Sunday, March 29, 2015

9 of the worst zombie movie clichés

Zombie movies have been an ever-present in the movie release calendar for decades. The creepy apocalyptic dream of horror geeks and social commentators everywhere, you’d assume that with so many additions to the genre on a regular basis, that someone would look to be a little original. Wrong!
So pack up that survival kit and head on down to the local shopping mall. Here are 9 of the worst cliches in the zombie film sub-genre.

1. The secret bite

There’s always going to be a point where some poor sap takes a chewing but opts to hide their rapidly-degrading humanity from their pals because maybe, just maybe, they can be cured in time. It never works out that way though – and this snake-in-the-grass soon finds themselves questing for brains just like the rest of them…
Dawn of the Dead 2004

2. Suddenly…zombies

For groaning, shuffling corpses that reek of rotting flesh, zombie sure are wily buggers. Capable of sneaking up on would-be victims better than Solid Snake, the evil dead have an annoying habit of appearing out of thin air all in the name of the jump scare.
Shaun of the Dead

3. The military is evil

As everyone knows, in the midst of a zombie outbreak, the last group of people you can rely on for protection are the very people employed to protect us. The military have a habit of turning on the remaining civilian folk and are seemingly always out for their own gain. These selfish personnel can usually be sussed out by their methods of advertising ‘Safe-Zones’, which are never that safe at all.
(Warning: NSFW)

4. She’s already dead!

There’s always a stubborn fella who will take a little convincing to believe the world has gone to crap. He/she just can’t seem to understand that their former loved one now gnashing away in the corner like a rabid dog is no longer human. Just look around you for God’s sake!

5. What’s up Doc?

As the zombies emerge, so to do the creepy doctors. These guys are having a field day now that there are no longer any rules surrounding human experimentation. Capturing hapless zombies in the name of ‘science’ is their game, but it almost always comes around to bite them in the arse. Literally.
Day of the Dead Dr Logan

6. Shopping mall

What is it with hiding out in shopping malls and supermarkets? Survivors and zombies alike flock to these establishments in droves. You’d assume that based on the amount of times this old cliche has cropped up in zombie films that the very idea is embedded deep within the human psyche. So, if there ever is a zombie outbreak, go somewhere else.

7. The A**hole

Like the mad doctors, the zombie outbreak has a habit of attracting real douche-bags. Typically under the guise of a businessman or military commander, these men are only ever in it from themselves and will do anything and everything to ensure their own survival.
Captain Rhodes/Day of the Dead/George A. Romero

8. Grand Theft Auto

The world is overrun by flesh-eating corpses, no one is producing food or electricity anymore and clean water is in short supply. Logically then, all cars will still work. No matter how long the rust bucket has been sitting out in the open, it will without fail have the keys and a full tank to get our survivors to wherever they need to go.

9. The heroic sacrifice

When the time comes to launch an epic escape from the confines of whichever high-street supermarket our heroes find themselves in, the job of fending off the ravenous hordes of man-eating walkers falls to an unfortunate guy who must give his life for the greater good. Typically these guys will have undergone some character changing arc during the course of the film and will have realized that sometimes, the future of the group is more important.
Dawn of the Dead 2004

    Kickstarter Project: Jack and the Pirate Attack

    (While it's rare for me to blog about something non-zombie, I enjoyed Chris & Amy's last book, “Jack and the Zombie Attack,” so much, that I felt this one deserved a mention!)

    Be captivated with Jack's newest adventure as he stands up against fearless pirates to save unworthy bullies. Will Jack succeed?

    About this project

    New Backer Rewards: The first 50 backers will receive a digital copy of "Jack and the Pirate Attack" as a limited release prior to the book release.  We aren't releasing the book digitally to the public, so be one of the first 50 backers!  We have also included new rewards on top of the tiered rewards for meeting our publishing goals.  All backers who paid for shipping (Reward #2 and up) will receive each of the additional rewards every time a goal is met.
    We’ve lived and learned! After the successful release of our first book, “Jack and the Zombie Attack”, we’ve decided to self publish our second book in the series “Jack and the Pirate Attack”.  Once again we have chosen a moral to be faced and a lesson to be learned.  This is not just a book, it's an anti-bullying campaign!  What better way to learn about the effects of bullying, than from the most notorious bullies in history…pirates!
    The illustrations are captured through Chris Hernandez's unique artistic style using traditional watercolor and ink.  The adventurous story is written by wife, Amy Hernandez, using rhyme to captivate the reader.
    As a backer, you will be helping Chris and Amy to self publish 2000 quality hardback “Jack and the Pirate Attack” books with dust jackets.  Self-publishing can be a very expensive undertaking, and your support will make a big difference!  High-quality printing requires a significant amount of upfront costs.  Reaching the funding goal will allow us to create a higher quality book with a cloth cover and gold leaf stamp featuring Jack. Without your help this would not be possible.  Any additional funds raised will go towards merchandising and our book release party in July of 2015.
    Through backing this project you are also supporting a campaign to speak out against bullying.  As Jack finds out in this adventurous story, bullies come in all shapes and sizes. "Jack and the Pirate Attack" follows Jack as he deals with school yard bullying in a creative and imaginative way. In the end he faces a hard choice on whether to forgive those who tormented him.
    With your help “Jack and the Pirate Attack” will be released in July of 2015 at Comic Con International.  As an added reward, your backing will earn you some of the exclusives open to only those lucky enough to get tickets to attend the 2015 event.  “Jack and the Zombie Attack” and “Jack and the Pirate Attack” will be bringing the Children’s Book Genre to Comic Con.
    Although we have set our goal for the small amount of $4,500 to cover partial production of the 2000 books, we have set a stretch goal for $13,000.  Reaching this stretch goal will allow us to pay for the full production of the book and throw another book release party that pushes pirate to the next level!  Our successful book release for "Jack and the Zombie Attack" had an attendance of over 1,000 people, full art show of all original artwork from the book, live zombies, food and more.  With your support we are hoping to take our goal to the next level!

    Risks and challenges

    We overcame many obstacles in 2013-2014. We self-financed and published 2000 copies of “Jack and the Zombie Attack”, we had a successful book release party with over 1000 people in attendance, we won over Barnes and Noble with our unique marketing strategies, and we overcame a 6-year Comic Con waiting list in a single attempt.
    We learned a lot about making books, success, and family while opening Zombie Playground Publishing. As the Hernandez Family underwent a whirlwind of news articles, photo shoots, and book signings. Rather than weaken our family unit it only made us stronger.
    We have controlled our chaotic crazy life by making many new friends to share it with. With these strong ties, very few obstacles are foreseen, the biggest obstacle being financing the production of the book. After a failed Kickstarter event in 2012, many believed "Jack and the Zombie Attack" couldn't be done. We refused to settle for defeat, and self-financed the book for $9,600. Of the $9,600 we spent last year to produce 2000 copies of “Jack and the Zombie Attack”, we have made our money back and that is it.
    Now our obstacle is to produce 2000 copies of “Jack and the Pirate Attack” and if we can make extra money pay to throw another release party that is a swashbuckling affair. So yes, we have set our humble goal at $4,500, but we are pushing to reach a stretch goal of $9,200 to cover the cost of the production of 2,000 books. If you didn't back us before, you have the choice now to say....I believed in them from the beginning.

    For more info or to make a pledge, click here!

    5 Hopes for the 'Walking Dead' Spinoff

                 official show logo

    "The Walking Dead" ends its fifth season on March 29, but fans won't have long to wait for the companion series, aka Fear the Walking Dead. AMC is airing the first six episodes in late summer, presumably as a lead-in to the mother series' Season 6 premiere in October. Intel is slowly shuffling out about the spinoff, with the producers emphasizing how different the companion series will be from the main show. This will probably be a hit for AMC whether hardcore Dead-heads like it or not, but we really want to like it. So here are five hopes we have for Zombie Round 2.

