Archive for the zombies Category

AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Night of the Living Dead (1974) novelization and a shambling mob of other zombie novels

Posted in books, Genres, horror, monsters, movies, pop culture, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2013 by Paxton

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There are a lot of zombie novels out there. I can’t read and review them all, nor would I really want to. However, there are a few I read that I’ll quickly review for you in an opportunity to get them out there so you have other zombie books to read now that AWESOME-tober-fest 2013 has got you hot for zombies again.

Let’s begin with the novelization of the original Romero classic, Night of the Living Dead.

NOTLD novel
George Romero’s 1966 film, Night of the Living Dead, is a classic in the horror genre. While attending college in Pittsburgh in the 60s, George Romero and John Russo developed a horror script. They pitched it to a film company, received funding and created one of the most important genre-defining pictures of all time.  This book is the novelization of that script.  Surprisingly, the book wasn’t released until 1974, a clear six years after the release of the movie.  Which means that it wasn’t based on an original draft of the script, it was just a page one copy of the movie.  I didn’t realize that before I started reading.  So, if you’ve seen the movie, you’ve essentially read the book.  Except, the movie is actually better.  The book is slow and a LOT less interesting than the movie.  I don’t know if it’s the way Russo writes or what, but I had a hard time staying awake while reading plus there’s not really any new story information you get for reading.  You may as well just watch the movie again.

ROTLD novel
In 1978, after Russo and Romero went their separate ways, Russo decided to write a sequel to Night of the Living Dead.  He called it Return of the Living Dead.  This book has nothing to do with the 1985 horror comedy of the same name other than it inspired that movie.  Russo wanted this book to be the movie and wrote it as a screenplay, but Dan O’Bannon disliked Russo’s story and did a page 1 rewrite.  This book was Russo’s attempt to continue the story they began in Night of the Living Dead.  It’s boring, uninspired and will immediately put you into a reading coma before you finish the first page.  It’s not even worth reading as a novelty.  As a matter of fact, just skip both of these books.  Watch the original 1966 Night of the Living Dead movie and the 1985 Return of the Living Dead movie.  They are much more enjoyable and you’ll get more out of it.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith – This is sort of the grandaddy of the outlandish classic fiction category that has become all the rage the last few years.  Stuff like Android Karenina, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter all began with this book.  All the zombie/ninja embellishments were written by Seth Grahame-Smith who also wrote Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, that Johnny Depp Dark Shadows movie and he helped create and write the MTV TV show The Hard Times of RJ Berger.  I read this book several years ago.  It’s actually very entertaining.  I thought that the structure would be 1 chapter of Austen/1 chapter of Smith.  However, it isn’t.  Smith manages to deftly combine zombies and ninjas into every aspect of this story.  The lines have been blurred and it’s really hard to see where one story ends and the other begins.  It’s actually quite amazing how well this book works.  I can’t speak for the other quirky classic makeovers I mentioned, but at the very least, this deserves a read.  I think you’ll like it.  FYI, a prequel was written by another author called Dawn of the Dreadfuls, but I haven’t read it.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: 5 comic covers that homage famous zombie movie posters

Posted in comic books, monsters, movies, pop culture, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by Paxton

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Earlier, I did an article where I talked about comic covers that homage famous movie posters. While writing that aricle I decided to hold back a few entries in anticipation of this article.

So, in honor of my Halloween zombie theme this year, here are some comic covers that specifically homage famous zombie movies of the past.

Marvel’s third Zombies mini-series (I covered the Marvel Zombies comic franchise earlier this month) featured covers that mimic old zombie posters.  Let’s take a look at those four covers.

Army of Darkness poster Marvel Zombies 3 #1
Marvel Zombies 3 #1 (right) homages the famous Army of Darkness poster (left).  Front and center on the comic is Machine Man who figures prominently into the story.

28 Days Later poster Marvel Zombies 3 #2
The cover to Marvel Zombies 3 #2 mimics the poster for 28 Days Later.

Evil Dead poster Marvel Zombies 3 #3
Marvel Zombies 3 #3 looks exactly like the original Evil Dead poster.

Shaun of the Dead Marvel Zombies 3 #4
Marvel Zombies 3 #4 mimics the great Shaun of the Dead poster.

Another Marvel series that homaged famous movie posters was Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth.  It homaged a lot of famous posters like Jaws, Silence of the Lambs, The Graduate, Scarface and even Pretty Woman.  See them here on Comic Vine.  Only issue #3 homages a zombie movie.

Dawn of the Dead Deadpool Merc with a Mouth #3
Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #3 homages Romero’s Dawn of the Dead

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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive (1992)

Posted in monsters, movies, nostalgia, pop culture, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2013 by Paxton

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Today I’m going to take a look at Peter Jackson’s 1992 cult zombie film, Dead Alive.

Dead Alive poster

Suprisingly, I’d never seen this movie before. I used to be a big gore hound in the late 80s. I’d heard of it at the time, but never had a chance to watch it.  I like Peter Jackson’s films for the most part. The first Peter Jackson movie I ever watched was probably The Frighteners with Michael J Fox and I loved it.  I even saw his ultra-cult hit Meet the Feebles.  So I’m a little behind the curve on this particular movie.  But with my zombie Halloween theme this year I thought this would be the perfect time to rectify this situation.  So I watched it.

