The Undead News Thread (20090630.03)



Arrow in the Head just released more movie stills from the up-and-coming Zombieland with Woody Harrelson. I still think this looks like one of the better horror/comedies coming out in the next year or so. Remember, even Bill Murray is making a cameo as a zombie. The new stills are just below.

"In a world overrun by zombies, a guy described as 'the most frightened person on Earth' looks to find refuge and bring a band of people to safety." Zombieland stars Woody Harrelson, Mila Kunis, Amber Heard, Jessie Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, and even Billy Murray as a zombie.

You can check out the first batch of stills I posted here and the Zombieland trailer here.







Source: Arrow in the Head

The Undead News Thread (20090630.02)

Night of the Creeps

"Fans of Fred Dekker's 1986 cult favorite NIGHT OF THE CREEPS have a chance to influence the packaging for what is undoubtedly one of the most-anticipated genre titles ever to hit DVD. Amazon.com is giving you a chance to vote for one of three possible covers for the DIRECTOR'S CUT (pictured below), which hits DVD on October 20th. Amazon.com is already taking pre-orders for $17.99, which includes a price guarantee - If they lower the price, you get the best deal."

"Night of the Creeps is a 1986 horror film written and directed by Fred Dekker. Night of the Creeps stars Tom Atkins, Jason Lively and Jill Whitlow. The film is notable as an earnest attempt at a B movie and a spoof of the genre. While the main plot of the film is related to zombies, the film also mixes in takes on slashers and alien invasion films."

I, personally, think all three of the covers suck. I agree with other fans, that they should have just kept the classic one sheet as the cover, instead of fucking up the Director's Cut cover to this cult legend. Regardless, I'm still excited to see that this is finally getting its due with a DVD release. Click here to vote for which pile of shit looks less like a pile of shit than the other two.

Source: Fangoria

Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead, #7-12 (Miles Behind Us)

"The Walking Dead is an American monthly black and white comic published by Image Comics beginning in 2003. The comic was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore (replaced by Charlie Adlard from issue #7 onward) and chronicles the travels of a group of people trying to survive in a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse.

"The Walking Dead is centered around Rick, a small-town police officer from Cynthiana, Kentucky, his family, and a number of other survivors who have banded together in order to survive after the world is overrun with zombies. As the series progresses, the characters become more developed, and their personalities shift under the stress of a zombie apocalypse. Fighting growing despair — and sometimes each other — the group searches for a secure location which they can finally call home."

Rick finds his family, and best friends Shane near Atlanta, just like he suspected, and living with a group of survivors. But the happy reunion doesn't last long. After a few turn of events, causing a growing body count, the remaining survivors decide it's finally time to leave their encampment and seek out a safer, more permanent shelter. This time around, secrets are being revealed, and new ones are being kept. Not too long after losing a few friends, a small group come into contact with the survivors and decide to tag along. This proves to be a blessing in disguise, giving the group a much needed helping hand.

I can see this comic is just going to get better and better as time goes on. Kirkman has rooted this tale deep in character, and the development of these apocalyptic survivors is the most important aspect he plans to flesh out. This is horror in top form, and I'm definitely along for the ride.

Best quote: "He's gotta stop shitting on us sometime, y'know?"

The Undead News Thread (20090630.01)

Untitled Yoshihiro Nishimura Project

"Japanese filmmaker/makeup FX artist Yoshihiro Nishimura has tackled all sorts of genre staples and given them his own bizarre spin in his features, from the mutants of TOKYO GORE POLICE to the modern variations on traditional creatures in his new VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL. While presenting the world premiere of the latter at the currently running New York Asian Film Festival, Nishimura revealed he’ll be tackling the walking dead next.

"'I’m going to work on a film where high-school girls go around running over a bunch of zombies,' he said. 'You heard it here first! I think it will be lighter, but also bloodier than TOKYO GORE POLICE.' Anyone who’s seen the latter knows that’ll be quite a feat."

I can't say that I've ever seen any of this man's work, so I'm not sure how to predict or anticipate his next project. I guess I need to get to watching his other movies.

