Thursday, December 29, 2005

Edged Weapons I

In my last tactical post, I promised to speak on edged weapons. I thought about giving an exhaustive overview of knives, swords, spears, and other slicey/pokey things until it occurred to me that such a list, fun as it would be to make it, would be of very limited utility to our readers. For the most part, edged weapons require a fair amount of training. As the kids in Flock Hall can vouch, fighting successfully with even something as simple as a 16" dagger takes footwork, timing, and practice, practice, practice. All of these are commodities that will likely be in short supply when the dead rise, so I have decided to limit this discussion to the two edged weapons which are simplest to use, and most useful overall - the spear and the camp knife. We will cover the spear first.

The Spear
The spear is much like the game of chess; it takes an afternoon to learn the basic moves, but a lifetime to master. I selected it for our purposes because it is the simplest of the major edged weapons to use reasonably well, and the least likely to injure the inexperienced (you'd be surprised how easy it is to smack yourself in the shins with an axe or sword). Anyone with two hands and ordinary mobility can deal out lethal blows, and the long shaft affords the wielder a lot of room for error and second chances.

For our purposes, a spear shall be defined as a long stick (at least 4 feet) with a pointed tip. The non-weapon usefulness of such an implement should be readily apparent to horror movie watchers. How many times would the folks in horror movies survive longer if they just had a handy stick with which to poke and prod things? Don't stick you head up (or down) into that dark attic (or cellar) - use your spear. Don't push the door open with your hand - use your spear. Don't try the rickety stairs with your body weight - use your spear. Don't roll the monster over by hand to see if it's dead - use your friggin' spear!

If you have your doubts about the effectiveness of the spear against the undead, I would point you to John Carpenter's Vampires. Those guys were tearing up the suckheads with spears - until the big daddy vampire arrived. If it can work that well against intelligent, free-willed blood monkeys, it should be more than capable against the shambling idiots we will be facing.

The principle attack mode of the spear is thrusting, but many also incorporate edges sharp enough for slashing. Some spears (more appropriately called javelins) are balanced for throwing as well, but I do not advocate the throwing away of a perfectly good weapon, so you needn't worry about balance much. The spear can be used as a solo weapon, but it is usually best employed in teams - 1 guy with a spear, and from 1 to 3 or 4 with mass weapons. Don't go solo - you may feel that your teammates are a liability, but they will prove important when the action gets thick. At the very least, it gives the dead guys someone else to chomp on...

The spear may be improvised quite easily - any sturdy rake handle can be broken off and sharpened (using your camp knife) to a dangerous point. Although numerous replica spears can obtained on the internet, most are designed to be wall-hangers. Very few combine a quality shaft with a sharp, stiff head to make them worth their inflated prices. If you feel the urge to purchase one, take a look at the Cold Steel Boar Spear. It's not much to look at, but it's got a tempered head with crossguards to keep the impaled ravening undead from running up the ash shaft at you, and it's relatively cheap.

The best thing about a spear in combat is reach. With even a small spear, you should be able to stick any on-rushing brain muncher before he can come close to grabbing you. It does take a bit of training, but medieval armies used to go to battle with peasant pike levies that had no formal fighting training at all - they taught them how to march and how to hold a pike, but not how to fight with it. Just think of it; by reading this brief article, you will already be better trained than the brave men of William Wallace's schiltron! "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our BRAINS!"

Assume a basic fighting stance. (If you don't have a basic fighting stance, concentrate on making friends who do.) Place your rear hand, palm down, on the butt of the shaft, and support the rest of the spear in your forward hand, palm up. (If you do not understand "rear hand" and "forward hand" in this context, you do not, in fact, have a fighting stance. See above.) Employ the spear with a pool cue type motion, allowing it to slide smoothly on your forward hand as you thrust. Aim for the torso - anywhere in the rib area will do.

A lot of people miss completely when they try to use a spear for the first time. It is not as easy as it sounds; the rear hand has a tendency to push the tip off line as it comes forward. The trick that fixes this, is the touch and thrust. As the target approaches, reach out with both hands and touch his chest with the tip of the spear. Once you have made contact, just push it in with the rear hand. I know it sounds crazy, but this deceptively easy technique has worked on battlefields since the hoplites fought for their city states, and it continues to work even now on historical recreation battlefields every weekend. Once you master it, you can back off and try thrusts from greater and greater ranges, until you can thrust accurately with full extension.

Obviously, a poke in the torso will not end your opponent's unlife, but here is where the spear's other great advantage - leverage - comes into play. By lodging your spear in the deathpuppet's guts, you have effectively attached a long handle to his fragrant carcass. Using this new-found mechanical advantage, you should have little trouble pushing/pulling/tripping him to the ground. Once he is down you have many options, including flight, using a shorter weapon to finish him off, or holding him down while your teammates club him in the head (see, I told you they were important).

