Friday, September 30, 2016

September Zombies Ends

It's been a wonderful month full of brain eating monsters, but it's over. I hope you all had as much fun as I did. Tune in next year for more brain nomming goodness.

Up next month: all horror all October! Books, movies, music, and anything else horror related will be featured. Join me for more horror awesomeness!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Your Brother's Blood

Thomas only wants to go home to his wife and child. He hasn't seen them for some time since he's been fighting a civil war to keep his rural town Barkley safe. Unfortunately, he was killed in that war. Now, he's a Walkin', devoid of pain or any physical sensation. His town regards his kind as evil and destroys them on sight. Will Thomas every be reunited with his family?

The world in the novel is reminiscent of American 19th century frontier days even though it's set hundreds of years in the future. Civilization has collapsed and no one really knows what happened. It was the Automated Age, presumably around the present day, and then humanity fell. The walking dead are becoming more and more numerous over time. The city of Barkley is deeply religious and cites science and education as the reasons for man's downfall. Writing or drawing anything anywhere is forbidden. The only book to be read is the Good Book and that's it. The Walkin' are evil incarnate. Not only are the Walkin' killed, but any of their children as well because they are corrupt and will eventually rise as well.

These rules are strictly enforced and the religious fanaticism deepens and grows. The pinnacle of fanaticism is acolyte Luke. He starves himself, hurts himself, and sees everything in shades of black and white. No matter how sinful he is inside, he considers himself the pinnacle of morality. He is willing to kill for his faith and helps keep the town under the thrall of this religion of fear and hate. Parts of the book are from his point of view. It's terrifying to see his thought processes and justifications for his monstrous behavior. Man is the monster here, not the zombies.

The zombies here are just like humans beings except that they don't eat, drink, sleep, heal, or feel pain. They have all the injuries they had at death but don't bleed anymore. Thomas is the main Walkin' character and he only wants to see his family again. He doesn't want to hurt anyone, but will defend his daughter to his permanent death. He had no idea he condemned her death when he came to see her and was forced to take her with him despite not having any place to stay or food or water for her. Other less religious cities employ zombies to do menial tasks, but still don't treat them fully as people. Zombies could be seen as pretty much any group treated as less than human by society.

Your Brother's Blood is an amazing book. The world is different than I've seen. The author captures so many differing points of view, even of characters I find odious. I would love to see more from this world. I hope this book gets more attention because I just picked it up at indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy without hearing anything about it. I'll eagerly await David Towsey's next book.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Horde

A group of Parisian cops are reeling from the loss of one of their own at the hands of a drug dealer and his cronies. Some of them decide to get revenge by storming their enemies' hideout when zombies suddenly attack. The criminals and cops are forced to work together in a tenuous truce in order to survive.

I have been meaning to watch this film for literally years. The Horde has a different premise than a lot of films. The cops are in huge trouble after trying to infiltrate criminal headquarters when zombies actually save them from certain death. The criminals and cops have to put aside their differences, but they still snipe at each other. Both groups have experience fighting for their lives and with different types of weapons. Keeping a cool head is paramount and some people on either side won't let go of their feud. Arguments and near fights happen a lot. It's understandable since both sides of killed their members of the opposing faction, but the leaders see they have to bury the hatchet permanently to have a small chance of success. This situation seems more realistic than everyone being best friends during an apocalypse situations.

I was bothered by the way female characters were treated and portrayed in the film. The only human female character is Aurore, who is currently pregnant with another policeman's baby. When the apocalypse hits, she automatically goes all "my baby is the most important thing ever." This does drive her to fight back harder, but it also allows her emotions to cloud her judgment. She pretty much sabotages the entire group as a result after others throw her pregnant state in her face and dismiss her judgments. I didn't find her likeable at all, but I respected her at the beginning of the film. By the end, I felt she acted very out of character. She also did other nonsensical things like abandoning her bulletbroof vest and leather jacket that could actually protect her from zombie attacks to sport a tank top with no bra. Seems like the male audience was more important than practicality.

The men in the film treat a female zombie in a most disturbing way. Both men are criminals and not the most moral, but I had grown to like them throughout the film. This scene completely destroyed that. A female zombie couldn't walk anymore and the men start to taunt her. Then they make horrible sexual comments about her and threaten to rape her. This is a nonsentient rotting corpse, but it's clear these men have made comments like this before. They see this rotting thing the same way they see living women, as a subhuman thing for them to do whatever they want with. This with the disdainful treatment of Aurore and her out of character behavior left a bad taste in my mouth.

The film as a whole is enjoyable. The action scenes are exciting. I didn't think there could be so many zombies in one building. The sheer numbers of the horde are shocking and incredibly dangerous. Although I had some problems with the treatment of women, The Horde had some unforgettable scenes and a unique situation.

