Deadlines: News roundup 9/8/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On September - 8 - 2009


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]

After reading this interview with Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, I am even more excited about the TV show in development. He’s executive producing, so it should be great. (Comic Book Resources)

Zombie Jesus says it’s his turn to eat your flesh in Prince of Pieces, an upcoming comic book and movie. Word is Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra is set to star. (Fangoria and Dread Central)

Word is that after Resident Evil Afterlife wraps, the next flick is set to be a reboot of the franchise, tentatively titled Resident Evil Begins. (Bloody Disgusting)

So, Nazi-zombie flick The 4th Reich is supposedly going to be 3D. (

There’s an upcoming “illustrated film” version of Xombie: Reanimated in development. (

Just days after they blogged about the teaser trailer, Quiet Earth has the entirety of Spanish zombies-in-a-mall short Zombies and Cigarettes for you to watch. And thanks to the magic of embedding, so do I — find it after the break. (Quiet Earth)

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Deadlines: News roundup 8/18/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On August - 18 - 2009


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]

How would a zombie uprising affect foreign relations? Find out here. (Foreign Policy)

In the “what if” department, you can now lie awake nights, sleepless and wondering what a Guillermo Del Toro directed version of Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead series might have looked like, as may have almost happened. (Splash Page)

The good, ol’ BBC has a nice write up on that Canadian math paper about surviving the zombie apocalypse. (BBC News)

Intrigued about the zombie rock musical Diamond Dead (which at one point was going to be done by George A. Romero!) I mentioned yesterday? There are a few more details here. (Fangoria)

Deadlines: News roundup 8/12/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On August - 12 - 2009


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]

Well, my prayers have finally been answered. A company called DoubleBear Productions is working on a turn-based, single-player computer zombie apocalypse RPG focused on survival and interactions between the survivors. As one of the designers puts it, “Unlike other games that are just about blasting zombies, the difficulties in this game stem from dealing with the other personalities in the group, the threats from outside the group, and the dangers of daily existence in the absence of law and the presence of desperate humans and persistent undead. It’s more about the humans than the zombies.” Oh.Hell.Yes. (The Escapist)

Speaking of prayers? The excellent Walking Dead comic series is in development as a TV series for AMC. If any series could make for compelling zombie TV, it’s this one — I couldn’t be more excited (Oh.Hell.Yes.Pt.2). Frank Darabont is set to write and diect, Gale Ann Hurd to produce (less exciting, but workable). (Variety)

In honor of I Sell the Dead hitting VOD today (check your local cable listings), how about a making-of video and statement from the director? It’s not embeddable, sorry. (Fangoria)

Spend $10 at ThinkGeek, get a free, ten-year anniversary zombie monkey shirt? Yes please! (Zombie Examiner)

Curious what’s going on with Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated, the collaborative animation/film project that reinvents George Romero’s OZ classic? Well, there’s a buttload of news — coloring contests, calls for comics, screening info, the works. (Dread Cental)

More zombie ants? Sure, you can never have enough. (Live Science)

Review: Zombie Honeymoon

Posted by Cory Casciato On July - 29 - 2009

zombiehoneymoonIn Zombie Honeymoon we get a sad and horrific tale of zombification told from a point of view sympathetic to the zombie. While on his honeymoon, Danny is attacked by a zombie that emerges from the surf, pukes black ooze into his mouth and expires. Danny dies, reanimates in the hospital and begins eating people shortly thereafter – much to the chagrin of his newlywed Denise. She sticks by him even as the body count rises, but it’s a hard lot (indeed) and before long she’s questioning her decision.

The premise of this movie, while not completely original, is at least a lot fresher than the typical zombie apocalypse/siege. Unfortunately, the execution is pretty weak. The relationship between the leads seems believable, but incredibly shallow – it’s hard to imagine she’d stick by him if he got a parking ticket, much less when he starts eating people. The actors playing the leads just aren’t really likable enough to generate any sympathy, so you end up hoping they’ll get caught, or he’ll eat her or something bad will happen to them. Of course, the people getting eaten aren’t terribly likable either, so it’s kind of a wash.

The zombie makeup is passable if unremarkable, but it doesn’t really get used a lot until the last third when the decay sets in. And by that point, you’re pretty much ready for it to end, or for more people to go zombie or for anything to happen besides the sudsy, melodramatic and unbelievable relationship dynamic that drives the whole thing. The pacing is glacial, and remarkably little happens for most of the movie. There are a few murders and a little bit of gore, but not enough to keep things moving. It’s a made-for-cable movie, and probably worth sitting through if you came across it some late, sleepless night when there’s nothing else on — it might help fight insomnia, but it’s not really worth much beyond that.

Zombie Honeymoon/US/2004

This movie was viewed as part of my second annual Zombie Movie Marathon Month — see the initial reaction piece here.

Review: Dead Set

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 2 - 2009

divina-deadsetc4The zombie apocalypse comes to reality TV in the BBC miniseries Dead Set. The premise is that the cast of reality show Big Brother, locked away in a house isolated from the outside world, are among the few survivors of a plague of flesh-eating zombies. They don’t even quite realize what is up – they think the producers are “testing” them – until one of the remaining crew gets into the house, followed shortly by one of the zombies. From there, the story follows a fairly predictable – or classic, if one prefers – curve as some are bit, a supply run is undertaken, more survivors make their way to the compound and finally, things unravel spectacularly.