If you are alone or facing just one zombie, you can use my personal favorite, the heroic coup de grace. This last bit is risky (but very cool) and should only be attempted when imminent danger of further attack is minimal. Place your foot on the rotter's neck to hold him down, and wrench your spear free. Hold the tip just over his face and deliver a tough guy line - something like, "Let me help you see my point..." - then ram the spear into his brain through an eye socket. That's just beautiful, man.

In my next post, we will examine the humble camp knife, and why it should be in every zombie survival kit. Until then, sharpen up your broom handles!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What's Your Role?

I usually hate quizzes, but this is relevant. Things might go better for us if we sort out our roles now...

"It's my way or it's the highway!"
The current situation has brought out the best in
you, bringing your intelligence and decisive
nature to the fore. When others are losing
their heads you're using yours, organising and
planning and trying to restore order to this
insane world. Without you, any group is just a
collection of individuals with no unity or
direction. Typical skills: Organisation, authority, tactics. In your free time you: Inspect defences and
equipment. Chances of survival: High (others will lay down their lives for you) Secondary class: THE DEN MOTHER
After The Zombie Apocalypse, Which Role Will You Fit Into? (11 possible results!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Leers

I'm off to Thailand, so I hope my blogmates update or something while I'm gone. But until then, enjoy the cute zombie child, because that's what Christmas is all about. I think. At least, that's what I told my students. Their eyes were wide with wonder... or was it fear?
Before I go, one last tip: You may want to purchase a flame thrower. Neil Gaiman pointed the way to some rather practical ones, in this post.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Rock that fanny pack

The fanny pack: a zombie survivor's secret weapon. Guns, grenades, sticks of dynamite... you could find a lot of good uses for a fanny pack. Be a man; get a pink fanny pack today!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The infection will be televised

An important part of surval is staying informed. But when the media is censored by a paniced government (or worse, the reporters have been taken out by zombies), where can you turn to find out what is happening outside of your boarded up shelter. Well, as long as the power keeps going (and that very well might be a while), you can check on the outside world through one simple google search: Liveapplet. Using this, you can look through thousands of cameras placed in public locations throughout the world, and see the progress of the zombie plague. You can even control the movements of the the camera (provided there is not a bunch of people using the same applet) and take snapshots.

I took these pictures through a camera I found in a Nipponese location.
At the very least, this link will provide you with some fun voyerism today.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I scored a Shawn

The loose canon
You scored 78%! Although your not the sharpest knife in the kitchen, you made out alive. You might have made some mistakes here and there, but who doesn't? You were a great asset to your team and you helped whoever needed it, and even though your not the hero, you will always be remembered for your courageous acts!
Link: The Horror Movie Survival Test
That's right, I'm the bawdy survivalist that takes himself out with the zombies and lots of dynamite.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Impact weapons

Kit has provided us with an excellent basic overview of weapons. Given my experience with blunt weaponry, I thought I'd expand a bit on the category of impact weapons.

Impact weapons were probably man's first killing tools, and they are still a popular and inexpensive way of subduing the enemy. You probably have a few nearby as you read this. These weapons of opportunity may form the first line of defense when the ravening hordes rise.

First, a bit about targeting. Modern martial arts folklore holds that cracking the human (or formerly human) skull requires 1400 lbs of pressure. I have always figured that was calculated at the top of the skull (the thickest part), and not at the delicate facial bones which crack much more easily. A blow to the front of the head, particularly in the eye/nose area is more likely to penetrate and damage internal structures like the brain, which is the point of smacking zombies anyway.

Another vulnerable point is the junction between the head and neck. The hollow in the back of the skull can provide easy access to the brain and spinal structures. This is a good target for attacks from the rear - and why give the dead a chance to face you anyway?

In short, aim for the front or back of the skull, not the top. That said, let's move on to the weapons.

Probably the most commonly available impact weapon is the time-honored stick. Baseball and cricket bats, hockey sticks, pool cues, and the like obviously fall into this category, but don't overlook table and chair legs, pipes, and even the clothing rod from your closet. The stick has the advantage of being simple to use; grab one end with one or both hands and start swinging. In general, horizontal strikes come more naturally to the untrained, and since zombies usually just wade in without much in the way of defense, you should have little difficulty scoring telling blows.

The next category of impact weapon is the mass weapon, or mace. This differs from the stick in that the mass of the mace is concentrated at one end. Axes, hammers, wrenches, and golf clubs all fall into this category. These require a tiny bit more finesse and strength to use properly, because wild swings are harder to recover. In other words, if you miss it will take a bit longer to get ready for another swing, due to the weight at the end of the weapon. The mace easily makes up for this minor inconvenince with killing power. All things being equal, a well-placed blow with a pipe wrench will do much more damage than the same blow with a pool cue. In order to make best use of the mace you have to let gravity to its part, so try to incorporate some diagonal or overhead blows in your repertoire as well, keeping in mind the above caveat regarding targeting.

