Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Japanese school system is churning out zombies!!!1or2

Well, at least accourding to this article it is. Go read "Turning Japanese," and pray for me; I have to fend off the little tykes. There is something very creepy about a crowd of little kids chanting "sign!" very loudly, in perfect unison as they rush me for autographs. Yeah, that's what being a teacher is like over here. Zombie training!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Oh! My zombie mermaid

This movie preview for the Japanese flick Oh! My zombie Mermaid teaches us that:
  • Happy people become unhappy, by means of explosions
  • If you survive an explosion, you become a zombie
  • There's no problem wrestling can't solve...
  • Except for bad movie soundtracks



And as long as we are on weird Japanese wrestling movie tangents, may I suggest you check out the preview for The Calamari Wrestler (Ika wrestler in Japanese)?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving with zombie love


Who said you can't have any cute images on thanksgiving involving zombies? Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Why do Dimension Films have to exist?


I mean, have you seen their rap sheet? Horrid. And now Dimension films has remade Pulse, said to be the scariest Japanese movie ever, for American audiences. Looking at the trailer, I can see they murdered it in that sickly-sweet, Hollywood way.
To get off on a tangental rant:
Sure they gave us Equilibrium, but they didn't even promote that one properly. Most people don't even know what Equilibrium is. And that's a shame, so I declare this to be international Equilibrium awareness month! Show a loved one Equilibrium today; it's your civic duty as a person with a brain. If you don't know what Equilibrium is, rent it! And tread carefully, Dimension Films, for you tread on my dreams.

Monday, November 21, 2005

And you thought I was obsessed


Someone over at amazon has put together a comprehensive list of East Asian (mostly Japanese) zombie movies. Read it here. Looks like Takeshii Miike made the list twice. Let me advise you briefly about the ones I have seen:

Junk: As I said before in this post, avoid it at all costs.

Happiness of the Katakuris: One of my favorite movies, but not really a zombie movie, it has a thrilleresque sequence though (seen above). See it at all costs; it is the most touching claymation/liveaction/bodysmuggling/family musical you will ever see, let alone the only one (unless you watch the Korean version).

Battlefield Baseball: I think unless you are Kit, you will be able to like this one. A movie that has DVD extras that are arguably more entertaining than the movie itself. Give it a chance.

What was missing: Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind. I mean, common, it's one of Sammo Hung's best movies ever.Sumo Zombie!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Ipod zombie followup

After making the original ipod zombie post, I discovered this ipod novella, monster island. I read the first five chapters whilst commuting about Saga-prefecture this weekend. I'm gonna have to say it's the equivilent of your average zombie movie (read: something that you would want to see so you could lampoon it like MST3k), but hey, don't take my opinon for it, try it out yourself.
But personally, I'm gonna delete this and put The Worm Oroboros into my pod instead.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tokyo Zombie

This month's loose theme is Japanese zombies (mainly cause I noticed that I'd already mentioned a few Japanese sources of zombies this month)--be sure to place your vote on the poll over there for next month's theme!
In accordance with the theme, I bring you the preview for the new movie Tokyo Zombie. Watch it here. You may recognize the star of such films as Ichi the Killer, Sharkskinman Peachhip Girl, and the much tamer but no less charming Taste of Tea, the Idol-turned-moviestar: Tadanobu Asano. Naturally the movie uses a Japanese take on the genre (further bizarrified by scriptwriter Sakichi Sato (who wrote Ichi the Killer). The movie's website text translates as follows (accourding to Brent):
Near-future Tokyo.
In one corner of the city, at a fire-extinguisher plant, two men, Fujio and Mitsuo do nothing every morning but practice Jujutsu.
Fujio, acting as teacher loves Mitsuo as a brother, and Mitsuo returns that affection.
These two grown best friends of brotherly love, are about to be connect in a way even beyond that bond.
From a mountain of industrial waste dubbed "Black Fuji" is born a plague zombies that multiply at an ungodly rate.
Before they can make their dreams of traveling to Russia to become the strongest men on the planet, they are forced to fight zombies and stand against the possible extinction of the human race.
Can they possibly save the Earth!?

They Live! (through dance music)


Honestly, I hate myself too for the last post, my heart jumps every time I watch it. Really is an effective ad considering the product.
Today, I have another good find from the folks at Transbudda. It's a mockery of the film They Live (a Wes Craven classic). Zombies, aliens, who knows? But one things for sure, this is a funny parody of the movie. Watch the vid here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

a rare moment of zen

Sometimes, one just needs a relaxing car ride. What's that thing in the distance though? German Ad (sound recommended).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The headline was...

Annan honours UN dead...

Read the article here

The zombies are finally having their day...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ipod Zombie Edition

Just when I thought I would be able to resist updating for a little while, I run into this gem...
Well, at least it complements the theme of the last two posts.

