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!