Typical, right? In last week's review of Infestation I was like a new man. I was totally inspired, energized and ready to watch some post-apocalyptic movies. Hell, I was so invigorated that I was talking about giving Diary of the Dead a second chance. And then what? Yup.. you guessed it, nothing happened. In my defense I had to fly to Indianapolis for a wedding and it pretty much turned the last two weeks into a real shitshow with work.
In fact, I was wading through buckets of work e-mails when I notice that a friend of mine snuck a fun Youtube link to an otherwise work-heavy communication. I'm still insanely busy, but I figured, "Fuck it". Besides you are never so busy that you don't have time for a quick Youtube video or game of Bejewelled Blitz, right?
So, I fired up the vid and whattayaknow? It combines two of my biggest loves: Zombies and Ukulele. I bet you didn't know that, did ya? Hell yeah, man. Check out Ukulele Guy, that's my Ukulele-themed blog. I just never bring it up because it very rarely overlaps with apocalyptic cinema. Woo hoo! It does now. Good luck getting me to shut up about it now that I have this opening. I'm seriously annoying.
Anyway, here's the video. It's Zombie Apocalypse by Kirby Krackle.
WTF. Seriously. W T F. If you had told me 20 years ago that my favorite scene from Lucio Fulci's Zombie (or Zombi 2, if you are in Europe) was going to be used to try and get me to buy a Microsoft Operating System, I might have choked to death on my own laughter. Turns out I was the idiot, though. What's next? Will we be seeing clips from Dead Alive used to make commercials for custard?
I mean, I guess I should be psyched, right? But, it never seems to work that way. It's like when I first heard that Shins song used in a McDonalds commercial or the Of Montreal song bastardized to make an Outback Steakhouse commercial. Sure, you are psyched to hear the song and even psyched for the band because they can probably use the bread. But, now you are unconsciously associating what was one of your favorite things with some bullshit you don't need and don't want probably. Besides, Lucio Fulci is dead. So, why commercialize his memory? Did his kids run out of blow or something? Oof... sorry. I'm grouchy today, I guess.
So, I'm probably a latecomer to this, but a friend of mine shared a video link with me yesterday that showed off "Big Dog". Basically, it's like a cross between a robot, donkey, greyhound and spookiness. In case you haven't seen the video, you should probably familiarize yourself with it before we go any further.
Heavy, right? During the moments where he stumbles a little bit and then recovers I was feeling a weird combination of sadness (he looks sort of pathetic for a bit) and abject terror. So, are you saying that when these things revolt and come to destroy their human overlords, that I won't be able to knock them down? Hmm... I don't think I'm a fan.
Now, don't get me wrong, I completely appreciate the brilliant robotics that went into this Big Dog (I build tiny BEAM robots in my free time). But, I don't have to worry about my tiny solar powered robots rising up to destroy me. This is mainly because:
The motors are use are from toothbrushes and cellphones, so they can barely propel their own mass, let along crush my skull with a misplaced kick.
The sun is going to be the first thing we lose in the apocalypse, right? So, now my armies of solar powered tiny bots are rendered non-functioning.
Meanwhile, Big Dog armies are stomping faces all over the world. Heh.
I'll tell you who is a fan, though, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The guys who created Big Dog got a contract to build LS3 (Legged Squad Support System, aka roving pack of mutant robot dogs that will kick y our face in). Here's a quote from a Wired article about it:
LS3's proposed abilities impress. The robot will be able to carry 400lbs (about 180 kilos) of equipment, as well as enough fuel for missions covering 20 miles and lasting 24 hours. It also doesn't need a driver because it will either automatically follow a leader using computer vision or travel to designated locations using sensors and GPS.
Ever since I started this website (1996?) I've been pretty excited (and slightly freaked out) by the e-mails I get. In the early days almost all the e-mail was from survivalist types and they were usually giving me tips about what I should be hoarding and what skills I should be developing for the End Times. It got to the point where if I saw that the e-mail was sent from the Contact Form on the old site, I knew it was just going to reek of crazy.
Well, things are slightly changing. Now I mostly get e-mails from people developing/promoting films or festivals or whatnot. Heck, I'm not complaining. Any apocalypse-related e-mail is a good thing in my book. But, sometimes I really miss the crazy factor. Heck, what would be better would be a crazy e-mail promoting some sort of insane movie, right? Heh.. wait for it.
Well, today I was trying to clean up my 900+ message inbox and I found a few messages from the site that I must have skipped over somehow. One of them was promoting a post-apocalyptic movie called "The Drill". The old me would have had a field day with this one, but the new me just wants to present the information and let you all make up your own minds.
In the future, conflict between the entangled world governments and religeons will bring civilization to an end. From the ashes of destruction a new world will eventually rise
A farmer, will toil in the wasteland, doing anything to provide for his family. Against drought, famine and opression -they will fight for survival.
their biggest threat...
A mysterious cult (The Tower Of Light), formed in the underground shelters after WWIII, the first and most powerful to rise, will seize the opportunity to dominate and shape the world in their own image -it will fight for control.
there is only one thing standing in it's way...
A lone rebel, surrounded by the lore of murderous-drill-weilding-madman, will do anything to bring down the cult. When his motives are finally made clear, it will be too late -he will fight for revenge.
Yup. The hero kills people with drills. But all sorts of drills, apparently. Hell, even his motorcycle is a drill! My favorite still is "The Drill" emerging from the ocean with some sort of speargun drill and a old school deep sea diver's helmet.
Click that image if you want to see more images from their Stills Gallery. There is also a trailer for The Drill and you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't go and check that little beauty out. Just try and not get any crazy on yourself while you are over there. Although, in all fairness, this looks like something I would have watched when I was making my way through all of the Italian post-apocalyptic movies from the mid 80s... so I guess it's not really that crazy. Just be careful.
I'm not sure what got me thinking about it, but this morning I was wondering what musical genre (or even just song) really defines post-apocalyptic cinema. In the 1980s, when post-apocalyptic was synonymous with "bitchin' nuclear mutant party", New Wave was king. It seemed like every apocalypse movie had some Devo knock-off (hell, or sometimes even Devo) on the soundtrack. As a HUGE New Wave fan (and "heavy" New Wave musician in Volumen) really enjoyed that, but it didn't feel authentic to me. I mean, something tells me the end of the world (despite everything REM has told us) isn't going to be fun.
So... if not New Wave, then what? Maybe late 80s/early 90s industrial? There's definitely something bleak and dark about industrial music. Or.. maybe that's because I'm not a huge fan. I could just never get into Skinny Puppy and Einsturzende Neubauten. Although, it's been a long time, so I should give it another shot, I guess. (NOTE: for some reason, I like to "discover" music after everyone else has moved on. I never like it at the "right" time.) The musical aesthetic of Industrial definitely fits... hmm... even the goofy fashion aspect of early 90s industrial makes sense. We might be onto something here, but where are we going to get all the sequencers, drum machines and whatnot?
Hmm.. with that in mind, maybe the apocalypse would be better scored with Pierre Schaeffer's Musique concrète? That makes sense in many ways. I mean, I guess we aren't going to have a whole lot of instruments to work with. Hell, we'll be lucky if we have anything to record our jams onto. I'm assuming that computers and hard drives will be fried from all the magnetic energy of the nuclear explosion (err... something like that anyway). Back to analog, I guess. I probably should go bury a reel-to-reel in my backyard, just to be safe.
Oh crap, I just followed this thread a little further and realized what we're probably going to be dealing with, musically, in the post-apocalyptic age. I'll help you visualize it. A bunch of dirty dudes in tattered filthy clothing, coming together around the bonfire to celebrate and connect with music. They don't have guitars, keytars or saxophones, but they do have empty trash cans, buckets, rocks and sticks. So, they just let it all hang out and really get their jam on. What does that sound like to you? Yup, you guessed it. Freaking drum circles. Draaaaag. Make sure and hide some hacky sacks in your post-apocalypse cache.
