In Monster Nation, the second book in David Wellington’s “Monster” trilogy, we go back, to the beginning of the zombie apocalypse that’s a foregone conclusion in Monster Island. The book opens with an attack in California, then switches to strange happenings high in the mountains of Colorado, both events that any undead aficionado will quickly realize are the first pieces of a zombie puzzle. Before long we’re witnessing the slow fall of the Florence ADX (aka Supermax) prison to the newly vigorous dead and things really get rolling.
Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category
Halloween is almost here — not to mention the countless zombie crawls and related events October brings — which means it’s time to start thinking about a costume. Actually, who am I kidding? It’s long past time to start thinking about a costume, but most readers of this site have it easy: you’re going as a zombie, duh!
That said, as a hardcore fan, you probably want a hardcore costume. That means piecing together lots of little props, carefully aging your clothes into a suitably shitty state and practicing your zombie makeup day in and day out. Elaborate stuff. If, like me, you aren’t well on your way to having your elaborate zombie costume created, it’s probably time to think about going off the rack.
The people of HalloweenCostumes.com contacted me a while back about their off-the-rack zombie costume and asked if I wanted to give it a review. Considering I’ve reviewed everything from zombie films to zombie energy drinks, naturally I said yes. A few days later, I had their stock zombie outfit in my hands. Here’s how it shakes out.
In Patient Zero, Jonathan Maberry has found a crossover so obvious, and so perfect, it is astounding it hasn’t already been done to death: the zombie apocalypse techno-thriller. Take one part pulpy grocery-store bestseller about the world’s most high-tech spies facing off against the world’s most desperate terrorists. Add an equal amount of classic zombie apocalypse scenario. Stir well, garnish with a Bond-worthy supervillain, and voilà! Patient Zero.
The third film in the REC series has arrived, and with it arrive some changes. The first film inverted the paradigm of Night of the Living Dead, trapping survivors in a building with zombies. REC 2 turned the dials to 11, injecting a first-person shooter angle into the cinéma vérité mix and upping the adrenaline levels (think of REC as Alien and REC 2 as Aliens and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect.) Now REC 3: Genesis adds something else entirely unexpected: humor. Even weirder is that it works surprisingly well. (The rest of this review will contain the occasional spoiler for the first two films, so if you haven’t seen them and are spoiler averse, stop here).
Quarantined is a complicated bookâ€”it’s definitely not for your average Marvel fanboy who enjoys flipping through the pages. It played out in my head like a classic Romero film with a touch of Danny Boyle thrown in and I had to stop after the first thirty pages to get a feel for what was happening in front of me.Â There’s a lot of depth to the characters here and often I found myself stopping to yell at them aloud for their decisions throughout the course of the book.
The story centers around a viral outbreak in a small town. A lot of people turn away at that idea because it’s been used so much in the past. Personally I’m a fan of the setting because it’s one of those glorious scenarios that can play out in so many different directions. I mean, you put zombies on a plane or a Greyhound bus and your options are pretty limited, but a small town often opens up into a much larger stage in which its characters can play their part.
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There’s not a lot of reason to seek out the forgettable and forgotten zombie-alien invasion movie Invisible Invaders. Maybe if you were on a quest to see every movie John Carradine ever made? Or a quest like my own, to see every zombie movie ever made? Both would suffice, but in either case, put it near the end of your list — it sucks.
Its primary sin is it’s boring. A story about unstoppable aliens who can reanimate the dead should not be this dull. But if you tell that story largely via voiceover and stock footage, I guess it isn’t too surprising. The majority of the rest of the “action” takes place in a bunker, where four people argue, fight and “do science.” The result of their “science” is a goofy looking sonic raygun prop that can stop the aliens, thus saving the Earth. Also, two of them fall in love and the asshole guy dies.
Zombies? Yeah, there are zombies. They’re pretty incidental, though. The aliens occupy dead people in order to … uh … occupy dead people? Once they strangle a guy and they seem to cause some trouble elsewhere, but mostly they just stagger around looking vaguely creepy. I guess cinematic scares were hard to come by in the ’50s and maybe this was enough? Anyway, these are among the least interesting zombies ever. Even Plan 9 from Outer Space has them beat.
To reiterate: don’t watch this, it really isn’t worth your time.
This movie was viewed as part of my third annual Zombie Movie Marathon Month â€” read the initial Invisible Invaders reaction piece.
The Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse’s self-titled album is a six-track concept album (or EP, if you prefer) about — what else? — the inevitable zombie apocalypse. One would think I would be positively inclined toward a concept album about the zombie apocalypse from a band that shared the name of my website. And you know what? One would be absolutely fucking right about that. But the fact is, my “day job” is roughly 75 percent music critic, so that that wouldn’t matter for shit if the music wasn’t good. Luckily (spoiler alert!), it is.
Once upon a time there was a porn star named Jamie Gillis. And that porn star went on to try his hand at acting in a zombie movie called Night of the Zombies (aka Gamma 693, Night of the Zombies 2 and probably a handful of other names). And since Gillis had the acting range and skill of a heavy, wooden plank, that movie was bad.
Oh, and it didn’t help that the story was nonsense, the writing was shit, the effects crappy, the pacing painfully slow and the sound and lighting totally deficient. So is there any reason — any reason at all — to see Gamma 693?
In director Jake West’s Doghouse, we follow a bunch of loutish men to a tiny, out-of-the-way village, where they hope to carouse and help one of them, Vince, get over his fresh, new divorce. From this not-terribly-zombie-sounding premise, things quickly progress into familiar (for readers of this site, anyway) territory: violent, bloody mayhem explodes within moments of pulling into the town, as they discover that for some reason all the women there have gone insane and are murdering and feeding on the men. Cue Hall and Oates “Man Eater”!
It’s impossible to properly review Quarantine without referencing REC, the Spanish film it remade (review here). In fact, it’s really not even fair to call it a remake — it’s barely more than a relanguaging. The plot is essentially identical: There’s a TV news crew filming a reality show about late-night workers. The on-air personality Angela and her cameraman are following a group of firefighters around. A call to help a woman trapped in her apartment turns into a harrowing ordeal when the woman turns out to be irrational and violent and the building is sealed from the outside by the authorities. Zombie mayhem ensues.
The biggest change in the two films is the root cause of the outbreak. REC‘s cause is quasi-supernatural, while Quarantine goes with a purely natural form of super-rabies. The effect of this on the actual film is nil. Seriously, apart from a few lines of dialog and minor variation on one scene, there’s no real effect.Â Apart from that, Quarantine boasts a slightly padded cast (and consequently padded body count), a slightly padded intro (more on this in a moment) and a bonus kill where the camera man beats a zombie to death with the camera.