Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Upcoming Zombies Sneaking Up Behind You Part 3

These zombies are shuffling your way!

1) iZombie Season 3

I LOVED iZombie season 2. I failed to truly review it, but the ending was jawdropping. The entire show has such humor, but also emotion and wonderful characters that truly develop. This next season features some alums from Veronica Mars, which I haven't seen much of. I've always heard it was very good and that iZombie is kind of a zombie version of Veronica. You can expect the new season and tons of new brains for Liv to eat in January 2017.

2) Daniel Waters new zombie books

Daniel Waters wrote a series of zombie books that started with Generation Dead that I have greatly enjoyed. He uses sentient zombies as an allegory for civil rights of different types in an effective way. The whole series has been rereleased on Amazon with new covers, plus a brand new fourth book called All My Friends Are Dead. It compiles Tommy's My So-Called Undeath blog and three brand new stories. I'm ready to reread the series and plunge into new stories. Hopefully this will lead to a new full length book as well.

3) Resident Evil 6: The Final Chapter

As you might have read, I'm not a huge fan of the first Resident Evil film. I think I had much higher expectations for it than it delivered. The latest one looks like a fun action film with tons of zombies. Iain Glen looks delightfully sinister as the villain. Milla Jovovich looks badass and the stunts look cool. I think it could be fun now that I've re-evaluated the series and seen that it's has more in common with action than horror. You can watch it in theaters on January 27, 2017.

Look out for zombies!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Living Dead Boy

Josh Rondell loves all things zombie and even trains with his group of zombie hunter friends to be prepared when zombies appear. His home life is a bit strained and he gets in trouble for his zombie fascination especially because of his whiny, annoying little brother. One day, riots break out around the country. Josh glimpses some footage on the news and he knows in his gut that it's zombies. He tries to tell his family and friends but they figure it's his imagination going wild and his zombie obsession at work again. At school, all hell breaks loose as zombies attack. Josh takes it upon himself to keep his friends and family safe.

Josh is just a regular kid with a zombie obsession. He fights with his little brother, complains about chores, and plays in a treehouse with his friends. His home situation isn't the best. His father went to war and came back a changed person. He's struggling to find work, leaving his mother to support most of the finances by herself. Josh has many more responsibilities than he used to because his family needs help. Like a typical twelve year old boy, he complains, fights with his brother, and shirks his duties. When the zombie apocalypse hits, he grows up fast. He realizes he has to step up and make hard decisions to protect his family.

I love Rhiannon Frater's As the World Dies series which is targeted more for adults. I was worried that she would reign in the zombie violence too much for a younger audience, but she didn't. Josh's perspective focuses on the difference between being a zombie fan, enjoying zombie stories and the harrowing experience of seeing people you know being turned into zombie or being eaten by zombies. Emergency situations bring out the best and worst in humanity. Josh steps up to save as many as he can, but he sees some people acting deplorably, not saving the weak or vulnerable and only looking out for themselves. Others can't handle reality at all and refuse to accept it, leading to sometimes fatal consequences.

The Living Dead Boy is fast paced and exciting. It's similar in a lot of ways to Sick by Tom Leveen, but faster paced, much more zombie violence, and younger characters. I only had some small criticisms. The title and cover made me thing this would be about a zombie child and it wasn't. Also, the ending felt a little false in that it was too perfect. I hope for this part to be resolved soon since Rhiannon Frater is currently writing the sequel.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Brian is kind of a slacker in school. His grades aren't the best and he isn't adverse to ditching a few periods with his friends. One day, he chooses to ditch school and notices a lot of sick people around. His mother is a doctor and gets called out of town to assess a mysterious situation. This all while spreading reports of violence plague the news. He thinks it's a bit weird, but goes on with his life. Brian returns to school and helps build sets for drama instead of going to a pep rally. Lucky for him (an unlucky for everyone there), the pep rally turns into a riot as people they know have lost their minds, attacking others. Now his sister and ex-girlfriend are trapped in the school somewhere and Brian sets out to save them.

Brian and his friends are the most unlikely heroes for the zombie apocalypse. Brian is a nice person, but slacks in some areas. His best friend Chad is an aggressive jerk who doesn't care about offending people or getting in someone's face. Both of them really step it up o save their friends. Brian is surprisingly protective of his sister and discovers he still has feelings for his anxiety ridden ex. Chad finds he's not as bloodthirsty as he thought and acts nobly to save as many people as possible. I thought I would hate them at the beginning of the book, but they actually grew and became people I like over the course of the novel.

