Saturday, November 1, 2014

George Romero’s Son Wants to Make ‘Night of the Living Dead: Origins’

G. Cameron Romero, son of George A. Romero, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for the genesis story of his father’s iconic “Night of the Living Dead.”
The son, who will direct, launched the 30-day campaign Wednesday night through Indiegogo with a goal of $150,000 for pre-production costs at
“I feel carrying on my dad’s legacy is something that I not only want to do, but it’s something I HAVE to do because I, like all my dad’s fans, was raised on his creation,” the younger Romero said.
“Origins” is produced under the Romero Pictures banner. Producers include the elder Romero and Darrin Reed (“Lila and Eve”).
“The origin story deserves to be told by someone who passionately loves and has a unique insight into the original movie and nobody has that more than George’s own son,” Reed said.
“Night of the Living Dead” was released in 1968 and starred Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea and Karl Hardman. The film, which follows seven people trapped in a rural farmhouse attacked by zombies, was shot in black and white for $114,000 and grossed $30 millon worldwide, spawning five more “Living Dead” films.
It was selected in 1999 by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.
The crowdfunding campaign perks include being part of a “brain trust” to help answer questions during pre-production, signed body parts, set visits and being in the film as a zombie who gets killed on camera.
The fundraising campaign is supported by Cold Steel, the Zombie Apocalypse Store and Dogfish Head Brewery. It is also partnered with Bloody Disgusting horror site.
“Origins” will be set in the late sixties 1960s and focus on a brilliant scientist who strikes a deal with the military that will give him all the resources he needs to finalize his work in exchange for what he later learns is a price all mankind will have to pay.
“I want to take back the zombie genre in the name of the legacy that my father created almost 50 years ago,” the younger Romero said. “I want to tell the origin story of the modern zombie, in a way that my father wasn’t able to do so back in 1968.”
The project is the first time that the Romeros have collaborated on a film. The father has credits on more than 20 films; his son has shot more than 100 commercials and six feature films.

Zombie movies we want to see

Dead Snow 2 Hits Blu-ray And DVD In Time For Xmas

Press Release:
Dubbed “bigger, brasher, bloodier” by Film Threat’s Brian Tallerico, DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD debuts on DVD and in a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray December 9th from Well Go USA Entertainment.
The sequel to the cult horror comedy from director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) stars Vegar Hoel (Dead Snow, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters), Martin Starr (Knocked Up, Superbad), Jocelyn DeBoer (Stuck Like Chuck), and Ingrid Haas (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). Picking up immediately where the original left off, the film wastes no time getting right to the gore-filled action, leaving a bloody trail of intestines in its wake. Wirkola comes up with more inventive ways to maim and dismember than anyone ever thought possible. Combining wry humor with horrific worst-case scenarios, this follow-up to the 2009 Midnight classic shocked the weak-of-heart and delighted even the most hard-core fans of the horror genre when it made its debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
The DVD and the Blu-ray Collector’s Edition both feature audio commentary with the director and writer, a VFX featurette, and Dead Snow comic book while the Collector’s Edition exclusively features the international version of the film and the short film ARMEN.
DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD has a runtime of approximately 101 minutes and is rated “R” for strong bloody horror violence and gore throughout and language, including some sexual references.

