Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ahoy! Zombies Are Everywhere Now

I've already established my love of zombies, and now it appears they may be Disney-fied in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean 4 movie, On Stranger Tides.

Captain Jack Sparrow(Johnny Depp) appeared in a short trailer at Comic-Con introducing what moviegoers were likely to see from the House of Mouse. It includes "zombies, cut throats, mermaids and the vicious, vivacious Penelope Cruz," all on a quest for the Fountain of Youth.

With Disney's Haunted Mansion to also get film treatment, it should make for a handful of good, fun movies to enjoy.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Time Flies

Excuse me, but how did we get to the point where there are less than 100 days till Halloween? I guess only a haunter would be worried there's only a little more than three months to the holiday, but some of those best laid plans I mused over after last year's spooktacular -- Build a skull every other day! Make 3-5 groundbreakers! Build haunt walls! -- I'm faced with the reality that life does somehow have a way of intruding. I'm not even close to where I wanted to be.

But I shouldn't be too hard on myself. After all, while I didn't work as diligently as I had wanted to, I still managed to make two new papier mache corpses, a Stolloween-style dragon, a ScareFX rockin' granny, the mechanism for a flying crank ghost, 30 LED spotlights, a couple of tombstones, and this weekend I'll be completing a PIR motion sensor prop trigger. So I haven't been completely slothful. I've attended the NJ/PA Make-and-Take every month (though I missed the rafting trip) and I've gained some really useful skills that I never would've tried previously (soldering, anyone?).

And importantly, I do still have three more months to go before Halloween is here. Last year, in just one month's time, I was able to build two groundbreakers and a Monster Mud reaper, a bunch of PVC flicker candles, and a whole bunch of interior decor items (a menagerie of "witch jars," for example). I'm pretty sure I'll be able to make one or two MM props and a few more groundbreakers before I run out of time.

I think my grandiose plans may need to be scaled back a bit, but even if I don't get to everything, my yard haunt will have been taken up a notch again. Another block in the building process.

And there's always next year!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Waking the Dead

Ask and ye shall receive.

Just last night I said that if writers and directors took the zombie genre seriously we could build upon what we have in both the literary and theatrical field. Brad Pitt is making World War Z into a film and Mira Grant has written a thoroughly smart, entertaining book in Feed.

Now this morning, the iconic Pumpkinrot posted a link to a bootleg trailer of a new TV series(!) that is set to launch this fall on AMC called "The Walking Dead." As 'Rot urges, view this trailer ASAP because it's likely to be taken down from YouTube at some point, though it wouldn't surprise me if it turns out to be some sort of "underground" viral marketing campaign.

You should also look at it ASAP because the show looks simply awesome!

The Walking Dead is about a police officer leading a group of survivors looking for safety. In many ways, it follows a similar plot line from 28 Days Later in that the cop wakes up in a hospital after having been shot and after the world has been overrun by zombies. The zombies here, though, don't look to be the fast kind.

From the trailer, the zombie special effects are instantly recognizable from any number of zombie flicks you might have seen -- greyed out flesh, dark blood stains around the mouth, etc. -- but there are also a few otherwise original shots. For example, towards the end of the trailer, there appears to be a torso crawling towards someone and the face of a woman is partially skeletonized. For a TV series, it looks like it has excellent production values.

Here in my area of Bergen County, NJ, AMC is on Cablevision Channel 43, Dish Network Channel 890, DirecTV Channel 254, and Verizon FiOS Channel 201. You can find what channel it's on near you by using the handy "channel finder."

Happy viewing!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Zombie Apocalypse

Of all the various stories made for the horror movie genre, zombies are my favorite. When 28 Days Later created the "fast zombie," the highly kinetic infected that stood George Romero's lumbering undead on its head, I was really hooked. 28 Weeks Later was something of a let down, but I savored it nonetheless.

That's why when I read on Johnny Thunder's Midnite Spook Frolic that Brad Pitt was finally moving forward on World War Z , possibly as soon as 2012, I got pretty excited. For those that don't know, World War Z is a post-apocalyptic vision of the world that looks back through a series of interviews with those who lived through, the Great Zombie War. Although I would have liked it a lot more had it been written as a narrative, rather than in interview style, it was still a well-written tome. Seeing it on the Big Screen -- the Battle of Yonkers ought to be awesome! -- should be a worthy addition to the genre.

Having mentioned Romero, though, I'd like to say that the guy's career is over. Or should be. Has he made a worthwhile zombie movie in years? As a matter of fact, have any of his zombie movies since Night of the Living Dead really been worthwhile. I thought Dawn of the Dead was great -- but that was the Zach Snyder version, not Romero's, so no, Romero hasn't made a decent film in ages. And now that he laces them all with ridiculous political messages, they're just more of a mess.

But it's not just Romero, as most zombie movies suck, though I blame him for their proliferation. I think many directors simply followed his lead. While the fast-zombie has gained traction, and I've liked a lot of the films featuring them, I could easily accept slow-zombies again if the director treated the subject with respect. All too often it's a slap-dash effort, throw in a few heavily made-up actors groaning "braaaaains!" and they think they've got the right to charge $10 for a ticket.

It's why I'm hopeful a new book I'm reading will make it to the big screen one day. "Feed," by Mira Grant, is another living-with-zombies tale, but uses the popularity of blogging to relate it to today. As I noted on Johnny Thunder's site, it's reminiscent of when the Internet exploded in popularity in the early 1990's and one of the first movies rushed out to capture the zeitgeist was Sandra Bullock's "The Net." A horrible movie, but it did make $50 million.

Feed follows the travails of three bloggers assigned to follow a presidential campaign in the aftermath of the world's decimation following The Rising. It's told in narrative form, as I wish World War Z was, and Grant even gives us shambling zombies. So I'm not a fast-zombie snob.

If more writers and directors take the genre seriously, however, we can build upon the literature already out there, for good or ill, and have works that are worth reading and watching.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */