst. Thirst is, of course, vampire blood.

The movie quickly turns into an action vehicle for Feldman as he, Zoe, and Gwen take on the vampires on an island off the coast of San Casador. They are joined by a Bear Grylls-like reality TV star Lars (played by Steven van Niekirk) and his hefty cameraman.

That's this film's strongest point, by the way. The film's humor was self-referential and poked fun at the current state of the world. From making fun of the over the top idiocy of Bear Grylls, the stupidity of Twilight-type vampires, to even one point where Feldman points out that all reality TV is, in fact, not reality in any way. (It goes without saying that this was most certainly a comment/indictment on the scripted Two Coreys TV show...)

Plot-wise, this movie isn't exceptionally dense or serious. It is a direct to DVD movie about vampires and vampire hunters, of course. But this movie does what it's predecessor didn't do. It is about the Frog brothers and pays homage to the source material. Feldman still walks around all squinty with a bad Sam Elliot meets Clint Eastwood rasp to his voice, but he's actually given lines that weren't directly stolen from the original Lost Boys. Thankfully, Jamison Newlander gets very few lines. He, by the way, looks every bit of 40 something, and still can't act.

What's great is that the movie doesn't deny the existence of the inferior Lost Boys: The Tribe, but builds and improves on the mythology. We learn that Sam did indeed get turned, and that Edgar had to put him down. We learn that, because of his slaying of Sam - Michael and Starr want nothing to do with him. We learn that Laddie's grown up and married.

There's even a touching scene where Edgar visits Sam's grave and places a copy of Batman #14 on the grave. Lovers of the original will recognize this as the last one of the remaining 4 copies that Sam was always on the lookout for. It was especially poignant because I'm certain the scene was filmed very shortly after Haim's untimely death and Feldman does right by his late friend by making him a part of the movie.

Unlike the original, this movie is by no means a movie about vampires. In fact, the vampires in this movie are forgettable and lack the screen presence or acting chops of either of the Sutherland boys who played the previous vampy incarnations. Although they were only incidental to the story -- I do have to give the film kudos for portraying their vamps in a cary un-Twilight-y way. The vampires are closer to the jagged teethed 30 Days of Night vampires... which is always always always the right way to go with vampires. Not all sad and mopey and fucking glittery.

Fuck Twilight and what it's done to the modern idea of vampires.

The blood and gore were well done and copious, and the effects were good... although they borrowed heavily from Blade and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with their 'exploding into ash' vampire kills.

All in all, this was a good movie and makes me feel glad I took a chance on it. As I've gotten older, I've become much more pragmatic and I know that there is no way any movie will ever capture the magic of the original Lost Boys... especially a direct to DVD outing that is relly just a means for Corey Feldman to pay off his vegan ex-wife, Suzie Feldman. But it's a great homage to the original and was made with the best of intentions. It - in some small way - redeems the suckfest that was Lost Boys 2... and actually establishes a base for a possible sequel.

By the way. Just so we're clear... fuck Twilight.


"Fucking Edward. I oughta stake you myself, bitch."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Really?!? REALLY?!?

Just saw this news item and had to comment on it.

Brian Fuller - the brilliant guy behind Pushing Daisies, is working on a pilot for a remake of The Munsters. Guillermo Del Toro is looking to be involved somehow.

Really?!? REALLY?!?

Wow... I'm experiencing all kinds of emotions about this. Part of me is pissed off because - just like the rest of Hollywood - nobody has any fucking original ideas. You are talking about a show that I grew up watching, a show that shaped me into the ghoulish dork I am today. This show was a perfect amalgamation of the funny and creepy and I watched it every chance I got growing up. From that awesome surf-rock theme song,to Fred Gwynne's William Shatner-esque overacting, to the ever scheming Grandpa, to Yvonne Decarlo in her sexy pre-goth fright wig, to Eddy Munster and Wolf-Wolf, and lest I forgot - George Barris' greatest creations - The Dragula and The Munster's Koach, this show was 60's television perfection.

And I'm sure they'll fuck it up. (Anybody remember the LAST time they tried this? It was a lame and shitty show called The Munster's Today that starred none of the original cast, and was from the late 80's? Talk about fucking with a beloved childhood memory!)

On the other hand, part of me is wildly excited about it. A return to 1313 Mockingbird Lane has the potential to be actually good. Everything Del Toro touches turns to gold. Hellboy, Pan's Lanrynth, Blade II, even Mimic and Chronos -- he never fails to disappoint. And his upcoming adaptation of Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness promises to be fucking awesome...