Contraception, the zombie apocalypse and you

If you’ve watched a zombie movie with your friends, you’ve probably talked about what kinds of weapons you’d be packing in case of a zombie apocalypse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even has a list of supplies you’ll need for a zombie preparedness kit, which includes smart choices like water, duct tape, and bleach. (I would add toilet paper to that list. How you’ll miss it when you’re on the run!) But how many of you have discussed birth control?
Even if your greatest dream is to have a baby, you must admit that the zombie apocalypse is the worst time to be pregnant, give birth, and raise a child. Fleeing and hand-to-hand combat can be a drag while pregnant, and childbirth can kill you, especially without access to trained personnel or hygienic supplies. And if you do manage to birth a baby into this cruel new world, diapers can distract from more pressing duties, and the infant’s cries can attract undead attention.
When you’re in hardcore fight-or-flight mode, taking a pill at the same time every day might be difficult, and besides, a supply of pills can take up valuable backpack real estate. Plus, even if you find an abandoned pharmacy to raid, birth control pills and condoms come with expiration dates and can be affected by high temperatures. The same goes for contraceptive patches and rings. For these reasons, you need a contraceptive method that’s well suited to the zombie apocalypse. Besides abstinence, what are your options?
plan bEmergency contraception
In The Walking Dead, Lori discovered that she was pregnant, which in this zombie-filled hellscape was met with dread rather than joy. In desperation, she obtained a handful of morning-after pills with the intent to abort. Reproductive-health advocates howled in protest — the morning-after pill, or emergency contraception, is completely different from the abortion pill, and has no effect on an existing pregnancy!
However, it might be useful to have some emergency contraception on hand, so you’ll have it ready to go if you’ve engaged in unprotected intercourse. If you don’t have it stashed in your backpack, you’ll need to raid a pharmacy ASAP, as it loses effectiveness the longer you wait.
  • Emergency contraception is safe, with no reports of complications during its 30-year history.
  • Plan B and Next Choice can be taken up to three days after intercourse, and ella is effective for up to five days.
  • Emergency contraception must be stored at room temperature, so its shelf life might decrease in the absence of air conditioning.
  • Plan B and Next Choice are only 89 percent effective, and ella is only 85 percent effective. Better than nothing, but does the zombie apocalypse call for more reliable methods?
  • It should not be used as a regular method of birth control, so if you and a sweetie are boarded up in a secure location, you’ll want more reliable options.
  • Side effects are rare, but can include irregular bleeding for a day or two, dizziness, headaches, or vomiting.
  • Plan B and Next Choice are less effective in overweight individuals (BMI between 25 and 30), and ella might not be effective in those with a BMI above 35.
  • No STD protection.
diaphragm 150Diaphragm
The diaphragm isn’t used much these days, and it works better when paired with spermicide, but if you want to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse, you might want to make an appointment for a fitting. You can carry it with you in a discreet case and use it on an as-needed basis.
Despite our admonition that condoms can be affected by heat, it’s still important to try to pair a diaphragm with a condom. Not only will this pairing increase the effectiveness of your birth control, but also, the infectious agent responsible for triggering the zombie apocalypse isn’t the only pathogen you have to worry about. If you’re able to grab some intimate time with a fellow survivor, a condom will help protect you from other microbes, such as those that cause HIVchlamydia,gonorrhea, or syphilis — all of which can seriously impair your health if left untreated. If a condom’s color is uneven or has changed, or if it is brittle, dry, or very sticky, it might be expired or damaged.
  • It doesn’t interfere with hormone levels.
  • If you take good care of your diaphragm, it should last you about two years. (But watch out for holes, weak spots, cracks, or wrinkles.)
  • While it’s not an “official” medical use of the diaphragm, many women report using them as menstrual cups! Disposable pads will take up way too much space in your bag, and you’re not going to be able to clean and dry reusable cloth pads while you’re on the run. Perhaps you could grab some tampons from an abandoned drugstore every month — or you could just use your diaphragm or a menstrual cup to last you through the zombie apocalypse and save you multiple trips into drugstore deathtraps.
  • It is one of the least effective contraceptive devices — even when used with spermicide, 6 out of 100 women using it correctly and consistently will be pregnant at the end of the year. “Typical use” efficacy is much lower, with 16 out of 100 women becoming pregnant after a year. However, using it in tandem with condoms can significantly boost efficacy — my back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that, with typical use, the trio of the condom, diaphragm, and spermicide will leave only 2 out of 100 women pregnant after a year.
  • If you’re unable to use your diaphragm with spermicide, it might be even less effective, but the question of efficacy without spermicide has not beensufficiently studied.
  • Washing and drying it after every use might be difficult when you’re on the run from zombies.
  • Insufficient protection against STDs. Furthermore, spermicide might increase HIV risk.
If these zombies die of starvation within a couple of months, as in 28 Days Later, then the birth control shot might be right for you. If you can find an abandoned Planned Parenthood health center to raid, locate the Depo-Provera and find a health care professional to administer an intramuscular shot.
  • Continuous pregnancy protection for three months!
  • After a year of regular Depo-Provera shots, most people experience lighter periods — or no periods.
  • It’s more than 99 percent effective!
  • During the first three months, users can experience irregular or prolonged bleeding.
  • Possible side effects include irregular bleeding or spotting, headache, or nausea.
  • Depo-Provera needs to be stored between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, so if that abandoned Planned Parenthood building wasn’t sufficiently insulated, excessive heat or cold could render your dose ineffective.
  • No STD protection.
implantBirth control implant
If, on the other hand, this zombie apocalypse has no end in sight, like the one in The Walking Dead, you’ll want something that can last for years. So, the second you see that ominous news feed with footage of flesh-eating fiends and warnings of an unidentified pathogen sweeping the nation, you might try to make an emergency appointment at your local Planned Parenthood for a birth control implant. A skilled provider can perform a minor outpatient surgery that places a matchstick-sized implant under your skin.
  • Protection lasts for three years.
  • Most users experience lighter and fewer periods.
  • The implant is a highly effective form of birth control with a failure rate of 0.05 percent.
  • Possible side effects include irregular bleeding, headache, and nausea.
  • If you don’t have insurance, it can cost a few hundred dollars — but if you got it, spend it, as money will be meaningless in the zombie apocalypse!
  • If you’re unable to get it removed after three years, it will stop working, but still might interfere with your period.
  • No STD protection.
copper iudIntrauterine device (IUD)
If you have your doubts that civilization will rebuild itself in three years, you might want something that lasts even longer than an implant. The hormonal IUD Mirena lasts for five years, and a copper IUD (Paragard) can last for 12 years! IUDs prevent sperm from meeting the egg.
  • IUDs are more than 99 percent effective, making them one of the best forms of birth control. Over the course of a decade, only 2 copper IUD users out of 100 will become pregnant. Over a period of five years, only 5 to 8 Mirena users out of 1,000 will become pregnant.
  • The copper IUD doesn’t interfere with hormone levels.
  • Hormonal IUDs can reduce menstrual cramps and make periods lighter.
  • Paragard can also increase risk for anemia, which might be a problem when your access to iron-rich food sources is sporadic.
  • Possible side effects of the copper IUD include heavier periods and worse menstrual cramps. One review, which only looked at women who hadn’t had children, found three studies of Paragard side effects; when the results of these studies are combined, 18 percent of users had Paragard removed after 12 months due to bleeding or pain. However, women who have already carried a pregnancy to term are at lower risk for these side effects when using Paragard.
  • Rarely, an IUD can move out of place, in which case it will need to be put back into place by a medical professional — who might not be easy to locate when all lines of communication are down. A study published earlier this year, which didn’t differentiate between users who had and hadn’t given birth, found that Paragard was expelled within 12 months 6 percent of the time, while Mirena was expelled within 12 months 3 percent of the time.
  • Rarely, an IUD can puncture the uterine wall (0.3 percent of the time in this study), but this injury often heals without treatment. Still, better to have access to trained personnel!
  • Rarely, an infection might develop around the IUD, especially within the first three weeks after insertion.
  • A checkup within three months after insertion, and regular checkups after that, is highly recommended to ensure the IUD is in place. Of course, access to regular medical care might be interrupted during the zombie apocalypse.
  • If you are one of the rare IUD users who becomes pregnant, the presence of the IUD can increase risk for miscarriage or infection.
  • Like the implant, it can be pricey without insurance — but you won’t miss that money in the zombie apocalypse, when those dollar bills are best re-purposed as toilet paper once you’ve used up your last roll.
  • No STD protection.

