My wife is not really a game player, which is a bummer because I own over 500 games! She does have a few she enjoys, like Lords of Waterdeep (a Dungeons and Dragons worker placement board game) and Scopa (a traditional Italian card game), for example, but in general she’s difficulty to please with card games.
It’s especially frustrating when you set a big game up and by the end of turn one she might say,’ nope, I don’t like it.’
What is funny about playing with my wife is how she learns rules. Her only question is always, ‘how do I win’ and then she observes how the turns go and follows everyone else’s lead.
Introducing her to the card game Fluxx was hilarious, because at the beginning, you don’t know how to win.
Fluxx is one of those games that is a great game by itself, but has several ‘re-skinnings’ that incorporate various themes into its basic gameplay, which is that you start with three cards, you draw one card, and play one card… unless another card in play tells you to do something different.
In the game, you have various types of cards:
New Rules are cards that can change the basic rules of the game, like draw 4 (instead of draw 1), Hand Limit 2, which means if you have had to draw 4 cards, then played 1, you have to discard cards until you only have 2, or Double Agenda, which tells you that there are two goals to choose from… but what are the goals?
Goals are how the game ends. They will feature two keepers, like one called We’re All All Right, which makes the win conditions that you need two ‘friends’ as keepers. The goals can change during the game though, so play as many keepers as you can.
Keepers are cards that you keep in front of you which may lead you to a win condition, but some goals claim you must have no zombies as keepers, which is difficult… but zombies can be removed…
Creepers are keepers you play immediately with no exception. You can win with a zombie in front of you, so you need to be looking for weapons cards to get rid of them.
Actions are basically cards that you play, and do whatever they say, the results usually being to your advantage.
Play continues until one play is able to complete the goal a card is offering, and this can be done by have the appropriate keepers, or even playing a goal card that allows you to win.
The artwork on the cards is very much of the standard Fluxx type, but it is function and the zombies are appropriately zombie-ish. This game also has the option of removing the zombie related cards so it can be played as a regular game of Fluxx.
It’s a very simple game, and this one’s horror theme isn’t a game that drips the horror genre, but it’s fun enough, and easy to play and can be enjoyed even by non-gamers like my wife!
Film: As far as horror is concerned, the early 2000s can be defined in two sub-genres: j-horror and zombie movies.
It was truly like someone had turned on the tap for wet-looking Japanese ghosts, blue filters and the undead… or in this case Undead.
The Americans and the English were all over the zombie sub-genre, and we got lots of stuff like Zach Snyder’s remake of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Romero’s second, less-successful zombie trilogy of Land, Diary and Survival, Paul W. S. Anderson’s movie version of the video game Resident Evil (and it’s sequels), Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead and Bruce McDonald’s Pontypool. Zombies became so popular that they were everywhere and in everything!
The Australian writer/ director team, The Spierig Brothers (Peter and Michael) came together to make a film based on their home movie trilogy Attack of the Undead, and what they gave us was quite revolutionary.
Undead tells the story of a small town in Australia that has meteors hit, and cause an outbreak of zombies in the town! A small group of people, including the local gun shop owner Marion (Mungo McKay), a former beauty queen, René (Felicity Mason), local cops Harrison (Dirk Hunter) and Molly (Emma Randall), current (and pregnant local beauty queen Sallyanne (Lisa Cunningham) and her boyfriend Wayne (Rob Jenkins), do their best to survive the night, but zombies don’t seem to be their only problem.
A giant steel wall has encased the town, rendering it inescapable, and a weird rain that causes them to smoke also starts descending… and what are those strange lights seemingly abducting people in the sky…
Undead starts as a fairly familiar zombie story, but we are well and truly shown why the dead are returning to life. To top that off, is we are also presented with a solution that at first appears to not be that at all. It’s very clever and a nice complete story that doesn’t end with a continuing threat of an apocalyptic future, or the lead players all just getting killed by circumstances.
The story has a lot of fun and comedic elements and easily one of my favourite lines from a movie comes from this film, spoken by Dirk Hunter in a scene where the survivors are defending Marion’s house from the undead… you’ll know it when you hear it… and situationally, some of the comedy is pretty funny too.
This is a part of Umbrella Entertainment’s Beyond Genres collection and has another amazing cover by Australian artist Simon Sherry.