Source: Fangoria


Weekly Video: 30 Second Bunnies - Night of the Living Dead

Film Review: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Directed by George A. Romero, written by George A. Romero and John A. Russo, and starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, and Judith Ridley.

"Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 independent black-and-white horror film. Ben and Barbra are the protagonists of a story about the mysterious reanimation of the recently dead, and their efforts, along with five other people, to survive the night while trapped in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse.

"Chaos descends upon the world as the brains of the recently deceased become inexplicably reanimated, causing the dead to rise and feed on human flesh. Speculation rests on a radiation-covered NASA satellite returning from Venus, but it only remains a speculation. Anyone who dies during the crisis of causes unrelated to brain trauma will return as a flesh-eating zombie, including anyone who has been bitten by a zombie. The only way to destroy the zombies is to destroy the brain. As the catastrophe unfolds, a young woman visiting her father's grave takes refuge in a nearby farmhouse, where she is met by a man who protects her and barricades them inside. They both later discover people hiding in the basement, and they each attempt to cope with the situation. Their only hope rests on getting some gasoline from a nearby pump into a truck that is running on empty, but this requires braving the hordes of ravenous walking corpses outside. When they finally put their plans into action, panic and personal tensions only add to the terror as they try to survive."

Made on a $114,000 budget, this is, arguably, where it all began. It's the one that started it all. It's kind of like the first one, that started biting and spreading the infection. Even to this day, Living Dead stands the test of time. The Library of Congress has even since placed it on the National Film Registry as a film deemed "historically, culturally or aesthetically important." Night of the Living Dead has had a more substantial influence on the modern zombie archetype than any other zombie movie ever released. Even still, the movie cause a tizzy and considerable controversy in its release, due to its extreme graphic nature (well, for its time). The MPAA hadn't been established until later that year, meaning that the movie received no rating, thus allowing any person of any age to see it. "I don't think the younger kids really knew what hit them", complained Roger Ebert. "They were used to going to movies, sure, and they'd seen some horror movies before, sure, but this was something else." Even though Roger Ebert criticized the matinée screening, he admitted that he "admires the movie itself."

There are also a few inconsistencies in the film, namely the representations of running and walking zombies, the fact that some of them use rocks and other objects as blunt objects, and that they fear fire when they shouldn't feel pain at all. It's still creepy as hell, with low-budget cinematography and the classic black and white adding to the scare. This flick frightened people to death back in the day, and though may seem a bit cheesy today, is pure nostalgia now. I'll give Romero tons of credit for his early work. He did some amazing, creative things. I just don't approve of how everyone believe he created the undead and is the final authority on the definition of a zombie. Technically, White Zombie, in 1932, was the first true zombie movie (which I've already reviewed), and even before that, you could argue that Mary Shelley technically created the first zombie with Frankenstein's monster in 1818. But it's not his fault people are ignorant. His guilt lies in his own delusions of superiority, namely in the cases of his dispute with co-writer John Russo's attempts to make his own sequels to their story.

"Return of the Living Dead sparked a legal battle with Romero, who believed Russo marketed his film in direct competition with Day of the Dead as a sequel to the original film. In the case Dawn Associates v. Links, Romero accused Russo of "appropriat[ing] part of the title of the prior work", plagiarizing Dawn of the Dead's advertising slogan ("When there is no room in hell [...] the dead will walk the earth"), and copying stills from the original 1968 film. Romero was ultimately granted a restraining order that forced Russo to cease his advertising campaign. Russo, however, was allowed to retain his title." Hence the reason Romero's sequels no longer feature "Living Dead" but simply "Dead" in the titles, as opposed to Russo's "The Return of the Living Dead" sequels. He has also since, in interviews, shown his distaste for any zombie movies deterring from his own "zombie rules" mapped out in his movies. All this aside, you can't deny the legacy left by Night of the Living Dead, and its now four sequels. This is horror in top form and should be revered. Since the copyright has since expired, you can watch the entire movie for free right here on YouTube. And I don't care what anyone says, the ending is absolutely perfect.

Best quote: "Well...the television said that's the right thing to do."
And of course: "They're coming to get you, Barbara."

Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead, #1-6 (Days Gone Bye)

"The Walking Dead is an American monthly black and white comic published by Image Comics beginning in 2003. The comic was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore (replaced by Charlie Adlard from issue #7 onward) and chronicles the travels of a group of people trying to survive in a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse.

"The Walking Dead is centered around Rick, a small-town police officer from Cynthiana, Kentucky, his family, and a number of other survivors who have banded together in order to survive after the world is overrun with zombies. As the series progresses, the characters become more developed, and their personalities shift under the stress of a zombie apocalypse. Fighting growing despair — and sometimes each other — the group searches for a secure location which they can finally call home."

Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead is a planned epic, in true masterpiece fashion. According to Kirkman, "It's the zombie movie that never ends." To be honest, some of the fans are right. It does start out a bit like 28 Days Later, with the main character, Rick, waking up in an empty hospital in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Wounded in a gun fight and left in a coma, he wakes to find his home town completely abandoned and his wife and son nowhere to be found. So he raids his police station for guns, ammo, and a police cruiser, and sets off for Atlanta, hoping to find them at his in-laws'.

Kirkman says, "George A. Romero's movies are the zombie bible," and it shows in his work. They are slow-moving zombies, in which the cause of the dead coming back to life hasn't been revealed yet, and the whole comic is in black and white (other than the covers). But instead of a straight horror comic, Kirkman has written what he considers a drama unfolding during a zombie invasion. His story lies in character development rather than shocks and scares. So far, I've found myself quite pleased with his work, and this first story arc only serves as a basis for what is sure to be a very long, engaging story. Kirkman also says that if he had it his way, he'd continue The Walking Dead until he dies. While that's very unlikely, one assurance to his fans is that he doesn't plan on turning over the writing to anyone else, which is usually where comic books go awry.

Best quote: "This? This's a scratch. Just a scratch..."


The Undead News Thread (20090627.01)

The Eaters

"The Eaters is a 2009 independent horror film directed by Katie Carman. The film stars Elizabeth Lee, Jun Naito, Ivy Hong and Chesley Calloway. The film's World Premiere is scheduled for June 26, 2009 at the Anthology Film Archives. A Brooklyn band, General Malacarne, is practicing when once again, the power goes out. Little do they know that this blackout is unlike any other, and that while they relax and smoke up in the basement, everyone above ground is being transformed into vicious, undead eating machines. THE EATERS follows the band's journey out of post-apocalyptic Brooklyn to the imagined safety of Long Island."

This looks halfway decent, probably somewhere along the lines of Automaton Transfusion, but with a little humor. So at least it won't take itself too seriously.

Source: Cold Hands Productions

Short Film Review: Thriller (1983)

"Michael Jackson's Thriller is an almost 14-minute long music video for the song of the same name released on December 2, 1983 and directed by John Landis who also co-wrote the screenplay with Jackson.

"Thriller was less a conventional video and more a full-fledged short subject or mini-film: a horror film spoof featuring choreographed zombies performing with Jackson. The music was re-edited to match the video, with the verses being sung one after the other followed by the ending rap, then the main dance sequence (filmed on the 3600 block of Union Pacific Avenue in East Los Angeles) to an instrumental loop, and finally the memorable finish: the choruses in a 'big dance number' climactic scene. During the video, Jackson transforms into both a zombie and a werecat (although makeup artist Rick Baker referred to it as a 'cat monster' in the 'Making of Thriller' documentary); familiar territory for Landis, who had directed An American Werewolf in London two years earlier. Co-starring with Jackson was former Playboy centerfold Ola Ray. The video was choreographed by Michael Peters (who had worked with the singer on his prior hit 'Beat It'), with Michael Jackson. The video also contains incidental music by film music composer Elmer Bernstein, who had previously also worked with Landis on An American Werewolf in London. The video (like the song) contains a spoken word performance by horror film veteran Vincent Price. Rick Baker assisted in prosthetics and makeup for the production."

I was going to eventually review this 14-minute music video, but in light of Jackson's untimely death, I figured this would be the best opportunity to do so. Born in Gary, Indiana, few have achieved the level of success as the King of Pop. Even the Guinness Book of World Records considers him to be the "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time" with 13 Grammy Awards, 13 number one singles in his solo career, and the sale of 750 million albums worldwide. He is also one of the few artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.

