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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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, 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.

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.

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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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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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.

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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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

6 Comments

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.

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.

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.

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:

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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.

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

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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.

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.

Continue reading

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, 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.

zombie animated gif

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