Book: The New Dead – a zombie anthology

This was another zombie book that I got in the mail and that, again, I failed to review for a few months. On the bright side, I read it right away, I just couldn't get motivated to post about it. I'm not sure how that makes me feel better, but it does.

Now, brace yourself for a shocking confession. While it is true that I am a voracious reader (reading mainly Hugo and Nebula award winners), I believe this is the first zombie book that I had ever read. This is especially weird considering that I have easily seen over 100 zombie-themed movies. I'm not sure why I was keeping each of the genres separate in their own mediums. I'm sure if you mucked around in my brain you'd figure out that it has something to do with my childhood.... or possibly penises? Anyway, back on track.

The New Dead is a collection of zombie short stories (and one story that doesn't have anything to do with zombies at all, for some reason). There are 19 stories in the collection and over-all I would say the quality of the stories is above-average. Sure, there are some real clunkers in there (don't even get me started about "The Zombie Who Fell From the Sky"), but I think there are more winners than clunkers.

For me, some of the real highlights were "Lazarus" by John Connolly and "Closure, Limited" by Max Brooks (you know, the Zombie Survival Guide guy). Probably the biggest surprise was that I actually enjoyed a story by Joe Hill, "Twittering from the Circus of the Dead", that was actually written in the format of a string of tweets. It sounds goofy, but it was actually pretty entertaining.

Anyway, since I've read this anthology, I've read Autumn and Dog Blood by David Moody (or maybe I read Dog Blood first?). So, while I might not have an extensive zombie library to compare this to, I'd say it's a strong zombie book and I enjoyed reading it. Now, where do I find the literary equivalent of Zombie Lord of the Rings? or Zombie Ender's Game?

Book: Autumn by David Moody

I actually got an advance copy of David Moody's Autumn. But, I guess I can't really brag about that when it took me a few months to post something about it. I'm lazy. We all know it. Let's move on. I was pretty excited to start this new David Moody adventure because I really enjoyed Dog Blood.

Like Dog Blood, Autumn was a really quick read. You could easily finish it in a day and you will probably want to. However, also like Dog Blood it feels more like a TV show pilot than something meant to stand on its own. It's definitely a unique take on the classic zombie apocalypse (for example, I don't believe the word "zombie" ever makes an appearance in the book), but when you finish the book you feel like you just got through setting up all of the characters and the story. Autumn is definitely going to be the start of a series, and I'm sure I'll give the next book in the series a read. But, I'm hoping that the second installment brings more.

Autumn was sort of like Back to the Future 2. You finish it and then you are sort of unfulfilled because the story never really resolved. You know there is going to be a "part 3". Hopefully the "Back to the Future 3" equivalent of Autumn won't have anything to do with the Wild West though. I'm crossing my fingers.

Guest Review: Cyborg (yeah, THAT Cyborg)

Cyborg -- Guest Review, mailed in by [email protected]

"CYBORG. As if the title of this rather peculiar sci-fi buzz bomb would give away the plot. It's not all in all a BAD movie, just expect the usual Van Damme action scenes...Actually, the more I think of it, the more this movie was too surreal for my liking. I was 7 the first time I saw it (I'm a veteran of this genre, folks, and it's truly sad) and I've never really recovered. Okay, let me cut to the chase. The movie opens with a chase...Some whacked out dude is running through the ruins of New York's garment district wearing a greasemonkey's jumpsuit and with a look on his face that would scare the living bejeesus out of that big dumb guy from the Goonies (No offense to anyone. That guy looked a hell of a lot like the big dumb guy from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome who couldn't stand the sound of a penny whistle...Coincidence??? Who knows.). So the guy gets killed (I think) by some guys who have spent TOO much time in the garment district and like wearing fancy medieval armor and carrying around iguana-sized miniguns. Yadda' yadda'. There's a cyborg named Pearl who has got the cure to a plague. Maybe it's the plague of silence, coz' there are about twelve lines of dialogue in the film. Okay, I can't remember much at all. I do remember some of Van Damme's fights in big warehouses and wrecked buildings where he kicks some dude's ass really hard. The dude had a spike in his boot that reminded me of a long, sharpened toe nail. Maybe radiation does that stuff to people...Odd.

Blah blah, insert dummy line of text here, yadda' yadda'. Van Damme gets crucified by these weird punks. They're really freaks, you know. And their leader is a ghost from Van Damme's past. Yeah, V.D. has some freakish flashbacks. He remembers being let down a well with barbed wire all over his body, which must hurt, but never does in the post-apocalyptic world. So the bad dude was a bully from V.D.'s post-nuclear school yard days or something...Anyway, Van Damme has gotta' save this cyborg by bringing her to that place called...(Gasp) ATLANTA!

Van Damme doesn't hop off his crucifix like we all wished Sparticus could. I wish Van Damme stayed up there. The movie lulls for another half hour and I woke up just when V.D. kicked his mortal enemy, the bully with the funky sunglasses, into a meat hook in that place called...(Gasp)...ATLANTA!

So Pearl is delivered to some scientists...They like save the world or something. Okay, here's the low down. Good scenery in this movie. It's great when it comes to the ruins and such. The acting is piss poor and the violence is gratituous. I don't remember any sex in the movie, but at the age of 7, when I saw this, I didn't know what the hell sex was...It must have been some distant cousin to the number six or something. This movie is lame. I'm going to collapse now."

Editor's Note:  If I remember right, back in like 1997, this guy sent me three reviews in one day.  They were all sort of stream of consciousness like this one.

Zombie Tools! Get yer Zombie Tools!

Sometimes something just has to slap you right in the face before you really think about it.

Case in point: I live in Missoula, Montana. Guess who else lives in Missoula, MT? That's right, the Zombie Tools guys. Was I just not aware of them before? Nope. I think I was first made aware of them like 3-4 years ago? What did it take for me to realize that I needed to make a post about them? Umm... my wife was a Doula at a birth for one of the Zombie Tools guys and his wife. I know that sounds like a crazy connection, but there it is. That's what it took for me to realize that I needed to tell everyone about Zombie Tools. So, if you also have some sort of post-apocalyptic business and you want me to tell people, apparently you just need to have my wife attend the birth of your child. Heh.

Anyway, on to Zombie Tools! Who are they, you might ask? To quote them from their FAQ page.

We are swordsmen and metalsmiths who create blades, and soon, other gear, that will increase your odds of surviving a zombie apocalypse.

Rad, right? And, you can bet your ass they are freaking serious. Check out some of these Zombie-killing swords and knives. ZT Spike ZT Spike Rough and Ready Bone Machete Rough and Ready Bone Machete

Yeah, these aren't Fisher Price toys. These swords, knives and deadly implements will totally kill a bitch. And, by bitch, they mean Zombie. So, if you need something silent, that doesn't require ammo, to keep you alive during the pending Zombiepocalypse, then you should probably check out

Don't worry, even if you don't need sharpened zombie-killing blades right now, you probably need some rad T-shirts, right? How bout this one? Fuck the Revolution... Fuck the Revolution...

While you are over there, make sure and check out their image gallery. It's practically a real life comic book. And, if you do buy something, make sure and tell them that the Drunken Goon from Post Apocalyptic Movie Mania sent ya.

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Nuclear Coleslaw: Episode 3 – Bad Deal

So, I got some shit for the high praise I lavished on Episode 1 of this series.  But I still stand by it.  It was damned enjoyable.  I think they are actually up to Episode 4, but I haven't made it that far yet.  Episode 2 wasn't that great, so I'm pretending it never happened.  But, Episode 3 - "Bad Deal" is a fun little short.  Apparently the premise of this series is that it takes place in the Fallout metaverse or something.  That just seems to drive home the point that I need to start playing that damn game.  Anyway, here's the episode.  Enjoy!

Book: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It

You know the drill, you watch enough post-apocalyptic movies and suddenly you are seeing signs of the apocalypse everywhere. Next thing you know, you are planning alternate escape routes, building bomb shelters and hoarding like a mother effer. At least, that's how it works with them. Another side effect of my rampant consumption of post-apocalyptic movies is that I end up buying all sorts of crazy survivalist books. So far I've bought books on how to forage wild mushrooms, how to butcher any animal, how to tan animal hides, etc. The downside of this is that I now have far too many books to pack quickly when I need to escape the pending robot zombie invasion. What I really need is just one book to help me live through the coming years of burning chaos. Well, thankfully Amazon recently recommended "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times" to me.