As far as the actual video goes, the short story is material from the great horror films, even including the voice of Horror King Vincent Price. The make-up and sets are highlights as well, though nothing can hold up to Jackson's presence and mastery of footwork. The real show starts when the dead rise from their graves (with Price's voice heard), surrounding the couple, and Jackson himself becoming a zombie. Thriller's dance sequence and costumes have inspired many others in movies, namely Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 13 Going on 30, The Wedding Singer, Shaolin Soccer, Beverly Hills Cop, Return of the Living Dead Part II, and Dead & Breakfast (which you can find the video of in my earlier review). Very few zombie movies can capture the creepiness Michael conveys with his eyes during this sequence, and you just can't help but love Thriller. The shorter version is up top, but you can watch the full version here.

Best quote: "Any similarity to actual events or persons living, dead, (or undead) is purely coincidental."

Book Review: The Zombie Survival Guide

"The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead, published in 2003, is a tongue-in-cheek survival manual dealing with the potentiality of a zombie attack. Its author, Max Brooks, lays out detailed plans for the average citizen to survive zombie uprisings of varying intensity and reach.

"The book is divided into six separate chapters, a fictional list of attacks throughout history and an appendix. The first chapter is entitled 'The Undead: Myths and Realities'. It lays down the specific ground rules that are referenced repeatedly in the book. The first of these describes 'Solanum', the fictional virus that creates a zombie, along
with details on how it is spread (such as through an open wound, when coming in contact with infected blood or saliva), and treatment of the infected (suicide or amputation). The second chapter, 'Weapons and Combat Techniques', discusses the weapons at the average reader's disposal and weighs them against the various threats that may be faced during confrontations with the undead. The third chapter, 'On the Defense', focuses on how to turn residential or public building into a base.

"The fourth chapter, 'On the Run', discusses the rules and
necessities of traveling through zombie-infested territory. Chapter five, 'On the Attack', specifically deals with engaging ghouls to ensure their destruction. The sixth chapter, 'Living in an Undead World' looks at survival during a doomsday scenario that would see zombies becoming the dominant species on Earth. The guide concludes with a fictional list of documented zombie encounters throughout history. The Appendix takes the form of a sample 'Outbreak Journal', with the author noting a covered-up zombie outbreak being seen on the local news and the preparation steps he takes in the event that the outbreak worsens. The following pages are blank entries, for the reader to use as a basis for their own journal; their inclusion furthers the overall feel that the book is a survival guide to a life-threatening possibility."

Max Brooks, known all too well as the son of director Mel Brooks and the author of World War Z and even a staff writer for Saturday Night Live, packs together anything and everything you would (will) ever need to defend yourself in a zombie apocalypse. This guide is utterly invaluable if you plan to survive. Just like a hooker and her pimp, you and this book should never be too far away from each other, because you never know when you'll need the protection. According to the New York Post, The Zombie Survival Guide is "a tome you start reading for fun and then at page 50 you go out and buy a machete just to be on the safe side."

What Brooks doesn't go into detail on is combat manuals, field manuals, cook books, etc. He tells you that all of those skills are encouraged, but should already be considered a given in a world overrun by zombies. The only kind of book Brooks denounces (as far as help against the undead goes) is home security manuals, due to the fact that most are built upon the idea of police showing up after triggering an alarm, which won't do any good at all. The police will be busy or already (un)dead.

Brooks also denounces the fast and the voodoo zombies, which is fine by his personal preference, but technically limits the value of the information contained. Considering he published that his zombies are actually "infected" with a virus (the fake Solanum), which has become the commonly accepted cause of a rage-infected zombie (effect), then it seems a bit odd he would model his ghouls after that of Romero's (Night of the Living Dead). It's a small matter though, since surviving in a Boyle (28 Days Later), Snyder (Dawn of the Dead 2004), and O'Bannon (The Return of the Living Dead) zombie-infested world would be practically impossible.

Survival advice and techniques aside, the humor and satire laced throughout, along with the numerous line drawings, make this book one hell of a read. If you have even the least bit of interest in the living dead, I wholly recommend this. My own copy is actually a bit waterlogged, from fighting zombies in a lake (not entirely true), so don't count on your copy being waterproof. Now I just need to get around to reading his follow up, World War Z. I'm so damned lazy.