I loved this film when it first came out, but unfortunately, it just hasn’t held up. It’s very Australian so the power of cultural cringe is high, but that honestly is part of the comedy of it, so it’s not why my opinion has changed. I think it may be because when I saw this film I had aspirations of making movies myself, and I was more impressed with their tenacity to get this film made. Now that I don’t have those aspirations I’m not as interested. It’s still a tribute to the brothers’ inventiveness, but I’m more interested in the actual story than the story behind it.
I do admit the triple barrelled shotgun is still really cool.
Extras: A great collection of extras that were previously available on the DVD release of several years ago, which include:
Audio commentary by directors Peter and Michael Spierig with cinematographer Andy Strahorn and it’s a good commentary for young independent filmmakers to watch to get the idea of how hard making films can be. A very interesting commentary indeed!
On the Set of Undead is literally just that; some behind the scenes footage of how the film was made, with an occasional bit of introduction by some of the cast and crew.
Attack of the Undead – a Short Film is the first from there indie trilogy which includes Attack, Rampage and Massacre of the Undead. It’s silly and dumb and exactly what you’d expect from young filmmakers.
The Making of Undead looks at the making of the film and where the Spierig’s inspiration came from, which as you expect, was from $1 horror hires from the local video shop.
Home Made Dolly Video is what independent filmmaking is all about. Ingenuity and desperation and making the most of your skill set for the result you desire. They show the design and process of how they built a dolly crane, and in a way that can only be described as ‘dinky-di’, how they welding it with no shirts on. Tough buggers.
Undead Camera and Make Up Tests looks at how the zombie make up and how it would look under various light sources and types.
Stills Gallery is photos… like in a book. Go buy a book instead of wasting your time watching this. Slideshows are boring: didn’t your grandparents holidays teach you anything?
Theatrical Trailer is exactly what it says on the box.
The Umbrella Beyond Genres release also comes with a copy of the soundtrack on CD and I love me a soundtrack!
WISIA: When this first came out it was a definite rewatcher for me, but it’s hasn’t aged well, so not anymore. This will probably be my last watch.
This movie was provided by Umbrella Entertainment for review
Film: In this humble reviewer’s opinion, the best horror movies are the one where people like you and me are put into extraordinary situations. Night of the Living Dead stands out as an example of this; a group of faceless no-ones, drawn together to fight a common evil. Luckily for those folks they had the convenience of finding a domicile that had a firearm in it, but look around your own house, what do you have to fight back the hordes of the undead…a tennis racket? A cricket bat? A baseball bat? I imagine that the amount of houses that have NO guns would outweigh those that do, so to react against this sort of thing we would use whatever is handy…this is the world of Shaun of the Dead.
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is just like you or I, with all the same problems. His job sucks, his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) has left him due to his flagrant disregard for their relationship, and his obsession with the local pub ‘The Winchester’, and he forgets to call his Mum (Penelope Wilton) regularly, which bring about much agro from his step-father (Bill Nighy) …general details of life that can lead a man to drink until he cannot feel his legs anymore, but Shaun’s problems are getting worse. The dead are rising, with a ravenous lust for human flesh. Shaun has to make a plan so that he can keep himself and his loved ones safe. Along with his best pal, Ed (Nick Frost), he comes up with a plan that will keep Liz, her disapproving flat mates Dianne (Lucy Davis) and David (Dylan Moran), and his mother and step father safe and well until the whole problem blows over…that is, as long as nothing untoward happens…
Shaun of the Dead runs the gamut of gruesome gore and clever comedy…so much so you may find your head spinning. There are so many references to other zombie films that you probably won’t pick up on all of them the first time you watch it, like the Italian restaurant named Fulci’s, the electronics store called Foree’s, and the assistant manager named Ash. Seeing as how the creators and many of the other cast are from the Pegg/ Wright creation, Spaced, there are many subtle tips of the hat to that show as well, not to mention a selection of English comedy and music favourites (look out for Little Britain’s Matt Lucas, The Hobbit’s Martin Freeman, League of Gentlemen’s Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith and Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland to name a few). As for the zombies themselves, well, there are some really freakish ideas, like a wheelchair bound zombie…and I shall never look at twins the same way again. Also interesting is the way that Pegg and Wright have compared our mortal existences to those of the hordes of zombies. Are we really any different?
Extras: The commentary is by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. Half trivia track, half informative and half stand up comedy (hang on, is that 3 halves? Oh well) this track is really one of the best commentaries I have ever heard. It is fun and entertaining, and a great way to get help to spot all the ‘horror asides’.
The special features are divided into a few sections:
Missing Bits contains:
Extended Bits is a selection of scenes from the movie that were trimmed for various reasons. This extra can be played with or without the commentary by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.
