Categories
Zombies

Riffin’ on Romero?!?!

Have you seen any of the “Rifftrax” special productions in theaters? Me, neither. I don’t know of anyone that has. I think this project had jumped the shark before it ever got started. I loved MST3K back in the day, but the guys behind it are now flogging the hide off a dead horse. Or, more like, they’ve strapped a saddle to one and are trying to coax it into coming back to life. Their shtick simply does not work without the robots and the spaceship storyline. Just a bunch of guys sitting around making fun of movies isn’t funny. Sorry, guys. You just aren’t.

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 leapt over that Squalus when, after numerous seasons, they ran out of “bad” movies to lampoon and they started picking on GOOD ones. When they tried to mock movies like CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and THIS ISLAND EARTH, it signaled the death knell for the series. But they haven’t learned anything, sad to say. I noticed a poster up at the theater recently where they were going to be “riffing” on NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Say what?! NOTLD is a true classic! You can’t make fun of a classic and expect people to find it funny! What we find it is pathetic, desperate, and sad.

Ah, but NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is in the public domain, isn’t it? That means the cheapskates don’t have to pay anybody to use it.

Guys, please. Leave us with our fond memories of MST3K. Stop embarrassing yourselves. Your jalopy is out of gas. Your horse is carrion bait. Just stop.

Categories
Zombies

THE WALKING DEAD and its Real-World Counterparts

THE WALKING DEAD is back, and back on top. It’s becoming a recognizable pattern. The ratings dip, we all predict that the show has jumped the shark, then it rallies and becomes as successful as ever. I am now convinced that the show will never go away. It will be the next THE SIMPSONS, a permanent pop culture touchstone, immutable and unmovable. It doesn’t even matter what the critics say. I, even I, a Horror junkie of the highest order, cannot quite understand the show’s insane popularity. There has to be a psychological/sociological/anthropological reason behind it, but I can’t grasp it. I’ll leave that one to the experts.

As far as things defying explanation, remember the Florida face-eating zombie? The guy who got jacked up on “bath salts” and attacked that homeless guy, biting off most the poor guy’s face? I was watching this show called ZOMBIES IN AMERICA on Destination America the other night, and they covered the case. Did you know that, contrary to what was widely reported, there were NO DRUGS in the guy’s system? No bath salts, no nothin’. And no explanation for why he went berserk and attacked that homeless guy. This would be troubling enough if it were an isolated incident–but it isn’t. Why didn’t the news report on the results of the toxicology report? (Maybe they did, but certainly not as vociferously as they did the initial attack, or I would have heard of it.) Were they afraid of starting a panic?

Categories
Zombies

THE WALKING DEAD and Domestic Violence

This is pretty cool. Or not. Depends on your perspective. After viewing repeated episodes of THE WALKING DEAD, a young woman had absorbed the show’s basic philosophy for survival: kill or you will be killed. Zombies don’t stop until they kill you or you destroy them. When she was attacked by a sexual predator in a parking lot, this philosophy kicked in and she treated the guy as an attacking Walker. This likely saved her life.

With the series now back on the air, its cultural saturation is hardly liable to lessen any. Will we be hearing of more would-be victims turning the tables on their attackers and crediting the show with inspiring them, or even helping to save their lives? I couldn’t think of a better legacy for a TV show to have, honestly. If some criminal psychopath attacks you, treat ’em like a Walker. We could even turn that into a hastag. #treatemlikeawalker. What with all the talk about that Fierstein guy and sexual predation and the “me too” social media movement, I say we could do with a little more zombie-fightin’-inspired retaliation. Some perv grabs you inappropriately, ladies? #treatemlikeawalker. This applies only for up-close encounters, it goes without saying, and only once the female in question has been attacked. You can’t shoot ’em in the head beforehand, like you do with one of the reanimated dead. Unfortunately.

Categories
Zombies

Zombies on the Cheap

It doesn’t cost much money at all to make a credible zombie. All you need are a few bucks and a talented makeup applier. This past weekend I was portraying a zombie for a haunted house event. On Saturday night. When I got up on Saturday morning, I had nothing in the way of clothes or make-up. I stopped off at this thrift store, where I got lucky and found this oversized Tyvek Hazmat suit. It cost me a dollar. (Note: Tyvek does not breathe. At all. Even though I had nothing on underneath the suit except for a pair of shorts, I was almost drowning in sweat by the end of the night.)