A whole slew of these types of mock ads are available here. There's something for every nerd.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bruce Campbell returns to his zombie busting roots (finally)

Remember, you heard it here first! Unless, of course, you heard it elsewhere first. But this is a very good contender for second! Anyways, what I'm blathering about is Bruce Campbell, King of B-horror taking on a new and intriguing role as himself. In the new movie, aptly titled My Name is Bruce, the iconic actor gets recognized as that dude from the Evil Dead movies by some poor sap who's town is under supernatural siege. Bruce is kidnapped and forced to reprise his role and fight zombies. I'm thinking this is Bruce's revenge on the fanboys that just won't leave him alone about when Evil Dead 4 will get underway. Last I heard about that movie, it was going to be a remake, which of course makes the fanboys mad. Get over it! Being sort of a local celebrety where I live, I can identify with Bruce's love/hate relationship with the fawning masses. On the one hand, you think When will they just leave me alone? But on the other, you feel very neglected if the people don't all start clamoring to see you when you walk into the supermarket.
I have a lot of love for Bruce (we have chin-sizes in common), but I'm no slavering sycophant, and was very disappointed with some of his films, such as Bubba Hotep. I draw the line at movies where a mummy sucks souls out of people's backends. But most people loved that one.
If you look at the box in Linus' last post, you will probably note how the art was influenced by the Evil Dead posters. Gotta love that. The forth game in the series is definitely an homage to evil dead as well.

More info about My Name is Bruce can be found here.
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Also in Clay doesn't like it but everyone else probably does news, based on Abra's recommendation, I saw Undead. But I'm gonna have to say that I was let down. I think my perception was influenced by the soundtrack, which sounded a lot like the music from a Disney channel movie. So I would probably only give it 2 out of 5 brains myself.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Zombies!!! (the game)

Have you ever settled in to watch a new zombie flick, only to be disgusted by how stupidly the living behave? Instead of trying to board themselves up in some safe location (which is NEVER safe - it ALWAYS has a back door or secret tunnel or something), they should be arming themselves and getting out of town! You think to yourself, "I would go to the gunshop, stock up on 12 gauge shells, stop by the hardware store to grab a couple axes and a chainsaw, then jump in the pick-up and get the hell out of Dodge!"

With Zombies!! you can test that strategy and many others. This surprisingly satisfying little game offered by Twilight Creations has become a cult classic of beer and pretzles gaming. When the dead start to walk around downtown, you get a shotgun, kill as many as you can, and try to be the first one to the helipad. The rules are dead simple (heh) - both movement and combat are resolved with single die rolls. The map is revealed one tile at a time, and you can pick up health and more shells in the various buildings, plus other fun items like skateboards, fire axes, and my favorite, the molotov cocktail.

For you competitive types, there are also special cards that allow you to feed your neighbor to the ravening hordes. Nothing is funnier than playing "Your Shoe's Untied" on a guy as he's racing to the heliport, or the classic "We're Screwed" (which deposits 10 extra zombies on the board) on a player with no ammo!

Like any good zombie flick, this one has spawned sequels. Zombies 2: Hard Corps(e) is an expansion that combines with the original game to take the action to a military base. There you can discover the secret lab and the government enhanced zombies made within. Of course, you can also avail yourself of various bits of military hardware - the rocket launcher is particularly sweet!

Zombies 3: Mall Walkers makes the natural connection between the restless dead and... shopping. Game play is much the same, but the action takes place inside the mall. Beware the escalator...

Zombies 3.5: Not Dead Yet introduces the dreaded collectable element to Zombies!!. In addition to adding 50 new cards to the pile (good), this rule set also allows players to build their own decks prior to the game (bad). Some of you may not be familar with my feelings on CCGs (damn you Richard Garfield, may you rot in hell). To put it simply, if ordinary gaming is healthy monogamous sex, then CCGs are pedophilic snubfilms, ok? Let us never speak of it again.

Zombies 4: The End takes the action to a secluded cabin in the woods, and introduces us to zombies dogs and the secret tomes that animate the dead! Similarities between this expansion and the Evil Dead series of movies are purely coincidental. Obviously. There were no dogs in Evil Dead. Duh.

The most recent offering of the Zombies!! franchise is Zombies 5: School's Out Forever (What - just because they called the last one "The End" you actually thought it was over?). In this one, you are in college, trying to get a degree in survival, with a minor in improvised weapons. Along with new cards and map tiles, this one offers a new rule - guts. I haven't actually seen it yet, so I have no idea what guts does for your character. I'm guessing it makes him more, um, gutsy.