Their supercomputer was probably monitoring all my purchases and finally said, "Sheesh, I'm going to save this nutjob some time".  Anyway, I ordered the book today, I'll letcha know how it reads.  It has pretty decent ratings though, so I'm expecting good things.

Zombie Apocalypse Music Video

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.

New Review: Infestation

Before we get started, let me tell you what motivated me to work on this review today.  I saw a new e-mail in my inbox, it was from "bob" and the subject was "stuff".  Instantly, I figured it was my good friend Bob Marshall (of Biga Pizza fame, drummer for Volumen).  I started the e-mail and then my brain started reeling with me wondering how I'd wronged Bob.  He sounded pissed.  Here's the e-mail:

the stuff you wrote about hitting a wall was totally lame. Getting old sounds fucking typical at your house. break the mold homeboy. your page is to good for that type of talk.

Instantly I'm rejuvenated!  I'm ready to watch just about any steaming pile of horseshit and write a review.  Hell, I might go back and watch Diary of the Dead now.  Hell, I might even re-watch The Stand and Waterworld and that's saying alot.

This site gets roughly 300 unique visits a day, but sometimes it's easy to forget that.  I mean, I guess if I don't get angry or crazy e-mails then I feel like you guys aren't out there.  Turns out, you are.  Heh.  And you are as crazy and pissed as ever.

So, on to Infestation, or as it's known in Japan "Big Bugs Panic".  (Aside: They've got movie naming down to a real art form over there in Japan.  Big Bugs Panic tells me everything I need to know and it sounds fun as hell, right?)  Infestation is kind of a cross between Waiting... and Them! (Damn, I need to review Them!).

Now, before you get your panties in a twist, it's not totally accurate to say that Infestation is post-apocalyptic.  But, you can't prove to me that what happens in the movie didn't happen everywhere on Earth, so I think I can get away with it.  Also, the ending provides a silly clue that maybe there's more to this.  Regardless, I knew I was going to try and sneak it in once the movie got rolling mainly because I like to fill out the "Apocalypse by Miscellaneous" category.  Everything is freaking Zombies these days!  I get it, though, in the 80s it was all Nukes,  90s had more Plague.  But, I'm ready for giant bugs and space slime again.

So, the star of Infestation is Chris Marquette and it's looking like guy has put on some weight since Fanboys (which, by the way, is pretty freaking rad as well).  Basically, think of Chris's character as a sarcastic slacker-type who is thrown into a Giant Bug Apocalypse and you are ready to roll.

Now, look, I'm not saying this movie is Delicatessan or anything, but it definitely has more than enough moments to keep you entertained.  Also, the giant rubber bugs are pretty freaking rad.  There's some CG as well, but it's all cheesy enough to be charming some how.

Oh crap, I almost forgot!  It's got Ray Wise!  You know.... Ray Wise!  Huh?  C'mon.  Leland Palmer from Twin Peaks?!  Yah!  I dunno why, but I freaking love Ray Wise.

So, summation time.  Giant Bug Apocalypse, Hip Ironic Smartass, Ray Wise!  If that isn't enough for you, then check out this picture..... Gah!  Nevermind!  I was trying to find a cool picture of the half bug, half spider mutant creatures.  Don't ever do a Google Images search for "Infestation".  Freaking gross!  I'm going to go wash my eyes now... with beer.

I'm back baby.  I'm back!  Luv, Shane

Un-review: Diary of the Dead

So, I guess it's officially happened.  When I started this page (back in 1996) I would watch any post-apocalyptic movie, at any time, for any reason.  That's an easy mission to complete when your life otherwise consists of PBR, insanely loud rock music and ditching class.  Apparently, I've hit the freaking wall.  And that wall is called... OLDNESS.

I say that because anymore it might be several weeks before I watch ANY movie, let alone something post-apocalyptic.  A foxy wife, two kids, two businesses, a rock band, etc, etc, really takes it's toll on a guy.  I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it does cut into my cinema time.  Well anyway, it turned out that tonight had potential to be a movie night.  The kids were already asleep and it was only 8pm.  Hell's yeah, right?!

So, I started a few movies and stopped them right away for various reasons.

  1. This movie has subtitles, my wife is working on her computer and watching movies (somehow) so subtitles aren't going to work... moving on
  2. Another movie looked to be some sort of kung-fu action, also seemed like a hard sell to said foxy wife.
  3. More subtitles?!  Seriously, do I have any non-foreign movies?

Then I stumbled on Diary of the Dead.  Instantly I was stoked because it's very rarely that we can watch a post-apocalyptic movie that I haven't seen already that is also a major production (that is to say, filmed after 1990 somewhere besides Italy).  I started the movie and was encouraged by the opening scene.  Then there was this 20-something person doing a voiceover about uploading video and true stories and other nonsense.

That's when I realized that, in some sort of evil Reese's Peanut Butter cup moment, someone got shitty reality TV in my horror movie.  Yup, the ole movie inside the movie gag.  Ugh.  I let it roll until they got the point where they were literally filming a horror movie inside of the movie inside of the horror movie I was supposed to be watching (about 6 minutes in, I think?) and then I turned it off.

That's right.  I turned it off.

Why?  Frankly, my freaking life is too damn busy to watch shitty movies.  I have hit the wall.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still all over B-movies.  In fact, I just watched Infestation (I'll write something about it soon) and I enjoyed it.  So, it doesn't take top notch production or story to keep me going.  But, if you have fucking millions of dollars and your name is already famous, then I don't have time to watch your movie if it sucks.

Hmm... maybe I'm just grumpy today?  I invite any of you to write your own review of Diary of the Dead, if you want.  I'm not saying you are an idiot if you liked it.  I'm just saying that it was 90 minutes that I didn't have time for.

Guest Review: La Jetée (1962) by Kenny Couch

ATTENTION: Spoilers possible

Well, I didn't find a review of La Jetée on your sight but you should watch
it some time.  It was the inspiration for 12 Monkeys and is a realy great
little film.  I think you'd dig it.

Wow, I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without seeing this movie.  It’s
freakin’ amazing!  La Jetée feel like a 28 minute long nightmare.  The story
is told from a narrator over series of still photos, giving the feeling of
leafing through an old photo diary with the photographer telling you the
story as you go along.

La Jetée a group surviving beneath Paris after World War III has turned
Paris into a “desert”.  "The Experimenter" has been working on theories of
time travel, as space travel is basically not going to happen.  Many
prisoners are broken by his experiments because mentally they cannot handle
the intense procedure.  While monitoring the prisoners dreams they find a
man with an obsessive memory from his childhood at the Orly Airport of a
woman's face and a man being shot.  Using this memory as an anchor point
"The Experimenter" begins a series of successful trials in time travel.  The
man repeatedly goes to the past meeting the woman at different points in her
life.  Soon though it is realized that the past will not help mend the
present, a trip to the future offers the only hope.  Luckily, the man is
successful and gains a new energy supply for his people.  His usefullness
gone he realizes that he will be executed by his jailers. The man is then
visited by those he met in the future and offered safe haven with them.  He
accepts but asks to be returned to the past to find the woman.  His request is
fulfilled and he finally finds the woman at the Orly Airport only to be
executed by agents from his own time.  As he lay dying he realizes that he
is the dying man in his memory.

Both films share many plot elements and ideas but I think La Jetée gets
credit for being the more creative of the two.  I’m not giving shit to
Gilliam borrowing from this film but the presentation of
La Jetée makes the
whole experience truly rewarding.  The visual presentation and the sound
design put the movie in your head instead of in front of your eyes.

Plus it never hurts when your post-apocalyptic movies happen to be very
artistic and French.  It helps in getting your girlfriend to actually sit
down and watch it with you.

Editor's Note: This review was submitted by Kenny Couch. Everyone else, feel free to send me some reviews!