    1. Give us the big picture 
    The main show, which is tied to Robert Kirkman's comic book, started with small-town sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes waking up in a Georgia hospital a couple of months after the zombie apocalypse began. We've followed him in Georgia for five season and just hit a small community in Virginia. The focus of the main show is very limited, and Kirkman said if he had any regrets it was having the show hit the CDC in Season 1, which was the only time we got any perspective on the world. We don't know how the outbreak began or any of the details of how it spread. Now is that time for that perspective. The spinoff is meant to be a prequel, but only at first, showing us the start of the apocalypse then catching up to Rick's timeline (without ever showing Rick or the current group). The CDC may be shown as talking heads, but it would also be good to see what's happening around the world, not just get details in speeches. On the main show, Jenner said something about France getting closest to a cure. How close, and what does that even mean, or look like? And how did everyone become infected, so that they turn at death, even if not bitten? Take a step back and give us the big picture of how the world ended.

    2. Show us more locations
    The spinoff pilot was shot in Los Angeles, which isn't exactly new ground for television, and if we just follow another small group of people based in one location it may feel like a retread of what we've been watching for the past five seasons on the main show. Why not follow multiple locations, either concurrently with the L.A. group or starting with L.A. then moving on to a series of new locations, with a different cast and place in the world each season? Show us snow walkers in Canada, rainforest walkers in the Amazon, or -- heck -- just leave the coast of California on a boat and see how far the characters make it. T-Dog always wanted to go to the coast on the main show, let's see how someone fares. AMC isn't just going to write a blank check, but if they're already in L.A. they can use soundstages and at least pretend to show us the world.

    3. Amp up the action
    The main show has been criticized at times (looking at you, Season 2!) for its slow patches. We're fans of the deep character moments, but if they're going to go ahead and launch a second show they might as well cater to the fans' craving for more action. Think Season 5 premiere, not Season 4 premiere. Keep it moving. And since this is the start of the outbreak, we're expecting a lot more deaths. Not the occasional heartfelt death with an accompanying song from Beth, but massive bombing-of-Atlanta casualties. We need to see how the population thinned to the extent that it became survival of the fittest/luckiest.

    4. Make the characters (especially the teens) likable
    Cliff Curtis and Kim Dickens are leading the spinoff cast, and they seem to both play educators with children -- teenagers. That could be bad -- like Dana Brody from "Homeland" bad -- with the added irritation that they're L.A. teens. No offense to L.A., but shows like "90210" and "The O.C." have already given us enough from that world. Plus, the spinoff character descriptions suggest some moody kids are ahead, with words like "rebellious teenage son," "angriest kid in town," and "screwed up" thrown in. It's worrisome. Executive producer David Alpert talked about the spinoff at SXSW, saying (via The Daily Beast), "...we're going to invest ourselves in these characters that are nuanced, detailed, and honestly really f--ked up and having these awful experiences between themselves, and trying to find a way, as a lot of us do. You have an ex-wife, you have an ex-husband, and you're trying to find out, 'How do I pick up the kids from school?' and just when you think you can barely hold on, zombies start coming." OK, but please make the people we're stuck with more likable than they currently sound. A zombie spinoff should be an escape for the audience, not torture. Don't make us root for the walkers.

    5. Ditch the "big bads" -- unless you show their origin stories
    The main show is now in a world where humans are bigger threats than walkers, but hopefully the spinoff avoids the big bad route. Human conflict will surely be a main focus, but there's no need for standoffs with group leader "villains" like The Governor at Woodbury, Gareth at Terminus, Dawn at Grady, or (eventually) Negan of The Saviors. That said, if they want to show how a regular person could become like The Governor over time, through the chaos and tragedy of the outbreak, that's different. We haven't seen that yet on the main show, we just keep meeting existing group leaders and (sometimes) hear their backstories in speeches. Show how they got to that point or don't show them here at all. However this plays out, AMC has invested in at least two seasons - -the six-episode mini season in 2015 and another season of whatever length in 2016. If we could add another hope, it's that the second season is longer and covers more of the long summer zombie wasteland where the main show leaves off. (Consider a May-October run, AMC!)

    Did You Manage to Notice Every Tribute Walker From the Entire Series of The Walking Dead?