Haters of speedy zombies might want to tune this one out – these bastards can move. The show gets credit, though, for not setting the characters into a situation where this speed would make escape impossible without cheap editing tricks as many fast-zombie films do. There are no scenes  where they’re surrounded … then cut, and they’re a few steps ahead all of the sudden, for example. The zombies look great, with creepy, white-irised eyes and lots of apparent wounds – everything from torn flesh to missing limbs.

The show uses a lot of cuts and angles to keep the gore from being too excessive for mainstream consumption but considering that this was on TV (pay TV, if I understand correctly, but still) the gore factor is remarkably high. It comparable, gore-wise, to something like Dexter in the U.S. – plenty of grue, but not so much as to classify it as a truly gory show for those that revel in such.

The creators clearly know and love their zombie lore. There’s at least one direct nod to each of George A. Romero’s first three zombie movies, including direct quotes from Night of the Living Dead (“They’re coming to get you Barbara”), parallel dialog from Dawn of the Dead (a character suggests the zombies are attracted to the studio where they’re holed up by some sort of “primitive intuition” and opines that the place used to be “like a church to them”) and a visual quote and parallel dialog from Day of the Dead where an obnoxious character gets torn apart by a mob of zombies while spouting curses at them the whole time. It’s not just Romero, either – at one point a character says another has “a face like a Manchester morgue” (clearly a reference to The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue aka Let Sleeping Corpses Lie).

They fail, however, at putting across a message as well as Romero or even Let Sleeping Corpses Lie – those films are admittedly heavy handed, but clear in what they have to say. Apart from the very obvious and zombie-film standard message inherent in the fact that it’s the failure to work together that causes nearly all of the problems for the survivors, this seems to be vaguely condescending toward and condemnatory of the reality-TV generation and surveillance state, but what the exact message is – if any – is unclear. It would have added depth to the proceedings if made a little clearer – or streamlined it if jettisoned all together. It’s also entirely possible that the difficulty in transmission stems from subtle but deep differences between British and American culture that leave me somewhat in the dark as to some of the targets here.

Despite that minor quibble, the writing, direction and acting are all up to the task – Jaime Winborn is particularly good as Kelly, and Andy Nyman turns in an impressive, scenery-chewing performance in the role of the bastard lead producer, Patrick. The only real complaint is the pacing is a bit off – things start off slow before catching stride, then drag a bit in the third and fourth episodes and seem a bit rushed in the fifth and final episode. Still, considering how well the creepiness, jump scares, drama and laughs all work overall, this is a minor issue. Falling short of greatness, Dead Set has to settle for being very good – but in a genre as heavily weighted to the terrible end of the scale as zombie film is, very good is high praise, indeed.

Dead Set/U.K./2008 – Made for TV

Heavy: Homecoming

Posted by Cory Casciato On March - 4 - 2009

homecomingThe legendary Joe Dante takes on zombies in Homecoming, his entry in the Masters of Horror anthology. Overall he acquits himself well. It looks nice, the acting is solid and everything moves along at a nice clip. The story covers a group of zombie soldiers that return from the grave to express their opinion on the unpopular war that killed them (hint: they aren’t too fond of it). As well execuuted as this was overall, I really felt that it got bogged down by its politics. It’s so heavy handed in its approach to its message that it distracts from the experience of watching it, even if you more or less agree with its position (although some parts of it work precisely because they are so blatantly taking aim at some political hack, such as the scene where the Ann Coulter-esque character takes a bullet to the head — that worked great for me). I watched it for the first time recently and I wonder if I would have liked it more if I’d seen it right after it came out in 2005. I’ll watch it again in five years and see if I feel the same way – this one may actually be easier to swallow when what it is commenting on isn’t in that weird, not-so-fresh gray area between current events and history. After all, the idea of soldiers returning from the grave to express displeasure with the way they were used is an essentially timeless idea.

Broken promise: New Year’s Day

Posted by Cory Casciato On February - 24 - 2009

newyearsdayTechnically, New Year’s Day is not a movie. It’s an episode of the anthology series Fear Itself. Whatever — the distinction is pretty meaningless these days. The plot of this one follows a young woman who finds herself smack dab in the middle of a zombie outbreak after an epic New Year’s Eve bender. As you might surmise, she has to get across town to “safety” in the middle of all this shit. It’s not a bad set-up but this movie has some serious issues. The acting is fairly atrocious, but it’s not like the actors had much to work with – the writing is worthless. Add to this some utterly spastic and nausea-inducing editing techniques (think bad music video meets epileptic nightmare) and you have a pretty painful hour to sit through. The twist ending (I won’t spoil what the twist is, in case you want to watch it for yourself. You can do that by visiting the New Year’s Day page on the FearNET site) takes steps towards redemption, but then the inconsistencies pile up and you’re left wondering what a decent writer, director and cast could do with a similar idea — this group (including veterans of 30 Days of Night and the Saw franchise) fucked things up pretty good.




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