And I didn’t just love it. Don’t get me wrong, there were some funny and weird moments that I enjoyed. I probably would have enjoyed this even more if I had watched it with a bunch of buddies and beer or had I watched it back in the 90s.  But, let’s not dwell on what I didn’t like, I’ll talk about some of the stuff I enjoyed.

I liked the leads well enough. Timothy Balme as Lionel was suitably awkward and Diana Peñalver was adorable and cute as Paquita. The crux of the story is an interesting origin for the zombie plague. It all starts with a rare mutant animal called a Sumatran Rat-Monkey that is created by plague rats raping tree monkeys. Yes, you read that right. One of these disgusting looking Rat-Monkeys is, mistakenly, I think, shipped to a zoo in New Zealand.


In New Zealand, awkward and nebish Lionel meets Paquita who fall in love, but Lionel’s overbearing mother disapproves.  While spying on the couple at the zoo, Lionel’s mother is bitten by the Rat-Monkey and turns into a flesh eating undead monster.  Everyone else thinks she dies, but Lionel secretly keeps her in his basement along with a live-in nurse who the mother also turned into a monster.  Soon, other victims become monsters and are put in the basement.  Eventually it gets out of hand when Lionel’s shady uncle shows up looking to get a share of Lionel’s inheritance.

That’s only like half the plot.  So much goes on that’s weird and nearly indescribable.  You really have to see it.

At one point, Lionel is attacked by a group of punks in the graveyard.  His mom attacks them, turns them into monsters and then a priest shows up and famously shouts, “I kick ass for the Lord” and uses karate to kick the monsters’ collective asses.  It’s a pretty great scene.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: IDW’s Infestation event (2011)

Posted in monsters, pop culture, vampires, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2013 by Paxton

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Today we are going to look at a big comic book crossover event from 2011 done by the publisher IDW. It was called Infestation.

IDW Infestation

The crossover involved four of IDW’s licensed properties; Ghostbusters, Star Trek, Transformers and GI Joe, and one of their own titles; CVO: Covert Vampiric Operations.  On the outset, it was exciting to me because I wanted to know how the hell they were going to combine universes.  Would Kirk meet Optimus Prime?  Would GI Joe try to recruit Egon?  The concept brimmed with potential awesomeness.

In case you aren’t familiar, CVO is a group of vampires and other magical beings that work for a clandestine group in the government who fight supernatural attacks on Earth. It’s a pretty cool concept and the group is pretty cool. The story begins at a hidden weapons base in New Mexico. An interdimensional being called the Undermind tries to take over our world. The Undermind is a supernatural entity that takes over beings and turns them into, essentially, zombies who do his bidding. A vampire member of the team, Britt, is bitten by a zombie and becomes a vampire/zombie hybrid. The Undermind uses her dual supernatural nature to make her supremely powerful at wielding magic. Britt opens up portals in four other universes and minions of the Undermind escape into each. We soon discover that each of these portals leads to the worlds of Ghostbusters, Star Trek, GI Joe and Transformers.

Here’s a pic of Britt in her all powerful vampire/zombie form.

CVO - Britt

In each of the universes the Undermind attacks, an analog of Britt appears. You can see the analogs in the margins of this picture. So in the Transformers universe, Britt actually becomes this weird looking human-faced Transformer (upper left).

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Marvel’s Simon Garth: The Zombie!

Posted in comic books, monsters, pop culture, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2013 by Paxton

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In 1953, the forerunner of Marvel Comics, Atlas Comics, released the fifth issue of their horror anthology title, Menace.

Menace 5

In this issue, in a standalone story written by Stan Lee and drawn by Bill Everett was the debut of a character known only as, The Zombie.

The Zombie

The short story offered no background, just the simple setup of a zombie walking the swamps who is controlled by a mysterious evil man in a hidden cabin. After the story first appeared the character sort of disappeared.

Then in 1974, editor Roy Thomas plucked the character from obscurity and made him the star of his very own horror themed magazine called Tales of the Zombie.

Tales of the Zombie 01

The magazine re-printed Lee’s original Menace story, but then Thomas had Steve Gerber and Joe Buscema craft a prologue story, Altar of the Damned, to fill out the zombie backstory and give the character a name; Simon Garth. Gerber and Buscema then did another story called Night of the Walking Dead to continue the character’s adventures forward.

New stories in each issue of the magazine were mostly done by Steve Gerber and Pablo Marcos.  Other notable contributers included Doug Moench and Chris Claremont.  Simon Garth’s final appearance in this magazine would be in issue 9 which awesomely culminated in a story arc at his daughter’s wedding.

Tales of the Zombie 09

The magazine would actually go release issue 10, but it featured the character Brother Voodoo and not Simon Garth.

Since the 70s, Simon has popped up in appearances all over the Marvel Universe including Spider-Man, Blade, Dracula and, most recently, was a main character in Marvel Zombies 4.

He’s not had his own series again, but he did get a few mini-series in 2007 under the Marvel MAX imprint.

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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.