The zombies are a little different than the normal. The first signs of infection are normal cold or flu-like symptoms with crystal-like formations. These formations get more and more out of control until they finally become full zombie. Brian thinks they consume bone marrow to try to cure their illness, but it's never seen how true that is. Brian's mom insists that they should hurt these sick people, but that's incredibly unrealistic. When people are salivating after my flesh, I'm going to fight back and so do Brian and his friends.

Overall, I liked the book and it's design. The chapter pages has the time and a growing amount of zombies as it goes along with blood splatter on the first pages of each chapter. It's a cool effect that illustrates how dire the situation is and how many zombies populate the world. The book has some flaws. Too much time was spend being holed up in the drama room. I felt it was a missed opportunity and the pacing of the novel suffered. Brian's ex-girlfriend has an anxiety disorder and I thought it would be an interesting opportunity in an apocalypse situation. Somehow, she doesn't have an negative effects because of it as if it was magically cured by something extremely anxiety inducing for everyone. It was enjoyable and it was a very fast read. I would read a sequel to see where the story goes.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Internet Awesomeness: Zombie Edition

Awesome internet stuff, now with zombies!

* VHS 2 - A Ride in the Park

I couldn't find a complete version of this short, but it's awesome. It features a cyclist with a helmet camera being attacked by a zombie and turns into a zombie himself. The short has very little dialog, but truly captures what a zombie outbreak would look like. I completely recommend watching the entire thing.

* A Zombie Love Song

This is a cute song about a guy who loves his zombie girlfriend. I like the song even though the subject matter is pretty awful. He goes through the things he loves about her that include not having a personality anymore, not having to do the things she liked to do since she doesn't like anything anymore, and not having to spend time with her friends or family. He must not have liked his girlfriend very much in the first place. The ending is fitting and the song is upbeat and catchy.

* The Dangers of Having a Chainsaw for a Hand

Funny or Die just came out with this video about how Ash's daily life must go with a shainsaw for a hand. Of course he would refuse to use his normal hand for everything and make everyone else's life miserable. Barbara Crampton shows up with a demon possessed boyfriend at the end. Very fun and I can't wait for more Ash next season of Ash vs. Evil Dead!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Zombie Shorts from Boost Mobile

Although these shorts are ads for Boost Mobile, these videos are short films on living in the zombie apocalypse. I hadn't heard of these before, but I saw them on author Rhiannon Frater's Facebook and discovered it was a whole series.

* Shopping During the Zombie Apocalypse

Shopping in a Zombie Apocalypse. from Mattdevine on Vimeo.

This one captures how to have fun during the zombie apocalypse. It's reminiscent of Zombieland as the woman relishes in her zombie kills with rollerskates, a high energy soundtrack, and a bit of romance at the end. They don't let zombies ruin their day.

* Getting Gas During the Zombie Apocalypse

Getting gas in Zombie apocalypse. from Mattdevine on Vimeo.

Ben is tasked with getting gas for the generator and accomplishes it in an incredibly clever way. First, he sets up a boom box and plays a baby's cries to get the zombies to come out. Then her straps machetes to the bottom sides of his motorcycle to zombie feet and limit their mobility so he can dispatch them at his leisure. Although I could see a lot of accidents happening with that method, it's unique nonetheless.

* A Day at the Office in the Zombie Apocalypse

A day at the office in a Zombie apocalypse. from Mattdevine on Vimeo.

Mary heads to an office for some phone chargers and has to dispatch some zombies to get them using paper cutters. The meeting room scene is the best and it encompasses my feelings about real work meetings.

I'm a little sad there are only three of them, but these videos are a fun way to market a product with good storytelling and zombies.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ash vs. Evil Dead

After all his epic adventures with Deadites and thirty years later, Ashley Williams still works at ValueShop. lives in a trailer park, and goes to dive bars to pick up women. To woo a woman, he stupidly reads from the Necronomicon and brings the Deadites back. As Ash leaves a trail of possessed and dead people behind him, detective Amanda Fisher chases him across the country while he travels with his two young coworkers Kelly and Pablo to return the Deadites to where they belong.

I was never a super huge fan of the original Evil Dead films. I understood why they were important to the horror genre and their innovation in horror comedy and practical effects. I decided to give the show a try and I'm so happy I did. It has almost everything from the original films merged with a compelling story and likeable characters. The show brings back Bruce Campbell to his iconic role as undeservedly arrogant Ash with his chainsaw hand, one liners, and brash attitude. The only difference from Ash from the films is that he's now aging ungracefully and refuses to see it. He has a simple mentality: shoot now, think never. He's much older, pathetic, not very smart, and completely unapologetic.but he's so charismatic and fun that you still root for him through all his bumbling and mistakes. Speaking of mistakes, he thought it would be a great idea to summon a demon to fight the Deadites, but didn't think about the aftermath.