Best quote: "Ignorance is the undead's strongest ally, knowledge their deadliest enemy. Personal choice, the will to live, must be paramount when the dead begin to rise. The choice is up to you."


The Undead News Thread (20090626.01)


"An early announcement to retailers indicates that Genius Products and The Weinstein Company are set to release Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's GRINDHOUSE on Blu-ray on August 11. No edition details are available, other than this would be a two-disc set, but it may well be the theatrical Grindhouse double feature.

"If true, this would be the first time that the entire presentation has been available for home viewing in the U.S. (sans Cable broadcasts). A 6-disc DVD collection was previously released in Japan, and included all of the faux trailers along with a host of bonus features. With the added capacity of the BD format, it's very likely that we could see this material show up here.

"Wal-Mart.com is now taking pre-orders for a 2-disc Blu-ray set for August 11th - showing an MSRP of $34.98 ($23.86 actual), AND they're taking pre-orders for a 3-disc DVD set listed for December 31st, with an MSRP of $29.95 ($19.86)."

Japan got a 6-disc set, and all we got were two separate, barely any bonus content DVDs sold individually? What a bunch of shit. This is still more along the lines of rumor than anything else, but it does seem to be likely. I reviewed Planet Terror a few days ago, and obviously I loved it, but I felt that Death Proof only had a good opening first half, and the second half fell through. I thought the movie in general was just boring. Hell, the climax happened at the halfway mark. Regardless, the fake movie trailers were a definite highlight in Grindhouse. And even though you can view all four of them on YouTube, it'd still be cool to actually see them on a DVD. Here's the trailer for Machete, by Robert Rodriguez, who had so much fun filming it that he made 40 minutes of it and has decided to go back and finish it for a DVD release on its own.

Source: Fangoria

Short Film Review: The Deadening (2007)

Directed by Dillan Nicholls, written by Andrew Jones and Mark Jones, and starring Mark Jones, David Kay, and Claire Rigby.

"It is not behind you... It is within you." This nine minute short is about as low budget as it gets, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The entire short focuses on a man after he has been bitten by a zombie, and his dwelling on the events that led to it, and his dealing with the change. The star has no dialog, actually, and any words said throughout the movie are by others (TV reporter, 911 operator). I felt that the first six minutes or so crept along at a slow pace. Having the man "remember" the attack two or three times was not necessary. Where the short does succeed is in its final minutes, with the man sitting in front of the TV where a reporter is talking about the outbreak, and that if one of your family members has been bitten, the best thing you can do is put them out of their misery before they change. And slowly we see the man change during this, whether willingly or not. You can watch the short film right here at FEARnet.

Best quote: None.


The Undead News Thread (20090623.02)


"Pontypool is a 2009 Canadian horror film directed by Bruce McDonald and adapted by Tony Burgess from his own novel Pontypool Changes Everything. Shock jock Grant Mazzy has, once again, been kicked off the Big City airwaves and now the only job he can get is the early morning show at CLSY Radio in Pontypool Ontario, which broadcasts from the basement of the small town's only church. What begins as another boring day of school bus cancellations, due to yet another massive snow storm, quickly turns deadly when reports start piling in of people developing strange speech patterns and evoking horrendous acts of violence start piling in. But there's nothing coming in on the news wires. Is this really happening?

"Before long, Grant and the small staff at CLSY find themselves trapped in the radio station as they discover that this insane behaviour taking over the town is actually a deadly virus being spread through the English language itself. Do they stay on the air in the hopes of being rescued or, are they in fact providing the virus with its ultimate leap over the airwaves and into the world?"

Pontypool released in March (in Canada). I guess I completely missed another one this year, though technically "director Bruce McDonald stressed the victims of the virus detailed in the film were not zombies, calling them 'Conversationalists.'" Regardless, it's a very interesting concept, and one I'll be checking out once I find it. Here's some screen caps and the movie poster:








Source 1: The Walking Dead Fan Club
Source 2: Tribute

Short Film Review: Zombie-American (2005)

Directed by Nick Poppy, written by Nick Poppy and Ed Helms, and starring Ed Helms.