(Photo shamelessly stolen from!)

Hell, I'm in the middle of reading his new novel, The Strain, and it beautifully reworks the tired trope of your standard vampire novel. It succesfully mixes the out of control spread of a vampiric disease ala Matheson's I Am Legend with the precision and incredulity of a medical suspense novel. Throw in Del Toro's twisted interpretation of a vampire (believe me -- they're not all capes, widow's peaks, afraid of crosses and garlic, with tiny, petite, little fangs... these are brutal creatures better compared to those of Steve Nile's buzzssaw-teethed 30 Days of Night vamps.)

So I'm torn. Will it suck, or will it be several degrees of awesome?

Please don't let it suck.

Curse you Guillermo Del Toro. Curse you...

On a related note... I keep seeing previews for the Halloween premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead. I am sooooo fucking excited to see this. I'm positively orgasmic about it. I'm nearly sexually aroused at the idea of a weekly zombie series on a cable network .

That's right... vampires beware... I have a stake in my pants!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Movie Review - Deadgirl (2008)

Lately, the zombie genre's almost become a parody of itself.

Very rare is it that a zombie movie can stand on its own without devolving into the same old cliches that we've all seen again and again.

I'd heard good things about this movie, and I am happy to say I wasn't disappointed! Deadgirl is just the type of movie that breaks the mold, and does so in a new, great way.

An indie filmed in Australia, Deadgirl is the personification of every zombie fanboy's wettest dream. Two high school misfits skip class and decide to go drink some beer in the local abandoned insane asylum. In the basement, the make a horrible discovery.

Chained to a bed in a forgotten room, they find the naked body of a dead girl. Imagine their surprise when they realize that she's not - in fact - dead, but undead.

And that's the interesting part of this movie. The movie becomes a study of the evil and horrible things we as people are capable of. From the speculation of who did this to the girl, and why is she in the basement... to the conflict the main characters face when they find her.

The question becomes: What do you do if you're a horny teenager, and are given this almost miraculous opportunity to have your own slave girl to do with what you want? She's dead after all, and nobody knows she's there. You can't hurt her because, again, she's dead. And she's kind of hot in a an early Sugarcubes version of Bjork way?

Is it rape if she's dead?

What do you do?

In the case of our intrepid heros, JT and Ricky, whatever you want.

The movie is an examination of mysogyny and morality that, sadly, most of the characters fail miserably at. Rickie, is our conflicted hero in that he knows what they are doing is wrong, but is still drawn to the forbidden release that the dead girl represents.

JT - on the other hand - dives full on into the debauchery and grotesqueness of having his own moving, albeit bad smelling, Real Doll.

I do want to say that this is not a zombie porn, or anything like that. There is sex, and rape, but it's handled as an aside to the conflict and moral juxtaposition the main characters find themselves in. The dead girl, played by the actress Jenny Spain, does spends the entire movie naked, which takes some acting guts.

JT and Rickie have a secret girlfriend that they can do anything they want to sexually. They can stab her, cut her, beat her, or do anything their darkest desires dictate; provided they can keep her a secret.

Of course, it's only a matter of time before others find out about their secret and, as more and more people find out, the zombie goodness kicks in. The school bully and popular kid gets bit by the dead girl and becomes a zombie himself. Rickie tries to find love with a normal girl, and fails miserably, and JT takes up residence in the basement of the hospital, dressed like Hugh Hefner at his own twisted Zombie Bunny Ranch.

This is one of the best zombie flicks I've seen in a while. It was well told, was faithful to the genre without falling into the trap of triteness and camp, and was truly a masteful horror film with a moralistic bent.

The gore was superb, the horror was of the queasy, "I can't believe I'm watching this" kind, and all of the technical bits were perfect. I mentioned before that this was an indie film, and - truthfully - it kind of had to be. Movies like this don't get made by the mainstream, commercial studios. It's movies like this that make me well and truly believe that the indie market will be the savior of horror films in general. For every ten or twenty shitty direct to DVD crap-fests out there, you get the occasional one-off brilliance of films like this.

The moral conflict, coupled with great acting and great scripting, make this a must see for true fans of the genre.

That said, this movie does have a very sexual undertone and may not be for those who would only consider themselves casual fans of the zombie genre.