Outtakes, surprisingly, are a selection of amusing outtakes. One warning though, within these outtakes contain the worst Beatles impressions you will ever hear.
The Man Who Would Be Shaun shows Nick Frost and Simon Pegg fooling around with different accents in a particular scene.
Funky Pete which shows the ‘clean’ version of a scene for the airplane version where all the ‘F’ words are changed to the word ‘funk’…do you funking well understand what I funking well mean…you mother funker?
Plot Holes contains 3 sections: What happened to Shaun when he ran off, What happened to Dianne When She Left the Winchester and How Did Ed get from the Cellar to the Shed. These sections are done as comic strips, with the tale told by the respective characters, and fill in the plot holes quite suitably and amusingly.
Raw Meat contains:
Peg’s, Davis’ and Cornish’s Video Diaries is a selection of cute behind the scenes stuff done by, well, the people whose names each short is named after. It seems to be more of a look at how mundane filmmaking is. Cornish’s harrowing trip to his day as a zombie extra is both funny and frustration.
Casting Tapes is some footage of the casting process.
Edgar and Simon’s Flip Chart which is a run through of the film by the writer done in September 2001 using a flip book (often used by teachers or in business meetings), and is a quite amusing run through of the movie, before it was even filmed.
SFX Comparison is just that. A few scenes from the movie with the special effects removed, so you can see what had to be done to get some of the effects.
Make Up Tests shows close up views of some of the zombies from the movie, with and without the ‘eye’ effects put in, and a few ‘zombie walk’ tests.
EPK Featurette discusses the origins of the movie and what the lead actors and the director thought about their roles within the movie, and also whether they are making a horror, or a comedy, or something new altogether. It is a bit of a fluff piece, but kept interesting by the personalities of the cast and crew.
TV bits contains:
Is a bunch of ‘in the world of Shaun of the Dead’ TV spots, featuring an interview with Chris Martin from Coldplay about their charity ‘Zombaid’, a game show for zombies (featuring the ‘Gonk’ piece of music from Dawn of the Dead), some bits with Tv\V presenter Trisha and a News reader recalling ‘Z Day’; the day the dead came back alive.
Zombie Gallery contains:
Photo Gallery is a series of behind the scenes photos taken of the cast and crew at rehearsals.
2000AD Strip a comic stripped based on part of the film, taken from the English sci fi comic 2000AD.
Poster Designs, which is a series of poster ideas for the film.
Trails of the Dead contains various trailers for Shaun of the Dead, including the teaser trailer from Fright Fest 2003.
Finally, in this exhaustive and thorough pile of extras, is a storyboard feature that allows you to, during the film, hit enter on your remote whenever a pair of zombie eyes pop up, to see the storyboard for that section.
WISIA: Yes. It’s easily the best part of the Cornetto Trilogy and is just so much fun.
This review was done with the Australian Bluray release.
Film: Sometimes it only takes a name to pique ones interest in something. If one can produce something, and give it a name either provocative or evocative, you can get a winner. The history of cinema, especially exploitation and independent horror cinema is rife with alternative titles to make a film sound better than perhaps it really is, or even just to find the correct audience. This film was titled Kyonyû doragon: Onsen zonbi vs sutorippâ 5 (my guess is the last 3 words are ‘zombie vs stripper’) in its native Japan, and the suggested title in English was The Big Tits Dragon. Somewhere along the line, though, an alternative title was offered, and this title, ladies and gentlemen, is one I could not pass: Big Tits Zombie.
The only way it could have been more appealing to your reviewer was if they squeezed the word ‘beer’ or ‘steak’ into the title. This film is written and directed by Takao Nakano, who gave us 2004’s Sexual Parasite: Killer Pussy, and it is based loosely on the manga Kyonyû doragon, by Rei Mikamoto.
Big Tits Zombie is the tale of five strippers, Lena Jodo (Sola Aoi), Ginko Hoshikage (Risa Kasumi), Maria Kuroi (Mari Sakurai), Darna (Io Aikawa) and Nene Hanasaki (Tamayo), who are working a crappy strip club in a rundown town, and who never seem to be able to get a break. None of them really get on too well, and one day whilst fighting (topless and in 3D) amongst themselves, they discover that their dressing room behind the club they perform in has a secret door.
The go through the door and discover a room full of occult antiquities, that are possibly worth a fortune. Unfortunately what they don’t realise is that their presence has brought the dead hidden down a well in the basement back to life. Dead that are keen to eat the living!!!
When Darna goes back into the room to steal a box of money she found there, she is the first to be consumed, and the other four must now defend themselves against the hordes of the undead… that is until one of them betrays the rest, and becomes one who can control the living dead, and do her dark bidding!!!
The special effects are of a pretty low standard, even by these low budget Asian horror standards. Some of the zombies make up is nothing but rubber masks, but the variety of zombies presented in this film is fantastic. Basically, any Asian stereotype you can think of is represented by an undead version: ninja, geisha, schoolgirl, you name it. Unfortunately, at times the CGI is deplorable. Blood sprays fly out of bodies, but then just dissipate into thin air, and occasionally body cut and slashes don’t appear at all. The amusing this is the cruddy zombies and poor CGI aren’t the worst special effects: there is a tentacle zombie thing whose strings are SO obvious it should have been called Lady Penelope… what makes it even worse is the scene they can be seen in is a 3D scene, and even the STRINGS are given the 3D treatment!!
OK, I admit that this film is made for the nudity and the gore, but for goodness sake, the dancing choreography was of a level that would make a pre-school ballet school bawl in embarrassment. I don’t want to be too critical of it though, as whether deliberately or accidentally bad, the dancing was a comedy highlight.
Keep a keen eye on some of the sets being covered in plastic so that any fake, non-cgi blood or goop, and try not to notice that the credits are reversed, that is it suggests it is the character that plays the actor, not the other way around. Also, the director seems to have a ‘thing’ for Quentin Tarantino judging by the various visual cues from a selection of his films.
Those into not-so-traditional Japanese business fetishism will be entertained. This film has hot girls fighting, panty shots, bra shots, lingering booby blood spray and the classic ‘threatening tentacles’ of many a hentai horror tale.
So even through all the criticism I have offered upon this film, I couldn’t help but like it. Somewhere between the illogical storyline, the terrible special effects and the strippers pulling their boobs out, I found that I was being more entertained than I had been in ages
Big Tits Zombie is a badly acted, terribly choreographed, non-sensical film with crap special effects, hot Japanese chicks and substandard 3D effects. To sum up; it’s a winner. This film knows exactly what it is and revels in it. Fans of things like The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police need to rush out and buy it now… but be warned: don’t show it to people who claim to be ‘film fans’ because they just ain’t gonna get its bloody, low budget charms! I don’t know what the Japanese word for Troma is, but I imagine the director of this film does!!
Extras: The first thing that has to be pointed out is that this film is presented in both 3D and 2D. The 3D is probably something you will watch only once, but I imagine you will return the zaniness of the 2D time and time again. Make sure you DO watch them both though, as they do contain different footage in the opening credits. I must also point out the 3D feature isn’t completely in 3D, but instead has an onscreen warning when to put your glasses on, sometimes even a character puts his glasses on as well.
There is a pretty funny Making of on this disc. It may not completely cover the ins and outs of the film making process, but it introduces the 6 main actors, chats with the writer director Takao Nakano and shows some of the behind the scenes footage. It is by NO means a complete ‘special edition’ styled making of, but it is pretty entertaining.
Also presented on this disc is the trailer for Big Tits Zombie, Raging Phoenix, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, Love Exposure and Tokyo Zombie.
WISIA: It’s pretty hard to resist rewatching a film called ‘Big Tits Zombie’.
Film: I’d like to say I’m a fan of Darren Lynn Bousman, but I just can’t. For me, his output has been massively hit or miss for me. I loved his additions to the Saw saga, and the Mother’s Day remake (was it REALLY a remake? I’m not sure), but films like St. Agatha completely missed the mark.
There’s no doubt he has a great visual eye and he gets good performances from his actors, but I think occasionally the stories are duds, and that reflects on him.
This film, Death of Me sits smack bang in the middle of the two extremes.
Death of Me tells the story of Christine (Maggie Q) and her husband, travel writer Neil (Luke Hemsworth… how many Hemsworths are there?!? There seems to be more than the Baldwins and Daddos combined) are staying at a small AirBnB on a remote island in Thailand when something strange happens.
The film opens with our couple waking up in their room which has been destroyed. There is mud everywhere and they are both filthy. They do some investigation and find a two hour video on the memory card, which shows them both doing shots in a small bar, before finding themselves outside the AirBnB, where Neil rapes Christine, strangles her, and then remorsefully buries her right there and then.
If he killed her though, how is she still alive? Christine seems to be getting strangely sicker too, with her vomiting up grass and dirt initially, followed by a small snake, and the local doctor, suggested to them by the owner of the AirBnB, Samantha (Alex Esso, from Starry Eyes and Doctor Sleep), tells her that there is nothing wrong.
They continue their investigations until Neil suddenly goes missing after Christine seemingly witnessed him committing suicide on a nearby dock, and then it starts to get REALLY weird… but how is it all tied into the weird necklace, and the threat of an incoming typhoon?
Easily the two best things about this film are the location, which was filmed in Thailand and looks so lush and fresh that it’s almost unbearable, and the casting of Maggie Q, an actor I have adored since I saw her in Naked Weapon and followed her career through various Die Hards and Mission Impossibles.
Another point on the location: Bousman does a fantastic job at mixed the wide open spaces and beautiful landscapes, with some really claustrophobic interiors that make for an occasional effectively creepy scene.
Now the problems: the story is somewhat bland. It’s clearly influenced by films like The Wicker Man (even to the point one of the characters even references it) with its ‘strangers in a strange land/ odd locals’ theme but it just doesn’t resonate, and the Carrie styled ending is a little bit daft too. Hemsworth probably wasn’t the greatest companion for Q either; she is far to strong an actor and he is somewhat pedestrian.
It’s a shame. This film could have possibly been great, but it just flapped around, not really doing anything extraordinary.
Film: I loves me a good body snatcher film. Seriously, from The Thing and Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (and their remakes) to Robert Rodriguez’s The Faculty, I’ve always loved a weird alien-replacement conspiracy story. Thankfully, Hollywood does too, so you’ll get a new one once a decade or so… even if in several of those occasions they have been remakes, yes, a weird alternate simplicity of an original!
Wow, I’ve only just realised that a remake is the pod person version of an original film.
Anyway, this decade’s version is this film Assimilate, written, directed and produced (and starring) John Murlowski, who previously directed Amityville: A New Generation and Contagion… no, not that one, the other one from about ten years prior.
Assimilate tell of two friends, Zach (Joel Courtney from Super 8) and Randy (Callum Worthy from American Vandal), who have decided to start a YouTube Web channel all about how boring their small American town is. During the course of the filming we meet various family members and odd locals (no weirder than normal oddness, that is) and of course, Zach’s high school crush, Kayla (Andi Matichak from 2018’s Halloween).
Also, they film a few pieces of weirdness, including a woman who is bitten by ‘something’. They chase the ‘thing’, only to see it picked up by the creepy local priest. They return to see her the following day but when they return to see if she is ok, she is, and with no evidence of ever being bitten, but there seems to be something off about her.
Quickly, the three realise that the townsfolk are being replaced by something, but will they be able to escape the town without being replaced themselves? Will the succumb to the aliens horrible scheme for world domination?
Honestly, I was surprised by how much I liked this film. At first I thought it was going to be derivative of the earlier mentioned films, but it was surprisingly entertaining with a decent amount of jump scares and actual thrills. I was also concerned it was going to be a Blair Witch/ Paranormal Activity found footage thing too, and even though it dips it’s toe in that pool, it doesn’t go full tilt into it, and the idea of the uploads has a payoff that is worthwhile.
The cast are great. Again, I thought the two male leads were going to be chuckleheads but they developed differently to what I first thought they would, and Andi Matichak, who appears to be the token final girl role at first, develops completely in a different direction. As a side note it was also nice to see Cam Gigandet again, I really liked him in Never Back Down (even though his character was a right knob) and The Unborn, so his appearance as the disbelieving Deputy in this was great.
The fault with this film is the special effects, which simply put, are terrible. I’ve seen a lot of cruddy effects in my time though, and even some of my favourite films suffer this fate, so it would be unfair to simple this film out on that notion.
Seriously though, they are well crappy.
All in all, this is a cracking film which entertained and surprised from start to finish… especially the finish.
Format: This film was reviewed on the Australian region 4 DVD, which is presented in a thoroughly decent 1.85:1 image with a matching Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The problem with the image being so clear is that it does reveal the effects to be a little bit… well, crappy. The image also varies somewhat due to the fact the mains characters are using their own webcams occasionally.
WISIA: It was pretty good, but the surprise has gone so it won’t be as eye-opening.