Next time you feel the need for shotgun-wielding, brain-eating fun, don't go the video store - stop by your local gaming shop and pick-up Zombies!!. The gaming store probably needs your money more badly, and your porn habit will keep the video shop in good shape anyway.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Japanese Special Ed Students Say the Darndest Things

Since I can keep it going, I'll make this Japanese month here at zombie blog. Join in if you feel so inclined, or post any old thing.
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I have to frequently teach English to special ed kids in the hope that some of it will be retained. So, I had them do simple love cards for their parents. The special ed students were expected to come up with something like this...

Ju-chan had his own ideas though...
He declared, "Zombie mama!"
I declared, "There is nothing more I can teach this child, send him to high school!"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Movie Review: Undead

After the greatness that is Shaun of the Dead, we see a new genre of zombie movies coming to light--the zombedy--part comedy, part zombie, all good. While America has to as of yet embraced this new genre, Australia brings us the second act with Undead.


Crazy has indeed come to town for a visit. A small town on the Australian plain, where the local beauty competition includes an eight month pregnant girl and the obligatory farm girl who
actually looks like a zombie before the zombies come. I don't want to give too much away because there are some interesting new twists on the origin of the zombies but just as Shaun of the Dead billed itself as a zombie/comedy/love story, Undead brings in another category not normally seen in zombie movies--aliens.

And oh how do we love, love, love us some aliens.

And Marion. We love Marion. (okay, so maybe I just love Marion but he does do an impressive backflip.)


While it does lack some of the comedic genius of Shaun--since Australians are apparently allowed to better equip themselves with firearms than Charleton Heston at a NRA convention--Undead makes up for what it lacks in ingenuity with new plot twists.

Summary: Five out of Five Brains. Go see it already, people! Go! Go now!

Zombies and the second law of thermodynamics

Surely any first grader with a basic grasp of the laws of thermodynamics has wondered, upon viewing any one of a number of movies about zombies, "Is it my imagination, or do zombies really violate the second law of thermodynamics?"

For any of our younger readers, or those who have managed to survive without knowledge of the priciples of thermodynamics, I will summarize the second law thusly:

In any thermodynamic process, some energy is always lost to the environement and some entropy gained.

This is why no perpetual motion machine can ever be built and why I laughed so hard at the thought of an 8th grader trying to build one with magnets. Zombies seem to defy this. They are able to proceed from death to life and to move about with no end. "Well don't they eat brains?" you ask.

Even if they do, and then they leave the rest of the victim, he or she too will often become a brain seeking zombie. Very well. We are left to wonder how long the zombies can go without a piping hot bowl of cerebellum. If they die of starvation, our heroes could just wait them out. Perhaps they have low metabolisms, and can subsist for very long periods of time without some sweet, sweet skull-food. This is all well and good, but one wonders why they don't eventually turn on themselves. Surely the heart or lungs or other organs of nearby zombies, partially decayed as they are, could provide a quick pick-me-up, no?

We see none of this. We are left only to theorize that the best use of the zombie is on the treadmill. Yes, chained to the treadmill the zombie or zombiette could walk forever, as long as some baby or whathaveyou was dangled in front of them to keep them moving. Perhaps all the dead could be put to good use this way, forever powering a strong a vibrant nation to glory. Yes, if anyone ever unlocks the key to zombiehood, many great things will unfold for our nation. Zombies, the key to preventing heat death.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Movie Review: Land of the Dead

Yes, the poster for this film was adapted to create the banner of this blog.

Reader: Hey didn't that movie come out months ago?
Me: Shaddup, I've been in Japan. Besides, it's available on DVD right now.


So, George Romero. The man that, while he didn't invent zombies, did more-or-less invent the genre and gave us the rules that zombie movies usually follow, decided to make a fourth movie in his seminal series. Needless to say, I had no choice but to see this movie.
But I was disappointed by many elements of the film. While the familair Romeroesque social satire is there, it's rather over the top (read:cheesy plot punctuated with hammy acting) and the details are glossed over. While I appreciate not being told, "These are the capitalists. They're bad," I still would have like some details on how the last bastion of civilization in a world overrun with zombies works.
Everyone in the movie lacks motivations, save for the zombies. The zombies want to live in peace, go on with their undead lives, and eat the occasional brain. But John Legozamas' character kills many innocent people and leaves the city vulnerable because he's denied a ritzy apartment? What's up with that? Everyone in this movie is one dimensional. No, more than that, they are all stock characters, including the green rookie that gets killed, the hooker with a heart of gold, and the retard that always comes through. The zombies have more interesting personalities.

That's not to say the movie is worthless. It is a fairly fresh way to look at the genre, and it does continue Romero's message. I just wish it could have been done less cheesy.


Here, a zombie makes the important decision that a pipe-wrench is a better weapon than a tamborine. I hear that the lads from Shawn of the Dead made an appearance as zombie extras, though I did not spot them.

Overall, I give this movie three fresh brains out of a possible five. Probably worth renting.

--
Btw, the 9th is apparently Rob Zombie day. Not that I'm a fan.
--
Okay, I'm gonna sit back and hope my team members add some content.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pocky Zombies

It seems that Japanese zombies have a special weakness: they must dance for Pocky. See what I mean in this unfortunately-short commercial. Enjoy the gothic-lolita girl.

I believe they are saying "Anata to watashi mo pocky," meaning you have pocky, and so do I.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Zombie Simulator


How fast does a zombie-plague spread? This website explores that question.

So far, the humans have lost nearly every simulation I've run, which emphasizes the need to not panic in a zombie-event. The only times humans have won is when they attacked the zombies and won at the very first opportunity, instead of fleeing like ninnies and buying the zombies time to increase their numbers.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Movie Preview Parodies


Lately, there have been a rash of faux trailers that re-imagine what certain movies could be like. This one is West Side Story done as if it is full of zombie-like creatures. To think, it started with Shakespear, went on to "I'm So Pretty", and is now this.

Also redone (and horror related if nothing else): The Shining, redux.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Top Five best and worst zombie movies

Anyone that knows me knows I am a zombie aficionado. Dunno why, but I think it has something to do with the first time I played silent hill (I may tell the story that got Abra to hyperventilate/laugh about that later, but I digress...). With my holy powers of video store clerk, I've watched many a movie good and bad. Here's some of the ones to watch out for.

Top Five best zombie movies

1. Shawn of the dead.
Each detail of this movie was well planned and executed. From the opening few seconds you know its a winner.


2. Dawn of the Dead, 2004 Remake
This movie's got it all. Zombie babies, Jay Leno Zombie, and Jonny Cash's "When the Man Comes Around" playing over the opening credits.

Isn't it cute when he tries to fit into normal people clothes?

3. Dead Alive
Before he directed lord of the rings, Peter Jackson was a gore goob. And this is the goriest movie I've ever seen. The highlight of the movie is when the hero straps a lawnmower to his chest and enters the fray.

4. Night of the living dead and its remake
How could the world's first zombie movie not make it onto this list? I actually like the remake even better. And guess what? George A. Romero is coming back to create the fourth movie in his infamous series, Land of the Dead.

The world's first cute little dead girl?

5. 28 Days later
Okay, they break the rules from the start, by telling us what caused the zombies, but still, a really good zombie flick. Brits don't have guns, so they have to be a little more creative when dealing with zombies. Come to think of it, liberals cause most of the zombie problem in this movie, starting with releasing infected animals from the research lab. Contrast that with the crazed military men though, and you can see the movie as a political debate. The best part of this movie was its softer, more philosophical side that explored the nature of mankind. A thinking man's zombie movie.


Honorable mentions.
Evil Dead 2 (the best one of the series), Reanimator, and Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind. Three good movies, with not-quite-zombie monsters in them.

Top Five Worst Zombie Flicks

1. Resident Evil One.
I don't really want to think about this much. It doesn't even have a resolution, just a lead into the sequel...

2. Resident Evil Two.
Besides having every zombie cliche done in a boring way, it also has every action cliche you can think of. Imagine Team America, sans satire. Yes, of coarse, driving a motorcycle through the stained glass window at that exact moment makes perfect sense. No my intelligence doesn't feel insulted in the least, please keep the witty use of the F-word coming my dear. Also sans-resolution.

"Oh, that's valentine. She's a loose cannon, but we like to keep her around cause she's hot."

3. Junk.
The only Japanese zombie movie I know of, and it makes me not want to see another one. From the very beginning we are pumped full of pure cheese until our brain is replaced by gorgonzola. Also, the Japanese don't seem to know the rules... be it of physics, good acting, or what zombies do. The only good part was seeing a Yakuza zombie eat his own guts to prove his machismo.

remember, when going into super saijin zombie mode, your hair turns blond (I wish this was a joke, but its not).

4. Zombies Vs. Vampires.
I haven't even watched this one and I'm putting it on the list. Trust me, I'm clairvoyant about when movies will be bad, as the VanHelsing incident proved.

5. Weekend at Bernie's Two
Yeah, they made a sequel to the movie with the most improbable plot ever. Yeah, this time they brought voodoo magic into the story to make Bernie a zombie. But he doesn't move unless he hears those Jamaican beats, mon.

"Respect for the dead? Nah, we'd rather have fun!"

Honorable mention:
House of the Dead, the movie. If the list went to six, this matrix-zombie-busting-moves fest would be on it.


This post is Rated PG-13

Thursday, November 03, 2005