    Hit the link and find out if you did!

    Click here!

    What every zombie kid wants!

    EASY BRAINS OVEN is Here - Eat Like a Zombie Today!

    Fight of the Living Dead Releases First Trailer

    Apparently, LARPing is the final frontier when it comes to reality TV. The first trailer for Fight of the Living Dead was released today, and it looks… interesting.
    Fight of the Living Dead, an 11-episode reality competition show that debuted March 22nd on ConTV, asks its contestants (um, survivors) to find the antidote to the zombie virus, all while keeping from being bitten by the zombie hordes. It’s got a decent pedigree: their effects supervisor is Tommy Pietch of Face Off, and their stunt coordinator is Chris Carnel of Winter Soldier. Plus, they have about 200 extras playing zombies.

    And yet, I’m not sure how crazy I am about this show. I started watching The Quest back when that was on, and I was SO INTO IT… for the first four or five episodes. And then I lost interest. I realized that, while I liked the ideaof the show – and totally wanted to be in it and play – LARPing isn’t exactly the kind of thing I want to watchother people do without participating. To me, LARPing isn’t a spectator sport.
    What do you all think? Would you watch Fight of the Living Dead?

    Be a Mom, survive the zombie apocalypse

    Guest post by Angela Clarke

    As a huge zombie fan I often fantasize about when zombies rise and what I’d do.  I often think I should start running to build stamina and cardio. But like all humans I am a procrastinator.  Also I am a mom of 3 young boys.  One day while daydreaming about the end of days, I thought hard about what it’d be like and how I’d survive and I began to realize being a mom has given me skills to survive.  Let me elaborate.
    10: Stealth
    In a world where the undead walk the streets I’m sure moving around from hiding spot to hiding spot without being noticed will be an asset.  My parenting skills have helped this, as anyone with a new baby knows there is nothing stealthier than a parent forgetting something in a napping baby’s room and having to go back and retrieve it.
    9: Food 
    I assume when all the grocery stores have been raided and there’s nothing left but pet food, some people are going to resort to eating other people because who could stand the taste,  smell or even texture of pet food?  But have you even opened a jar of puree meat for babies?  The look and smell is enough to contemplate making your child a vegan.  The worst part is you have to test it to be sure it’s hot enough and trust me you can’t get that taste out of your mouth.  So that being said, I doubt there is a difference between puree beef and doggie’s gourmet canned goodness.
    8: Smell
    With 3 young boys there is always an array of smells– some good but most not.  They get into everything from [hopefully] mud to the most random dirt you could think of.  I once found my 2 year old eating cheerios out of the vacuum canister.  That’s not to mention the amount of diapers I have changed and blow outs I’ve cleaned up.  Bring on your rotting flesh and entrails!  My nose is ready for you.
    7. First Aid and tolerance to blood
    I haven’t chopped any limbs off and I haven’t had to stab any zombies in the head but I once did have to help my husband stitch up a slice in his hand (because the wait at the ER was too long).  It healed perfectly. There is always a bump, bruise or cut to deal with around here.  I assume it’s my uncoordinated genes I’ve passed along to my children, but it is teaching me how to deal with these injuries.  I may not be a doctor but I’ve spent enough time in an ER to get my intern hours.
    6. Overall health
    While we are on the topic of health and wellness, that is one thing I have going for me since my first trimester with my oldest son.  My immune system has been super strong and hasn’t let me down since.  That’s 7 years of puking [on me or cleaning up], coughing, snot and other bodily fluids that my immune system has laughed in the face of. Because “mom, doesn’t get a sick day!”  So apocalypse, with your expired meds and lack of doctors, I say bring it on.  I’ll be left standing with the cockroaches in the end.
    5.  Weaponry
    Wait what????   When you are scavenging for food and supplies there won’t be the luxury of easy to find weapons.  Especially since I live in Canada, where guns aren’t quite so easy to come by.  You will be looking for anything with a pointy end to do some damage.  Well here is where a mother’s instinct also helps.  Things you never thought of as being dangerous before you have kids, suddenly are death traps waiting to happen.  Heck put me in a jam in need of protection from some hungry zombies and I can probably MacGyver my way out with a Q-tip and a nail file.
    4. Pent up rage and frustration
    It sounds horrible and I would never lay a hand on my children but somewhere deep down I have years of pent up anger and frustration waiting to be unleashed.  How can 3 beautiful little boys cause such an extreme feeling?  Just ask yourself a simple question and after giving a simple answer ask “how come?”, then “why?” Come up with an answer, then ask “why?” again and again, then pretend you weren’t listening and ask the first question over again times three.  Most moms go to the gym or out with friends to vent these feelings.  I don’t get a chance to vent often so it’s there just waiting.  It makes me imagine that episode of The Walking Dead when Tyreese gets surrounded and just starts swinging that hammer and you think for sure he’s done but [spoiler alert] he’s fine and all the zombies are dead… again.
    3. Lack of sleep and also a light sleeper
    Any parent knows how hard it is to sleep when you have young children.  It seems they know when you stay up late because those are the nights they wake frequently and rise early, leaving you feeling like the walking dead yourself. Being a light sleeper wasn’t always a trait I had but by the third trimester of my first pregnancy I could no longer sleep through the night.  Any small noise would wake me, the sound of our cat crunching its kibble the next floor down or the neighbors car door closing.  There is a myth that it has something to do with getting mom prepared for when baby arrives and hearing them while you sneak in an hour of sleep between feedings.  These skills I assume will come in handy when there is only a thin wall between me and the horde of undead scratching at the walls.
    2. Having an audience to do your “business”
    They never approach that subject in the movies or TV shows.  You would have to think that going to the bathroom is complicated, not to mention dangerous in the zombie world.  You either have to [in my case] squat and pee while looking in all directions without losing your balance and being fully aware of your surroundings, or have a bathroom buddy.  Luckily for myself, I’ve been eliminating my bladder and bowel with an audience for 7 years now and I doubt it’ll stop soon.  There is also some switch that clicks when you are in labor and sprawled out for the world to see that you kind of just don’t care anymore.  That’s a great switch to have when you may need to discharge that slightly expired can of dog food that’s been wreaking havoc on your GI tract, with a near stranger within earshot.
    1. Sex
    Enough said!?  Well, I’m going to explain anyways.  I’ve often read that having sex would be the new favorite pass time in the undead world– because what else are you going to do?  Well, think about the last time you had sex with your partner.  Did things happen quickly?  Was there enough lube, maybe you had to use store bought magic “syrup”?  Or maybe you had to spend 30 minutes revving each others libido? Or maybe you both had to grab a quick shower to wash away the day’s dirt to get in the right mind set?  Well, those may not be options in the fast paced, low-on-resources, always looking-over-your-shoulder world.  So now you are asking:  why does having kids make that easier?  Well first off, after one child you’re usually too tired to feel sexy, especially when your new little bundle of joy cries every time your husband gets close to you like Dot the virgin alarm from Spaceballs. But you manage to sneak in some sex only to discover there’ll be a baby #2. Then things don’t work like they used to so you get used to “just making it work,” and quickly.   Remember when you were young and could orgasm fast and furious and be ready for more almost instantly?  Well it’s a nice thought to keep you warm at night because by baby #3 that is gone forever!  And so is the want for sex really.  But when that urge does come along you have 2, maybe 3 minutes tops and you best get started where you are (within reason) because before you know it a little voice is calling “mommy!” from their bedroom because of a nightmare or they just puked.  If you were “done,” good for you! But if not, try again next week.  So getting the deed done while being hunted by a horde of zombies may be a breeze compared to parenthood.

    Angela Clarke is a stay at home mom of 3 boys (Dexter 6, Cleese 4 and Milo 2) from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.  She has been a zombie enthusiast ever since she first saw Night of the living dead 20 years ago.   For as long as she can remember she has always loved zombies and the thrill of the apocalypse.  Last year, Angela wrote a short story about zombies titled The shopping Maul available on Google play. There are plans to write part two within the year.  Angela would love to hear from you through Facebook or twitter
    twitter @zombemunky