As a teen in the eighties, just like now, I was always more of a comic and magazine reader than a book reader. Sure as a younger kid I had read adventure stuff like Doctor Who, the Famous Five and Secret Seven, and of course movie novelizations like Raiders of the Lost Ark or Star Wars, but I was always more interested in the monthly tales of Daredevil and the Fantastic Four, or being totally engrossed in the latest Famous Monsters of Filmland, or if I was lucky, the gory pics in a new mag known as Fangoria…
… until I discovered a gentleman by the name of Richard Laymon. In my teens, in addition to being a rabid comic reader, I was also a fanatical video hirer… so much so that my local video shop ended up HIRING me!! The movies that I loved the most were the slasher films, and whilst discussing this with a man at a local second hand book shop, he told me if I liked ‘those’ sorts of films, I’d love the books of Richard Laymon, and he sold me a $1.50 of a book called ‘Beware!!’ and I was immediately hooked.
This single book turned into a love of lurid, gore soaked tales, and so Laymon, along with Shaun Hutson, Guy N. Smith and James Herbert became high on my reading list, though Laymon was always the best.
None of his books, though, ever surpassed the absolute joy I experienced in reading this book, Resurrection Dreams, and it remains, to this day my second favourite books ever (out of interest, the first is The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks: if you haven’t read that you are missing out on an AMAZING book about one of the best literary psychotics ever).
Resurrections Dreams starts with a bang! A car accident leaves the head cheerleader and her boyfriend as corpses, hers being headless and the school’s biggest nerd, and bullying victim, Melvin decides that for his science fair project, he’s going to dig her up and attempt to resuscitate her by hooking her up to a car battery… which of course fails miserably and he finds himself thrown into a facility for those whose judgement may lean towards a more nutso end of the scale.
Several years later, our heroine, Vicki, who was the only girl particularly nice to Melvin, returns to the town after graduating university to take a job at the local Doctor’s office with the man who encouraged her to become a medic.
Upon returning to town, she stops at the local petrol station to fill her car and meets the newly released from the asylum Melvin, who is over excited to see her again. They talk about old times, and feeling uncomfortable, she finds an excuse to take her leave.
Melvin’s obsession with her returns in full swing and decides that he needs to win her over, and after trying some normal, yet over-the-top means, like giving her a car, which she summarily rejects, he tries other methods.
See Melvin wasn’t completely idle in the hospital, and his research into the reanimation of the dead has become an actuality. His first successful attempt, a nurse named Patricia, is completely in his thrall and will do ANYTHING he says, including kill for him, which he uses as a tool to execute those who have crossed Vicky, or look like they could assist her by being out of the way.
The problem with the dead he reanimates is that they are completely and absolutely dedicated to their master and get insanely jealous very easily and are extraordinarily hard to dispose of, which may spell disaster for Melvin’s ultimate plan for completely possessing Vicki.
Straight away from the synopsis you can see that Laymon has taken the all of the traditional, both cinematic and actual ‘Voodoo’, zombies and turned the idea on its head. These zombies are able to function more or less in a normal society even though they suffer of an obsession with their masters and the unreasonable character flaw of biting during sex… but Hell, who doesn’t!! This is the real strength of the book. A lot of the characters, especially Melvin, are B grade horror stereotypes, but having the zombies as functional beings rather than tools of the apocalypse makes it far more interesting that most of the walking dead stuff you may be exposed to in the current glut of zombie overexposure. He uses his skill as a writer on several occasions to surprise… well, it’s not always immediately apparent… the reader as to WHO has already been turned!
Laymon’s writing style is a pleasure to read. The words flow off the page at a great rate, and he was well aware that most interested in the subject that he writes about would not be too interested in deep subtle underlying meanings or a more flowery writing style. This is lurid pulp horror and he relishes in it!! Little goes into the descriptions of surroundings or landscape, but when it comes to gore or sex, every severed tendon and turgid member is explicitly detailed, and this is what B Grade horror film fans want from a novel, don’t they? I know THIS B grade horror fan does!
The real crime is that Laymon’s novels seem to get ignored when movie types look for projects, and Resurrection Dreams, in a world where HBO and other TV networks can show sex and horror on TV would make for an amazing series if it were given half a chance!
Overall, like I said previously, this is one of my favourite novels of all time and its ability to take the whole zombie sub-genre of horror and make it his own provide a great read for those daring enough to dig up a copy.
Film: Until watching The Dead Don’t Die, I had only ever seen one film by independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, and that was way back with 2003’s Coffee and Cigarettes, which was because I am a fan of the White Stripes, of whom members Jack and Meg White appear, and Steve Coogan, as I am a fan of both Alan Partridge and the hilarious English comedy, The Parole Officer. Now I haven’t avoided his work, as I quite like Coffee and Cigarettes, it’s just that there is always something else I would RATHER watch. I have seen that he regularly has quite extreme reviews, which is interesting, but just never got around to watching his output. Something I guess I should correct.
