Tag Archives: Zombie

THE WALKING DEAD walks into Dumb Movie Land

Movies make people dumb.

Not the people watching movies, unless that movie happens to be TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN PART 5 or whatever, in which case yes, your LSAT scores will never be the same.

No, I’m talking about characters in movies.

Characters in books sometimes do stupid things, but not usually. Put that same character in a movie and they turn into absolute idiots.

This is true for romantic comedies (bumbling fools in love!), action movies (no henchman can shoot, and no heroine or sidekick can avoid getting kidnapped by the villain) and especially horror movies, which deserve a post all their own.

If a person with a functioning brain cell rattling around their skull wouldn’t go into the spooky abandoned house where people keep disappearing, you can bet the movie character will march right in. Does the hot young teenager know that a serial killer is chasing down and killing hot young teenagers? Well, she should definitely wear high heels and fall down six times while the psycho chases her.

There are websites dedicated to listing the stupid things that movie characters do.

However: I want to pick on THE WALKING DEAD, a zombie shebang that’s on the Glowing Tube.

As a fan of zombies, I am aware of this show, and though I haven’t watched every flipping episode, I kinda keep track of things by recaps and reviews and such. It’s a good show and not at all stupid.

So why did a smart show have their characters get so idiotic in the big series finale?

Here’s the setup: the non-zombie hero peoples are holed up at some farm, and the big finale is a battle that happens when the zombies show up, en masse.

What made me want to throw things at the YouTube clip is how the zombies happily marched across the fields and surrounded the farmhouse.

No, no, no.

If you or I are hanging around a farmhouse during the zombie apocalypse, the zombies won’t ever march up on us from every direction. Why? Because we’ll get busy, real quick, using all the tools and equipment that any decent farm has the second we arrive there and take inventory of the place.

First thing we do is fire up the tractor or backhoe and dig a long ditch around the farm.

Second thing we do shove the dirt we dug up into a berm, a rough wall. So they fall in the ditch, and if by some zombie magic one of the undead gets out of the ditch, he’s gotta climb a wall.

Third thing we do is put a barbed wire fence on top of that berm.

Fourth thing we do is find some fuel and make Molotov cocktails.

If there’s a working tractor, this sort of thing takes a day or two.

And it’s worth it, because now a single Farmer Joe type with a flipping .22 rifle can stand on top of that berm and pick off zombies all day while he sips moonshine. Because there’s no way a horde of zombies is magically getting past the ditch, the wall and the barbed wire. It’s not happening.

Zombies can’t climb.

Instead, the heroes of THE WALKING DEAD go on foot (to get nom-nom-nommed) and drive around in cars trying to blow away zombies. Which isn’t smart, either. Shooting from a moving vehicle may look cool, but you have a much better chance of hitting a moving target when you’re not bouncing around, too.

Bottom line: If you really want to survive a horror movie / zombie apocalypse, please use your noggin first and your trigger finger second.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

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Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Glowing Tube, Zombie apocalypse

WORLD WAR Z by Max Brooks

Any fan of zombie movies — or action movies, horror movies and war movies — should be interested in WORLD WAR Z.

It has zombies. It has action, horror and a world war. If this novel isn’t epic, then I don’t know what epic is.

WORLD WAR Z by Max Brooks

WORLD WAR Z, as in Zombies, by Max Brooks. Best zombie book ever? Maaaybe. Soon to be a movie? Yes, with Brad Pitt. Epic? Definitely.

The book is laid out as a series of interviews by a United Nations researcher, documenting the global war against zombies.

It bounces around from character to character, country to country, though the book is basically organized into sections: the first hints of zombies among us, the Great Panic, then humans getting their act together — after false starts and setbacks — to finally win the war.

WORLD WAR Z - movie concept art 1

Concept art from WORLD WAR Z pre-production. The end isn’t near — it’s already here.

As a reader and a zombie fan, I enjoyed it. This wasn’t a book that sat beside the bed for a month. I read it straight through over a couple nights.

As a writer, there were things to fix. Having so many characters was a big risk. Max Brooks obviously researched every location and culture in the story, and clearly he wanted to put all that research to use on the page. It’s a little much in spots, and he doesn’t pull off every character. It’s hard enough to be the authentic voice of one character for an entire novel. He tries to do it for 5.8 bazillion characters.

WORLD WAR Z concept art

More concept art from the planned WORLD WAR Z movie.

HOWEVER: That is nitpicking. This is a great story and a ton of fun.

