ZMMM Dailies: 6/25/2009 – FAIL!

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 26 - 20091 COMMENT

junkfailIt wouldn’t be a marathon without at least one epic fail. Last year, we had one where our “zombie” movie had no zombies – Rise of the Dead, if you’re curious, a bad ghost/reincarnation movie with no zombies despite the lying bastard of a cover and name! — and we had to return it and ended up watching an Asylum rip off of I Am Legend (called I Am Omega) instead. Last night, I got my epic fail when my JUNK disc turned out to be totally bunk.

I bought the DVD about a year ago but hadn’t had a chance to watch it. Turns out, it’s useless — none of the players I tried it in, including a PC DVD drive, even registered it as being present in the drive. Of course, I also got a late start last night (it was almost midnight when I got home from a quasi-work engagement) and I was suffering the effects of about $12-$15 worth of $3 pints of beer. So by the time I gave up screwing with the JUNK disc and checking to see if I could watch it online anywhere and put in Tokyo Zombie, I was on my last legs. Not surprisingly, I passed out in front of it after about twenty minutes. D’oh!

So tonight, after securing a copy of JUNK from a friend (it’s good to have friends almost as obsessive about zombies as you are!), I will be watching a double feature of JUNK and Tokyo Zombie to make up for it. Should be awesome — I am staying sober to minimize the possibility of passing out.

Deadlines: News roundup 6/25/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 25 - 20093 COMMENTS

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the feed to your RSS reader for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

The biggest news of the day, by far, is that Michael Jackson is dead. How is that zombie news? Ever heard of a little thing called “Thriller”? It’s probably behind only Night of the Living Dead and maybe Dawn of the Dead in terms of popularizing zombies. TMZ broke the news earlier today, but it’s pretty much everywhere. (TMZ)

PC gamers get official support for custom campaigns in Left 4 Dead with an update today. Lucky bastards. (Kotaku)

And that’s it, because today is the slowest zombie news days ever. But to salve the pain, there’s a silly Resident Evil claymation clip embedded after the breka (thanks to Kotaku for the find).

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ZMMM Dailies: 6/24/2009 – Onechanbara

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 25 - 20091 COMMENT

onechanbara2So, Onechanbara. Yeah. Based on a video game, and if you somehow didn’t know that, I think you’d figure it out pretty damn quickly. You’ve got a wafer-thin plot (mad scientist creates zombies to take over the world, now with 70 percent more sibling rivalry subplot!), lots of bad acting, bad characterization and god-awful CGI. The lead character was a samurai chick in a bikini, with a fat, bumbling sidekick, a leather-clad hottie gunslinger as a quasi-partner and a rival/sister who is somehow fueling the creation of zombies. Yeah, it didn’t make a lot of sense to me either. Most of the fight scenes were sped up and it was hard to tell what was going on, and you could all but see the lead character’s special attack powering up. The zombies weren’t half bad looking though — nothing special, but not terrible.They dissolved into spurts of blood when they got killed by our hero, a little like the vampires in Buffy the Vampie Slayer when they got staked, which almost has to be an inspiration.

Honestly, it was kind of okay. I can’t imagine ever sitting through it again (yet I probably will at some point) but it wasn’t really too bad — I’ve seen many, many worse movies. And gratuitous nudity fans, you get two quick boob shots here, and one simulated sex scene.

Next we get JUNK. I really liked JUNK a lot when I saw it before. We’ll see if that is still true.

Deadlines: News roundup 6/24/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 24 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the feed to your RSS reader for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

If the amount of press is any indication, IFC sure got great value for their money when they picked up Dead Snow and Pontypool for distribution. The latest is a two-part series of interviews with directors Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow) and Bruce McDonald (Pontypool). (KPBS)

Is the zombie apocalypse genre a triumph of progressive values? Some guy named Paul Waldman thinks so, but I’d have to say it’s a bit of a stretch (and, for what it’s worth, so does this conservative blogger). (The American Prospect)

Seattle residents are encouraged to take part in a world-record attempting zombie walk Friday, July 3. You can also just go watch Shaun of the Dead, if you prefer (hey, a British zombie movie for Independence Day weekend? That doesn’t seem right!).

attackgirlsswimteamvsundeadIf there was any question about whether or not the Japanese could match the Italians for sheer sleaziness, let the record show that Attack Girls’ Swim Team vs. the Undead is at least as sleazy as any of the Italian zombie exploitation movies I’ve seen. And all of you folks that keep finding the site by Googling “Japanese zombie movie nudity,” this is the movie you are looking for. The nudity comes in within moments of the movie starting and doesn’t cease until the credits roll. It’s got enough gratuitous nudity and softcore sex (including an entire lesbian schoolgirl subplot) to make the Skinemax hall of fame.

Oh, and it’s also almost as far out and bizarre as some of the most insane Italian movies, too. It even gives Stacy and Wild Zero a run for the title of most bizarre Japanese zombie movie ever.

The plot is paper thin and almost incidental, but it concerns an orphan schoolgirl who runs away from her kidnapper, who keeps her as a sex slave while training her to be an assassin, naturally. Said kidnapper wears a crazy-ass orange suit, plays a mind-controlling flute and happens to be a mad scientist specializing in human modification. He turns her schoolmates into zombies as a plot to catch her. Hijinks ensue. Lots of gore, lots of nudity, a couple of zombie attacks, a teacher who becomes a homicidal zombie juggler, another who goes nuts first with scissors, then with a chainsaw (while simultaneously murdering the English language) — it’s that kind of movie. More than anything it reminds me of a Troma film with much better production values – stupid, absurd, sleazy and trying way too hard. It was kind of worth seeing, I guess, but nowhere near as awesome as it sounds describing it. It could have used less sleazy sex and nudity and whole lot more zombie action. Really, the zombies were almost incidental, and barely zombies to boot. They had veiny faces, vacant looks and pallid complexions, they shambled around and liked to bite, but they retained some intelligence — well, as much as anyone in the movie anyway, which isn’t a lot.

Next we get even more exploitation of girls in swimwear fighting zombies, with Onechanbara (aka Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad). This one is based on a video game, so it’s got that going for it — or against it, depending on your point of view.

A brief report on the movie watched June 22 as part of the June 2009 Zombie Movie Marathon Month

Deadlines: News roundup 6/23/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 23 - 20091 COMMENT

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the feed to your RSS reader for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

On July 24 Deadgirl will come to a handful of theaters in major metropolitan areas, including LA, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Austin and Seattle, for  a midnight showing. The movie, about two teenage friends who find a beautiful zombie tied up in the basement of an abandoned mental institution, was well received on the festival circuit. I guess we’ll see if it does as well with general horror audiences. (Bloody Disgusting)

David Wellington (author of future classic Monster Island, reviewed here), Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero) and Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) will be writing the next iteration of Marvel Zombies. If anything could draw me back to that soap opera, it’s Wellington. (Comic Book Resources)

Got some extra money you want to use to fund a zombie movie? Consider throwing some of it to the makers of The Lawless: Hell on Earth so they can actually make their movie. It’s a movie where zombies have taken over, but people are still the scariest thing around (eh, that’s pretty much every good zombie apocalypse movie). (Quiet Earth)

After the break, see a trailer for Deadlands 2: Trapped (thanks to Horror-Movies.ca for the tip) and the entire short film See the Dead (courtesy of Dread Central) from filmmaker Robert W. Filion.

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ZMMM Dailies: 6/22/2009 – Versus

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 23 - 20093 COMMENTS

versus-AThere’s little doubt that Versus is the finest martial arts/superhero/zombie/fantasy epic I have ever seen — and the fact that it is the only such film I’ve seen should in no way be seen as diminishing its level of awesome. Innovative camera work, awesome fight and effects sequences, an epic fantasy story, gallons of blood, references of everything from Evil Dead to Star Wars to fighting video games, a little bit of love story, a bizarre ending, lots of zombies that are slow and stupid but not above using a gun (poorly) given the opportunity — is there anything this film is missing?

It’s the story of a dark hero, his girl, his brother and the shared destiny of all three of them in a forest that brings the dead back to life and serves as a portal to the world beyond death. A dude’s head gets kicked off. Another guy gets his head punched through. A heart gets ripped out and eaten. Bullet opera, wire fu, and lots of stylish clothes. I’m a little awe struck — a friend told me I’d want to watch it again immediately following my first viewing, and you know what? He was totally right.

It’s a little long, at two hours, but honestly, I was never bored or restless. I’ve sat through 75 minutes features that felt twice as long — every minute of this was crammed to capacity with awesome. Can the rest of Japan week possibly live up to this? If I had known, I’d have ended with it instead. We watch Attack Girls Swim Team vs. the Undead next — the title is promising at least!

Deadlines: News roundup 6/22/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 22 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the feed to your RSS for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

The horror anthology series Fear Itself is coming to DVD, including the interesting but seriously flawed zombie episode New Year’s Day (reviewed here) and some unreleased episodes. The four-disc set will go for $29.98 MSRP and comes out this September. (Fangoria)

Among a long list of non-zombie horror, Fangoria says Zombie High (let me guess, zombies in high school?) is coming out June 23. (Fangoria)

Rumor (and a screenshot of EA’s website) has it that Left 4 Dead 2 may be headed to PS3. (Modus Gamerandi)

ZMMM Dailies: 6/21/2009 – Day X

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 22 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

dayx-dvdWe’re in the homes stretch now and Day X kicked off the final third of our selections. I picked this one because I needed a few low-budget zombie epics to fill out the roster (they are such a huge percentage of what is out there it’s folly to ignore them) and because one of my girlfriend’s friends is in it (Melissa Holmes — hi, Melissa!) and it is always amusing to see someone you know in a movie, no matter how bad — and Day X was pretty bad.

Not epic, painful, worst-of-the-worst bad, but definitely not good. It had some cool stuff going for it — the leads were almost competent actors, for example, and there were a couple of cool ideas. But also many problems: the poor makeup (black base paint smeared on faces? Really?), shoddy direction, obvious padding, terrible editing, and many other issues equaled a lot of squandered potential.

The plot was a government-experiment-gone-wrong scenario that seemed a little like something that was cooked up after spending too much time with a bunch of 9/11 Truthers. The quasi-zombies (the lead character kept insisting they weren’t zombies because they weren’t actually dead, but no one else listened to him) were a cannibalistic and venomous twist (yes, that’s right — poison zombies) on 28 Days Later‘s Rage zombies. There was a weird, under-explored subplot with a creepy looking girl that could neutralize the venom by kissing the people who got bit and kill the zombies by biting them.

That subplot sort of summed up the movie’s core issue — the few interesting things it did, it didn’t do enough with. Lack of focus? Misunderstanding what they had? Too many cooks? Who knows, but the results were haphazard and a little frustrating. The movie was sort of amusing and moved along quickly enough — in part due to its 74 minute runtime, even with the aforementioned obvious padding — to not really wear out its welcome, but in the end, it was pretty disappointing.

Next up, we tackle five of Japan’s finest, starting with Versus and ending Friday with Tokyo Zombie.

ZMMM Dailies: 6/20/2009 – American Zombie

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 21 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

DRTo mark the end of Italy week, we returned to the good ol’ US of A for American Zombie. This is a recent (2007) mockumentary that looks at the rising issue of the living impaired — what causes it, what their “lives” are like, the community of undead, undead activism (we’re here, we’re dead, get used to it) and the annual Live Dead festival (think Burning Man for zombies). It’s done in a very straight faced way, presenting itself as a straight documentary with basically no obvious jokes (more so than say, Best in Show) that ends up being pretty humorous nonetheless and works really well. The pacing could have been a little more brisk and there were a couple of things I wished they had gone into a little more but the ending was a nice twist that wasn’t totally expected (it wasn’t totally unexpected either, though). It was a different look at zombies and it sold itself well as a documentary. I’ve heard varying reactions to it, but I quite liked it — as did my daughter. I’ll probably buy this one shortly.

Next, the low-budget feature Day X, which has a friend of my girlfriend’s in it. Sweet!

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