"Meet Glen. Glen (Ed Helms of The Daily Show) likes to read, do crosswords, and play basketball. He's on the lookout for a girlfriend. Oh, and one other thing-Glen is a Zombie-American. This educational documentary will help audiences understand the challenges zombies face in our society. As a plea for tolerance, it aims to clear up many of the terrible stereotypes and misconceptions we have about zombies. It is the filmmaker's hope that this film will help people understand that zombies are just like everybody else...if everybody else is a walking, talking, rotting corpse."

I love Ed Helms. Actually, since The Daily Show went full-on political a couple of years ago, and lost or stopped using a lot of their great anchors (like Samantha Bee), Helms is one of the few left that I actually like on the show. In this eight and a half minute short, with Helms as a zombie, the mocumentary puts a spin on the age-old zombie tale. It has a few laughs in it, though at times (just like The Daily Show) they seem to be trying too hard. I wonder, actually, if they would have served themselves better by extending its length, allowing more time for them to introduce something deeper than surface laughs. Then again, maybe I'm being too critical on a short film that doesn't even reach nine minutes. You can watch Zombie-American right here at FEARnet. On a side note, Ed Helms was one of the four friends in the fucking hilarious The Hangover.

Best quote: "Another stereotype that's out there is 'all we eat are brains.' Bullshit! I like a ham sandwich now and then."

The Undead News Thread (20090623.01)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

"Carrie Ryan's young adult zombie novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth has just been sold to Seven Star Pictures, the studio behind Kristen Stewart's upcoming movie K-11. The novel, which was published in March by
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, has been an instant hit with critics and book bloggers. It tells the story of Mary, a girl living in a small village bordered by a fence to keep out the Unconsecrated -- savage zombies intent on destroying the town and everyone in it. Add a little bit of romance and a gutsy female heroin, and you've got a teen thriller to rival Twilight. Rumor has it that an A-list actress is tipped to star in the movie (could it be Kristen Stewart?), and a first draft of the screenplay is being written as soon as possible."

While this might be considered undead news, that doesn't make it good news. I haven't read any of this woman's books, but dumbing down zombies and writing a preteen girls story about flesh-eating corpses is practically sacrilegious. And casting anyone associated with Twilight is criminal. Then, to top it all off, she added some cheesy, high school love story, which I'm sure is more in the foreground than the zombies themselves. Sometimes I pray for a real living dead apocalypse. If Darwin was still alive, I bet he would, too.

Source: ReelzChannel


Film Review: Planet Terror (2007)

Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, and starring Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Naveen Andrews, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, Rebel Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, and Bruce Willis.

"In a rural town in Texas, go-go dancer Cherry Darling (with a leg/machine gun), decides to quit her low-paying job and find another use for her numerous 'useless' talents. Cherry's ex-boyfriend, El Wray, at the Bone Shack, a restaurant owned by J.T. Hague, a group of military officials, led by the demented Lt. Muldoon, are making a business transaction with a scientist named Abby for a deadly biochemical agent known as DC2 codename 'Project Terror', but when Muldoon learns Abby has an extra supply on hand, he attempts to take Abby hostage and Abby intentionally releases the gas into the air. As gun-legged Cherry Darling and one man wrecking crew El Wray try to save the world from a horde of flesh-eating zombies.

"Robert Rodriguez first came up with the idea for Planet Terror while making The Faculty. He told Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett that zombie movies were about to come back in a major way. He wanted to be there first when it happened so he prepared a script. But he only got as far as 30 pages before he got stuck for ideas. And when he got attached to other projects, the zombie craze happened just as he predicted. Rodriguez later commented, 'I knew I should've made my zombie movie.'"

A biological gas is accidentally released turning a bunch of people into zombies. A group of people band together and try to stop them. This was half of the Grindhouse pair of movies released (the other being Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof), and this being Robert Rodriguez's answer to the almost forgotten exploitation era, and was just as good as I thought it would be. The special effects are top notch, the dialog is cheesy, and the characters are great. It's so over-the-top that you can't help but love it. Seriously. There's even a "missing reel" that they replace with a scene from another movie. The acting is dead-pan and perfect, especially Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Jeff Fahey, and Robert Rodriguez's brother, Freddy.