Some scenes will stick with you. The full might of the U.S. military being crushed by the sheer numbers of millions of zombies at the Battle of Yonkers. The desperation and courage of a Japanese man trapped in his apartment tower, full of zombies.  A soldier’s tale of how the humans finally learned to beat the zombies not with amazing technology, but with hard work and old-fashioned military strategies, as two lines of soldiers — one firing, one reloading or resting — form a square box and shoot for days until the piles of dead zombies became a wall of corpses twenty or thirty feet high.

WORLD WAR Z is now a movie, with Brad Pitt starring and Marc Forster directing, though movies are notoriously squishy. They get announced and switched around and delayed. It’ll be fun to see this story on the big screen.

Here is Max Brooks talking about the history of zombies. He is interesting.

Shots of bourbon: Four and a half out of five.

Sidenote: If you haven’t read Max Brook’s ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE, it is not only hilarious and entertaining, but shockingly practical. No matter what style of apocalypse you favor, that book would probably get you prepared.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Zombie apocalypse

JUAN OF THE DEAD, the epic Cuban zombie movie

Zombie movies are inherently good.

Movies with subtitles are typically depressing and bad, and only watchable when you’re in college and think that French existentialism is amazing, that you should wear a black beret and smoke Gallouise Blondes the rest of your life, which will be spent in a cafe in Paris, sipping coffee and eating pan au chocolat as you discuss politics and philosophy with other intellectuals, never mind the fact that YOU DON’T SPEAK FRENCH.

paris cafe

Just like this, except Jean Paul Sartre and Hemingway are also here, bumming smokes and asking for your opinion about their latest work of genius.

There are two exceptions to the Law of Subtitles.

The first is DEAD SNOW, a Norwegian movie that isn’t just about zombies (yes!) but Nazi zombies (double yes!).

The second exception is JUAN OF THE DEAD, a Cuban zombie movie that isn’t afraid to pile on the craziness.

As a public service, if you haven’t seen DEAD SNOW, here’s that trailer, too.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, The Big Screen, Zombie apocalypse

Survival Sunday: The world’s first zombie-proof house

Are you ready for the zombie apocalypse?

The most impressive architects in the world are KRK Promes of Poland, who not only designed the first Zombie-Proof House in the world, but actually got the sucker constructed.

This thing is seven separate types of awesome. I bow down to their genius and kiss their blueprints.

zombie proof house 2

Every home has weaknesses. If you’ve watched your required quota of zombie movies, you know that windows are the worst. Zombies go through windows like a hot knife through butter. Doors aren’t much better. Ten zombies pounding on the door for five minutes and it’s a pile of splinters.

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Zombies need shooting.

This home is surrounded by a tall wall with a sturdy gate. And once you button it up, it’s only accessible via the drawbridge on the second floor.

zombie proof house 1

The Zombie-Proof House, fully buttoned up and ready to face endless hordes of the walking dead. I AM IN LOVE.

Look at that. Those aren’t thin metal shutters or bars over your windows. Those are massively thick cement walls securing the first floor.

Related:

Zombie movies are NOT standard horror movies

Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

9 Comments

Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Zombie apocalypse

Surviving the coming zombie apocalypse

Are you prepared?

The zombies hordes are coming. It’s just a matter of time. Maybe not today, though it is Halloween. It could happen next month, when some egomaniac scientist at a giant pharmaceutical company creates a retro-virus that cures cancer, and death, with the little side effect of turning you into the walking dead.

Preparing for the zombie apocalypse can be fun and useful. Having a stockpile of basics like food, water filters and ammunition will serve you well if (a) giant asteroids smash into Australia and turn the planet into a snowglobe, (b) some idiot dictator decides to start playing global thermonuclear war or (c) the bird flu makes sweet love to the swine flu and turns into the 99 Percent of People on Earth are Dead Flu.

Are you ready for the zombie apocalypse? Go get ready. DO IT NOW.

(Click over here to read Zombie movies are NOT standard horror movies. Then come on back for more deep, intellectual pondering of zombie flicks.)

Also, zombie movies are just fun to watch.

So let’s talk, you and I, about why zombie movies are so popular while you think about how woefully unprepared you are for any sort of disaster. What if the power went out right now – do you even know where the flashlight is, and some batteries that actually work?

FIRST: It’s always fun to imagine an apocalypse because that means there are no rules. You can do whatever you want. No police, no prosecutors, no jails. Total freedom. Need some groceries? Hop on down to the grocery store, shoot a few zombies wandering around the aisles and load up on all the canned food you can find.

SECOND: Zombie movies are completely unlike other horror movies, where it’s the Boogeyman who gets to have all the fun. In zombie movies, the heroes get to dish it out just as much as the zombies. They get to blow them up, dismember them with chainsaws and beat their zombie brains out with whatever croquet mallets or golf clubs are handy in the Sports Authority at the mall.