My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Horror Mini-Reviews: Zombie Edition

* Resident Evil

Alice wakes up with no memory. Umbrella Corporation's top secret facility called The Hive is home to an outbreak of a zombie disease called T-Virus. Alice has to escape the facility with a group of other Umbrella operatives through crowds of zombies and other experimental creatures. I had heard pretty good things about the first Resident Evil film, but I was pretty bored through the whole thing. I didn't really care about Alice and her drama or really any of the human characters. The effects didn't age well, the writing wasn't very good, and the acting was pretty abysmal. It's a basic action movie with none of the horror I expected. The only thing that really intrigued be was the T-virus itself and the Red Queen, the AI of the facility that would do anything (including keeping all living things inside) to keep the T-virus from spreading. I'm on the AI's side and I say few lives of the people trapped inside are well worth not having everyone else turn into zombies. But whatever, there are 4 sequels with one more coming to theaters. Not into it.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

* Dinner

Cesar Aira's short novel features zombies as I've never seen them. Like the original Night of the Living Dead, all dead people rise as zombies. These zombies have long limbs and can move fast, but clumsily. Their hunger drives them to be more savage. The graveyards bursting with dead overflow and attack the living for their endorphins. The dead go throughout the town to those that have exciting, happy lives, crack open their heads, and suck the endorphins right out of their brains. This new view of zombies is unique, but the fact that people seem perfectly fine afterwards stretched the limits of my suspension of disbelief. Even an emotional change would have made sense.

The other parts of the story are about the most insanely boring people: a middle aged man and his mother. They have excruciatingly dull dinner parties with people they don't even like and generally complain about everything. I thought the story would lead these people being compared to the zombies, but it just randomly followed their dull story at the end. This book had some great ideas, but overall, it was a disappointment.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Rains

Creek's Cause is a boring small town with farms, a close knit community, and not a lot to do. Most kids are resigned to a life as a farmer or dream to leave for bigger and better things. Chance and his big brother Patrick spend their days at school, helping out on the farm, or raising dogs. One day, a meteor crashes into a field of corn. The corn suddenly grows rapidly, much higher than usual, then suddenly dies. A local farmer feels ill afterwards, but thinks nothing of it until his abdomen is grotesquely distended. After he releases all the spores that formed inside him from the highest part of town, all of the adults are now mindless creatures set on capturing the unaffected children. Chance and Patrick feel it's up to them to try to get help before it spreads beyond controlling.

The Rains is part zombie apocalypse part alien invasion. The two work together rather well and I found the overall concepts just a bit different from the usual. The zombies here are all lumped into three categories: spore producers, mappers, and chasers. All of the zombies have holes through their eyes, clear out the back of their heads covered with a membrane of both sides. This made for some very creepy descriptions of lighting through the holes and the uncanniness of seeing every day people with this chilling detail. The spore producers go to the highest point of the city with their huge distended bellies and release their spores until they are truly dead. Mappers are always male. They keep their heads tilted to the ground and record every bit of terrain, then transmit it to whoever powers them. Chasers are always female. They chase down children, restrain them with whatever's available, and carries them off. All of them are unaffected by pain, even serious injuries, and have no sense of their former selves. They act as drones with no mind of their own. Hurwitz made zombies just a bit different, but no less chilling. Zombies now work together for one goal and it's frightening.

Although I enjoy the merging of two genres to make something cool and new, I didn't completely love the story. Many times, it felt like a teenage boy's fantasy fulfilled with way too many coincidences. Chance is a likeable enough character, but things seem to go his way too easily. I don't like deus ex machina solutions at the best of times, but a pack of dogs shows up to help him at the exact right moment, only to abandon him later. Also, a key character turns 18, which is the moment the spores turn people into drones (which I have a problem with), but Chance figures out a way to momentarily save him which didn't make sense at all. It's later revealed that this characters somehow conveniently has an immunity to the spores with no other explanation. It's complete bullshit and Hurwitz doesn't even bother to explain. There's also a creepy kind of flirtation/romance between Chance and his brother's girlfriend which felt pretty creepy. It felt like she was only created to have romantic attachments without really having a character of her own.

The Rains is a unique premise, but the convenient developments cheapened the story along with the unnatural wish fulfillment aspects. The writing was fine and I was interested in the story, but it got to be a chore after some unbelievable revelations. I most likely won't be reading the next one, but it's a good effort. I respected that he didn't dumb down or sanitize any of the danger the young people were in.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Zombies in Art: Fan Art Edition

Zombie fans can be extremely creative and talented. Here are some of the best pieces I could find.

* Shaun of the Dead Art Jam by pipin

* The Walking Dead by Patrick Brown

* Bruce Campbell vs. Zombie Muppets by Laurent Canniccioni

* Deadpool Zombies by musane

* Resident Evil inspired sculpture by wigz411

More zombies coming up!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Current Zombies Coming to Get You: Z Nation Season 3

Z Nation is back with a two hour season premiere! It doesn't take place after the second season finale, but sometime when the Zombaby is still a baby, Cassandra is still alive, and the group is still on its way to California to find the CDC.  The Z Nation team meets an interesting group that tried to cure the Z1N1 with a fungus, but failed. The people infected with the fungus are stuck in limbo, not dead but not able to communicate. This group is under fire by The Man, working for a rich, aged man living as if zombies don't exist. He wants a doctor there, but the people know no one ever returns if taken my him. Warren and her group of course step in to save them and fight back.

This episode reminded me why I like this show. It combines emotional drama, ridiculous humor, and stalwart, competent characters. This ultra long episode was entertaining, but the only new thing to come out of it is a new set of villains. It's still nice to see Doc, Addy, Murphy, 10k, and Warren do what they do best. Murphy shines this episode as he expresses deep sympathy for those infected by the fungus. He can hear them and acts as translator to the living, leading to some pretty emotional conversations. I liked some of the new characters including the Man with his weird quirks. It'll be interesting how they all come into play in in the present state of the show. Check it out on SyFy Channel if you haven't yet!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Upcoming Zombies Sneaking Up Behind You Part 2

More zombie things in different media coming up soon!

* The Walking Dead Season 7

The last season of The Walking Dead (which I reviewed a couple of months ago here) ended on a huge, disingenuous cliffhanger. We don't know who Negan kills at the end of the episode and we won't find out until October 23rd. The entire group is emotionally and physically broken, especially Rick. It will be interesting to see if they can overcome delightfully evil Negan and shake of this significant defeat. I hope Carol and Daryl get to shine more this season. Looking forward to it!

* Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 2

Ash is back on October 2! I'm so curious to see what happens after the explosive ending to the first season. Bruce Campbell and Lucy Lawless return as archenemies Ash and Ruby. Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo return as Ash's much smarter sidekicks Pablo and Kelly. Ted Raimi joins the cast as Ash's childhood best friend. Lee Majors is also joining as Ash's dad. I hope the episodes are longer. The half hour episodes are way too short and leave me hungry for more Deadite craziness and Ash delusion.

* Here Alone

This film won multiple awards at the Tribeca Film Festival and I couldn't be more excited for it. It seems to capture the isolation and bleak nature of a zombie apocalypse situation. The film seems to focus more on humans than on zombies, but zombies are what have irrevocably changed their world. Here's the synopsis from the official website below:

Deep in New York’s upstate wilderness, Ann, a young woman in her late 20’s, struggles to survive after a mysterious epidemic decimates society. On the constant brink of starvation, Ann leads an isolated and regimented life. Haunted by memories of her past she also battles the current bloodthirsty threat that lurks just outside of the forests borders, those that the epidemic has infected.
When her food stores run dangerously low Ann must make the desperate journey into a nearby town to forage for any remaining food. During one of these raids, a chance encounter brings Olivia, a teenage girl, and her injured stepfather, Chris, into Ann’s life and regimen of survival.
Learning that Chris and Olivia are trying to go further north, where the infection is supposedly contained, Ann allows them stay at her wooded camp so they can prepare for their journey. Initially reluctant to let her emotional barrier down, Ann relents as Chris’s affable nature erases some of the pain the epidemic and her past choices have caused. While Ann and Chris grow close, Olivia becomes bitter, feeling distanced from the man she has depended on for both physical and emotional survival.
As an uneasy tension grows, their lives are threatened when the protective forest is breached by the infected. Under attack, Ann is forced to confront her past and make a decision that will irrevocably alter their collective existence and survival. 

The film is set to release in theaters and VOD in 2017.

* Small addendum to the last Upcoming Zombies post: The Girl with All the Gifts is set to release in LA at the Egyptian Theater on October 11.

Watch out for those zombies!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Dead and Empty World Part 3

* A Game of Firsts

Brother and sister Danny and Julie joke on the way home from a night out that a stumbling, seemingly drunk man is a zombie. They turn out to be completely correct and stay holed up in their house, waiting for rescue or their parents. Their lives turn upside down as they are forced to stay in their garage, rationing food and charging their phone by car in case their parents call. They have to be more selfish because resources are scarce. Danny and Julie start confiding each other more and more over time. At first, it's things like first kisses, but the past doesn't really matter anymore. They tell each other their secrets and deepest insecurities. Barriers simply fall away because it's unlikely they will survive.

One scene I particularly liked was when Julie encounters a zombie in her house as she gathers supplies. She sees a female zombie with a bra from Victoria's Secret that she almost bought. It hits home how much her life has changed. One day, she's worried about the comfort of a new bra and the next, she's hiding in her garage and rationing food for survival. Life before seems so trivial in the face of their dwindling chance of survival. This story is more of a character study and slice of life story than a plot driven one. I like the ending because it's not really an ending. Their fate is uncertain and their lives continue after the story is over.

* Hare Moon

This is my second favorite story of this anthology. This story follows Sister Tabitha as a young woman much different than we saw her in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. She's a lot like Mary: headstrong and critical of authority. As she's getting older, she's seeing the flaws in her society. She wants to know why rules are the way they are. Eventually she discovers that much of what she's taught are flat out lies. She keeps paying lip service to her duties and her faith, but she's consumed with thoughts of the others outside and a particular boy she has met beyond the gates.

Although well meaning, her actions lead to a catastrophic event in her home that forever change her. Sister Tabitha now sees why things are the way they are, why people are lied to in order to keep them safe. As seen in later years, she will always prioritize her society's safety over anything else. I never thought we would get this view of Sister Tabitha, but her character makes much more sense. She has her own regrets and sins that have shaped her into the awful person she was in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It was nice to see her vulnerable, hopeful side that wasn't afraid to push the rules and question authority.

My rating of the whole anthology: 5/5 fishmuffins

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Dead and Empty World Part 2

* Bougainvillea

Iza is incredibly privileged before and after the zombie apocalypse hits. Her father used to be normal dad with a normal job. When the zombie rose, he came to Curacao because it was a place of power as a port and dry dock. Iza received many gifts from people because they wanted to curry favor from her father. Insult to him or his daughter resulted in being banned from the island or death. The island is run in a rigid and cutthroat way, counter to the beautiful, lush island itself. The population of the island has to be regulated so they don't live outside their means. This means killing or turning away the desperate and the injured. Her father's militia, the homber mata, kills anyone who isn't supposed to be there and gets rid of any undead around.

Iza used to a fairly normal life, not wanting for food or supplies. She strives to be more like her ruthless father who never thanks anyone and expects respectful deference from everyone in his life. The only thing she doesn't get is companionship. Her father rarely spends time with her. Her guardian has been Beihito, a man who works for her father. Beihito protects her in every sense: from zombies, from unpleasant things, and would lay down his life for her. He is the most caring and benevolent person in her life, but she keeps her prickly, proud demeanor for her father. At this point, she's at a crossroads on the cusp of adulthood to continue as her father has with ruthlessness and pride or change to a more caring attitude like Beihito, who cares more for her than her actual father does.

Beihito calls the undead mudo, ones of have lost their voices and themselves with nothing to say. The fast zombies are called lihemorto. I had forgotten about these fast zombies. I never liked fast zombies because the muscle and bones and such would break down quite fast, leaving immobile zombies. These ones are purposefully short lived, but their speed helps them spread the disease to more people than a slow zombie could. I also like these new terms because they speak more to the metaphysical state of the undead rather than just the physical state.

Iza finds a boy on the shore and spares him. This is a bit similar to the previous story, but the resolution is completely different. I love that it's brutal and not at all like the last story. So much of the story has the juxtaposition of beauty and brutality, especially in the title. Iza compare bougainvillea petals to blood in water. Even Iza herself is a bit of both. All of these stories are excellent, but this one was the post memorable with the beautiful location, different structure, and a wholly different zombie apocalypse situation than I've ever read.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Dead and Empty World Part 1

I haven't read any of Carrie Ryan's Forest of Hands and Teeth books for a couple of years. They faded in my mind. I knew I enjoyed them, but I couldn't remember specifics. I was reminded with this wonderful compilation of stories from the same world. Carrie Ryan is an amazing writer that doesn't dumb down or censor her stories for her young adult audience. In a post-apocalyptic situation, teens have just as many hard decisions, traumatic experiences, and interactions with the undead as adults do. Since I have a lot to say about all the stories, I'm splitting them up into different posts so it isn't insanely long.

* Flotsam and Jetsam

This story examines what it's like to be trapped on a raft with someone you don't particularly like who has been bitten by a zombie. Jeremy pretends he hasn't been bitten and tries to act as normal as possible. Everyone knows, including our main character, that when someone is bitten they will turn and they will have to be killed. Both characters are in denial about the situation because it's will always be hard to kill someone even if they are a zombie that will eat your brains. I loved what happened in the end because it is so human yet unexpected. With shows like The Walking Dead, everyone in the zombie apocalypse is expected to kill their zombified loved ones or acquaintances with no emotional reaction.

The main character resents Jeremy because they were never friends and none of his actual friends made it out alive. He asks Jeremy uncomfortable questions and can be cruel. They find comfort in each other because they are all that remain of their lives. It's the same reason why they keep their raft close to the ship they left even though all that remains on it are the living dead; it's the only familiar thing on a vast ocean in a world that is unrecognizable.

* Scenic Route

Margie and Sally guard a cabin that they've made safe together and spend their days planning road trips to places they will never go using well worn guidebooks. Margie, as the older sister, is very protective of Sally and sometimes underestimates her ability to handle the reality of living in a post-apocalyptic situation. They love each other dearly and would do anything for each other. It's just the two of them against the whole world. This story examines humans as monsters instead of zombies. Bandits in the area take what they want including people, treating them as possessions. Then a young man named Calvin arrives and wins over their trust over some weeks. This story shows how people can be monstrous, but have different reasons, casting people in shades of grey rather than black and white. I loved the ending because hope and humanity are still alive. It's easy to lose humanity in a setting like this, fighting for your survival against inhuman and human monsters alike.

Monday, September 12, 2016

White Trash Zombie Gone Wild

Angel Crawford is doing well: working as a morgue tech, getting her GED, and going to college. It's stressful, but a zombie drug that focuses her, works around her dyslexia, and gives her extra energy. The zombie film (from the last book) is finished and transforms the town into a fun Zombie Fest(er) with paintballing, parties, and a screening of the film. It's all fun and games until someone gets decapitated. Angel investigates herself since she finds clues on the body that could reveal zombies' existence to the whole world. Unfortunately, Angel's gone overboard with the zombie drug and it's making her act strangely, lose time, and take it more frequently. Can she solve this crime or will her addiction past be her undoing?

Angel Crawford is one of my favorite zombie protagonists and she's better than ever. She's single now and free from Marcus' controlling nature. The relationship honestly went on too long and I'm glad she had the sense to see the toxic effects. The split was amicable and they're still friends, but awkwardness and tension color their interactions. It's nice to see Angel stand by herself for a while. Angel's relationship with her father is still going strong, but her recent recreational drug use puts a bit of a bump in it. Both of them revert slightly to how they were before they reconciled and show that it's a journey to change. People make mistakes and people can go back into bad habits.

Angel has had substance abuse and addiction problems in the past, which were never really addressed. She was off of drugs only because they had no affect on her anymore. With the invention of this new zombie drug, old habits die hard. She finds herself stealing from the lab she works for at the expense of another zombie who needs it for medicine and covering her tracks by refilling those vials with saline all while rationalizing her actions to herself. Once she realizes what she's doing, she's caught and she runs. I loved the resolution to this situation and the fact that her unresolved addiction issues were finally addressed.

Besides Angel's personal drama, a pretty big threat to zombiekind rears its ugly head. Within the zombie film made in the last book, a documentary is shown with actual (which includes Angel) that make them look horrifying and evil as it takes the scenes out of context. The Zombie Mafia (as Angel calls it) is used to picking up, moving, and starting over. However, a situation like this hasn't happened in a while and the internet makes their fresh start nearly impossible, making the stakes higher than ever. It's tied to her old deadbeat boyfriend (who she is friends with now) and his degenerate friends. The resolution to this situation stretched by suspension of disbelief at times, but I liked the rest of the novel so much, it didn't bother me.

Angel's fifth adventure is satisfying throughout even with some minor flaws. I hope Diana Rowland continues this series and I can't wait to read more. This series is a nice mix of comedy, horror, and drama that I recommend.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fall of Night

* spoilers *

Fall of Night starts right after the events of Dead of Night. Billy Trout livestreaming military trying to destroy the Stebbins Little School with the only few survivors of Stebbins County. Homer Gibbon was infected with a deadly and highly contagious disease instead of being executed as he should have been for depraved murders. The zombie contagion is working its way through shoddy military checkpoints and spreading to more populated areas. Politicians argue over courses of action while the disease moves mostly unhindered. Can small groups of well meaning people do what the government can't: stop this disease from destroying humanity?

Dead of Night was one of my favorite zombie reads of last year and Fall of Night is no different. The narrative is less focused as the infection spreads across the countryside. This book features the main plots with Billy Trout and Dez in the Stebbins Little School, a team of ex-military heading to the Little School, the president and his cabinet in the White House, and Homer Gibbon with Goat travelling across the US spreading his disease. The president's chapters are some of the most frustrating because he's much too concerned with public opinion of him and his legacy to do what needs to be done to save everyone. Homer and Goat's chapters where Goat records Homer's ravings and attacking people. These chapters were the most suspenseful because Homer is in between zombie and human. He could turn on Goat at any moment for any reason while Goat is trying to warn everyone covertly. Interspersed between these chapters are short vignettes of people in a growing distance from Stebbins encountering zombies and usually either dying or becoming a zombie. My favorite vignette involves a group of Renaissance Faire jousting actors that jump into battle against the zombies and die in a blaze of glory.

One thing I love about Jonathan Maberry's zombie world is the interconnectivity between all of the series. Sam Imura, older brother of Tom and Benny Imura from the Rot and Ruin series, makes an appearance. He's one of my favorite characters, acting outside of the government and doing whatever he can to help. Saint John, villain from the Rot and Ruin series, hears Homer Gibbon's proselytizing about the red mouth and the black eye commanding him to spread the disease to the entire human race. He adopts it as his own religion and will eventually create a cult around it. Even Dez and Billy make an appearance as bounty hunters. The one thing that took away from the book was the knowledge that no one would succeed in saving the world. It was interesting to see everything unfold, but there wasn't any suspense because I knew what would ultimately happen.

The Lucifer virus is a fast acting disease that leaves the person aware. I find this the most chilling aspect of it because completely conscious people are witnessing the breakdown of their bodies and themselves uncontrollably attacking everyone around them. I wondered how it would spread world wide if people wouldn't have the opportunity to travel anywhere before going full blown zombie. The virus goes airborne and spreads far wider and faster than zombies can walk. It starts as a tickle in the throat and over hours, the person becomes a zombie instead of minutes. It allows people to take flights or travel longer distances. I was skeptical at first as to how this would happen and it's a nice touch that shows how well thought out the logistics of the situation are.  