This film, The Dead Don’t Die, is clearly a tribute to George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and the style of the film feels very much like that classic horror, as well as having more obvious tips-of-the-hat, like the make of a particular car and a reference to Pittsburgh. It also echoes Romero’s work with what seems to be a commentary on consumerism, and the fact the zombies emulate there ‘living’ versions, and has several obvious jokes, like the RZA’s delivery man character works for ‘Wu-PS’, or Steve Buscemi’s scathing MAGA hat.
The loveable constabulary of Centerville: Adam Driver and Bill Murray
It’s a regular day in the town of Centerville, and Police Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and Officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) are going about their regular business, though for some reason they have noticed that the day seems to be going longer… even for daylight savings!
The news has been reporting on excess fracking in the Arctic and Antarctic circles, which may cause the earth the alter it’s position on its axis, which is cause daylight to no longer match up with our man-made construct of time.
To make matters worse, a double-murder has occurred and Peterson’s suggestion of zombies being the cause, very quickly comes true! The cops, along with another officer, Officer Mindy Morrison (Chloë Sevigny) decide to patrol the streets of their undead ridden town, whilst the local oddball mortician and apparent ninja, Zelda Winston (Tilda Swinton) mans the radio but then starts doing something weird on the computer… is she behind everything, is it something more sinister, or just completely unrelated? Will our heroes survive?
Tilda Swinton as… are you ready… Zelda Winston: the mortician with a secret
It’s a weird bird, this movie, as it’s the calmest damned zombie movie you’ll ever see, that’s also funny, completely off the wall and has a few of the most bizarre fourth wall breaks you’ll see this side of a Deadpool movie.
The zombie make up is very tradition and done well. Their executions, on the other hand, are magnificent! Instead of the usual bloody explosions when heads are shot and streams of blood and gore when they are decapitated, Jarmusch instead goes for an almost supernatural waft of dust, which is really effective!
The soundtrack by Sqürl, Jarmusch’s band, has this wonderful hypnotic drone about it that suits the film brilliantly. As soon as I can I’ll be adding this soundtrack to my record collection.
As I said previously, the influence of Romero and 80s horror sits heavily on the chest of this film, and Dawn of the Dead’s message the dead conveying what they wanted in life makes for some funny moments (Sara Driver and Iggy Pop’s Coffee Zombies being a highlight) and a particularly tragic one too. There’s heaps of great in-jokes too…a few Star Wars digs aimed at Adam Driver are particularly funny.
This is an interesting zombie film that is completely atypical to any zombie movie made before it. I will say though that I found myself thinking a lot of the Spierig Bros movie Undead, which would possibly play well as a double feature.
The menu screen for The Dead Don’t Die
Format: This film was reviewed with the Australian released Bluray which was presented in a perfect 1.78:1 image with a matching DTS-HD 5.1 audio.
Extras: There is the grand total of three extras on this disc:
Bill Murray: Zombie Hunting Action Star is a minuscule interview where he talks about Zombieland typecasting him into a zombie hunting action hero.
Stick Together asks the question ‘why would a Jim Jarmusch zombie movie exist?
Behind the Scenes of The Dead Don’t Die has 6 mini… and I mean MINI… features about the making of the film.
WISIA: There is a lot happening here so yes, definitely will be watched over and over.
So, against my better judgement, and in a feat that makes me a massive hypocrite, I bought Resident Evil 3, the remastered game, for my PlayStation 4. Why am I a hypocrite? Well, even though I am an advocate for movie remakes, I don’t understand why people would want a remastered video game.
(Yes, I’m aware that it’s basically the same thing, and I can’t explain why I don’t feel the same way about video game remakes: I just don’t!)
Resident Evil 3 is obviously the sequel to Resident Evil 2, which also had a revamp and a dress-up last year, and is predominantly a third-person puzzle game in the disguise of a zombie-hunter. That is, it’s a ‘find-this-to-open-that-to-get-this-to-unlock-that’ game, but with a fair bit… actually, a LOT of combat against all sorts of zombies and beasties.
In this tale, you play Jill Valentine, a member of the S.T.A.R.S team (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) who is trapped in the zombie ridden Raccoon City and after being attacked by a creature known as the Nemesis-T Type. To get out of the city, she needs to team up with Carlos and members of the U.B.C.S (Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service), who are attempting to evacuate as many citizens as possible on a subway, but, as you would expect, there are lots of things that need to be done before that can happen.
Also, unfortunately for Jill, not every member of the U.B.C.S. is necessarily of great assistance, and considering they work for the corrupt company that caused the pandemic, Umbrella Corp, how far can she even actually trust them… and then there’s also the zombies…
This game is a remake of the 1999 game Resident Evil 3: Nemesis but thankfully as given up the AWFUL tank-like controls and fixed camera angles. Graphically it is really nice and the soundscape adds tension of a really high level. The moans of zombies come from a fair way of and the consistent rattling of chain-link fences and the crackling of fires adds a disturbing amount of depth.
Something I found really cool about this was the opening scenes were live action and really added to the realism of the environments. I thoroughly enjoyed my one hour of play, and if I’m honest, it quickly turned into 90 minutes as I did get lost in the environments.
Another cool thing about this release is the opportunity to play the beta version of the online game Resident Evil: Resistance. RE:R is similar to games like Evolve or Friday the 13th where one person plays the bad guy, and they are up against a a team of four players.
The single player is playing as an evil Umbrella Corp employee who is attempt to stop the other players from escaping a facility by putting zombies and other traps in their paths, controlling the situation from a series of cameras, whilst the team collects various forms of protection and executes missions to secure their escape.
I didn’t get to play this online unfortunately, but the training session was fun and and the character and play design engaging.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this game, and will no doubt drop several hours of my life into surviving Raccoon City’s zombie problem.
Film: I never used to be a fan of horror comedies because I didn’t like the juxtaposition of laughs with horror. Actually, I still don’t really believe that the horror/comedy exists: horror/ comedies are just comedies with monsters and or gore in them.
Having said that, some of my favourite movies are horror comedies. Movies like Shaun of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead and Re-animator hit this amazing balance between the ridiculousness of the situation, humans ability to laugh in the face of danger and blood and gore.
Unfortunately a lot of horror/ comedies fail because they can’t hit that balance; The Spierig Brothers’ Undead was one of those for me. It had a few funny lines, but essentially it fell flat as either horror or comedy.
This film, Little Monsters, is a winner though. Written and directed by Australian actor/ director Abe Forsythe who previously gave us the Ned Kelly comedy Ned (2003) and Down Under (2016), Little Monsters tell of Dave (Alexander England), a washed up worker who is constantly at war with his girlfriend until they finally decide to call it quits.
With nowhere to go, he moves in with his sister, Tess (Kat Stewart) and her son, Felix (Diesel La Torraca) where he proves to be not the best influence on the boy, especially when he discovers that Felix’s teacher is the stunning Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o), and volunteers to chaperone the children in his class on an excursion to Pleasant Valley, which has a petting zoo and mini golf, but also, for a limited time, the 5 times Nickelodeon kids award winning entertainer, Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad).
What starts as a delightful excursion becomes a nightmare as the American Army base next door has a breakout of zombies who find their way onto the theme park grounds. Very soon, Miss Caroline, Dave, Teddy and Miss Caroline’s class find themselves holed up in the souvenir shop, surrounded by the undead, with seemingly no way out!
Will they all survive?
I admit to have blind bought this Bluray for two reasons, the first is you just have to put the word ‘zombie’ on anything and immediately I’m interested. The other is Lupita Nyong’o. For me she was about the only thing I liked about the Black Panther movie (well, her and Shuri), and she shows some amazing skill playing both Adelaide and Red in the Jordan Peele science fiction/ horror movie Us.
After watching it though, I also have to take my hat off to Josh Gad, who plays Teddy with a gleeful delight at first before revealing his deplorable true colours, and make for a hilarious ‘jerk’ character. That’s not to take away from Alexander England either: Dave is one of the most irredeemable characters prime for redemption ever seen in a comedy.
The type of zombie that appears in the film is the slow, non-tool using type, but part of the script suggests that there are lots of types as one of the American Army guys asks ‘Fast ones or slow ones’ which was a nice truce in the war between running and walking zombies.
The best thing about this film though is how damned funny it is. It starts like a stoner comedy and switches so easily to a horror comedy/ romantic comedy that you barely notice where the change is… and that’s not to cast shade on the imbues either: they look amazing, considering most of the budget must have been spent just on the international cast members!
I really can’t recommend this film enough. It’s been a long time since I laughed out loud at a co edgy, let alone a horror/ comedy!
Format: Little Zombies is presented in an absolutely perfect 2.35:1 image, and a cracking DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.
WISIA: There is so much happening in this film, and it’s so bloody funny, it deserves multiple watches!