Perhaps the women of zombie lore are getting contraception from the same place that supplies them with the razors and waxes that keep their apocalyptic armpits silky smooth. But most likely, you’ll need to plan ahead to ensure that an unintended pregnancy isn’t another horror to deal with on top of everything else.
To learn about these and other types of birth control, make an appointment at your local Planned Parenthood, where a health care provider can review your options with you and help you find something appropriate for your lifestyle and preferences.
And, in case it’s not apparent, the zombie apocalypse will almost certainly remain the stuff of comic books, movies, and television — not real life. You don’t need to make your birth control decisions under the assumption that the end of civilization is nigh! Instead, you can make them in consultation with a health care provider, obtain prescriptions as needed, and have injections administered by a professional.

Texas supercomputer will run zombie outbreak simulation

The National Science Foundation recently funded science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students at Texas Tech University, to help them develop a computer system (supercomputer) they dubbed LAZARUS, which stands for Lab for the Analysis of Zombie Activity and Research into Undead Situations.
This [funding] has allowed us to design a project that could make STEM really applicable to students in K-12.  So the idea is that we could do educational outreach to local students in high school and middle schools to get them actively involved in mathematical building. So these students will be able to go online and manipulate and run code that has to do with zombie modeling.Jessica Spott, senior program administrator in STEM explains the project:
The lab is completing construction of a Graphics Processing Unit Supercomputing Cluster, which is codenamed Schoenberg, according to the LAZARUS website.  The initial project will be to implement a system which can handle large-scale computer simulations of a zombie outbreak.
John Calhoun, a mathematical graduate student from San Antonio goes into more detail:
The current zombie simulations will be ran by building a city and filling it with zombies. After that we will see what happens. By doing this, we will split up different rooms with different processors doing its own calculations all while communicating with each other.  We are trying to demonstrate to people that are unexposed to math the empowering and approachability of math with this type of simulation.
This will also hopefully provide a resource to not just the math and science community at Tech but other parts as well.  We have this computer that has almost no rules attached to it, so we want to do all the things that no other cluster gets to do, like running zombie simulations.
There is a significant interest in using the current interest in the undead to kickstart interest in the sciences in young people.  This is just one more awesome example of that at work.  For more information on this project, please contact:
Daily Toreador – Dept. of Student Media
Phone number: 806-742-3388
Address: Texas Tech University
Box 43081
Lubbock, TX 79409

Can The Walking Dead's virus actually work?