Fall of Night is an excellent zombie novel that views that start of the zombie apocalypse from a lot of different angles. Jonathan Maberry is an amazing writer that always writes vivid, visceral scenes with emotional gravitas. His books are always enjoyable and exciting. My goal is read all of his works so I have to finish up the Joe Ledger series and V Wars and then wait for more. 

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Zombies in Art: Magic the Gathering Edition

The San Diego Comic Con exclusive planeswalker set for Magic the Gathering featured 5 planeswalkers and 4 of them were zombies. Eric Deschamp's art is gorgeous, quirky, and macabre. Each zombie is themed towards that planeswalker's power except for Liliana who controls the zombies. This never actually happened in the Magic stories, but it's an interesting fantasy set that asks what if the other planeswalkers were Liliana's zombie puppets.

Nissa Revane wields nature's power, but as a zombie, she acts as fertilizer for flowers.

Jace Beleran has great power of the mind, including creating illusions, telepathy, and clairvoyance. Zombie Jace eats his own powerful brain.

Chandra Naalar is imbued with fire magic. Unfortunately, zombies don't react well to fire...

Gideon Jura has great strength and valor in battle. His severed arm, once used to save others, strangles his own neck,

And leading them all is well dressed necromancer Liliana Vess, happy that her rivals are gone and puppets for her to command.

Too bad for her this didn't really happen, but it makes a great collectible product that I knew I had to own. I love when two things I love work together. If you'd like prints of any of these works, go to Eric Deschamp's website and there are lots of size options plus you can check out his other works.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Zombie Tunes

Songs about the undead!

* Zombeavers Theme Song

This crooney song captures everything I love about the movie Zombeavers: unexpected lyrics and zany humor.  If you like this song, you will guaranteed like the movie and you need to go to Netflix and watch it right now. If you hate the song, maybe skip the movie.

* I Walked with a Zombie by Wednesday 13

I love the lyrics and upbeat mood of this homage to zombies and particularly Night of the Living Dead, the first and best zombie film ever. I'm not super wild about the screamy delivery, but the lyrics have gothy horror references everywhere and abusive relationship zombie necrophilia. Super fun!

* Zombie by Lacuna Coil

This song takes a different view of zombies and views it as an empowering force to be a part of instead of an enemy to fight against. I love Lacuna Coil's goth metal style, especially the contrast between the male and female singers, and this song is perfection.

Stay tuned for more undead madness!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The New Hunger

The New Hunger is a prequel to the novel Warm Bodies. It examines the origins of characters R, Julie, and Nora eight years before they cross paths in Warm Bodies. The three narratives are told in alternating chapters and all are amazing. The world they live in is falling apart. Civilization is hanging by a thread. Cities that were deemed save not long ago are discovered to be overrun. The weather is becoming more and more extreme in addition to the zombie problem. No place is safe.

R has just wakened to his unlife as a zombie. He's fairly confused and can remember snatches of his old life, but it's fleeting. There's a monster in the back of his mind who mocks him and won't tell him what will sate this horrible, insatiable hunger inside of him. His story shows that he was never a normal zombie. Even when the inner monster was screaming at him, he would sometimes save whatever human victim was in front of him. He also meets M, sees the Boneys' creation, and has small but meaningful encounters with Julie.

Julie is 12 years old, but she's adept in combat training and weapons as is necessary to live in this post-apocalyptic world. Although young, she already has a jaded, adult air about her. She's never experienced anything that a normal teen should: first kiss, awkward dates, school, and no real worries. She has starved for days, killed people in defense, killed zombies, set piles of bodies a fire, and tries to take care of her family however she can while they look for a permanent home. Her parents try to shield her as much as they can, but she can't be protected from a shattered world where most are dead and they can't find a safe haven.

Nora is 16 years old and the guardian of her 7 year old brother Addis. She can't succumb to her own sadness or hopelessness because she would take her brother with her. She keeps strong and pushes forward to find food and shelter each night. I found her story the most compelling because she was presented with the hardest choices. Should she help a random stranger or leave them to die for the safety of herself and her brother? So many of us would say it's an easy choice. However the crux of the novel is that without humanity, it isn't really living. You wouldn't really be any different than the zombies. Her story was also the most emotional for me.

The New Hunger had one small flaw. Marion describes R and M very similarly and it wasn't clear at times who it was. The novella is also so short. It makes me want to read Warm Bodies again to have a different view of R, Julie, and Nora. Other than that, I absolutely loved The New Hunger. It has gotten me more eager for the sequel to Warm Bodies called The Burning World.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Emma's life has been turned upside down. Her sister Stacey is insufferable after they moved to a new town with their father, without their mother. When a highly contagious disease rips their town apart, the sisters are separated from both parents. Their town is in quarantine and the girls are suddenly living in a world of martial law where they can be searched and killed if they see fit. Can they put aside their differences and band together to survive?

Emma and Stacey couldn't be more different. Emma is studious and kind of annoyingly perfect. Her crush is Evan, a generically hot guy who she is too cowardly to even start a conversation with. She lists Stacey as Lucifer in her phone because she's embarrassing and demanding. Stacey is the better sister because she is brutally honest and direct without caring about the consequences. Emma fits society's expectation for women perfectly while Stacey doesn't at all. It's refreshing to see a female character that is unabashedly sexual, loud, and doesn't care what others think. She isn't afraid to go after what she wants. Analeigh Tipton gives Stacey fire and also a softer emotional side that truly cares for Emma.

The zombies in this film are caused by parasites. They are only passed on my blood, but with the amount of blood flying around, many are infected. It starts with increased appetite that is a little weird, but not inhuman. Then the seizures and coughing up blood starts to spread the parasites as far as possible. After a while, the infected can't see, relying on mostly sound (but not smell for some reason) to catch their prey. When reports of this parasite arrive in the news, the high school science teacher covers the behaviors and transmission of such parasites. The information was shown in an organic way that didn't take away from the story.

The largest flaw of the film is that it's focused on Emma, an fairly uninteresting girl with a mediocre romance with a boy she barely knows. Compared to the rest of the film, this storyline pales in comparison, but is shown to be more important. Evan has practically no character development and he may as well be a prop who does whatever anyone else tells him to. Stacey is the much more interesting sister and she's relegated to the background. The ending was lackluster and I wouldn't be interested in seeing another film. The one thing besides the parasitic nature of the disease that sets it apart is the quarantine. This isn't seen a lot in film and it lends both a claustrophobic and desolate feel to the latter part of the film. Viral is an enjoyable film, but the focus on teen romance over an apocalypse level zombie outbreak brings the film down. It reminded me more of a young adult novel rather than a rated R horror film.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Upcoming Zombies Sneaking Up Behind You

Here are some awesome looking zombie things coming up in the future!

* Feedback by Mira Grant

The Newsflesh series is one of my all time favorite zombie series and she's adding more to it! Not only was there a recent release of short stories in the world, called Rise, but there will be an all new book! This one takes place at the same time as the Newsflesh series, but with different characters. The story and characters are pretty vague right now, but I'm eager to get back into that crazy zombie world. I have every confidence that it will be awesome and I can't wait for its October 4th release!

* Zombieland 2

This is STILL being made. After a lackluster pilot on Amazon, the TV show has been scrapped. I thought the project was dead, but recently the writers of the original Zombieland and Deadpool Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese are actively working on the project. The only word is that they were meeting with Woody Harrelson and that "the cast was excited." No word yet on anything concrete like if any more of the original cast will reprise their roles. I'm keeping hope that we will eventually see this movie.

* The Girl with All the Gifts

If you were a reader for last year's September Zombies, you would have seen my rave review of M.R. Carey's The Girl with All the Gifts. It's unlike any other zombie novel and goes places I never expected one to go. I loved absolutely everything about it. A movie adaptation has been made!! The trailer looks amazing and I hope it will do the book justice. The casting looks pretty spot on, especially with Glenn Close as Dr. Caldwell and Gemma Arterton as Ms. Justineau. The key is to leave the ending exactly the same. Since it's a UK produced film, I'm hoping the original ending will stay intact. It comes out in the UK September 23. No word yet on a US release.

More to come!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Horror Movie Mini-reviews: Zombie Animal Edition


A zombie virus outbreak occurs at a zoo, infecting most of the zoo animals. The staff tries to lock down the zoo and prevent them from spreading the virus world wide. This mediocre film is by the same studio that made Sharknado. There are a few fun moments in the film. Zombie koalas attacking unsuspecting children who want to treat them like stuffed animals are pretty hilarious. The film tries hard to be Jurassic Park, but it has none of the budget, charismatic actors, or coherent story. CGI is way overused and most of it looks awful. The acting is almost painfully bad and they try to make it so serious. It's a low budget camp film, but not acted like it's campy. What's the point? It's just poorly done and boring to watch after a while. The so bad it's good quality loses it's charm after about the first half hour. While I like the idea of zombie animals, I would like to see it done in better quality.

My rating: 1/5 fishmuffins


Toxic chemicals turn normal beavers into undead monsters while college students are looking to have a good time in a nearby cottage. Zombeavers is everything I wanted Zoombies to be: campy, clever, bloody, and most importantly funny. This movie is the epitome of so bad it's good. The film moves at a good pace and no scene ever drags. Even the typical partying and sex scenes near the beginning of the film are infused with self aware humor that makes them not boring as dirt as usual. The dialogue is unexpected and clever as it points out the ridiculousness of the premise and the situations. The characters are unlikeable stock horror characters, but played with purposeful camp. The zombeavers are adorable and creepy. Sometimes they are portrayed by the cutest puppets and other times by pretty shoddy CGI. The difference between this and Zoombies is that the badness is an intentional homage to B horror movies and it's very funny. I found myself laughing more often then not. The transmission of the zombeaver disease is even funnier than the zombeavers themselves. Instead of becoming conventional zombies, the infected people sprout giant buck teeth and a beaver tail as well. As horror comedies go, this is a good one if you don't mind a healthy dose of camp with low budget CGI and puppets. This will definitely be in my rotation of movies that cheer me up.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Z Nation Season 2

The second season of Z Nation is even more full of zany situations, bloody zombie gore, and drama than the first season. Here are my spoilery thoughts on what I liked and what I didn't like.