There's a lot of cameos, too, including Bruce Willis, since Rodriguez has a hell of a lot of friends, and it also (cleverly) adds a nod that hearkens back to the same era when low budget movies would cast a big star in a small role and market the movie with said star, just to draw in the crowds. It's too bad that Grindhouse didn't do better at the box office, but that doesn't take away from the movie at all. It's a popcorn flick perfected, and that's all it was ever meant to be. It's probably the most fun I had watching a movie in a long time. It's not brain fodder, so don't expect it to be. This is exactly what a zombie movie should be. Just sit back and watch the reanimated dead get their shit kicked around, shot up, blown up, and run over by big ass trucks. Did I mention how wonderfully violent it is?

Best quote: Dakota-"Tony, if anyone comes up to the door, I want you to shoot them. Just like in your video games: shoot them in the head." Tony-"What if it's dad?" Dakota-"Especially if it's your dad."

The Undead News Thread (20090622.01)

Fear Itself

In almost creepy timing, considering I just found out about this show, which was canceled last year, apparently Lionsgate stated today that they: "will issue the NBC horror series FEAR ITSELF on DVD in September. All 13 episodes of the show will be included in this release, including five that never made it to broadcast when it went off the air last summer.

"FEAR ITSELF will be a four-disc set, streeting September 15, packaged in a special collector’s-edition skeleton-tombstone case, containing Stuart Gordon’s 'Eater,' Breck Eisner’s 'The Sacrifice,' Mary Harron’s 'Community,' John Landis’ 'In Sickness and In Health,' Brad Anderson’s 'Spooked,' Ronny Yu’s 'The Family Man,' Darren Lynn Bousman’s 'New Year’s Day,' Larry Fessenden’s 'Skin and Bones' and the unaired episodes: Ernest Dickerson’s 'Something With Bite,' Rob Schmidt’s 'The Spirit Box,' John Dahl’s 'Chance,' Rupert Wainwright’s 'Echoes' and Eduardo Rodriguez’s 'The Circle.' Four of them (unspecified as of now) will be director’s cuts presumably containing footage too graphic for network airing, and each will be accompanied by a featurette with cast/director interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. MSRP is just $29.98."

That's actually a very decent price, considering each episode's runtime is 40 - 45 minutes in length. I reviewed New Year's Day yesterday, and I just watched Eater (pictured below) tonight, before finding out about this, and if the rest of the series is this good, I'll definitely be picking this up. You can watch most of them at FEARnet for free, just like New Year's Day yesterday.


Source: Fangoria


Short Film Review: Fear Itself - New Year's Day (2008)

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, written by Steve Niles, and starring Briana Evigan, Cory Monteith, Niall Matter, and Zulay Henao.

"A young woman named Helen wakes up with a hangover to a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies." Sorry, no trailer; just a behind-the-scenes clip.

New Year's Day was the sixth episode in the NBC show Fear Itself, and originally aired on July 17th last year, New Year's Day packs a few heavies in horror. Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (the man behind Saw III, IV, and V, and Repo! The Genetic Opera), written by Steve Niles (the man behind the 28 Days Later comics, and the 30 Days of Night comics and movie), and starring Briana Evigan (from S. Darko and the coming Sorority Row), New Year's Day manages to pull off in only 43 minutes what most zombie movies can't in an hour and a half.

At its core the movie is less of a typical zombie that you're used to seeing these days. It's definitely not action packed. It goes more for the old shock and scare, and the drama of dealing with an epic epidemic in the early morning after the celebration of New Year's. Helen, the main protagonist, wakes up about four in the morning on New Year's Day, in the middle of a city overtaken by zombies, and she treks across the urban landscape, trying to reach her boyfriend's apartment. It's dark, creepy, and the episode has a great twist, with what might be minor plot holes, but not necessarily. The acting is decent, for what it needs to be, and the dialog is average, but at least it's never cringe-worthy.