THIRD: Shooting zombies is a huge part of the appeal of zombie movies. DAWN OF THE DEAD had an entire scene where they played zombie chess by shooting zombies.

And this leads us into something deeper and all meaningful or whatever. Shooting things and blowing stuff up is fun. HOWEVER: We are trained from birth to not hurt other people, because if we ran around shooting and blowing up other people, we’d be in prison, and in Hell, if that’s your thing. Even if religion is not your thing, it’s morally repugnant to get your kicks by hurting people at all, much less setting treating them like zombies.

Men who got drafted to fight in World War II had trouble firing their rifles at other human beings, even though they were Nazis, because they knew killing people was wrong. This feeling was so strong that even when they were getting shot at, many soldiers didn’t fire their rifles, because killing other people was wrong. It’s good they have these instincts. Otherwise, we’d be a bunch of savages.

zombies superheroes

What could be more fun than plain old zombie hordes? A whole bunch of zombified superheroes, thats what.

The percentage of soldiers who shot at live human soldiers on the other side went up in other wars, such as Korea and Vietnam, when they started having soldiers fire at human silhouettes instead of bull’s eyes.

This is why war propaganda portrays the enemy as cartoonishly evil subhumans, and why soldiers in every war have slang terms for the other side that dehumanize them. It cuts down that barrier.

With zombies, there’s no barrier. They’re not other human beings. They’re already dead. Zombies are unthinking monsters that you are supposed to blow up, decapitate or set on fire, because if you don’t, they will eat you and every other person you know and love. There’s no negotiation. There’s no chance for diplomacy. Kill or be killed.

And that’s why zombies movies are fun. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel bad watching stupid action movies with insane body counts. The evil bad guy, fine, he deserves it. His 5,932 soldiers for hire, they’ve got moms and wives and little kids, right? Not cool.

Dead Snow — Ded Sno is the Norwegian spelling — gives you Nazi zombies in the snow, and it amazing. Fire up the Netflix and watch it today.

I don’t feel bad watching zombies go boom, though it is required by law for a character in a zombie movie to come face-to-face with a wife, husband, son or daughter who got zombified, and they can’t bring themselves to put the zombie down, and it’s the only time in the movie when you might get something stuck in your eye.

Otherwise, it’s a free-for-all. In regular horror movies, you can shoot the Boogeyman with a .357 magnum, stab him in the chest or plant six pounds of C-4 in his tighty whities, and he’ll still keep coming back. You will not get anywhere. It’s frustrating, and to me, it’s cheating. I mean, come on. How many times have Jason, Freddie and every other horror movie villain been killed and resurrected?

Zombies don’t cheat. They play fair. Though the heroes usually die anyway, at least they have a fair chance, and they get to romp around the apocalyptic wasteland, taking whatever they need and doing whatever they want until the zombie horde catches up and goes nom-nom-nom.

Darth Vader reading Harry Potter

The only way zombie movies could be better is if Darth Vader stopped reading Harry Potter, took out his lightsaber and started wading through the zombie hordes. Who would win? I’m putting some paper decorated with dead presidents on the Dark Lord of the Sith.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Zombie apocalypse

Zombie movies are NOT standard horror movies

Zombie movies are epic and wonderful and far, far superior to the Standard Horror Movie featuring horny teenagers getting mowed down by the Boogeyman or silly scientists who create genetically modified super-sharks which, of course, escape their tanks and EAT EVERYONE.

People — especially those who wear tweed and like to talk about “dialectical materialism” all the time — tend to lump together horror movies as simple B movie trash, including zombie movies.

They are wrong.

Zombie movies are NOT like your Standard Horror Movie.

(1) They are better.

(2) They feature zombies.

(3) Zombies rock.

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Zombies need shooting.

Seriously: zombie movies are different. Let’s pry open the skull of movie goers — and people who read Stephen King and other horror novels — to see what’s going on. Will we eat their brains? No. That would be undercutting the job security of zombies.

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Zombie apocalypse

Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?

2002 Hyundai Elantra simply refuses to die. Comes in any color you want, as long as it’s black. Invisible at night. Unflinching in the rain. This automobile eats gas and spits out miles.

Automatic transmission and cruise control, with airbags out the wazoo.

Comes with an Obama bumper sticker and Smith & Wesson wheel grips, both removable, by why? It’s already perfect for a liberal who packs heat and needs cheap, reliable transportation. You can roll down the window and drive with one hand as you shoot zombies, if there are zombies to be shot, and you can do it IN THE SNOW, because for some reason, the Epic Black Car flies over snow with total control.

History

This auto has travelled 165,000 miles without a major hiccup. That’s like circling the world a bunch of damn times without exploding.

It was lovingly constructed in 2002, right when Hyundai stopped making crap and started producing cars just as reliable as Toyotas, but without the extra feature of uncontrollable acceleration to 8.35 gazillion miles per hour, followed by a rousing smash against a highway underpass.

The Epic Black Car can hit 8.35 gazillion miles an hour in a controlled fashion and bring you to a nice gentle stop, because it has new tires and brake pads, and because it likes you, unlike other cars that try to kill you like a horse bucking off a rider or a bull shark biting your body in half, when all you’re doing is swimming along in a black wetsuit that makes you look exactly like a seal.

Standard features

It’s got a stereo with CD player and speakers that go to 11, air conditioning for the four days a year that it’s hot in the Pacific Northwest and wiper blades and a unique waterproof ROOF for the other 361 days when it rains.

It’s got bucket seats and floor mats, a glove box that nobody puts gloves in and a cigarette lighter thing that does not light cigarettes, because this car doesn’t want you dying of lung cancer. Instead of dealing in death, the cigarette lighter magically gives life to iPhones and Droids and laptops.

Four doors. Four cup-holders, including two secret ones in the back, James-Bond style. A trunk capable of storing thousands of rounds of ammunition or cases of fine Spanish and Italian wine you picked up at Trader Joe’s for six bucks a bottle because you’re not some nancypants dipstick who drives a Porsche and tells everybody he won’t drink wine that costs less than $120 a bottle.

Power windows. Power steering. Power whatever-the-hell you want.

Asking price

The Kelly Blue Book proclaims that the Epic Black Car is worth $2,955.

I don’t know who Kelly is, or why his book is blue, but he insults the honor and integrity of this humble, hard-working car, which took me to Olympia and back, five days a week, often with the Gas Empty light on, for eight years.

It never complained. It never ran out of petro, no matter how hard I tried. It never blew a tire and left me stranded ten miles west of nowhere, also known as Elma.

The Epic Black Car — like the Dude from The Big Lebowski — abides.

Logging trucks tried to kill it by kicking boulder-sized rocks at the windshield. Drivers with hamburger patties for brains tried to sideswipe it on the highway. It’s happily hopped over roadkill from porcupines to a wolf outside Elma, close enough to Forks to make me wonder: Taylor Lautner? I can only hope.

Every deadly attack was foiled, leaving only scratches and dents. Nothing could kill this car. It is fast and nimble and invincible. If it wanted to, it could whip you up breakfast or pour you a martini.

I will sell this car to the highest bidder, unless that bidder is Mike “The Situation” from Jersey Shore.

The bidding starts at $2,500. I’ll take cash, checks, rounds of Dutch cheese or purple 500-euro notes, which look like this:

If you need a safe, cheap, reliable car — or have a college kid leaving the nest — this is your car.

If your name is Gordon Freeman, this is definitely your car. It has been waiting for you. I will hand you a crowbar and the keys.

If you have a high school kid who needs wheels, this is not your car. No. You need a Gremlin or a station wagon with fake wood panels that are peeling off, because such a car is the Most Effective Form of Birth Control Known to Man.

What you must do

Interested? Write a comment to this post and tell me why you are worthy of being the next owner of this fine piece of South Korean engineering.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

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Filed under 5 Random Thursday

Survival Sunday: Concrete Canvas Shelters of the Apocalypse

The First Rule of the Zombie Apocalypse: You will NOT be staying in your home.

There’ll be no electricity, no water, no cable, no internets and no guarantee that your house is remotely zombie-proof.

The Second Rule of the Zombie Apocalypse: Find a defensible shelter.

Sleeping under the stars is a good way to get nom-nom-nommed. Even if there are not walking dead around to eat your brains, other survivors will happily steal your stuff and leave you for dead.

zombie, zombie zombie zombie, the zombie, zombie girl, girl zombie, zombie makeup, hot zombie, zombie photo, sexy zombie, beautiful zombie

Zombies need shooting.

Here’s a great little shelter from the British, who have glorious accents, making anything they say or invent ten times the awesome.

It’s an inflatable shelter made from canvas impregnated with cement*. Blow it up, spray water on it and bam, instant bomb shelter.

This is military grade stuff. Pile dirt around it and you’ve got an instant bunker that’s safe from small arms fire, mortars and the undead.

*Yes, the video says “concrete.” Cement is actually the right term. Concrete is cement mixed with rocks and whatnot.

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Gear, guns and such, Zombie apocalypse