The final category we will cover today are flexible impact weapons, or flails. Nunchaku and three section staves are obviously members of this group, but so are log chains, blackjacks, and improvised weapons like a bar of soap wrapped in a towel or a couple batteries in a sock. This is probably the most misunderstood form of impact weapon. Martial artists can do amazing amounts of damage with a flail, but in the hands of the unskilled the flail often hurts the weilder as much or more than the target. If you are not trained, only resort to these weapons when nothing else is available. In a pinch, putting a couple cans of frozen orange juice concetrate in a pillowcase is better than trying to fight off hungry zombies with your bare hands, but try not to put yourself in this position.

Take a few minutes to make sure you have a good impact wepon in each room of your house, and also in the car. Next time, we'll discuss edged weapons...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Time is running out!

Sorry to usurp the position of Kit's excellent post so soon, but time is running out for you, the groaning public, to bid on a one of a kind item, a set of knit action figures based off of Shawn of the Dead. Drop by the eBay auction, and don't miss out on the flicker of these dolls in action, knitted minions!

You've got a little red on your shirt.

Guns, germs, and lead pipes

As anyone who has played one of the "Silent Hill" games knows, surviving zombies is no mean feat. Even if the Zombies didn't try to kill you, the subsequent collapse of human infrastructure can make maintaining a daily routine difficult. In addition, of course, there exist hordes of mindless, soulless psychopaths that want to kill you. The first thing to do is find a weapon. In lieu of finding firepower, I recommend the lead pipe, or similar implement. This item, while heavy, commands respect when used appropriately. This means that one weilds the lead pipe like they would a cue stick in pool. Imagine the cue ball to be located in front of the zombie's face or solar plexus. Grip the rear end of the pipe while letting the pipe slide through the front hand. This will allow you to strike hard and fast while minimizing the expenditure of energy necessary for each blow.

I would also recommend reserving overhead chopping motions, such as you would use with an axe, only for "kill strokes" when the zombie(s) are already immoblized. In case you have never chopped wood, bring the pipe over your head and, as you bring it down, let the forward hand slide down the shaft. This will lend power and accuracy to your stroke. Attempt to crush the cranium. This type of attack can be very tiresome, as anyone who has made fire wood knows, and running might be necessary at a moments notice.

Also of zombie fame is the chain-saw. While powerful, this has some unfortunate handicaps. For one, the range of the chainsaw is very limited. You have to get too close to a given zombie. The chainsaw is not only heavy but unweildly, making the removal of multiple zombies a slow and dangerous process. Three: It needs a gas/oil mixture. Even if you can find gas, no one wants to be siphoning some gas out of a nearby SUV and trying to get a 10:1 ratio of oil into their chainsaw while the zombie horde approaches. Four: Bodily fliuds, and lots of them. This could be an infectious disease, folks. Don't get splatted.

While you are doing this, take care to avoid contact with the bodily fluids of zombies, as these may be vectors of infection. Other common implements -- such as knives, baseball bats, and mop handles -- are limited either in range (knife) or in the amount of damage that they can deal (bats and brooms). Of course, there is always the unclaimed treasure trove of high-power ordinance or melee weapon extravaganza, but these could prove rare.

But with a little luck and a little ingenuity, we should all be safe regardless of how many of them there are.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Nice day for a white wedding

I whipped up this PSA to generate awareness of the need for zombie preparedness; you have to have foresight to survive.

Print out a copy and post it somewhere public to spread zombie awareness. There is also a ytmnd for this PSA.

Friday, December 02, 2005

New month, new shambling theme: Zombie survival

Okay, I'm using the powers vested in me to decide what to do about last month's poll's tie. I've decided the shambling theme of this month shall be Zombie survial, with a touch of christmas cheer, hopefully. As this month goes on, we here at zombie blog will discuss the basics, including food shelter, weapons, and which islands to hang out on. Don't miss it, it could be the difference between life and undeath!
As you may have gathered, last month's theme was the truly bizarre one of Japanese zombies, but this month's theme is much less obscure. Many people have theories about what is best to do during a zombie-level event. The book The Zombie Survival Guide Is a good place to start. I personally have yet to get ahold of a copy (my geographic location prevents this) but I've heard personal testimony that it is full of sound advice, and more importantly, very funny due to use of dry humor. The author also presents the theory of Solanium, the virus that is responsible for zombie perpetuation. The website for the book contains some good selections, check it out.


Not sure when you'll be bursting from the grave to begin your career as an undead brain location and extraction technician? While we can't tell you the exact date of your reanimation, we can give an idea of when you'll graduate from living. Death Clock calculates your day of death, and even tells you how many seconds you have left to live.

Assuming my weight loss continues and I reach my goal weight, I'll be checking out on Dec. 14th, 2038. Go and check your own date of death, and put it in your Palm Pilot now. While you are at it, feel free to page through the new Cofanifunebri calendar, and let Italian swimsuit models help you pick out a place to "rest"...

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.
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.
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

Frieeend... *drool*

Okay, we kick off this blog with a video link. Enjoy the vegitarian zombies.