thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
The general consensus on The Walking Dead--the Darabont-helmed AMC show based on the great comics by Robert Kirkman--seems to boil down to two reactions:

1.) People who've read the comic loved the pilot.

2.) People who haven't read the comic thought the pilot felt like pretty much every zombie movie ever.

I definitely fit into the first category. I wasn't thinking, "What's gonna happen next? Oh, so they're hitting the same zombie movie beats we've seen a million times before," because... well, that's what happened in the comic. I was expecting exactly that. What I wasn't expecting was for the show to do it better.

Because look, I love the comic, but like much of Kirkman's work, it takes six or so issues before it finally kicks in and takes off. Kirkman likes to set up ways that feel like going through the motions, so that he can then tear it all down with what the story's really about. Walking Dead, in particular, had a rather standard start that worked at the time because it felt refreshingly back-to-basics and old school in the sudden Fast Zombies boom with the Dawn of the Dead remake and 28 Days Later*. It was so refreshing to see someone doing classic Romero slow zombies again as an ongoing series that I cut Kirkman some slack.

But since then, zombies have over-saturated the market to the point that such an opening episode feels like "classic" and more "cliched." Should Darabont have rewritten Kirkman's opening to make it fresher and more distinct? Only if it could mean the people in Category #2 could be as excited as those of us in Category #1.

The reason I loved it so much was because, even though I knew what the story was going to be, and what was going to happen next, I was awestruck by the storytelling. Darabont understands the essential, oh-so-basic rule that no one seems to frickin' understand: nothing is scarier than silence. Almost any other show/movie (especially modern zombie ones) would fill those spaces with creeeeeeeepy music, and uh oh, it's getting creepier and more suspensful, so you know something's about to happen, whoooaaaa!

No. Fuck that. For true horror, silence is golden. Silence doesn't give you the safety net of clues to tell you what to feel. Silence lets your imagination run wild. When Rick was walking through that hospital, the casual background images of the bullet holes in the walls was all you needed to know. Even when we saw the zombies, there was no music. The horror speaks for itself in this dead world.

BUT... it's only when Rick went back to his house, desperately searched for his wife and son, found nobody, and broke down crying... that's when the dramatic soundtrack swept in. And I just wanted to kiss the air, like a compliment to a fine chef. Because the music was humanity. The music was only for the living, and the feeling. And it was only when the very living sorrow broke through that the silence was itself broken, if only for a moment. Fucking beautiful.

The rest of the show carried on magnificently, I thought. After soundtracks, the second greatest reason why most horror movies suck today is "BOO!" scares. Ughhhh, there's nothing so lazy in horror as the "BOO!" scare. True horror comes from letting your imagination fill in the gaps, as your dread mounts. That's what TWD show did so wonderfully. For now, there were no big action sequences, so Savini Showcase gore effects, just character-focused moments, interaction, and dread.

The pacing just made me extremely happy. Henchgirl (who fell into Category #2) said it felt like a 70's film. For me, I think that's a fantastic thing, and I hope it's maintained throughout the series. I also hope the show does start getting more original and distinct, as the comics themselves have, now that the familiar groundwork has been so expertly laid.

Until then, I hope it rises above the over-saturation of today's market (I think it's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies that really killed the trend) and catches on with more people, especially those from category #2. Because damn it, I want to geek out about this with more people. Especially once Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) joins the cast.

For now, I just have one thing to say to those of you in category #2: if the show is anything like the comic, then don't get too attached to any of the characters. Even the ones you assume are safe. Even the lead. There was a point when I seriously thought Kirkman was going to kill off the entire cast and continue the series focusing on the father-son team of Morgan and Duane. It wouldn't have been surprising.

Man. I hope they bring in the Governor. *shudder*

*In fact, with 28 Days Later evoked, let's look at TWD's opening. Both the comic and the show featured the main character waking up in the hospital, having been in a coma while the zombie outbreak started.

Most people accuse Kirkman (and now the show here) for ripping off 28DL, but what few realize (so few that it's not even mentioned on Wikipedia) is that 28DL itself ripped off a New Zealand film called The Quiet Earth. In it, a man wakes up (in the same full-frontal nude shot that was replicated in 28DL with Cillian Murphy) to discover that everybody else on Earth has vanished.

So, yeah, give ripping off credit where it's due.
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
Henchgirl just woke up (we tend to fall asleep by the first lights of morning), and the first thing she said was, "John... promise me something."


"Promise me that... if there's ever a zombie apocalypse... and you find zombified Ty Templeton, and he's not all the way gone yet... don't bring him home so he can sign all your comics and we can kill him mercifully afterward."

"Aw, not even to have him draw me a Two-Face sketch?"

"I can't really judge, because when I saw almost-but-not-quite-zombified Ty Templeton, I hugged him. And he was totally cool about it too. 'Yeah, sure, I'll sign all your comics, totally, just put a bullet in my head when I'm done!'"

"... yeah, I make no promises."
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
Thanks Bloo.

Simon Pegg on why Romero-style slow zombies are and will always be superior to Zack-Snyder-style fast zombies.

He makes excellent, thoroughly geeky points. I look forward to referring this to anyone who trashes slow zombies or hold the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake up as better than the original. Depressingly, such people exist.


Jun. 13th, 2008 01:13 pm
thehefner: (Grindhouse: Reel Missing (PT))
Man, I actually feel kinda bad for M. Night Shyamalan. I've been following the reviews of THE HAPPENING*, and more than once have I read someone say, "This is the sort of film that ends careers."

Honestly, I think the exact moment Shyamalan went wrong was when he buckled to negative pressure and abandoned his plans to do UNBREAKABLE as a trilogy. I mean, I've never seen SIGNS nor most of THE VILLAGE, and I know those films have their defenders, but it's pretty clear that it's generally been a downhill progression. Without ignoring nor excusing its flaws--pretentious, overly serious, the "whatta tweest!" moment, to name a few--I still consider UNBREAKABLE to be his peak, and deeply wish he could have seen that vision come to life. As such, it sort of feels like my own FIREFLY: a great start with such potential, cut down and dicked over too soon.

Then again, so many people hate UNBREAKABLE as well that it's easy for me to start doubting my own feelings. I need to give it a reviewing sometime, see how well it holds up on snotty snobby 2008 John Hefner. Especially as Shyamalan--who it seems has a reputation for being an egotistical asshole--gets served a hearty slice of humble pie ala mode.

I will say this, though: I feel damn sorry for his cast. Especially my hero John Leguizamo, but hell, it'd hardly be the worst thing he's done (y halo thar, SPAWN). Also, I may have newfound respect for Mark Wahlberg, as when he was asked if there was any chance for a Funky Bunch reunion, he responded, "not a fucking chance." He went on to say: “Part of me would love to run around and act like a freaking asshole again but I can’t do that. I’ve got two kids. I saw something on VH1 or something about me in the 90s and I thought, oh my God, how am I going to explain this to my kids? I have a few years to think about how to finesse it but I do think about it on a daily basis.”

By the way, while we're talking about the poor cast, this is as good a time as any to discuss Zooey Deschanel. I know everyone finds her incredible adorable and wonderful, so I'm fairly certain I'm the only person who finds her incredibly off-putting. Maybe it's because my first exposure to her was THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, where I did not believe for one second why Arthur Dent would ever, ever, ever possibly be pining after this cold airhead who was unfriendly to him and far more interested in the exciting asshole with the bread laser knife. Then again, I might have gotten it if they had cast, say, Elizabeth Banks as Trillian.

Ever since, I've always felt like Zooey Deschanel was the kind of girl who would constantly be giving me the "what's your problem?" look. The kind of girl who would push me to sell my comic collection, or at least move them to the basement. Which I can't, obviously, because Dad's down there.


*I'm rather fond of the nickname one critic gave it: THE WHA???
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
Dad's still in the basement. I really should do something about that.


(seriously, one of these days, I really do need to scatter the ashes.)

Zombie Meme

Jun. 6th, 2008 07:20 pm
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
Taken by several:

You are in a mall when the zombies attack. You have:

1. one weapon.

2. one song blasting on the speakers.

3. one famous person to fight alongside you.

1.) After consulting Max Brooks' zombie survival guide, it looks like my ideal weapon of choice would be the M1 Carbine semiautomatic rifle. It doesn't waste ammo and is idea for both long and short range, plus is lightweight with a short muzzle, making it perfect for indoor combat and long journeys on foot. It was a tough choice between that and the WWII M1 Garand; that bayonet would come in awful handy in a tight spot.

2.) What else? Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party." Subject appropriateness aside, it's got a great energy that's upbeat, dark, and also energetic enough to keep one going (see also: Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" in SHAUN OF THE DEAD)

3.) There might be a better choice, but if I had to pick off the top of my head? Teddy Roosevelt.
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
So I have just been informed that there was a shopping mall in the Elizabethan period. At first, I thought it still existed, or that it was a new, Renaissance Faire type dealie, and I got all excited.

Just think about it: take your typical all-out garb, then mix in Richmond's annual Zombie Lurch... you already see where I'm going with this, right?


All we'd need are zombie minstrels playing mall muzak, especially the legendary "Gonk,", and we'd be the stuff of legend.

But alas, I skimmed too quickly. The mall is long gone. Where are nerds with disposable income when you need them? But a man can dream, can't he? A man can dream.

Zombie Renaissance Faire costumes. Aaaaaaaaaaand GO!
thehefner: (Titus Andronicus: I made you eat!)
On THE DAILY SHOW tonight, Jon was talking about the recent Democratic debate where three of the other candidates (but not Obama; John Edwards, Joe BIden, and Chris Dodd) AND Tim Russert were all aggressively grilling Hillary, and Jon Stewart quipped:

"Four men berating a woman for two hours. It's like the most boring Neil LaBute play ever."

A smattering of people laughed and applauded. Stewart smirked, "Look at that, a couple drama majors in the corner. Everybody else can give a shit."

A. Stounding. Hee hee hee hee hee!

Meanwhile, the SOUTH PARK guys have gone totally, delightfully mad. I cannot wait for the DVD of the "Imaginationland" to freeze-frame the shots and spot all the hidden characters. They even had Darkseid in the finale!

Welp, Halloween is over. So you all know what that makes today?

¡VIVA! )

thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
This one's for the horror geeks.

Be sure to put on your Silver Shamrock Halloween masks, kids!


Hey, it's still better than the one with Busta Rhymes.

Bonus: I took my LJ icon and decided to whip up a little somethin'-somethin'. Because I love the joke so. Not for the queasy or sensitive. Don't say I didn't warn you, as I know some of you are more sensitive than others.

NSFW graphic violent gross image behind the cut!!! )

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