31 Days of Horror 10: Stripperland (2011) by Jamie

Find and replace. It can be a pretty handy tool. Say you realize you’ve been spelling something wrong all the way through what ever your writing and for some reason your spellcheck hasn’t picked it up. A quick find and replace and bam! That little misspelling is banished to the digital afterlife, to be laughed at forever by it’s correctly spelled friends… Man, I need to stop anthropomorphising everything. Anyway, my point is that it can be a tool for good or it can result in some real shit like say if someone got there hands on the script for Zombieland and used find and replace to replace every use of the word ‘Zombie’ in that script with the word ‘Stripper’. Yes, that’d be pretty awful.

And yet someone did that, as near as I can tell. Someone took the script of Zombieland and said “You know what this movie needs? Strippers!” Except that they are really still just Zombies. Zombies dressed as strippers. So in essence this is Zombieland with a bunch of girls in another terrible “Sexy” Halloween costume. They even reference Zombieland as “That movie where they call each other by where they come from”. It’s pretty terrible.

Ok, so maybe I’m being a little unfair. It does deviate from the plot of Zombieland somewhat which is a shame because these deviations mean that this film clocks in it at just under one hour and 45 minutes, lumbering from unfunny set piece to unfunny set piece.

I just don’t understand the idea behind making a parody of a comedy, especially when the original is so much funnier than your piss-poor piss-take. Then there’s the whole idea of sexualising zombies which I’ve dealt with before a number of times.

So yeah, this film is just kinda shitty. Not even a cameo from Lloyd Kaufman, father of Troma (the only studio that can seem to get these kinds of intentionally bad films right) isn’t enough to save it. Seriously, if you want to watch a Zombie comedy there are better films out there, if you want to see scantily clad women there are better films out there as well as actual human women and the internet. If you want to see scantily clad zombies, get the fuck outta my house. Half a pint out of five since there were a couple of moments that made me chuckle slightly. Laterz.

Oh, and Daniel Baldwin is a rapper. Fuck this movie.



Review: World War Z by Jamie

The best Zombie fiction is, at heart, about humanity. The zombies themselves are a containment system, a way to keep people trapped together and come into conflict with each other. Of course if a storyteller is really good, the zombies can represent much more than a barrier. They are a force that look ostensibly human but they cannot be fought in ways that you would fight people. They cannot be reasoned with and they know no fear. They will keep coming, wave after wave. Some of them may even have once been people you know. People you loved. The psychological horror of having to smash in a loved ones head before they start munching on your intestines is quite intense. Zombies are death, zombies are disease. Zombies are the hopelessness that humanity feels at the hands of both these things, the unstoppable force that will claim us all.

No person got this balance between the humanity of the zombie narrative and the psychological horror of fighting what is essentially death itself better than Max Brooks in his 2006 novel ‘World War Z’. By writing the book as a series of interviews performed around twenty years after the initial outbreak and ten years after the end of World War Z, Brooks was able to explore the politics of a global zombie apocalypse as well as the smaller, more human stories. From Israel’s closed borders to starving survivors turning on each other in the frozen North, he managed to give us glimpses of what would occur on each level of human society. He also gave us an insight into the impact of fighting a horde of zombies and how ineffective modern military tactics would be against them such as in the disastrous battle of Yonkers.

It was a book that lifted zombie fiction as a whole so, of course, they decided to turn it into a movie which, after many problems during it’s development was finally released yesterday. Holy fuck, is it awful. I must say that congratulations are in order. It takes some massive balls to strip both humanity and zombies from World War Z and these filmmakers clearly have them. Huge swinging brass balls.

Ok, first to the zombies. These aren’t zombies. The creatures in this film are velociraptors in zombie form. They run, the scream, they jump. They also don’t eat people so I guess maybe they are vegetarian velociraptors. They still bite though. They bite and run off and the people who are bitten turn instantly. Instantly. So you have a creature that can run without getting tired, leap like a grasshopper and only thinks about biting other people so that they can turn them into creatures like themselves, essentially giving them an unlimited and insanely fast reproduction rate. Do you know whtat that is called? It’s not a zombie or an epidemic, that is an extinction. Pure and simple. After the initial outbreak in all major US cities, we see the family stop to raid a supermarket which has been stormed by a good hundred or so others. No. Just no. There is literally no way that, given the type of enemy humanity is facing, any unarmed person should be able to step outside, let alone large groups of noisy, panicky people. It’s just so fucking stupid.

This insanely fast breed of whatever the hell these are also manages to eliminate one of the more interesting aspects of the book. Without the traditional slow-moving zombies, we don’t get a build up to World War Z. We don’t get to see the political ramifications as countries either take the threat seriously, ignore it or try to calm their population with placebos. Israel still walls itself off but the explanation as to why and how they did it so quickly is pretty fucking stupid. The only other time that we get a glimpse of any kind of political strategy that any country has for dealing with the outbreak is being told that North Korea organised a program where it pulled the teeth of it’s entire population because no bite means no infection. Other than that, there is no political strategy, no military strategy. Nothing going on globally except for Brad Pitt trying to find a cure, going all around the world to do it and finding everyone largely receptive to his visits. You’d think that people would be more suspicious of anyone travelling anywhere given the state of the world but seeing as people turn instantly I guess there’d be no need to worry that someone might have been bitten and snuck on to a plane. Thank fuck they completely closed off that possible avenue of dramatic tension. We wouldn’t want things to become interesting in any way, would we?

So that’s the zombies, what about the humanity? Well Brad Pitt really cares about his family. It’s a good thing that after the first half hour they are literally never in any danger again. Then Brad Pitt is off travelling around the world, meeting folks. Some of them get killed but we never get to know them well enough for anyone to care. There is a female character he befriends, Segen an Israeli soldier but she is as characterless as the CGI hordes chasing them. We don’t ever get a moment where someone has to feel conflicted about killing a zombie who, moments ago, was a loving member of their family. We never even really get to see anyone conflicted by the fact that the monsters hunting them were ever humans at all. Like I said, there is no military strategy here. There’s no moment where they realise that the creatures can’t be fought like you would fight people. There is just soldiers firing into waves of velocizombies as they hurtle towards them. There is nothing deep here. There’s barely even anything shallow.

In essence, World War Z is a Roland Emmerich disaster movie. It’s ‘2012’ except that the tidal waves are made out of people instead of water. It’s a CGI-fest with dull action scenes plastered between dull scenes of exposition. It is dull. Still I can understand why they decided to make this so different from the book. I mean, framing the film around something like interviews in order to tell a story about undead creatures through flashbacks would be impossible and certainly nothing in Brad Pitt’s past would suggest otherwise…

Still, this was completely the wrong way to go about adapting this book. Not that they did adapt the book, they just bought the rights to the title and slapped it on this. The only way that World War Z could ever really be brought to life is with something akin to a miniseries and hopefully one day we’ll see it. Until then, avoid this piece of shit like the plague. Zero pints out of five. Laterz.

World War Z? More like World War GO FUCK YOURSELF!

TelePub: Zombieland Pilot by Jamie

The popularity of the Undead gained new unlife in 2004 with the double header of the ‘Dawn of the Dead’ remake and ‘Shaun of the Dead’. Yes, zombies as we know them had been shambling around since 1968 with the original ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘28 Days Later’ had started the trend somewhat in 2002 but they weren’t even really zombies in that film so I’m not counting it. No, it was 2004 where zombies went viral and the world hasn’t really been the same since.

In 2009, already five years into this zombie resurrection, a little comedy film came out called ‘Zombieland’. Sure, it was no Shaun of the Dead but I for one enjoyed it and it had one of the best surprise cameos in all of film history.

It was a film that originally began life as a script for a pilot for a TV show about survivors of a Zombie Apocalypse seeking shelter in their devastated world. Well, it seems as though those small screen dreams are finally coming true as Amazon ordered a pilot, no doubt wanting to get into the scripted original content business like Netflix, and it’s now available to watch online completely free of charge. See, here’s the link for UK people who can watch it on Lovefilm even if you’re not subscribed to their service.

Of course, the question is, even if it is free your time is not. Should you spend that precious half hour watching a televisual internet adaptation of a movie that came out three years ago with a completely different cast playing characters from said movie. Well…

“It’s the tiniest bit funny.” This is a line spoken by Wichita (Maiara Walsh replacing Emma Stone) and I was tempted to use it to describe the show but honestly, that’s being a little bit too hard on it. I will say that the opening scene is one of the most god-awful attempts at comedy I have ever seen in my life. It involves two employees at an unspecified job discussing the bad morning one of them has had whilst the Zombie Apocalypse occurs through a window behind them. It’s awful and laced with profanity which, hey I’m all for, but you can tell when layering something with fucks is forced in an attempt to illicit humour and it just falls flat. It’s truly fucking abysmal.

Still things do pick up after this very, very lacklustre opening scene when we’re “reunited” with the characters from the first film. There the aforementioned Wichita, Little Rock (Izabela Vodovic replacing Abigail Breslin), Columbus (Tyler Ross replacing Jesse Eisenberg) and Tallahassee (Kirk Ward replacing Woody Harrelson). Kirk Ward probably comes off best here. Sure, he’s no Woody and no one ever will be, but Tallahassee is a fun character and though I disagree a little with the direction here, seeming to bring him to almost Homer Simpson levels of stupidity, I think that he’s probably be the easiest character to step into the shoes off and Ward is certainly likeable enough in the role. Perhaps the biggest loser in this is Tyler Ross who is doing something of a knock off of pre-‘Social Network’ Jesse Eisenberg which consequently makes him seem like a knock off of a knock off Michael Cera. It worked for Eisenberg because he’s at least good at that schtick. Tyler Ross, not so much.

Perhaps the biggest casualty of the shift to the small screen is the effects budget. In the opening sequence a plane crashes in the background and it looks like something someone might have made while pissing about with After Effects for the first time. And the zombies? Oooh, the zombies take a nasty leap down in quality from what we saw in the movie and from what we expect from television Zombies thanks to ‘The Walking Dead’. They just look like someone splashed a bit of fake blood on them and stuck a few plasticy scabs on. They are not good, is what I’m trying to say.

Still despite all there is bad to say about this, there could be something good in there. The humour in this pilot is certainly a little more slapstick than I remember the movie being but that’s not always bad. If it gets picked up, I’ll give the next episode a watch just to see since there’s also a chance that getting picked up could improve their budget a bit which would solve some criticisms. I will say that I’m annoyed that the show undoes the end of the film my having had Wichita and Columbus break up but I suppose you need some kind of conflict to keep the story going in a series and yeah, it makes sense. So this pilot, not so great but I can see the potential in it and would be willing to give it another chance if it made it to a full series. Two and a half out of five. Laterz.

Zombieland Cast


Zombie Month: Zombie Strippers by Jamie

I’ve seen an unfortunately large number of films that had people being sexually attracted to Zombies this past month. As you may be able to guess from the title, ‘Zombie Strippers’ is no exception. There’s also the added bonus of stripping! Which I’ll be honest, I kinda agree with Karl Pilkington about (skip to about 53 seconds in on this video):

The film opens with a montage all about George W. Bush winning his fourth consecutive election, the banning of public nudity and the many, many wars that America is currently fighting in. Yes, it’s satire people!

It then cuts to a military experiment which goes horribly wrong and Zombies happen! A military squad is called in to deal with the outbreak in a research facility and they largely manage to do. Unfortunately one soldier, by the name of Byrdflough (yeah, if there’s one thing this movie isn’t, it’s subtle) is bitten and he manages to escapes the facility before turning.

And where does he escape to? Why his local illegal strip club of course! Whilst there, he dies, is reborn and attacks the clubs star stripper Kat (Jenna Jameson). Now this virus attacks men and women differently for some bullshit reason that was explained earlier on. For men, it turns them into your bog standard Romero Zombie but women who are infected get to keep their mental faculties. They just hunger for flesh. Also they’re dead so they do begin to rot.

Anyway, the newly infected Kat, with absolutely no fear or inhibitions, becomes the biggest smash hit the club has ever seen becoming far more popular then she ever was when alive. Most of the other strippers decide to also become Zombies out of choice in order to be better strippers themselves. At the end of their dance, the Zombies pick a punter for a private session backstage during which they bite and kill them. The clubs owner Ian Essko (Robert Englund) locks all the turned customers in a giant cage which he conveniently has in the basement of his illegal strip club. I’m sure nothing can possibly go wrong.

Something goes wrong! The customer Zombies escape and go on a rampage whilst the stripper Zombies fight each other for dominance! Luckily the military squad from earlier shows up and takes out all the Zombies and they discover the virus was released intentionally by the Bush administration in order to distract the country from all the wars and bad stuff and that. Ugh. Now I get the feeling this movie was written by a 9/11 Truther or something.

So, is ‘Zombie Strippers’ a good movie? Really? You honestly have to ask that question? No, of course it isn’t a good movie. The acting is bad, the special effects are awful and the satire is stupid. And again, it’s another film which is sexualising the living dead! Yeah, it’s not so bad earlier on when they are freshly turned and still look relatively normal but they start to rot and people are still cheering and hollering for them. What the fuck? The smell alone would surely be enough to clear out the room.

I will say this. For the most part this movie knows what it is, misguided attempt at satire aside. It knows that it’s a cheesy, exploitation softcore horror film and it doesn’t try to be much else. I suppose I have to give it some credit for that. Also Robert Englund is pretty great, camping and overacting it up to the hilt. Two pints out of five. Laterz.


Zombie Month: Vampires Vs Zombies by Jamie

I have seen very few films that cross the line into incomprehensibility due to incompetence. ‘Vampires Vs Zombies’ is one of those films. I can’t even begin to describe what it’s about to you because I honestly have no idea. You’d think the title would give everything away but, not really. And it’s not that there is more to this film than just Vampires Vs Zombies, it’s that there’s actually less. Right, let’s try a synopsis.

Some people are going somewhere for some reason. Other people are going somewhere else. People stop at a petrol station and the shopkeep is eventually a Vampire but not at first. He gets shot as does some goth chick. Then some more people pull up at the same petrol station and the bodies of the shot people are in the back room and there is a new shopkeep. Then an old man steals a girl from a woman and the girl is a vampire but the old man kills her. Following so far?

So then the first people, a father and daughter, who were going somewhere also get a girl, but this was voluntarily, from the same woman that the old man did. This girl is also a vampire and she has sex with the daughter. She also bites her while going down on her but this doesn’t affect her yet. So everyone goes somewhere for some reason and things happen but not really. Everyone sort of ends up dead but then there are other scenes which imply this might all be in the head of the daughter in a mental institute. Oh, and Zombies happen but not much.

So yeah. That’s the plot of ‘Vampires Vs Zombies’ or at least what I could pick up as watched it completely baffled. Everything about this movie feels like an endurance test and it’s only 74 minutes long. Oh, but it feels like more. It feels like so much more.

Everything about this film is handled incompetently. It’s not as bad as ‘Birdemic’ but it’s worse than ‘The Room’. The acting is atrocious, the editing is worse with random cuts to random people for what I can only assume are random people. The sound effects sound like they might have been stolen from a Mortal Kombat game and most importantly, nothing makes sense!

To watch this film is to know madness. You enter a surreal world where up is down and left is fish. Yo sit there bewildered as each random scene flashes before your eyes. Things happen, to be sure, but the question remains why are they happening? How are they happening? What the fuck are the rules of this world? Ok, so vampires can walk around in the sunlight and they don’t sparkle got it. Ok, that one vampire got shot in the head and it was killed so why are you attacking them with wooden stakes? Ok, the wooden stakes don’t even kill them, they just paralyse them, so again, why not use the guns? These are the kind of things that run through your head because it is never made clear exactly how this world works. Also there seems to be a Zombie Apocalypse going on in the background of this incomprehensible ‘story’ but no one really seems that bothered by it.

Gah! Thinking about this shit makes me mad and slightly dizzy. I give this film 0 out of 5 pints. Laterz.

Heres a slightly NSFW trailer:


Zombie Month: Deadheads Trailer by Jamie

Sorry, didn’t feel like watching or reviewing a Zombie film last night. Here’s another trailer for a film called Deadheads due out in 2011. Looks like it might be funny but maybe not. I dunno.


Zombie Month: The Goon Trailer by Jamie

It’s been a long Christmas period. I feel knackered. Here is a trailer for ‘The Goon’ a CGI film coming in 2011 featuring Zombies. Laterz.


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