Recently, we welcomed The Walking Dead back into what's left of our lives. Well, now that the show is entering its fifth season, it's time we answered a very crucial question: What, exactly, is this zombie virus? 

Thankfully, in a new video for Nerdist Industries, Kyle Hill attempts to add a scientific explanation to the show's central, viral theme. We spoke with Hill for more of the logic behind the zombie apocalypse. Because science. 

"Like all other zombie-themed media before it, The Walking Dead implies that getting bit by a zombie turns you into a zombie," Hill tells R29. But, the show's first season confirmed that this zombie-fication is due to a virus that we actually all have (but which doesn't affect us until we're dead). Here, things get a bit complicated. When something or someone carries a virus but doesn't necessarily suffer its effects, that person (or animal) is called a reservoir. For instance, we think that bats might be reservoirs for the headline-making Ebola virus. But, there aren't any instances of a virus that controls your brain. Parasites, on the other hand, can. 

So, Hill suggests The Walking Dead zombie disease works more like a parasite, which can (creepily) control other creatures. For instance, the toxoplasma parasite can only reproduce in a cat's guts, so it lives in rats and mice and makes them attracted to the smell of cat pee rather than afraid of it. In this way, those rodents are much easier for cats to catch and eat — so the parasite can live on. 

Caveat: The zombie virus doesn't control living victims. This leads Hill to suggest it's actually the bacteria in the biting zombies' mouths (and the subsequent victims' lack of access to medical care) that makes the zombie "disease" so deadly. In this scenario, the virus could actually be totally irrelevant; it could really be the bacteria that kills. But, it makes sense that survivors would just assume it's the virus that's deadly. This explanation is actually Hill's favorite, he says, "because it works out from a practical standpoint: These people don't have to be scientists; they just have to notice the pattern of getting bit and becoming a zombie." 

We're always ready to dissect imaginary — but feasible? — diseases, and we look forward to learning more as the show continues. And, of course, we're excited to see more disgusting, scary zombies.

8 Things You Didn't Know About Zombie Movies

Brains. Brains. Put this trivia in your brains.
From their beginnings in Caribbean voodoo culture to a Brad Pitt blockbuster, the zombie has been reanimated many times over in the last couple centuries. Animal entrails have been eaten by eager extras, countless kids have been frightened out of their minds and Bill Murray even got to play a zombie.
With the updated and fully revised release of author and journalist Jamie Russell's "Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema," HuffPost Entertainment spoke to Russell to learn a bit more about the phenomenon that's become ubiquitous in American culture in recent years.
When he began the first edition of this book, as Russell put it, "people weren't interested in zombies at all." He said it took him by complete surprise. At times his wife even threatened to turn him into a zombie. But now the zombie is unavoidable. Talking about how the zombie can serve as a "kind of a metaphor for the death we all face," Russell said: "No matter how hard you try to run away, it's always going to get you." In contemporary America, especially as Halloween quickly approaches, there's no escaping this monster.
Here are eight things you didn't know about zombie movies.

1. The idea of zombies comes from Haitian voodoo and were popularized by a book called "The Magic Island."
The word "zombie" first made its way into The Oxford English Dictionary in 1819, but as Russell explains in "Book of the Dead," the first full introduction of "zombies" into the English-speaking world was an 1889 article in a Harper's Magazine called "The Country of the Comers-Back" by a journalist named Lafcadio Hearn. While learning the local customs of the Caribbean, Hearn came across a legend of "corps cadavres" which means "walking dead." Unfortunately, Hearn was unable to figure out exactly what these zombies were, a mystery that would eventually be solved by an American author named William Seabrook.
"The Magic Island" was written by Seabrook and was released in 1929. Seabrook discovered that the fear of "zombies" was tied to the practices of voodoo where it is possible for their idea of a soul to be removed and replaced by a god or sorcerer. As voodoo was deeply connected with the forced work and slavery of the people of the Caribbean, the main fear was that it'd be possible, even after death, for a sorcerer to reanimate your corpse to be an obedient drone, capable of continuing to work in the fields. Richer Haitian families would bury their dead in more secure tombs to eliminate the risk of the bodies being stolen and reanimated. They were not afraid of a zombie attack, they were afraid of becoming a zombie.
Russell told HuffPost: "From my point of view, as a kind of movie historian and anthropologist, the ground zero for the zombie really is 'The Magic Island' and the publication of that is really what brought the zombie into American popular culture ... This is certainly the arrival of the zombie myth in all its glory. The idea of dead men walking. The idea of dead men working in the cane fields."
Seabrook actually met "zombies" as a Haitian famer named Polynice introduced him to three workers who seemed "unnatural and strange" and "plodding like brutes, like automatons." Although Seabrook did not think they were actually the reanimated dead -- and instead either had a medical condition or were heavily drugged -- he could not fully explain away their existence. As a result, his tales took hold in American imaginations.