The Good

* Addy

Addy goes through a lot in this season. Her utopia cult place (Sisters of Mercy) didn't work out when she found out that they were basically leading their male children to slaughter and being generally crazy. She rejoins with Mack and things just aren't the same after her betrayal. It was a mistake, but Addy is flawed like everyone. Then Mack dies suddenly, making Addy's worst nightmare come true as she is forced to give him mercy. I like that unlike The Walking Dead, there isn't any huge sudden character development to make his death seem more tragic. His character is established and people die all the time due to crazy random happenstance. It's sad that he died, but they were stuck as a couple and couldn't get past their obstacles. It opened up a new chapter in her life after she mourned. Addy is later revealed to be bisexual, discovering an attraction to woman. Shockingly, neither of them died and even though the relationship didn't continue, it showed that Addy will continue both in life and romantically. Here's to hoping she survives the next season.

* Cassandra's death

Notice I did not say Cassandra. After she was bitten and turned into a special Murphy slave zombie, Cassandra completely became a slave. There was nothing of her left and it was really disappointing. Her death at the hands of 10k was so touching and perfectly done because he cared about her enormously.

* The Over-the-top gore and humor

What really sets this apart from shows like The Walking Dead is the humor and the hilarious amount of gore. The Asylum really stepped it up this season with some pretty impressive effects like an eyeless zombie and crazy bloody zombie kills. The humor can get downright dark, but it's no less funny. The group runs into a Lincoln lookalike event with lots of zombie Lincolns that they are then forced to shoot in the head. Also, a giant cheese wheel crushes a whole slew of zombies. The characters are also less gloom and doom than the usual zombie apocalypse show. They are quick to see the humor and have some actual fun sometimes. The times Z Nation chooses to go emotionally is few and far between which I find refreshing.

* Doc

In the first season, I was indifferent to Doc. I remember an episode where he almost died and I didn't really care either way, but this season, he really flourishes as a character. He's an earnest person who cares for his friends. Generally, he tries to avoid conflict with others, but will throw himself into the fray if there is no avoiding it. I love that his credentials are in psychology and any knowledge he has is from watching ER. I really enjoy when he's onscreen and I hope to see more of him next season.

* Weird situations and more danger

Every week seems to have a crazy situation to get out of. Each episode has it's own off the wall situation: a CDC hating scientist, a zombie collector, people dressing up like aliens, Mexican gangsters, and a Zunami (zombie tsunami). The added danger comes in different forms as well. The mutated zombies exhibit different behaviors and seem to consciously work together. They are hardier than regularly zombies and more aggressive. Beyond zombies, the group is exposed to anthrax, a zombie baby, and almost a phony zombie cure.

* Tensions rising

Not all is serene with the group. 10k, after having to kill Cassandra, hates Murphy and only refrains destroying him as he's humanity's only chance for a cure. Murphy resents him for killing Cassandra who he viewed as just fine. In other tensions, Roberta and newcomer Vasquez have some heat between them, but he leaves after choosing to spare the man who killed his family.

The Bad

* Zombie Baby

I really liked Pie Lady who gave birth to Murphy's weird zombie kid and I was sad when she died. The baby was fine at first, but it attracts zombies, looks bizarre, and wouldn't shut up. I was pretty happy when Murphy left her with a family he bit to do his bidding. At the very end of the season, she looks quite a bit older which is so annoying. Why does everyone have to have super fast aging kids that will predictably stop the accelerated aging when they get to adulthood. I'm not sure what effect she will have in the future, but I don't think it will be good.

* Cassandra

Cassandra was an interesting character last year and she was reduced to a mind controlled slave. I really wanted her character to somehow break out of it and take advantage of her cool new zombie abilities, but she died instead. Much of the time, she dressed as Murphy would have wanted in stripper type clothing she never would have been caught dead in in life. I miss her, but I would rather have her dead than literally enslaved.

* Weird group mentality

At one point, the group doesn't want to go back for 10k when he was separated from the group. It was suddenly a huge deal to the group that it was wasted time. Seeing that he's a core part of the group not to mention a sharpshooter and they have detoured for much less, I felt it was completely out of character for the group. It was one incident, but it bothered me.

Z Nation is a fun, light hearted show that I hope will get even bigger and more ridiculous as it goes on. I can't wait for next season, especially after the bullshit season final of The Walking Dead.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins