Thursday, October 28, 2010
So NBC's Community put out a zombie episode that was about what you'd expect from a comedy sitcom halloween special. The dean buys some questionable appetizers from army surplus for the school's halloween party and every one starts running a fever and biting people. Abed and Troy's costume is probably the highlight of the episode. I really liked this show last season, but as with many sitcoms the formula gets old and attempts to liven things up generally fall flat after being sprayed with too much cheese. Also, what is up with Lady gaga's Poker Face song, it got referenced in three or four shows tonight.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Just finished listening to World War Z and must say it is pretty awesome. The audiobook was abridged and while it kept a coherent story I still want to go back and read WWZ to flesh out some of the stories. The story about the resupply pilot who has to ditch her plane over infected territory was definitely the highlight for me. I won’t tell you what happens except to say that it pulled a few tears from these hardened eyes. As other reviews have stated, the interviewer’s narration is stilted and redundant with such excellent voiceacting, including John Turtoro and that guy from MASH, bringing the emotions to life. But don’t let this discourage you, he doesn’t talk that much. Another aspect that I liked is how Max Brooks has incorporated the real life zombie fighting tactics he discusses in his earlier work The Zombie Survival Guide. Apparently WWZ is coming to the big screen, Brad Pitt is starring and producing but we’ll have to wait until 2012 to see it.
For those readers who have anxiously been awaiting my Guide to Living with Zombies, I must bow down to those who have come before me and simply recommend Brooks aforementioned guide as it is vastly superior to anything I might come up with. Also you might want to peruse this article for some more info on surviving the first wave.
The armory is still in press though and will come out shortly after I review some of the more incendiary weapons. Stay Tuned.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
It's time to watch some good movies to get you in the Halloween spirit, here's my top ten Zombie movies.
10 Return of the Living Dead – This one’s on my list for two reasons first it truly scared the shit out of me as a kid. I lived near a cemetery and literally would not go outside at night if it was raining. The second is the tarman’s expression “BRAINS!!” Otherwise this is standard 80’s gore with the typical overstylized cliché punk teenagers battling to stay alive as the reanimated dead crawl from their graves in ever-increasing numbers.
9 I Am Legend – Not your standard zombie gore, but this still hangs in there with some of the best. The film’s focus on a single man struggling to find the cure is a welcome relief from the group mentality that is usually explored in zombie flicks. A great performance by man’s best friend and Will Smith’s epic battles with zombies, mental stability and a shortage of bacon make for a stellar cinematic experience.
8 28 Days Later – Often viewed as a game-changer in the genre, by replacing clumsy shuffling with fully athletic brain chompers. For me the method of infection, a “rage” virus, provides one of the most plausible and scientifically valid zombiefication scenarios in the genre. Unfortunately the sequel, 28 Weeks Later, elaborates on the “rage” virus theme by introducing a goal oriented zombie father stalking his children. The series is decent and deserves viewing for its slick production but both films fell somewhat flat for me.
7 American Zombie – I’m including this one for its creative use of the documentary style to portray the lifestyle of functioning zombies. In this world zombies coexist with humans as second-class citizens, serving as the perfect cheap labor source since they never sleep. The film crew follows three individual zombies and a non-profit that fights for zombie rights as everyone prepares for the annual zombie exclusive three day festival.
6 Dead Snow – Zombie Nazis, you knew it was only a matter of time before someone came up with it. Some Norwegian college students awaken a long dead Nazi brigade when they stumble upon their hidden gold while vacationing at a remote cabin in the middle of winter. Every time you think they’re all dead, a fresh batch of soldiers appears to keep this gorefest, action packed up to the end.
5 Night of the Living Dead – This 1968 black and white film by George Romero is credited with fathering the genre. It will seem slowly paced with ridiculous reactions by the survivors to the seasoned zombiephile, but you gotta know your roots. Romero continued to improve in his loosely connected set of sequels Dawn of the Dead/Day of the Dead/Land of the Dead and a viewing of his works provides an interesting look at the evolution of zombies through the decades.
4 Zombieland – The American Shaun of the Dead in my book. Somewhat spoofy and humorous but retains high value gore and realistic zombie activity. I love the footnotes style editing for the rules of survival. The movie gets a little weak with the old boy meets girl storyline, but is carried through with Woody’s love of guns, big trucks and his endless quest for a twinkie.
3 Dead Alive – Goriest film ever. Yeah its pretty campy, but the volume of blood in this one easily defeats the combined blood loss of all other zombie films. Some great stop-motion photography, the creepy uncle and Mother, and the lawnmower scene earns this on a spot with the greats.
2 Shaun of the Dead – The classic zombie spoof film. Everything from evasion tactics to weapon selection and killing infected loved ones is parodied as a group of friends attempt to head for the pub to wait out the zombie apocalypse. While humorous, the film avoids campy blood scenes and maintains relatively high gore standards.
1 Dawn of the Dead – The original isn’t bad, but it is a little slow for my modern zombie tastes. However, the 2004 remake tops my list. This film’s got it all; first class gore, think shotgun to the head in the parking garage scene, fast zombies, one of the best apocalyptic safehouses, group dynamics and mercy killing of the recently infected (new twist with the pregnant zombie), humorous killings by the sniper from across the street, action packed with chainsaw buses, and of course the classic ending.
Undead – Not sure if they’re really zombies, as its poorly explained as to what is really going in this film. But this lowbudget film kept me interested and is worth it for the opening scene with the old lady in the parking lot.
Quarantine/Rec – Just gonna mention this one because I’ve heard (haven’t actually watched it yet) that the original Rec is actually much better. Quarantine takes an interesting premise of attempts to control the initial outbreak as seen through the shaky camera work of a reporter on her first assignment. Zombies and gore were realistic, but there were so many chances to kill them early on and avoid getting bitten later that I got kind of pissed.
Grindhouse: Planet Terror Robert Rodriguez – Pure zombie porn, not in the disgusting way you’re imagining. No plotline that I can remember just hordes of the undead attacking the living and getting blown to pieces by a well armed biker gang and the army.
Thanks for checking out my list and let me know if there's any good ones I've missed.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I summited Mt. Thomson yesterday, 16 miles roundtrip, 5 pitches roped climbing great weather and stellar views.Unfortunately my buddy left his camera along the trail so no pics. He's going to go back and try and find it so hopefully I'll post a complete trip report with photos in the future, but in the meantime the zombies are back, how are you going to deal with it?
Guide to Surviving the First Wave
Emotional detachment: The surest way to die is to help an infected loved one. Once bitten they are DEAD. Crying and begging are simply reflex actions, like chickens running about after losing their heads. As painful as it is you must exterminate all zombies. Just remember that your zombie mother is actually the one who murdered your mother, exact your sweet revenge. If you can handle that you’re prepared for the ensuing zombie killing spree.
Zombie Weak Points: Two words: Head Shot. The sooner you start following this rule the better. All information shows that the only way to “kill” a zombie is to damage the remaining brain matter. Removing limbs might slow them down, but you’re wasting ammo because you’ll have to finish the job when they start crawling after you on their arms. Zombieland’s “Double-tap” policy is a good idea as well. Determining if the zombie is dead is difficult considering the state of decay and getting close enough to actually check is dangerous. Just shoot them one more time in the head.
Get somewhere safe: If you’ve got the skills and equipment it’s time to head for the hills. Barricading yourself in proves to be a temporary measure at best, and often a fatal one. The best thing to do is to get away from everyone, zombies and humans. The zombies will likely stay in the urban areas as that is where the food will be and most likely lack the motivation to pursue outdoor recreation activities. College kids its time to go home, your dorm is going to turn into a non-stop rager, except with brains, not booze on the menu. If you’re attending out of state, staying on campus might be your only option, but you’re going to have to get creative. The rec center should have some sports equipment you can use as weapons, also try the anthropology dept. Cafeterias should have large stocks of canned goods.
Keep a well-stocked emergency supply: You could go out all and have a bomb shelter packed with 2 tons of MRE’s, but let’s be realistic. Store a few gallons of water and have a filter and purification tablets. The drinking supply may be the original source of infection. I think the important thing is to have a cupboard full of canned goods so you can last about a month without having to forage. Think about it, there will be lots of folks who didn’t have supplies stocked up rushing out to infection points like large public shopping areas. While the mall proved a successful stronghold in Dawn of the Dead, grocery stores will certainly be dangerous early on. Flesh eating zombies will be attracted to the raw meat, but only until it runs out or completely rots in a few weeks. Not only will you have to fend off zombies that but things might get ugly when greedy looters fight over supplies, let them shoot it out and get chomped on while you enjoy Chef Boyardee for a few weeks. If you can sit out the initial mob, foraging will be much safer.
Own some weapons: More to come on this in the Armory post, but heres the basics.
Guns: you don’t have to have an arsenal, but owning a gun will greatly increase your odds of survival. Shotgun or pistol is your best option.
Melee: Even with a gun, a good old-fashioned beating stick is absolutely essential for when you run out of ammo. Think baseball bat, crowbar or riot baton.
Blades: Unless you are a samurai master or medieval Scotsman, stay away from fancy katanas and broadswords. Stick with a machete if you want to do some chopping, a simple flick of the wrist will easily sever limbs and decapitate. Anything shorter is going to put you inside the biting radius.
Avoid safe zones: These are just like cattle feed lots, you might think everything is all good but there is only on inevitable outcome: the slaughterhouse. This is not the time to rely on the government to protect you, especially since they were probably somehow involved in the initial infection. The large crowds will only attract zombies. Even if security is strong enough to repel actual zombies, more than likely a recently bitten person will get through, turn into zombie in a few hours and then everyone is screwed. Also if the military is at all smart these will just be roundups so they can exterminate any potential infecteds including you.
Congratulations you are now in the elite group of remaining humans known as Zombie Apocalypse Survivalists. Check back soon for a more detailed guide to Living in the Zombie Apocalypse.