My only complaint of the movie is Bousman's editing and love for shaky, almost-worse-than hand-held camera work. Even in its short time, there were parts that made me want to look away and heave. There were a couple of scenes that were far worse than the scenes in Cloverfield that everyone loves to bitch about. But if you can look past that, and you're not a whiny bitch, you'll enjoy it. And since I'm such a swell guy, you can watch the whole short film here at FEARnet.

Best quote: "It was you! It was you all this time! You did this! I know what you did!"


Online Game: GunGirl 2 Demo

"Zombies have taken over the world and you are the only hope for mankind. Kill them all or die trying! Features lots of weapons, power-ups, NPC's, quests and the most important thing: lots of zombies to splatter across the screen!"

It's not exactly online, but you can download the demo here. It's still not complete, so this is just the beta version. I've only played through the first three levels so far, but I can already tell I like this game. It reminds me of old-school platformer games, back from the run and gun days; games like the Contra series and the Metal Slug series. The best part? It's all made by one guy (or girl), 'Blue66' being the pseudonym used. The game is hardcore, and by no means easily done. Even the creator states in the 'readme': "This game is made for mature audiences. If you're a sissy-man, please do not play this game. Thanks."

Weekly Video: The Ultimate Zombie Survival Guide


Film Review: White Zombie (1932)

Directed by Victor Halperin, written by Garnett Weston, and starring Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, John Harron, Joseph Cawthorn, and Robert Frazer.

"The script by Garnett Weston features a young couple in Haiti, Neil Parker and Madeleine Short, who have been invited by a casual acquaintance, Charles Beaumont, to come to his plantation to be married. Beaumont, however, is actually in love with Madeline and hopes to persuade her to become his wife instead. Rebuffed, he approaches local white Voodoo master 'Murder' Legendre to temporarily turn her into a zombie, have her declared dead, send Neil back to the States in mourning, then revive her so that he can woo her anew. Legendre, however, has his own plans for the young lady, and for Beaumont. She is ultimately rescued from living death by her faithful Neil and a missionary named Dr. Bruner. Bela Lugosi's character is never identified as 'Murder Legendre' in the film. He is referred to by name once, and then only as 'Murder'."

Despite what you may hear to the contrary, George A. Romero did not invent zombies. Not even close. Not Sam Raimi with The Evil Dead, not Edward Wood Jr. with Plan 9 from Outer Space, and not even Ubaldo Ragona with The Last Man on Earth (being based off of Richard Matheson's novel, I am Legend, from 1954, which was also the prime inspiration for Romero, and recently being remade with Will Smith instead of Vincent Price). Thirty-six years before Night of the Living Dead, this classic, essential gem was released onto an ill-equipped public. Only, the zombies in White Zombie are based upon the old voodoo belief, instead of lumbering brain-eaters or virus-infected rage victims. White Zombie is not only the first movie to feature the undead, but also the first to call them 'zombies'.

I have wanted to see this for years, but hadn't ever had the chance. This was especially hard considering: "The film was thought lost until its rediscovery in the 1960s. A court battle was fought between film distributor Frank Storace and the estate of Stanley Krellberg, the copyright owner of the film. Storace had wished to produce a restored version of the film but the estate refused him access to original footage in their possession. Storace gave up the court battle and did not win his access to his original footage."


Definitely one of the defining features that helped raise White Zombie to cult status was its full musical score, which is something even Dracula and Frankenstein didn't have only one year before. White Zombie even inspired Rob Zombie to name his first band after it. This is also one of Bela Lugosi's defining roles, which he reportedly did for a mere $800. Lugosi's charisma is second to none, even to this day.

The acting is great all around, done in a time when acting and dialog held the movie together, before action, special effects, and CGI. Some claim Madge Bellamy's performance as the 'white zombie' was stale and wooden. I find this ironic, considering she is playing the living dead. I thought she did just fine as the first silver screen zombie. One of the key aspects in the movie is atmosphere. It's all about cinematography and subtlety in this one, and it makes for a memorable film. It's ancient history now, but more relevant than 95% of every other zombie movie made. I've posted the entire film below, found at YouTube, which is free under public domain by an expired copyright.

Best quote: "Before we get through with this thing we may uncover sins that even the Devil would be ashamed of."