Then I hit up Walmart. I bought a make-up package in the seasonal Halloween section. Nothing fancy, just a combination of different colors of paint in a cheap plastic wheel. It cost me four bucks. That’s five smackers total. Considering what some cosplayers I know pay for their stuff, that’s chump change.

My lovely better half, however, is a talented make-up tech. She’s worked many a theatrical production and haunted attraction. What she can do with some cheap Walmart gunk–well, see for yourselves.

Not bad, huh? Instant zombie on a shoestring!

Hey, that last sentence sounds like an Alternative band, doesn’t it?

Categories
Zombies

Zombie Figures Montage

It’s not too early to start your Christmas shopping. I know some folks who’ve already FINISHED theirs. If any of you are reading this and find yourselves moved to procure presents for complete strangers–or if any of my family members or friends are reading this and have more disposable income than I think they do–here’s what I want. That picture there consists of several screenshots I found doing a cursory Internet search for rare, specific, and even non-existent (except for custom works) zombie figures. Let’s start with the montage on the upper left. I don’t know who made these sculptures, but my hat is off to you, sir or madam. They are true works of art. Do you recognize them all? My favorite is the first one (going left to right), the Blind Zombie Templar Knight from the BLIND DEAD films. The larger figure on the right is also one of the Blind Zombies, this one from a model kit that, unlike the others, is actually offered for purchase. (But it ain’t cheap.)

Going back to the sculptures, you can read the nameplates underneath. Two from Fulci’s ZOMBIE, including the classic “walking flowerpot” zombie; one from the original DAWN OF THE DEAD; and my second favorite, tied with the flowerpot, the zombie from HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY. At the bottom is a custom figure of the zombie from BURIAL GROUND, also a thing of beauty. If you were the creator of any of these, you have my greatest respect. And if anybody wants to buy me one or all of ’em, I wouldn’t refuse.

Categories
Zombies

THE WALKING DEAD and the F-Word

I’m confused. If it’s a cable program, aren’t you allowed to cuss as much as you want? Look at DEADWOOD. They practically invented new cuss words to use. Alternately, DA VINCI’S DEMONS was at times soft-core pornography. With cable shows, I thought it was a case of anything goes as far as sex, violence, and cussing. Does AMC have its own set of separate rules for its shows? It would seem so, as THE WALKING DEAD and FEAR THE WALKING DEAD have both avoided use of the F-word–until now. Now the shows are allowed to use TWO F-words per season!

Yeah, I don’t get it either. Negan can kill people in the most graphic ways I’ve ever seen on a television screen, bashing skulls with baseball bats, leaving eyeballs hanging out of sockets, but they can’t say the F-word? How does that make any sense? Considering the unparalleled success of THE WALKING DEAD, I’m surprised to showrunners didn’t just tell AMC how it was gonna be. “Yeah, our characters are gonna drop F-bombs right and left. What are you gonna do about it?” In all probability, the network wouldn’t have done ANYthing about it. Money talks. Pulling in the ratings it does, there isn’t much, I’d say that THE WALKING DEAD couldn’t get away with right now.

Categories
Zombies

Zombies Everywhere

I stopped into my local–with “local” being a relative term–Spirit Halloween store this past week. Per usual, the zombie was well represented. My favorite piece was this animatronic zombie that got caught in some electrical cables. Bzzt! Sure, one could argue that the effigy isn’t meant to represent a zombie, just some dude who got electrocuted, but come on. It’s Spirit Halloween. Even if that was the case, the electrocuted dude would surely come BACK as a zombie!

Check out this photo of me with Zombie Spider-Man, taken at Tom Devlin’s Monster Museum in Boulder City, Nevada.

And inside the Museum was lurking Zombie Michael Jackson!

And, if that wasn’t enough zombie goodness, there was a sweet NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD tableau–except that tableaus are generally not supposed to move, and this one is animatronic! Also on display at the Monster Museum were life-sized mannequins of the alien zombie creatures from John Carpenter’s classic THEY LIVE.

Lastly this week, two words that should never go together are “sexy” and “zombie.” That twain should never meet. And yet

Categories
Zombies

Walkers and Dragons

Season 8.

Yeah, you don’t even need me to tell you what show I’m talking about, do you? THE WALKING DEAD returns on Sunday October 22nd. Here are some screenshots from that upcoming eighth season, courtesy of superherohype. And here is a teaser trailer, also courtesy of superherohype. Oh, and AMC, of course. The pictures and the video are also courtesy of AMC. First and foremost, courtesy of AMC. Superherohype just collected them for us, packaged them for us. Any time someone else wants to get his hands dirty handling zombies for me, I’ll let him. Or them. Whatever.

The other cable show that gets mad love from the geeks and non-geeks alike–yet curiously I have never watched–is GAME OF THRONES. The reasons why this show, and the books that inspired it, just don’t do it for me, could inspire an article all its own. I may have to rethink my interest in GOT, though, now that they have a zombie dragon. And somebody told me they have just plain zombies, too. They call them “Ice Walkers” or something like that. Why not “The Frozen Dead”? Has that one been taken? So it’s got zombies and dragons and zombie dragons and Lena Headey. And a lot of naked people, I’ve been told. Why, exactly, did I never get into this show?

Categories
Zombies

Zombify Yourself!

It’s probably because I’m a theatre person–I always use the R-E spelling when denoting the stage as opposed to the cinema, which I always spell with the more common E-R, although it’s not a hard and fast rule–and by a theatre person I mean that I’m active, very active, in theatrical pursuits. I can call it “community” theatre in that the people with whom I work all live within a reasonable distance from me, and we are most certainly a community, but the term “community” theatre denotes amateur efforts, and we do manage to get paid for our work, which is, I am, told, the definition of “professional.” I am, thus, highly involved in professional theatrical pursuits, working with a community of like-minded individuals. All this is neither here nor there, really, except that it explains why I don’t “cosplay.” The idea of putting on a costume and make-up and pretending to be someone else–as one of my frequent artistic collaborators once said on the subject, “When do I NOT do that?”

I have some other, non-theatre friends who participate in a yearly “zombie walk.” They put on tons of make-up, entailing hours of work, to go walk around in public and pretend to be zombies. They look good, I can’t deny, but all I can think about when looking at them is the amount of time it took them to achieve their results, and how much more time it will take to wash all that zombie gook off. As a kid, I loved to play dress-up, more than the average, I’d imagine. As a grown-up, though–and I should put “grown-up” in quotations–if I’m gonna go to that much effort, I want to get paid for it, or at least know that I’m donating my time and labors to a good cause.

The idea of turning myself into a zombie, however, albeit an action figure zombie, has its appeal. There are several websites one can patronize offering the ability to render one’s likeness in the form of an action figure: Funko, myfaceonafigure.com, thatsmyface.com, etc. Has anybody tried turning themselves into a ZOMBIE action figure?

Categories
Zombies

The Best of THE WALKING DEAD

When you get into issues of quality where entertainment is concerned, it’s a sticky morass, a greasy, canted slope, because it’s all so subjective. How can one specifically state whether or not something is “good” or “bad”? Is it merely a matter of critical consensus? If enough people loathe something and agree that it is lousy, does that make it so, even when there’s at least one guy who thought it was brilliant? Sure, we can all agree that GIGLI sucked, but there’s bound to be SOMEbody out there who liked it. Who is to say that our opinions are correct and his is wrong? Ed Wood’s PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE is officially regarded as the “worst movie ever made,” yet it has a huge cult following who collectively believe it is brilliant. (It is.) I even know a guy who liked all the FANTASTIC FOUR movies, and a guy who thinks Nicholas Cage is the greatest actor in the world. See, it’s all relative, and it’s all a matter of opinion.

That being said, see if you agree with this compendium of the ranking of episodes of THE WALKING DEAD in terms of quality. You might generally be in agreement with this chick’s appraisal, but sheer probability guarantees there’s gonna be at least one episode you would’ve ranked higher or lower on the list. Any glaring mistakes that you can see?