So, a few days ago I got an e-mail from Liz at LA Weekly telling me about a bitchin' party (that I apparently missed). However, she made the classic mistake of sending me an e-mail somewhere after 4pm. You see, depending on the day, e-mails during that window are likely to be forgotten as a result of a) the crushing tedium of the workday building up to a sensory-depriving overload or b) early post-work celebratory beers. So, unfortunately, I forgot all about it until today. But you are gonna be psyched that I remembered.
Here's the deal, it's a weekend-long party in the middle of the desert with people in Road Warrior costumes and much, much more. They had a functioning Gyrocopter and two Interceptors (painted to match the first two movies) and it sure looks like you could drive them?! Oh yeah... they had a THUNDERDOME! I'm not sure if they had a wheel or what transgression resulted in the spinning of said wheel, but based on the pictures, some sweet battles went down in the 'dome.
Speaking of pictures, check out this cute couple.
On the subject of cute, I think I can explain the tragic oversight that occurred when I wasn't invited (despite the fact that I have been running a post-apocalyptic website since 1996). Look at all the pictures. These people are shimmering, golden gods! Nary a fat guy to be seen and the ladies are foxes. I was expecting to see the real life equivalent of Comic Book Guy (from The Simpsons) squeezed into some sort of half-ass Master Blaster costume. Nope.
Ok. So.. did I mention the functioning Gyrocopter? Wait.. yup, I did. And I mentioned the foxy ladies? Well then, it sounds like it's time for this picture.
Trust me.. there is a Gyrocopter in that picture. Give it another look... don't worry, it took me about 20 minutes to see it. Something kept distracting me.
So, I guess you get the gist of it. It's like Comicon meets Burning Man, inside the Thunderdome. Here's an excerpt from one of the posts:
Road Warrior Weekend wasn't your typical fandom convention. There were no stuffy hotels, no lines to pile into meeting rooms, no overpriced convention center lunches. Instead, this one-time-only event brought fans of the Mad Max series out to Southern California's High Desert for a three-day, post-apocalyptic campground party.
I'm pretty freaking psyched on Seven Signs of the Apocalypse. My brother called me when it was showing on the History channel pretty much ranting and raving because he knew it was right up my alley. But, somehow I didn't get the message and I've been kicking myself ever since. As I understand it, they basically go through various ways in which the world could end (i.e. plagues, war, etc). Sadly, I see no mention of zombies, but I'm sure it'll still be good. Here's what description at Amazon says
Are there real, verifiable connections between the prophecies of the past and what is happening in the world right now? Are the signs of the apocalypse happening before our eyes? For example, the first sign is ''Plagues and Pandemics.'' From drug-resistant staph in American hospitals to outbreaks of Ebola in the Third World -- are new and deadly plagues the beginning of the end?
From the writings of medieval seers, to the words of today's most respected scientists, this documentary examines these questions, presenting varying viewpoints from skeptics and ''true believers.'' It looks back at ancient prophecies across every culture including the Mayan Calendar, the Chinese I Ching and the Bible, breaking apart the origin of these signs and looking for connections in our modern world.
So, it looks like Kerberos Studios is going to make "Fort Zombie" available before Halloween. It's going to be released on Friday the 30th and it looks pretty decent. I'm getting a pretty strong Resident Evil vibe, but I'm not complaining. Especially because it's only $10. Take a looksee and see whatcha think.
Oh wait, I didn't show you the picture yet. Here ya go:
I know, right? AWESOME! Reading the description of the kit, you find out that there are some surprises:
I really liked the transparent riot shields used in 28 Days Later and I figured, "Why not make the case multi-functional at the same time?" So when the plexi-glass cover is removed it becomes the perfect protection against zombie related carnage and splatter.
Also, in case you've never been attacked by zombies before (and you've never watch any movies that end with "of the dead") then there are some handy dandy instructions: