Baptisms, the Death of an Icon, and a New Doctor…

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NecRoSarX Chronicles Header

[NOTE: This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I forgot to email it to me after work; sorry about the tardiness – Uncle NecRo]

I have just emerged from a rather surprisingly full weekend. I never plan these as such; they just happen to…well, happen. Mostly, though, it was the Sunday of the two days that fall under my Blessed Days Off from my Place of Enslavement Employment. I wasn’t really running around a lot, but there were some things that made my head swim a bit.

baptism church birthday

The first thing that happened on July 16th was the first ever Baptism Service at my church. This also functioned as part of the One Year Birthday of the formation of said church that I’ve been involved with since the split with my former church. Fifteen…or sixteen, I can’t recall exactly…souls were baptized in the Blair swimming pool as an outward expression of their faith in Christ Jesus. We had set up in the parking lot for the worship service; I set up near them, at the best place I could find that was in the shade. Then, of course, after a few minutes, the Daystar found its way through the shade and stabbed me in the eyeballs. No matter where I moved to, it found me. Gads. So, for a little while, through the worship singing portion, I had to endure the angry ball of fire’s rays, and hope not to burst into flames in front of everyone. That would have been embarrassing. Fortunately, the trees managed to obscure the sun once again, putting me in some shade by the time the sermon came about. Fortunately, it was a truncated 15-minute sermon, so that it could include the baptisms. The sermon’s message in keeping with the event. Everyone was baptized, then it was time for the birthday celebration by way of a massive grillout potluck picnic, with a couple of bouncy castles set up for the kids. The heat of the day was getting redonkulous, with the heat index starting to soar as high as eagle. Weather sucking mighty buffalo. As such, I decided to forego the picnic lunch and the inevitable mingling that came with it (did I mention my anxiety level was starting to rise along with the heat? No? Huh…), and left as everyone was standing in line for their lunchy-munchy. I just picked up some drive-thru stuffs and headed back to the Haunted Victorian, ate my din-din and then settled in for a much-needed extended nap.

The thing about naps is, sooner or later you have to wake up from them. And so was the case with this one: I woke up, and had to once again exist in the “real world”. Eh, standard Sunday afternoon. Late afternoon. Okay, it was early evening. I sleep a bit more than your average individual. I think it may be hypersomnia due to my crippling depression issues. Either way, it was close to 6pm, and I wasn’t hungry yet due to the ginormous nature of the fast food item I consumed upon arriving back at the Haunted Victorian around 1-ish. So I fire up the Fun-Sized Lappy, summon the interwebs, and the first thing I am greeted with upon signing into my Facebook page is a news item that the legendary George A. Romero had passed away.

george a romero

For those of you sad, deprived individuals who don’t know who George A. Romero is, he is the man that helped to not only redefine the zombie horror genre to what we recognize as today with the release of Night Of The Living Dead in 1968 (undead ghouls who wander about and only want to eat your flesh and nummy brains…up until then, “zombies” were of the voodoo magick variety), he also inspired generations thereafter in the art of independent filmmaking. He made more than just a bunch of post-modern zombie flicks, and didn’t just stick to directing, either. Nor did his influence remain in movie making, as several novelists and artists cite him as a great influence in what they do.

As for me, Romero helped to rekindle my love for the horror genre as not only an entertainment outlet, but also as a genuine means of conveying a message in a subversive manner. I salute you, good sir; and should you once again rise from the grave, I shan’t forget to double-tap.

The next thing that grabbed my attention from my nap-induced haze that was slowly clearing off, was the official introduction of the next Doctor. At first, I thought it was one of those fake-outs that have been making the rounds, the ones made by fans and such. But, no, this was an official BBC release: The next Doctor on Doctor Who will be played by one Jodie Whittaker. So, after months of denying that the 13th Doctor was going to be a woman, they finally came out and said that, yes, the 13th Doctor is going to be a woman.

13th doctor

Up front, I have to say that I am completely on board with this. I’m intrigued with the possibilities with this new dynamic. Hopefully the writers won’t go the route of “Hey, I’m the Doctor, and now I’m a girl!” and really write some compelling yarns with the character. That said, there were two points of irritation that immediately hit me the moment I saw the announcement: first of all, they do this all the time, denying something’s gonna happen, and then it happens to be the very thing they’re denying. “It’s Missy in that vault, right?” “Nope, it’s something different.” Then it turns out it was Missy all along. Same thing here: “Nope, we’re not looking at a female actor to be the new Doctor.” I understand the need to play things close to the vest in these instances, especially with the show changing producers as well as lead characters, but this is the same thing the previous show runners did since the relaunch in 2005. I just can’t help but think my intelligence had been insulted a bit, is all.

The second thing that kind of irritated me about this, was that the reveal was so far in advance of the Christmas Special, where traditionally the regeneration into the next Doctor would take place in modern Who. More or less. Now…there’s really no surprise. I don’t know, and maybe I’m in the minority here, but I should think something as momentous as this would call for secrecy until the actual Christmas Special. I realize that trying to keep a lid on this in this day and age of instant news leakage is nigh impossible at times, but think about the impact that could have happened when, finally, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor–my favorite one thus far of the “New” Doctors–dramatically regenerates and finally emerges as the Jodie Whittaker Doctor…then end credits. Boo-ya. Chills, mouths agape, multiple cries of “WHAT THE [expletive deleted]….?!?” Now…we will never have that moment. Spoilers and all that. Oh, well.

Still, the upcoming Christmas Special will be awesome because it has the 12th Doctor and the 1st Doctor, together at last. I just squeed again. Cheers, all.



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attack-of-the-lederhosenzombies-1Fischer Film

“Life…life is…no, I’ve got nothing.”

Steve, a young professional snowboarder, ruins a high-paying photoshoot by playing a silly prank. He, his girlfriend Branka, and fellow snowboarder Joschi are left behind on the mountain. They seek shelter in an apre’s-ski tavern that is hosting an all-night party. Things go from bad to worse when a scientific eperiment unleashes an epidemic of zombies and mutant wildlife. This is mostly lost on the local drunkards, as they are not always easy to distinguish from zombies themeselves. But Steve, Branka and Joschi have to find a way to survive this hellish night.

Go ahead, balk at me. Say I’m a slave to my bad taste in horror movies, that I would see a title like Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies and immediately want to watch it because of that, regardless of how bad it may be. Mock me for loving the horror genre, and being drawn more towards the best of the bad stuff. You should know me by now. And if not, you haven’t been paying attention. Because yes, I did seek out and watch Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies the moment I learned this movie existed by the very name alone.

Yes, I realized it might be a painfully bad movie. I wasn’t wandering into this expecting Oscar-worthy caliber movie magic, after all. I leave that to the rest of the Exalted Geeks that expect perfection with everything they watch. Me, I revel in this kind of thing, and as it turns out, Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies was actually rather fun. Mindless zombie fun, mind you, but fun just the same.

So, here we have an hotshot would-be snowboarding video star losing a major contract after a prank during a critical photoshoot backfires spectacularly. With nowhere else to go, the snowboarder, his buddy and his girlfriend spend the night at the local ski tavern that’s celebrating the end of the season. Unfortunately, that party is crashed by a Russian zombie that was turned by way of some day-glo yellow chemicals he was exposed to while at a demonstration of an experimental snow maker machine. Soon, most of the locals are turned, and the X-treme Sportz Trio and the barmaid of the tavern find themselves fighting their way out of the mountains.

Look, a movie like this could have turned out far more worse that it actually did. Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies turned out to be a far more amusing zombie comedy, possibly because at no point did it feel like it was trying to be anything but a mindless entertaining zombie comedy. It has a very palpable 80s vibe to it, right down to the soundtrack music. It doesn’t try to reinvent the zombie genre, it doesn’t add to the mythos; as a matter of fact, you might say this is just another in an already bloated sub-genre of horror. But, with a running time of a brisk hour and seventeen minutes, and with everyone seeming to be having fun with this, you could do far worse than Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies. It’s not the original Return Of The Living Dead…but it’s at least as good as Return Of The Living Dead Part 2. I’ll just leave it at that.

Movie Review: V/H/S/2

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1-27 - Movie Review: VHS2Magnolia Home Entertainment

Inside a darkened house looms a column of TVs littered with VHS tapes, a pagan shrine to forgotten analog gods. The screens crackle and pop endlessly with monochrome vistas of static-white noise permeating the brain and fogging concentration. But you must fight the urge to relax: this is no mere movie night. Those obsolete spools contain more than just magnetic tape. They are imprinted with the very soul of evil. From the demented minds that brought you last year’s V/H/S comes V/H/S/2, an all-new anthology of dread, madness, and gore. This follow-up ventures even further down the demented path blazed by its predecessor, discovering new and terrifying territory in the genre. This is modern horror at its most inventive, shrewdly subverting our expectations about viral videos in ways that are just as satisfying as they are sadistic. The result is the rarest of all tapes–a second generation with no loss of quality.

The second anthology film of found footage style horror shorts after the surprisingly good first one, continues on in the style of wrap-around story while watching original shorts that the first movie did. Why mess with a proven formula? Here, it works just as well, if not a bit better. Let me give you the run-down:

With a wrap-around story called “Tape 49”, involving a couple of private investigators checking out the disappearance of a college kid, who seems to have a rather odd videotape producing obsession; one goes to find the kid, while the other checks out the video tapes. It doesn’t end well by the end of things, as you may have surmised by now. In between the wackiness, we’re treated to four short films in the kid’s collection…

“Phase I Clinical Trials”
A young man receives an experimental cybernetic implant to replace his right eye that he damaged after a car accident. That night, he notices one of the “glitches” the doctor warned him about: he can now see dead people in his apartment. The next day, a red-haired lady shows up, claiming that she had the same kind of experimental implant for her ear to restore her hearing, and that she can hear dead people. And the dead don’t like the idea of being noticed by living people. Wackiness ensues.

“A Ride In The Park”
A cycling enthusiast is riding his bike one lovely day through a state park, when he’s attacked and bitten by a zombie. He reanimates and begins a delightful romp through the suburbs, all the while capturing everything on his Go Pro. Wackiness ensues.

“Safe Haven”
Four members of a news crew are filming a documentary with a mysterious Indonesian cult, when the “time of reckoning” arrives. Wackiness ensues.

“Slumber Party Alien Abduction”
Um, a bunch of kids having a slumber party are abducted by aliens. It’s there in the title.

Overall, I think between the first one and this one, they run neck-and-neck to how much I enjoyed them, but I would have to concede that as far as stick-in-your-brain quality, V/H/S/2 has the slightly better collection. “Safe Haven” is hands-down the best one on the list, followed closely by “Phase I Clinical Trials” for a good effective supernatural ghost story. “A Ride In The Park” is a fun take on the somewhat-exhausted zombie genre. And “Slumber Party Alien Abduction”…well, it didn’t falsly advertise. It didn’t suck, it’s just kinda…eh, whatever. Regardless, I would definitely recommend checking this one out, along with the others in the series.

Movie Review: DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)

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1-5 - Movie Review: DAY OF THE DEADAnchor Bay Entertainment

“Your ignorance is exceeded only by your charm, Captain. How can we expect them to behave if we act barbarically ourselves?”

In this third and final shocker in the legendary trilogy from writer/director George A. Romero, a small group of scientists and soldiers have taken refuge in an underground missile silo where they struggle to control the flesh-eating horror that walks the earth above. But will the final battle for the future of the human race be fought among the living or have they forever unleashed the hunger of the dead?

I find that, with a lot of my reviews that deal with beloved classics, they usually turn out shorter than a lot of my standard reviews. That has to do with the fact that everything that can be said about them has already been said, and usually better written as well. This doesn’t stop me from writing a review, mind you. Gotta throw in my two cents and all.

Such it is with Day Of The Dead, the original 1985 third part of the so-called …Of The Dead trilogy that started with Night Of The Living Dead in 1967, and continued with Dawn Of The Dead in 1978. All beloved classics in the zombie genre. All been discussed ad nausium. And now it’s time for Uncle NecRo’s humble entry into the pantheon. Here goes.

When it was originally released in 1985, Day Of The Dead didn’t really do as well as expected. This may have had something to do with the generally bleak and darker tone of the movie, when compared to the more upbeat releases of that year. It was competing with the surprise juggernaut that was Back To The Future, which was released only a couple of weeks prior to this one. But, fortunately the movie gained steam with the subsequent VHS home video release, and ultimately cemented itself as the classic it really deserved.

After watching it for the first time years ago, and with subsequent viewings since then, I have to say that this original Day Of The Dead is one of the better zombie flicks ever to have graced my DVD player. It does have a slow pace, but that only highlights the claustrophobic sense of dread and gradual decent into madness that the survivors of the zombie plague experience. The tension is built until finally it breaks at the seams. Sure, the movie does end on a more hopeful note, but they all can’t be nihilistic, can they?

As with all really good zombie movies, the zombies themselves are merely incidental; the real meat of this lies in the drama of the survivors, how they handle things as the days pass with no visible light at the end of the tunnel, where not even death is a reliable way to escape the horror surrounding you. The conflict here comes in the form of a clash between the two ideologies as to how to deal with the zombie outbreak: The Scientists, who want to study and use their brains and logic, and The Soldiers, who want to use their brawn and fight off the horde of undead. Also, Bub the Zombie. I need to find an old Walkman and cosplay as him some year.

Anyway, all that said, I have to say that Day Of The Dead is the perfect capper to the so-called Dead Trilogy that Romero had no idea he was making. It’s also one of those movies that are required to be featured in one’s collection if identify yourself as a horror fan. Forget the remake, or that so-called “sequel” that was released in 2005; you only need to own this one. Highly recommended.

Book Review: ZOMBIES: Encounters With The Hungry Dead

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zombies encounters with the hungry deadJohn Skipp
Black Dog & Leventhal

Christmas of 2009. One of the gifts that I received was a gift card to the local Hasting’s store. This was back when the shop was in a larger location, and featured more books than they do now at their smaller, mall-front location now. And, as you may have guessed, I spent a good majority of that gift card on this massive anthology of zombie tales compiled by splaterpunk author John Skipp.

The thing that differentiates this collection from other standard short story horror collections is, this thing is massive. Not just in physical stature, but also in scope. John Skipp put much effort into compiling this, breaking the stories down into two categories: Zombies of the Old School, and Post Emancipation. The stories under the Zombies of the Old School heading feature stories of zombies that are the dead brought back by magic, science, or…magical science, where the dead don’t want to eat human flesh (mostly) and they have some cognitive reasoning going on. The Post Emancipation section features the zombies most are familiar with, the mindless flesh eating variety that George A. Romero gave us back in 1968, and had been the popular go-to zombie type since.

The authors represented in this collection have selections from the usual suspects I know and love: Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Neil Gaiman, Robert R. McCammon, Max Brooks, and Jack Ketchum, as well as a couple of stories I remember reading in previous collections but enjoyed re-reading them again: “On The Far Side of the Cadillac Desert With Dead Folks” by Joe R. Lansdale, and “Calcutta, Lord of Nerves” by Poppy Z. Brite.

What makes this collection one to look into, though, wasn’t the familiar faces contained, but the quality of the ones that I wasn’t familiar with. All of the stories contained are of good quality, and not some hastily slapped-together bunch of new fiction scribbled out to cash in on the resurgence of the popularity of zombies in pop culture. The first couple of stories included were written in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, and give a good cross-section of the type of stories to be found in horror and Gothic literature; from the old to more modern styles, there’s not a lame one in the bunch. Which is something, considering there are over 30 stories contained in this tome, not counting the introduction by John Skipp, and two essays at the end.

If you were to only get one collection of zombie stories in your lifetime, I would strongly suggest picking up Zombies: Encounters With The Hungry Dead to keep you up at night.

Movie Review: ZOMBEAVERS

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We cannot turn against each other right now. That’s exactly what the beavers would want.”

A group of college kids staying at a riverside cabin are menaced by a swarm of deadly zombie beavers. A weekend of sex and debauchery soon turns gruesome as the beavers close in on the kids. Riding the line between scary, sey and funy, the kids are soon fighting for their lives in a desperate attempt to fend off the hoard of beavers that attack them in and around their cabin.

Yep. This is a movie called Zombeavers. Yep, it’s about zombie beavers. And yep, it’s just as mindless as you would think a movie entitled “Zombeavers” would be. How mindless, you ask? Well…think a Troma movie as filtered through a Full Moon Productions flick.

So, we start this little cheesefest with a couple of truck drivers loosing a canister of something iridescent green and liquid-y after hitting a deer, immediately contaminating a dam of beavers. We then join three young twenty-something girls driving out to a lakeside cabin in a remote rural community to have some Girls Only time away from their boyfriends. Which lasts about a few hours, when said boyfriends show up unannounced. Your standard Young Adults In Remote Lake House shenanigans ensue, until one of the now-zombified beavers crash the party. They think they’ve taken care of the thing, when the next day they’re swarmed by a whatever-the-word-for-a-group-of-beavers-is, which they narrowly escape by chucking the lap dog of one of the girls at them for a distraction, but not after one of them gets their leg gnawed off. Your standard Night of the Living Dead Beavers standoff happens, when they discover that anyone that was bitten became a living human beaver, complete with a flat tail and giant buck teeth. Oh, and hack ’em up all you want, they’re not dying. Only one survives the night and makes it out alive and not infected…only to be run down by the two truck drivers from the beginning of the flick. Ah, the circle of stupid…

Look, I’ll be blunt about this: Zombeavers is the kind of movie that sets out to revel in its B-Horror Movie badness, and does so with gusto. Mindlessly entertaining, not at all painful to watch, and you can tell they put some loving effort into the process of making this. Not too many people will get this, but I do, and that’s what matters. Check this one out for a good Bad Movie Night selection with your friends some time.

Book Review: The WALKING

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bentley little the walkingBentley Little

It begins in a small Southwestern town. Then it spreads. Across the country a series of strange deaths have overtaken the living. And a stranger compulsion has overtaken the dead. In a travesty of life they drift with bizarre purpose toward an unknown destination. The walkers have become an obsession for investigator Miles Huerdeen. His father is one of them. Now, lured into the shadow of the restless dead, Miles is a step closer to a secret as old as time…to a reality as dark as hell. For Miles is following them into the deep end of an unfathomable nightmare.

It had been a while since I’ve read a good Bentley Little yarn. He’s always good for a chilling tale of supernatural shenanigans. I’ve had this particular title of his, The Walking, seemed like your standard zombie tale–the dead somehow getting up and walking about, and all. And in a way, it is…only, it’s not the standard modern zombie story that most would assume it would be.

Because, let’s face it: ever since George A. Romero hit us all with his classic Night Of The Living Dead back in 1968, whenever we think of zombies, we think of flesh eating ghouls. But the zombies here in The Walking are of the classic pre-Romero era of zombie lore; the undead are reanimated by way of black magicks and controlled by whoever’s pulling the supernatural strings. In this case, it’s an ancient witch with strong succubus tendencies who put a curse on a settlement of witches in an Arizona town in the mid-1800s. This results in the decedents of the settlement to develop a tendency to just get up and walk off after they’re declared Living Impaired, much to the consternation of their family and loved ones. Seems, after all this time, and despite being trisected and having her pieces left inside a cave, the ancient succu-witch is still kickin’, and has plans for total and complete Armageddon. Gotta admire the ambition, there.

The Walking flashes back and forth between two eras–the modern day era, which focuses mainly on main character Miles Huerdeen and the odd occurrences that are happening with certain dead folk suddenly wanting to work on their cardio, and the mid-19th Century founding of a community of witches that became the epicenter of all the modern-day wackiness.

For the most part, The Walking was not what I was expecting by merely reading the back-cover blurb, and this is a good thing. I was expecting your standard zombie apocalypse type yarn…or if not an apocalypse, then at least a contained localized event. This is more of a supernatural noir-ish tale, which I found rather entertaining. It has Little’s signature quirkiness, and kept me engaged from page one to the end of the thing. Check it out for sometime.

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