Tag Archives: zombies

World War Z (film)

World War Z is a 2013 zombie flick based on the book written by Max Brooks. Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Quantum of Solace) directs and Brad Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator who is called back into action to stop a zombie outbreak. These aren’t slow-moving Romero or Walking Dead zombies. These are 28 Days Later and 2003’s Dawn of the Dead zombies. They are fast and vicious, which leads to explosive action scenes. One zombie in the midst of a crowded area causes complete chaos. It’s almost impossible to escape. But Gerry Lane always finds a way to survive because he’s smart, calm under pressure, and he’s played by Brad Pitt and they need him for the sequel.

The basic plot is simple. There is a zombie pandemic and Gerry Lane must find the source in order to find a cure. He goes all over the world, from Philadelphia to Newark to South Korea to Jerusalem to Cardiff. It’s pretty easy to travel the world during the zombie apocalypse if you have UN connections apparently. He doesn’t find a cure but he finds a temporary solution, and the movie ends with a glimmer of hope for survivors around the globe.

World War Z made $540,007,876 at the box office, making it the highest-grossing zombie movie of all time. The filmmakers cited The Bourne Identity as an influence and you can see glimmers of it. The violence is gritty and realistic for the most part, despite using a lot of CG zombies that appear cartoonish at times. I never read the book so I can’t compare the two, but I enjoyed the movie. It was entertaining, had some good political points, and a lot of solid action scenes that keep you engaged. It’s a satisfying zombie movie, but it doesn’t bring anything original to the genre. You get infected if you get bit (unless you perform a quick amputation), the zombies die if you shoot them in the head, there are ways to make yourself invisible to the zombies, and the living are just as dangerous as the dead. Been there, done that.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Walking Dead Season 1

The Walking Dead is an AMC television series about a group of survivors trying to make their way through the zombie apocalypse. It’s based on a comic written by Robert Kirkland. It was brought to the small screen by Frank Darabont, the same guy who brought Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile to the big screen, so you know he can make a successful adaptation. Darabont was the showrunner for the first season before he was replaced, but you can’t deny the impact he had in creating a cultural phenomenon. This is a show about zombies, but they never call them zombies. They refer to them as “walkers” primarily, but they have a few different names for them. It’s also a character study. How do you keep your humanity and sanity when the undead can kill you at any moment? What happens to society when everything has fallen apart?
The first season is only six episodes, but it sets up characters and story lines that are still around. The show focuses on Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) waking up from a coma to find that the world has changed. The world has been taken over by the undead and Frank must venture out in search of his wife and son. He meets a few other survivors and has to learn the ways of the new world or die in the process.
The show shares many similarities with the comics (as you would expect), but it’s entirely different in other ways. There are characters and situations in the show that aren’t in the comics, and sometimes a situation will involve different characters. The end result is that a comic reader has a better sense of what might happen or should happen, but they can’t be sure because anything could change at anytime.
The first season is kind of slow, but that’s to be expected because it’s setting up everything and you can’t rush good exposition. You get to meet some of your favorite characters like Glenn (played by Steven Yeun) and Daryl (played by Norman Reedus), as well as characters you despise like Lori (played by Sarah Wayne Callies). Lori might be the most hated character in all of television. She fucking sucks. She’s useless and annoying and bitchy and I hate her so much. You should hate her too.
You either love The Walking Dead or you hate it. There is no in between. But I don’t trust you if you don’t like it. There’s something suspicious about you. How can you hate something so great? It’s not a perfect show, but it’s one of the best things on TV right now. It’s a staple of Sunday night television and you’re missing out if you’re not watching it.
Critically Rated at 15/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Talking Dead (TV show)

Talking Dead is a talk show for fans who can’t get enough of AMC’s The Walking Dead. It airs right after The Walking Dead, and the two shows go hand in hand. Host Chris Hardwick discusses the latest episode of The Walking Dead with his panel of guests. The guests usually include cast or crew members and celebrity fans of the show. They talk about the crazy cliffhanger endings and all the WTF moments of the show, they show all the zombie kills, and they recap who died. They point out things that you might have missed. They will do a special effects breakdown of a cool scene. There’s usually a sneak peak at the next episode. The Walking Dead is a cult phenomenon and Sunday night becomes an event. You get to watch an hour-long show about the zombie apocalypse and then you get to watch an hour-long talk show about an hour-long show about the zombie apocalypse. There’s something weird about that, but Talking Dead is still worth checking out if you’re a fan of The Walking Dead. It will make your Sunday night feel a little more complete.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Dead Trigger 2 (game)

Dead Trigger 2 is a free game developed and published by Madfinger Games. It’s available for iOS and Android, so if you have a smart phone or a tablet this is a pretty solid game to download. It’s a first-person shooter game with zombies and pretty decent graphics, especially for a free game. It’s free to play, but you can also pay to progress through the game faster.  You complete various missions and build up your arsenal and upgrade your weapons. There are different types of zombies and different game scenarios and you never know what is lurking around the next corner. It’s one of the best free games that I’ve ever played and a great way to prepare for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Check it out, especially if you have an iPad and want to show it off.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Planet Terror

            Planet Terror is a 2007 Robert Rodriguez movie and one half of the double feature experience known as Grindhouse. Now when I say that it’s a Robert Rodriguez movie, I really mean that it’s a Robert Rodriguez movie. He wrote it, he directed it, he co-edited it, he produced it, he did the cinematography, and he even scored it. That’s about as hands on as you can get in Hollywood. It’s a glorified B movie about zombies and a stripper with a machine gun leg.

Rose McGowan stars as a stripper named Cherry Darling and Freddy Rodriguez plays her ex-boyfriend, the mysterious El Wray. They bump into each other on a quiet night in a rural Texas town. Things don’t stay quiet for long. A deadly biochemical gas is released at a nearby military base and it’s turning the townspeople into zombies. It’s your classic zombie movie, complete with a ragtag group of survivors doing battle with the undead.

There’s a great supporting cast including Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis, Fergie, Marley Shelton, Naveen Andrews, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, and Quentin Tarantino. The look of the film is pretty unique. They scratched the film to make it look aged and more like a ‘70s flick. At one point there’s a “missing reel” and the film jumps from a steamy sex scene to all hell breaking loose. Suddenly there are more survivors, more zombies, and shit’s on fire. They jumped from the second act straight into the climax and it still works.

I remember watching Grindhouse in the theater. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at the cinema. It had two movies from two of my favorite directors for the price of one ticket, and there were also bonus trailers for fake movies (some of which were so awesome that they turned them into real movies, like Machete). I felt like I went back in time. Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof is pretty decent, but Planet Terror is more entertaining and fun.

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The Monday After The Walking Dead

The Monday after The Walking Dead is a great time to be a nerd. AMC’s hit series is one of the coolest and most talked about TV shows on the air. Every Sunday night Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors kill zombies and fight one-eyed bad guys. And you better watch it because everybody will talk about it on Monday morning. You had a night to sleep on it and reflect on the best parts, now you get to stand around the water cooler/coffee pot and gush about how much of a badass Daryl is and speculate on what’s going to happen next. If you watch the show but missed an episode, you should just call out on Monday and stay home because everyone will be talking about what happened. Even if you don’t watch the show, you’re still going to hear all about the latest zombie kills. The Walking Dead is a great show to watch, but it’s more fun to talk about.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Zombieland

There are two major classifications of zombie movies. They are either horror films or parody films. Zombieland is one of the latter. That mean’s it’s funny. Ruben Fleischer makes his directorial debut and Jesse Eisenberg stars as a college kid struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. He teams up with a few other survivors, played by Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Bill Murray makes a cameo as himself.

The movie begins with Columbus (Eisenberg) explaining how the world has gone to shit and become infested with zombies. He has a list of rules (like cardio, limber up, check the back seat, enjoy the little things) that he follows religiously to stay alive. He meets another survivor going by the name Tallahassee (Harrelson).  Tallahassee is a badass with a knack for killing zombies and a soft spot for Twinkies. They form an unlikely partnership and soon come across sisters/con artists Wichita and Little Rock (Stone and Breslin). Despite the sisters stealing their guns a few times, the four of them team up and start heading to Pacific Playland, which is supposedly free of zombies.

Along the way they start bonding and getting to know each other. They hang out with Bill Murray for a little bit. Then there’s a conflict and the group separates. The sisters go to Pacific Playland and attract a horde of zombies, but Columbus mans up and rescues them with some help from Tallahassee. The girls are saved, Columbus gets the girl, and Tallahassee gets a Twinkie.

Zombieland is a good movie. It has an interesting premise, it’s funny, it has a great cast, and a distinctive look. It’s not the best zombie parody (Shaun of the Dead was funnier and smarter), but it’s definitely entertaining and worth watching. Jesse Eisenberg carries the film. He plays shy, nerdy guys better than anyone else in Hollywood. He’s like a suave, un-annoying Michael Cera. Woody Harrelson’s always fun to watch but his character is kind of one-dimensional, even with the revelation that he can’t cope with the death of his son. Emma Stone looks as lovely as ever. And you can’t go wrong with Bill Murray in one of the best cameos of all time.

Zombies are in right now. You should have seen this movie by now. You’re slacking if you haven’t. It’s been out for a few years now. You better get on that shit.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Night of the Living Dead (1990 remake)

George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is one of the most influential horror films of all time. This is special effect guru Tom Savini’s unnecessary remake of the classic zombie film. It keeps the same basic story about a ragtag group of strangers taking refuge in an isolated farmhouse when the dead inexplicably come back to life. But this time the film is shot in color and the zombie attacks are a little more gory. It’s a little dated now, and The Walking Dead has spoiled me when it comes to zombie kills, but it’s still a requirement if you are a fan of the genre.

            Tom Savini is one of the top makeup/special effects artists in the business with a handful of directing and acting credits under his belt as well. He specializes in horror movies, the bloodier the better. So you expect a little bit more action that what he presents, but he still made an adequate horror flick.

Barbara (Patricia Tallman) is visiting her mother’s grave when a zombie attacks her. She hides out in a farmhouse and gradually more and more survivors show up. Ben (Tony Todd) is the first one she meets, and he is intent on surviving. He constantly butts heads with Harry Cooper (Tom Towles), an angry guy with a wife and a daughter who has been bitten by a zombie (you know that’s not ending well). There is also a teenaged redneck couple, because you have to have stupid teenagers in a horror movie.

            As the survivors try to fortify the farmhouse, they start to realize they have to fear each other as much as they do with the zombies. Ben and Cooper both try to take control of the situation, and the tension between the two begins to rise as more and more zombies show up.

Zombies have been the monster of choice for a few years now, evidenced by the success of The Walking Dead and Zombie Land, not to mention the increasing sales of bath salts. But they wouldn’t be popular if people like Romero and Savini didn’t pave the way. So if you’ve tried watching the original Night of the Living Dead, but think it’s too slow, this might be a better alternative. The endings are different and there are a few tweaks to the storyline and characters, but overall it’s a pretty faithful remake.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Zombie Apocalypse

I can’t wait for the Zombie Apocalypse. It is the ultimate Darwin test. When the zombies come you have to have a game plan. I’m pretty sure every guy has a plan thought out. I’m pretty sure my plan is better than yours.

We can all agree that food and weapons are the priority. Maybe making sure your family is ok, but if zombies appear and you aren’t within earshot, I’m just going to assume that you are dead. If we meet again, that’s cool, but protecting my ass takes priority over making sure you’re all right. When the zombies first show up, I’m heading straight for the sporting goods store.

The first thing I would grab guns and ammunition. Shotguns and handguns primarily, but a rifle with a scope is also acceptable. Those are good for practicing zombie headshots. After the guns and ammo you need a crossbow or two and a bunch of extra arrows.

After I grab a few weapons I would head over to the backpacking supplies. Weapons are the initial priority because now you can scare off all the other looters who might get your supplies. I would grab all the backpacking food that they have. They are practically indestructible, they last a long time, they have all the nutrients that you need, they are pretty portable, and they are easy to make, and I can’t cook for shit. While in the backpacking supplies section, make sure you grab water bottles and water filters. You can run from zombies forever but you can’t live 3 days without water. Trail mix and Power Bars are always good too.

Get a tent, a sleeping bag, cookware, a lighter, a flint, matches, fishing gear, a first aid kit, walkie-talkies, a survival kit with a whistle, a glow stick, a hammock, and a Leatherman. Swiss Army Knives will let you down; make sure you get a Leatherman. I know this is the zombie apocalypse and not a camping trip, so you can grab a machete too if it makes you feel better. Make sure you get a shovel. They are a decent weapon, and you’ll need it to bury your companions as they inevitably start dropping off.

In almost every single zombie apocalypse scenario the survivors drive around everywhere. They constantly have to worry about fuel. They always forget about bikes. They are quiet, reliable, and never run out of gas. And you can grab one at the sporting goods store that you’re currently raiding. Make sure it has rugged tires and good shocks. See if they have a bike trailer too so you can haul your gear around.

Now that you have the essential supplies, you can start recruiting people to create a new society. You want a doctor, a chef, a hunter, an architect, carpenter, and a lawyer. Every full moon you kill the lawyer. And then you replace him. Just like real life. If you can find a katana, take it. There is no better time than a zombie apocalypse to rock a katana.

Most people would go to major cities or find a secure building like a prison. I would go to the woods and build a camouflaged tree house city. Zombies can’t climb trees, and most people don’t look up. Imagine Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and the Ewok village. Now imagine zombies. Now imagine all the shit that I took from the sporting goods store…. Pretty damn secure, right? Out in the woods you are naturally more secluded. You would be able to hunt and maybe even grow and maintain a small farm or garden.

Of course there are a few flaws with my plan, but there are risks with associated with every conceivable scenario. It’s important to have a plan thought out, but you also need to be able to change it at a moment’s notice. You have to be ready for anything and adapt to any new challenge. What would you do? Where would you go first? What do you think is essential? What is your short-term plan? What is your long-term plan? I want to hear your ideas and steal from them.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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