I just finished filming and editing this teaser trailer for my upcoming book, Waking Dream: Devlin. Enjoy!
I have given them the last rites, now you do what you will. You are stronger than us, but soon I think they be stronger than you. – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Today’s blog is actually a thought exercise I’ve been mulling over for quite some time. There has been such a massive focus on the Zombie Apocalypse scenario over the past ten years, it makes me think that if Zombies have become such a pop icon, how close are we to making this a reality? What spurred this thought today was a recent news story I heard about some gun ranges now setting up Zombie targets for Zombie themed shooting events. While this seems very amusing, and I did giggle when I heard it, it is also a bit disturbing on many levels.
Zombies, as defined in the iconic Night of the Living Dead, were meant to be commentary on the capitalist society we live in. Zombies are mindless wandering automatons who exist to consume. Mr. George Romero is a visionary director, and his films paint a very disturbing fate for the human race, one which none of us can truly escape. If the dead are rising up from the grave, and all of us will eventually die, then all of us would eventually become zombies, which is quite frightening.
But back to the thought exercise. We as humans have an amazing ability to make a dream into a reality. I think back to some of the early science fiction works from the early 20th century, and how many of those concepts are now a reality. Fahrenheit 451 talked of wall sized TVs, and we have made that a reality. Asimov talked about robots, which have become a reality, though still in its infancy. There are so many of these instances that I can cite to punctuate the tenacity of humans to make things a reality. What makes a zombie apocalypse any different? If you think about it, all one needs to do is create a virus that numbs the mind and removes reason and emotion. This could be accomplished any number of ways, and in a world where biological warfare is a constant threat, who is to say that we have not already set this wheel in motion. It would be highly desirable for an enemy to infect us with a virus that not only damages the host, but causes the host to kill those around them. All one would need to do is introduce the virus and watch their enemy destroy themselves from within.
I personally know many people who seriously believe that the zombie apocalypse is a real possibility. The power of the human mind is astounding. It has the ability to make things come into reality by sheer force of will. This is not to say that we can conjure things out of thin air, but if someone wants something badly enough, it can happen. It was believed man would never be able to fly, now we can do it pretty much anytime we want. We didn’t believe we could leave the planet, but we’ve had men walk on the moon. So many wonderful and horrible things have come from our power of will.
So here is the thing to ponder, if we are obsessed with zombies, is it not possible that someone somewhere will be fueled by all the information we’ve provided on how zombies should be, and make it a reality? With all the movies, shows, books and games on zombies, we have effectively given someone all the “research” they would need to actually create such a thing. And if I were a betting man, I would bet on a zombie infection similar to 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, as they seem the most viable candidates for a realistic disease that mimics the Romero vision of zombies. It seems highly unlikely that people will “rise from the grave” without some sort of supernatural cause, but a virus that makes people mindless, blood-thirsty killers seems highly likely to me.
At the end of the day, we must always keep in mind, “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”
I am Peter Vincent, Vampire Killer!
Being child of the 80’s one of my favorite horror films of the time was the original Fright Night with Chris Sarandon, Amanda Bearse, William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall. Like so many horror films of the 80s, it was campy, corny and comedic undertones. I’ve always viewed this film as one of the best portrayals of the definitive 80s horror experience. I was very dubious that any remake of this film could possibly do justice to such an iconic film. The other night, I sat down at my Xbox and decided 480 Microsoft Points wasn’t going to break the bank, and rented it. I was completely shocked at how well the movie was done.
The remake stars Colin Farrell as Jerry Dandridge, previously played by Chris Sarandon — who has a small cameo in the film. It is no secret Colin Farrell is not a great actor in my opinion, but somehow he truly excelled in this reprised role. In this version, he is masquerading as a construction worker in the Las Vegas suburbs. What was interesting about the story, rewritten by Tom Holland, was how the recent housing issues in the Las Vegas are were woven in. The sub-division featured in the story was completely isolated like so many other sub-divisions that were started and never finished after the market collapse — the perfect place for a solitary vampire to systematically convert the residents without drawing too much attention.
Anton Yelchin and Toni Collette do an outstanding job playing the Brewsters, keeping true to the spirit of the roles in the original movie. Christopher Mintz-Plasse also does an admirable job as Evil Ed, though not nearly as creepy or detached as the original role played by Stephen Geoffreys. The most interesting twist to the story is the way the Peter Vincent character was evolved. In the original, Roddy McDowall played Peter Vincent as a has-been horror film actor, reminiscent of Peter Cushing from the Hammer House of Horror films. Now, Peter Vincent is a Las Vegas illusionist, who reminds me of a british Criss Angel, played by David Tennant.
I caution you not to think of this so much as a remake as a “re-telling”. Though the character names are the same, the film has a completely different feel. It is much more sinister than the original, and though it has smatterings of comedic overtones, it truly is a horror film. So if you’re looking for something other than “Twilight” or “True Blood” for your sanguine fix, this movie is absolutely worth the 3 dollars to rent.
Review: 3 Stars
This weekend, I got a chance to see the movie “30 Minutes or Less” with Jesse Eisenberg. The only real reason I watched this movie is that it was produced by the director of Zombieland, Ruben Fleischer. In my opinion, Zombieland is one of the best dark comedies of the last ten years. However, the same cannot be said of this movie.
While it has its moments of amusement and hilarity, I can’t but feel as if the entire movie was thrown together. The story is formulaic and overdone. So many of the same elements you would find in any comedy. Dead beat guy who has no direction in his life. Guy trying to get girl who has direction in her life. Guy thrust into a crime against his will. Two bumbling criminals who have the tables turned on them. Pretty much every crime comedy I’ve ever seen.
Be that as it may, it is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Jesse Eisenberg plays the same awkward, self-deprecating character he always plays, and his role was less than remarkable. He is outshined by Danny McBride (Pineapple Express and Land of the Lost) and Nick Swardson (Reno 911), who interact seamlessly and comfortably throughout the film.
If you’re looking for something to watch, and you just aren’t finding anything, this movie will kill two hours and provide a few memorable laughs. Go into it with low expectations and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. However, if you want something more fulfilling in this genre, I would suggest:
- Pineapple Express
- Strange Wilderness
- Land of the Lost
Review: 2 Stars