The new characters fit well with the show. Pablo and Kelly provide a voice of reason to Ash's antics. Pablo is desperate to be cool in Ash's eyes and in love with Kelly. He was raised by his shaman uncle who prophesied of a man who fights evil called El Jefe. Pablo is absolutely convinced this is Ash and believes in him even when Ash has his own doubts. Sometimes even Ash's most deplorable actions get even Pablo to judge him badly. Kelly, on the other hand, is less eager to join the group. She is focused on running from her past, but finds a kind of family with Ash and Pablo. She judges Ash harshly, but still follows him and works to beat the Deadites with him. Pablo and Kelly provide different perspectives on situations and give Ash some perspective at times.

The Deadites are back to their old tricks. Regular zombies are bad enough when someone sees a loved one rotting and attacking them. Deadites take it to crazy lengths. One minute they will spew obscenities and insults and the next weep at the attacks in a perfect imitation of the loved one. These are living or dead people possessed by Kandarian demons who have a hive mind. Not all of them are zombies, but the majority of them end up that way. At their core, they are dark tricksters who delight in mayhem and chaos. In the show, they have a mysterious leader and an ultimate goal that concentrates their efforts, making them even more dangerous than before.

The show is hilariously disgusting with blood and vomit splattered liberally. Unfortunately, the effects are primarily CGI instead of practical effects. The effects are the most revolutionary thing about the original films and it's disappointing to see the legacy stop. I suspect it's a budget and time constraint issue. I've resigned myself to the CGI because it doesn't look terrible and the soul of the show is intact. It's a fun, gory, over the top horror comedy that's a worthy follow up to the original films. The only other problem I had was that half hour episodes are way too short. Other than that, I loved every minute. The ending to the season was perfect and I can't wait to see the repercussions in season 2.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Complete Double Dead

Coburn is a vampire who wakes up expecting a world full of tasty morsels, but finds one full of disgusting walking corpses instead. This new world sucks and obviously he missed something crazy during his involuntary nap, so he goes in search of food. Instead, he finds a sickly girl with healing powers and an entourage of annoying people. They convince him to protect them and promise to lead him to people he can eat who deserve a bloody, painful death. The most uncomfortable alliance is born as he follows them across the countryside. His journey with them starts as a purely selfish venture, but it takes him on an emotional and violent rollercoaster he never expected.

The Complete Double Dead contains Chuck Wendig's first novel Double Dead and it's follow up Bad Blood all starring vampire Coburn. He is a horrible person (unperson?): completely selfish, bloodthirsty, and indiscriminately violent. But somehow I like him all the same, kind of like Ash from Evil Dead. He has a delightfully snarky running commentary even in the most dire of situations. The attack that caused his 5 year long nap was inevitable from some wannabe vampire hunters, but he flipped them off even in the end when he had no hope. Vampires in this story are incredibly resilient, but need a lot of blood to heal. Many times, Coburn keeps fighting through multiple severed limbs, being gnawed by zombies, being burned, and tons of other abuse. Through all of his sarcasm and rudeness, a sympathy and humanity is awakening in him slowly. He still isn't necessarily nice, but he actually cares a little bit and eventually genuinely wants to do what's right.

When Coburn wakes up, it's already been a few years into the zombie apocalypse. Civilization as we know it is dead and people live in small groups together or in deranged larger societies. One was a society of Juggalos (rabid fans of Insane Clown Posse) who controlled a military base full of weapons and rockets. Their whole deal was acting crazy, calling each other weird names, and leading hedonistic lives. Another society was run by cannibals and led by an extremely obese matriarch. Both groups had crazy characters, disgusting situations, and over the top gore. It's definitely not for the faint of heart. Dark humor pervades everything with Coburn's sarcastic voice.

This book has tons of zombies. They are slow moving and the disease is transmitted through bites and blood like usual. A new creature is introduced when Coburn is surrounded by zombies and one gets a good bite in. This zombie with Coburn's blood becomes smarter, faster, and more deadly than the rest and chases after Coburn with intensity. The Hunters can make others and a whole pack of them eventually hunt the unfortunate vampire in addition to the huge hordes of zombies walking around. I thought the concept of having zombies and vampires in the same world would be too much, but it works rather well together. The vampire's food source is threatened and he has to work to save them for his own self preservation before his moral compass even kicks in.

The story has many twists and turns. Some of the revelations are outlandish to say the least. I would usually hate that, but it worked in a weird way within this over the top world. I would highly recommend this to lovers of vampire and zombie stories alike. I hope Chuck Wendig revisits at least the world eventually if not the same characters. I enjoyed his writing overall. Some of it was a little too much telling rather than showing, but I would bet his writing has improved over time. The fact that Bad Blood was his first novel is amazing. I'm looking to read his new novel Invasive soon.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins