Category Archives: Films/TV

Movies of the Week 2

Zombies of Mass Destruction

This movie is epic. You don’t need to be a zombologist to see the links being made between zombies and real life. It compares societal panics – the ‘gay’ panic, terrorism panic, religious panics, etc – to zombies. Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t smart or funny, and I can’t quite decide what I liked the most about it. I do like some politics on the side of zombies and other monsters, mostly because of how damned crazy politicians are, and this movie brings out the best (worst?) of it.

There’s a few main characters. There is the gay couple – the totally out there Lance (wearing an ‘I’m with him’ shirt, a big f you to small town minds and proud of who he is – right on!), and his partner Tom, who is returning to the small town to finally come out of the closet to his mum. There is an Iranian-American, Frida, who is constantly harassed with the rednecks of the town who mistake her for an Iraqi and use her as an excuse to go on about the war on terrorism, which clearly she has nothing to do with as she has lived her whole life in America. She wants to be seen as American, which upsets her Iranian father who is proud of his heritage. There’s Mrs Banks, a teacher and running for Mayor against Mayor Burton who has been in control of the town for some time and is a god-fearing good Christian. And as always, never trust a priest, particularly a small town priest!

As well as the story and great characters (and great acting!), there’s some awesome makeup and zombie design with skin being pulled off faces while they are still screaming – lovely (and not being sarcastic, it was beautifully done)! Unlike some comedy horrors, it’s not more depressing than funny (maybe it would have been more depressing if a certain person was still in charge of a certain oval-shaped office in a white coloured house).

This is totally a buy!


Let Sleeping Corpses Lie

As with all zombie movies from the 70’s, I look out for boobs. The first made an appearance in 3 minutes. Actually there was less boobs in this movie than other 70’s movies I’ve seen!

While the character interaction was a bit weird, boring or misogynistic most of the time (one moral you could take from this is: women are hysterical and can’t drive!), the underlying zom plot was pretty good. Admittedly, I’d tried to watch this a few times before and had just zoned out – maybe that’s the whole generational thing of “OMG were lyk Gen Y n ned action all teh tym!” (It killed me to write that ><).

Two young (one very lefty/hippy like) people are being stalked by the coppers (the bad authority who don’t know nuffin!) for murders that were actually caused by the walking dead. These zombies are different from typical zombies, and although the cause is explained, there’s something that bugs me about them. One, a man who died from drowning, is shown wet and dripping in every scene, very ghost like. Of course, Romero had only made Night of the Living Dead a few years before this and although brought back in the interest in zombies, not everyone made Romero-esque zombies yet (you see a lot of people who comment on Youtube that zombies are ONLY like X and can only be killed with Y etc etc. but either ignore the evolution of creativity or don’t know the actual evolution of zombies. I used to be one of those ignorant fools! Except I don’t comment on Youtube :P)

As a relatively early modern zombie movie, it’s pretty good. It doesn’t have the absolute gore of other zombie movies in the era (perhaps this lead to a lighter rating?) and the makeup is okay for the time. They have the zombie shamble¬† and dead eyed stare down pat!

I’m considering getting this, being an example of X causes zombification and X was a concern of the time and looking at historical context etc etc, but it’s not action packed and seems to go on for longer than it really does.


Resident Evil

This is one of the prominent zombie movies of noughties and for good reason. Admittedly, I’ve never played the game, but I love the old evil corporation and bitch-crazy AI.

I am a fan of Milla Jovovitch, she does some damned good movies and she acts damned well too, and it did take me some time to place James Purefoy (he gets his kit off as Mark Antony in HBO’s Rome – helloooooo!) – he’s not as crazy famous as some, but he’s a good actor and … Michelle Rodriguez plays Michelle Rodriguez. ‘Nuff said.

A top secret bad virus is kept in a totally breakable container which is broken, and entire offices are flooded and people killed with gas. We learn soon enough that it was the AI of the complex that directed this and a group of soldiers are directed to go in and find out wtf happened. In the meantime, Jovovitch/Alice wakes up, apparently having collapsed in the shower. She doesn’t remember a thing, but is told she works for Umbrella too. Flashes of memory start coming back, and she’s not so sure she was a loyal employee…

I do like the story, it’s totally a classic and I am very much looking forward to the next one in the series when it comes out later this year. This is very much a modern zombie movie with lots of action, a bit of plot, and loads of zombies and fake blood.

I have half the series already, just need to find this one and Extinction, so clearly it’s a buy for me.



Resident Evil: Apocalypse

How could we make something good so bad? With Apocalypse! It makes sense in context of the series and how the zombie plague plays out, but the ‘plot’ is downright horrid. I’ve seen on the net that the writer (same as the first movie) blamed the director, but I really don’t believe any director could have saved that script or those characters.

Some things just downright didn’t make sense. So we know the zombie infection is spread by bites and scratches, but how do the long-dead in the graveyard come back to un-life? In the first film, the virus was created for military application, where this one has a different story. The other characters – anyone not Alice – were crap too. There’s the hardened ex-cop who dresses in boob tubes, miniskirts and platform shoes, and decorates her apartment in the newspaper clippings of her own dismissal (why?), then there are some soliders with a really bad sense of one-liners, a black guy who plays a stereotypical black guy – although there is a man of African-American appearance who plays a cop as well, so it’s not completely racist.

Alice is asskicking, as usual, and Milla Jovovitch doesn’t bow to the terribleness of the story. If it wasn’t for her and the movie being a part of an overall good series, this would be totally unworthy. This is the B-Grade of the series, although it does pack some important information right in at the end.


Resident Evil: Extinction

So after being saved again, apparently they all decide to split up and Alice is biking her way across the desert and showing some strange powers. Somewhere in that desert there’s an Umbrella lab where they are trying to work on clone Alice’s, putting the clones through rigorous testing and leading to a huge pile of dead Alice’s on the surface that make the horde of zombies rattle the rather weak looking fence for. But there are other survivors tracking across the country, low on fuel, low on food, and Alice shares with them a possible escape – Arcadia in Alaska, the promised land, free of infection and safe with food and shelter. They have to get there first, and Umbrella wants Alice back and doesn’t care who they kill in the process.

Apart from the bad guys being totally evil with no morals, no emotion, no care for humanity and totally stereotypical, this movie does improve on everything else that Apocalypse lacked. There’s still a few strange things that don’t quite make sense (Oh, I didn’t mention this before, but I’m an expert helicopter pilot. Could that possibly, at all, be of use in a zompocalypse?) but less of them.


Resident Evil: Afterlife

And to the last one that came out! Apart from screwing up an Umbrella lab in Tokyo, Alice has gone to Alaska to find Arcadia and found nothing, nothing at all except a crazed up Claire with a strange device attached to her chest. They escape the island and find a prison with a few survivors and thousands of zombies outside the gates. Alice decides to stop in, and finds out that Arcadia is not what they thought it was at all. And the prison won’t be safe for much longer, with zombies digging through the ground and a big ass executioner looking zom with a ginormous axe/mace/thing.

Again, typical bad guys who wear sunglasses inside and underground, but also some unexpected enemies (but should be expected from a zompocalypse) from within the survivor group itself. The last group of survivors all worked together for a common purpose, and apart from LJ who hid his bite (totally in denial), they were loyal to the group. This group is a bit more diverse. Keeping together with the same people for so long must drive you nuts, but some people cling to the falsities of what used to be reality and don’t realise that what was important then means crap all now.

Still cool action sequences. Was shot in 3D, and although I didn’t watch it in 3D, some of the scenes looked brilliant – like the first, a girl standing in the rain in Tokyo, lots of slow action movement to show every breath, every drop of rain. I like that detail. A lot of 3D done today is postproduction, and really not worth being called 3D, compared to something so highly detailed (in design, not plot) as Avatar (which of course started the 3D trend.)

But anyway, good zombie movie!


Technology anxiety and why we need an apocalypse

I was just reading a fascinating article my friend linked on Facebook called ‘Where technology goes next will change us all” by Craig Simms which describes the future of technology as being like magic, that we don’t want it out for all to see, but integrated completely with our lives. He writes of the development of Project Glass by Google to be a turn to cyborgs. “Humans are the next device to plug in.” Wall-E shows a similar future, but has an adorable robot that falls in love and inspires humanity.

This interests me on so many levels, but it’s one of the comments below the article that got my attention and made me think of my dear zombies and cultural anxiety. MariaK1 wrote “I find this article incredibly depressing and if I had money I would be tempted to move to the country and avoid the whole stinking mess.”

I thought of the article completely opposite: a wide viewing of the reach of the human imagination. I thought more of Star Trek and its utopian future rather than the bleak Battlestar Galactica. This is probably due to my upbringing as a nerd.

Technology becomes scary, to me, not just when used for war, but with the unintended side effects. When robots rise up against us, when our lives have such little meaning because technology sustains us so long that we no longer seek to produce anything ourselves but become mindless consumers.

Starting to sound familiar now?

It’s very much a theme of the film Surrogates with Bruce Willis. People don’t need to go outside anymore, they just lay down, hook into a robot, and the robot goes out and does all the work for them. Imagine the muscle waste from laying down so much and doing nothing! Where most of society goes about in these robots, there is a community living in a separate area that are against the use of surrogates and that humanness is the apex of society, not the technology.

So back to zombies. It could be technology used to extend life (Cybermen are sorta zombies maybe?) or radioactive waste that infects people (Redneck Zombies!), or just in general scientific experiments to see how far human life can survive, or maybe exposure to aliens or alien substances (space dust in Fido, facehugger things in Half Life). With the zombie apocalypse, we are forced to strive to survive for any significant amount of time; we must create, build, plant, and grow as the stocks in the stores won’t last forever. Survival is not just for the next day, but for life.

The major theme/moral/etc of so many stories is that technology and its conveniences make us weak and further from nature/true goodness/godliness/whatever and prevents our evolution. That’s why we need a Wall-E, a Greer, a Zombie Apocalypse to ‘reset’ us to this natural state.

Movies of the Week

So I went all retro and signed up to a DVD rental store (dislike monthly fees, and would have to get a higher internet data package. Whinge whinge first world problems and all that jazz.). This week I got Contagion, Deadheads and Pet Sematary.



This is not a zombie movie. If you are looking for action, you’re gonna have a bad time. However what I loved about this movie was how many scientists, the CDC and New Scientist said how accurate it was about the start of a virus and how the cure was developed. They used REAL science language!

My criticism of the film lays in how many really well known actors they used. Most movies require a suspension of belief, but for a movie that was so real, it made it unreal to have people like Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lawrence Fishburne play normal people with normal lives. We know these people, we know they make a lot of money and have mansions and all that jazz, and I felt they couldn’t perform the roles truly. Not that they are bad actors – who doesn’t like Lawrence Fishburne! Although many critics take aim at Jude Law’s ‘Australian’ accent. I’m Aussie and I had no idea what it was supposed to be – but for this type of movie they just didn’t fit.

So no zombies, but I did enjoy seeing the whole length of the virus and knowing that it wasn’t just writers talking out of their…scripts… with made-up language and scenarios. Not sure if it’s a buy or not.



A bloke wakes up in the middle of a zombie outbreak, we’ve all seen this before, but he doesn’t realise he IS a zombie! This movie was hilarious, a lot of references in it too, like when the car breaks down, Brent admits he has no idea how cars work and asks if maybe it’s the flux capacitor <3!

Some people will be against this movie because it’s about zombie Mike going to find his true love, whom he was about to propose to before he was killed. Zombie romance! It’s a lot more tongue in cheek than my usual zombie romances, but I really enjoyed it. It was what it was – a silly movie with zombies and the immortality of love.

This is one I will buy and watch again, there are many LOL moments (not the writing of LOL when really you aren’t laughing, the literal laughing out loud/lots of laughs/whatever). Not everyone would like it, but it got to me.


Pet Sematary

Not my favourite of Stephen King’s works, it revolves around a small family moving to a small town with a dark secret, an ancient Indian burial ground that can bring things back to life. The two lessons I take from this are: never lie to kids and don’t repeat the same fkd up thing over and over and expect different results.¬† As well as the cat and undead stuff, there was also a ghost who followed them around and tried to help, but a weird side story about the mother’s sister being severely disabled and ill, I didn’t quite get how that fit into the story. Perhaps as being why they were so scared to tell their kids about the truth of death or something?

You could argue it’s not a zombie movie, but it’s close enough. There is nothing more creepy than kids though – tiny hands and high pitched devil laughs. Don’t even need to be undead for them to be a bit creepy! (*waves to little nephew*) Although the demonic cat was a bit over the top – anyone who has owned a couple of cats before has seen a possessed hungry demon kitty.

I did read on the internet (as trustworthy as it is *cough*) that Stephen King didn’t feel that the story was good enough, but the publisher jumped and took it anyway. We all know King has done some damned awesome things, and this was not one of them (don’t know how close it was to the original book – feel free to let me know I’ve got it wrong!). Not a buy for me, but I might nab the book off a mate.


And I’ve already gotten out more – the Resident Evil set, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, and Zombies of Mass Destruction.

Human cruelty

One of the clearest themes in horror, and other genres besides, is pointing out human cruelty. The desire to stay alive in a zombie apocalypse leads some people to sacrifice others so they can live (usually rich and rude jerks we don’t care about living anyway). One of my favourite Twilight Zone episodes is The Shelter, where people do ask ‘Why should your family live while mine dies?’

In Zombies, Vampires and Philosophy, Leah Murray refers to Thomas Hobbes claim that life in a “state of nature”, without government or authority, is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” . Murray extends this to the zombie apocalypse, looking at Romero’s Dead series. In thinking about recent battlegrounds, you could go further and apply this to jerks on the inernet – with anonymity and seeming no authority or law, people are free to call you whatever negative terms they can think of (although I do think ‘baddie’ is a stupid term).

Hiding away food, weapons, information is fairly common – especially outside of horror. But there are other examples of human cruelty that is not against each other. Cruelty against weak/helpless zombies is common, usually red necks picking them off, blowing them up, stringing them up and using them as target practise. Admittedly, this could just be a reflection of what could be our cruelty to each other if we had anarchy.

There’s nothing in the world I love like a person who likes and is kind to animals, especially my cat. There are quite a few heroes in the zombpocalypse who still look after animals and share meager stores with them (non-zombiepocalypses too!). Human cruelty is seen in so many ways and with varying levels of severity. Some see horse jumping as cruelty. Dog fights are definitely cruel. I forget where it’s from, whether academic or fiction, but I remember a saying that our civilisations worth is based upon how we treat our smallest, our weakest.