DOCTOR ZOMBIE'S RATING: 5 out of 5 Chomped Brains!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Every Evil Genius Has a Lair!

Just some quick pictures and a rare look into my creepy lab, deep beneath the Midnight Theater of Terror!

I mostly wanted to give you a look at what I'm currently working on. Unfortunately, my stock of terrified and chained up college coeds, as well as painfully inept zombie minion/lab assistants has been running a little low... so no lurid pictures.


So, without further ado... and as they say on MTV Cribs... this is where the magic happens!


We'll start with the entrance to my Lab... off the back of the kitchen, descending into creepy darkness, you have the long stairwell that, truthfully, is the last thing many of my victims will ever see!

At the bottom of the steps you have the only current holding of the Doctor Zombie Museum for the Preservation of Velvet Art. That's right... I've a velvet Clint Eastwood painting. It's at the bottom of the steps, covered in cobwebs because Mrs. Zombie flat out refuses to hang it anywhere else in the house. I have no idea why. It is a beautiful rendition of The Man With No Name and it seems such a waste where it is, viewed only by the spiders, those things with a million legs that creep me the fuck out, and me when I'm doing laundry. I should say that the painting was actually a gift from my father when I went away to college. He'd bought it at a garage sale and, oddly, my mother refused to let HIM hang it as well. Anyway, it hung proudly in every apartment and house I lived in during my singledom... but was then relegated to the Lab of Terror when I moved in with Mrs. Zombie. The woman has no appreciation for art.

No dank lair is complete without a beer fridge. Notice my hillbilly decoration -- every time I get beer wit ha cool label or beer that I really like, I tape some packaging to the side. Nice! We actually live in a century home in beautiful Downtown Willoughby and we have a huge front porch where I have the primary beer fridge. This is the backup auxilliary beer fridge because you've got to be prepared. With enough beer. In case the zombies come. I'm just saying...

Now we come to the reason for this little visit into the horrid underbelly of Doctor Zombie's evil abode. What's that in the bottle?!? It looks... erp!... like blood! Dear dark Pagan gods! What are you doing Doctor Zombie?!? What horrible, loathsome thing are you doing?? Is it some sort of mad, evil science project? Are you transferring the blood and viscera of your latest victim?!? Gasp!

Maybe we should take a closer look, because it can't be what it looks like!!!

Oh, crap! That doesn't look much better?!? What is that foul matter floating on top? And where does that length of surgical tubing go?!?!?!?

That's right! I'm racking my latest batch of mead! wOOt!

Fooled you, huh? It's actually a recipe called Bat's Wing Blood. It's a dry, sweet mead that uses two pounds of Strawberries, two pounds of blueberries, and a pound of blackberries. I'm excited about this batch because it - true to the recipe - is thicker and blood red. My onlyregret is that I didn't start it earlier so that's it's ready for Halloween. Alas, it'll have to be a Christmas or St. Patty's day bottling.

Thats all right, though. My initial taste found it to be dry, with little sweetness and very little fruit flavor. I'm hoping it'll sweeten up as it ages... fingers crossed. I do have to say that I had about a quarter of a pint glass full and it went right to my head. Alcohol content is going to be awesomely high with this batch... which is a result of using champagne yeast. Champagne yeast has a higher alcohol tolerance and will make it, seriously, rock your world.


And... what better way to make mead in the fall then to get oneself buzzed up on fresh mead dredgings and then top it off with a New Holland Ichabod Pumpkin Ale while waiting for it to transfer between the carboys. Ahhhh..... fall.....

Hope you enjoyed the small tour of my lab, dear reader. Unpleasant dreams!

Ohhhhh! I seriously would like to expand my velvet art collection. If you have ANY old velvet art laying around in your's or a family member's place... I would love to acquire it. SERIOUSLY. I will someday open the Museum for the Preservation of Velvet Art and will totally treat it as a donation for the betterment of the arts. Also, keep an eye at garage and tag sales. Please. I really need to expand my collection!


Fall Shenanigans

Well, it's fall once again. It's Dr. Zombie's favorite time of year. It's apple cider, autumn leaves, pumpkins, Great Lakes Brewery Nosferatu lager, thunderstorms, and Halloween.


One of the other inevitabilities of autumn is it's the time of the year when Doctor Zombie's thoughts turn to the age old Zombie family tradition of dressing in camo and wreaking bloody havoc andvengeance upon the vast armies of raging, furry, woodland creatures.

That's right - it's hunting season.

The funny thing is that I'm actually not allowed to mention what is known in the house as the "H-word" until September 1st. Mrs Z hates the annual bow hunting trip, the annual Deer Shotgun trip, the Christmas Eve morning small game hunt, the January muzzleloading trip and the big Spring Turkey trip... with a passion. This year will be even worse because I'm doing a lot of travelling for work. I will, seriously, be in Tampa the beginning of November, go bowhunting two weeks later, come back for a week and a half, go Shotgun hunting, come home for 3 days, and then go to a conference in Chicago.

Mrs. Z. will not be happy.

Add into that the fact that ZombieBoy will start hunting this year, which means I'll need to go a few additional weekends with him to teach him what he needs to know. He won't be going to deer camp yet. I don't think he's ready for that. Besides the fact that we drink quite a bit (at night and only after all weapons have been secured - we're not idiots), we're also a pretty profane bunch.

That and we've been known to have lapses in judgement that I'm not ready to expose my son to yet. I've detailed one of those escapades earlier in my recounting of the time my father and I almost died while simultaneously sinking my Jeep in a raging river.

But there've been many other incidents. For instance... the time I almost blew my dad up.

Sit back, dear reader, and reaad about the idiocy of Doctor Z...

So, at deer camp a few years back we were sitting around the fire at dusk. We were bored and -- as usually happens, we were having a conversation about important stuff, like how to take care of the beaver dam at the bottom of the meadow on our property.

There was some talk about a backhoe, and some tow chains, but I was convinced that a flare taped to a 25 pound propane tank would do the trick. For safety, we'd of course shoot it from a distance with a rifle, but that was the only way to go. I was of course overruled, but to this day I'm convinced this was the best option. I mean who doesn't want to shoot a propane tank with a high powered rifle, watch it explode in a brilliant burst of fire and concussive waves, and then cheer as a beaver dam lets loose in spectacular disaster movie syle?!?

But I digress... any way, as this was going on, I realized that I had brought something I needed to dispose of. As my deer camp buddies discussed the logistics of unengineeering a beaver damn - that RIDICULOUSLY didn't involve the application of high explosives - I pulled out half a can of Pyrodex black powder.

You see, I'd bought a new inline muzzleloader that took the pellets, so I didn't need the loose powder anymore. I told my dad I didn't need it, showed it around, and one thing led to another... we started throwing capfuls of the blackpowder into the fire.

It would flare and flash with satisfying intensity and the lizard part of our male brains soon turned to more shenanigans. Any man who tells you he's mature and responsible is lying because -- when he gets a few belts in him, there's no woman around, and there's explosives of any kind involved -- we will ALL immediately revert to immature, dumb 10 year olds.

And that's where we found ourselves.

I should preface with the fact that we were done hunting, it was evening, and we had only one or two beers in us at the time...

Anyway, the throwing of a capful at a time soon wore off as it inevitably should, and that's when I said, "We should run a long line and light it, like in the cartoons. We'll Wile E. Coyote it!"

Famous last words...

At the time this seemed like a good idea. This is one of those 'good' ideas that is usually preceded by the statement, "Here, hold my beer. Watch this!"

And as we all know, that never ends well...

We set in motion our plans to re-enact the actions of a cartoon character who, if we'd thought about it, should have served as a dire warning. We moved away from the fire a good thirty feet as we were at least sort of thinking about safety, and my dad began pouring the line of Pyrodex. The plan was to go for a twenty or so foot line and leave the can at the end. When we lit the opposite end, we'd stand behind a tree and watch the awesomeness of the resulting combustion.

At least that was the plan.

My dad had a ten foot or so trail poured and was still holding the can when when an errant spark jumped out of the fire... and hit the end of the trail

Faster than any mere human can react - the flame raced up the line of Pyrodex, jumped up into the air, and into the can.

I was ten feet from my dad when it happened and didn't even have time to yell a warning. There was a blinding flash of fire, a billowing cloud of smoke, and an earsplitting explosion.

My first thought was, "Fuck. My dad's dead. My mom's going to kill me when I have to tell her that Dad blew up."

The smoke slowly cleared to reveal my Dad, his face and jacket black from the explosion, and his white hair sticking straight out from the sides of his head. The cartoon comment from earlier seemed oddly prophetic because he looked like Wile E. Coyote after getting snookered by that damned Road Runner. His eyes gleamed white from his gunpowder darkened face like one of those old time racist minstrels in black face.

"Wow. That was stupid." he said, in a masterpiece of understatement.

The aftermath? He split the skin on two fingers and had a bruise where the can had blown backwards into him -- less than an inch from his junk. On a cool note -- you know the shape of a Pyrodex can? Sort of like a big Spam can? Well, the explosion sucked it inside out and made it as round as a soup can.

So. Lesson learned? Will my father and I stop doing dumb stuff when we've a few belts of Irish whiskey and beer in us?

I doubt it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Some Web-Comic Goodness

So I'm getting ready to head out of work and ride the Harley over to Valley View. I'm meeting up with some fellow Cleveland Zombie Squadders to see the lovely Milla Jovovich kick some zombie ass in glorious 3D.

But before I did that, I wanted to mention two web comics I've come across that I absolutely love!

I lament the fact that I can't draw a straight line to make a stick figure because I'd love to do something like this. In fact, I've toyed with the idea of putting together an animated web series a few times, and I know I could write something brilliant for it, I just lack the ability to handle the art end of things.


Anyway, check out these great comics. Way cool!

The first is Dead Winter.

It tells the story of Lizzy Cooper - a waitress who finds herself surviving the zombie apocalypse with some fellow odd characters. There's her girlbro, Alice; the hitman Blue Monday; and their plumber friend Lou.

Well written, incredibly well drawn, and absolutely engaging.

I do have to say though, if they don't resolve the issue with Mr. Cuddles the kitten and reunite him with Lizzy - I'm going to murder someone!

Next up... we have the awesomeness that is The Zombie Hunters.

Much more serious in tone and look, this series has a different take on the idea of the zombie apocalypse. In a post-apocalyptic and dystopian world, the survivors are split into those who are infected, and those who aren't. Much like Romero's Land of the Dead, the infected are second class citizens and they are sent into the wastelands to scavenge among the throngs of ravenous undead.

What's cool about this series is that the author has made her own unique world where you have several different kinds of zombies beyond the usual shamblers. You have Hunters who stalk their living prey, Spitters who share their infection with big pus-filled loogies, and Basilisks who trap their victims with a ghostly, otherworld stare. There's an entire list of zombie types that turn the genre on its ear.

Like I said, it's more serious and somber, but it is fun and funny too.

Check these out when you get a chance! I - of course - disavow any responsibility for lost time and/or productivity due to your reading these awesome comics!

Enjoy, dear reader!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zombie Mecca

Q: "So what did YOU do on your summer vacation, Doctor Zombie?"
A: "I only went to the coolest fucking place on the planet!"

So yeah... Mrs. Zombie and I took last week off and did a little vacation before the kids went back to school. We got a hotel in Pittsburgh and spent a day at Kennywood - an amusement park just outside of Pittsburgh.

I was cool with it, and told Mrs. Zombie so. Even though I was going to have to deal with crowds and waiting in line and the unceasing brutality of August sunshine (The sun is trying to kill me. The bastard.)...

I was fine with it because, when she started planning the trip, I told her that I would swallow my hate for other people, fight my general antisocialness and gamely tolerate the unwashed masses... if we made one stop while in Pittsburgh.

She was almost sorry she said yes.

You see, no self respecting zombie film fan would DARE go to Pittsburgh without making the pilgrimage to that most holy of holy zombie-related places -- the Monroeville Mall.

That's right, dear reader... I went to the very same mall where the father of the modern day zombie movie filmed his classic 1978 Dawn of the Dead. I was in geekish heaven!

The funny thing is, I was certain she'd never go for it... but she indulged my idiocy and gave in. (I suspect when she realized that I was asking to go to a mall - in a state where there's NO sales tax - she was much more likely to acquiesce, but whatever, dude. I went to the fucking mall of malls!)

So after a short hop into suburban Monroeville PA, we rolled up on the awesomeness of Zombie Mecca. We were on a holy pilgrimage, even though we were in Pittsburgh, which is the most unholy of places to any self respecting Browns fan. As I said many times during the week, we were truly pilgrims in an unholy land! But I digress...

So, while Mrs. Zombie and WolfGirl perused the likes of such stores as Justice and Bath and Body Works.... ZombieBoy and I ran around like the total geeks we are, snapping pictures and making fools of ourselves.

We arrived 15 minutes before the mall opened and this pleased me immensely as the gates were down in all of the stores, especially at the JC Penney. I snapped a couple quick pictures of the Penney's as it appeared in Dawn of the Dead. I even took a picture of myself in front of the very side where Peter, Roger, and Flyboy went in and out.

While I was running around, waxing nerdy about the awesomeness of being in the fucking mall where Romero filmed Dawn... and before the stores opened... Mrs. Zombie and WolfGirl wandered around trying to get a wireless signal so that Mrs. Zombie could update her Facebook page to say where she was and that her husband was acting like a big, geeky child. Alas, she couldn't get a signal...

One cool point... the comic book store at the mall, Toy Galaxy, totally embraces the cinematic history of the mall. The have autographed pictures, a "maul of fame" with bloody handprints and autographs from various stars of zombiedom, t-shirts, movie posters, and even a small exhibit in the back devoted to all things zombie. They have a great staff and host various zombie themed events throughout the year. Definitely stop in if you ever make the pilgrimage, you won't regret it.

So… the tour begins!

Mall Interior

Much of the mall has been remodeled, but the original 70's style skylights remain.

Another shot of the skylights. In the movie, our intrepid heroes peer down through these when they first land on the mall of the roof...

The fish pond. The original fountain is long gone, but this pond remains with some big hornking carp in it.

Me on the bridge over the pond, imagining the awesomeness of a biker falling from the upper level into it...

A carousel now stands where the original clocktower was. Next to the carousel is Toy Galazy and (gag!) a Steelers store.

One of the escalators that the zombies rode up and down on...

Some copyright infringement in the mall! Posted mostly so I could cross post over at Zombie Squad and let them know that - even at the Monroeville Mall - their shit's being ripped off!

Ice Rink

The ice rink is long gone now and has been replaced by a food court.

JC Penneys

A shot of the Penney's store, gates down and everything. This is pointing twards the corner that Roger, Peter, and Flyboy went into... and where Flyboy lost his rifle.

A long shot of the Penney's...with ZombieBoy providing some perspective....

A picture of me in the aforementioned corner. This is right in front of the spot where Fran sat looking at the sad zombie...

The world's most famous escalator? I think maybe!

Close Up of the elevator. I guess at one point they had those antislide things in the middle to prevent people re-enacting the scene where Peter slides down... but they're no longer there.

And... on that note... me pretending to slide down the escalator! : )

Myself and ZombieBoy, sharing a father and son moment...

A shot of the escalator from the top floor!

Long shot of the Elevator where Flyboy met his gruesome demise...

The old 70's style script and electronics of the elevator.

The elevator downstairs...

Boiler Room

The hallway leading to the boiler room... there's a bathroom at the end and ZombieBoy had to go, so I snapped a shot of him making his way down the hallway. Then I realized that, in my excitement, I need to go too... good thing because, at the end of the hallway, the entrance to the boiler room was open. I stepped past the Authorized personnel Only sign and snapped the following two quick shots. I jumped back out and hit the head!


The entrance we went into the mall at. Actually, this lead to the hallway right above the former clocktower site. I was just jazzed becasue the sign said Monroeville Mall.

The Dock. It figured prominently in the movie.

Parking lot shot. There were several shots of this in the movie, but the view has changed considerably (the strip mall with the Dick's Sporting Goods is relatively recent.)

Another shot, looking East from the dock. The road that the bikers came down is immediately to the right of this picture, but the picture I took of it - sadly - didn't come out.

Toy Galaxy and the Monroeville Zombies Exhibit

The awesome zombie themed exhibit at the back of the store. It's free, but they'll accept donations. I threw in a couple bucks and then bought a Monroeville Zombies t-shirt as well to support the store. The staff - as I said - was cool and my shirt was rung up by a cute and friendly Goth chick (I know, friendly and Goth are oxymorons... but it's true!)

The sign says it all... I do think the reflection of myself and ZombieBoy in the glass is kind of cool...

I'll admit it... I eagerly await the day I can see an actual paper with this headline!

ZombieBoy and I in front of a mannequin of Bill Hinzman's original Night of the Living Dead graveyard zombie.

Maul of Fame shot - Ken Foree's autograph.

Maul of Fame - Tom I'm-Fucking-Awesome Savini!!!

Maul of Fame - "They're coming to get you, Barabara!"

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! I have one final thought...