George A. Romero is a name any fan should have logged into their horror repertoire. With his cult classic Night of the Living Dead (1968), he launched his career as a director and writer and became known to the world as the King of Zombies. His movies have seen mixed reviews from fans and critics, but one thing’s for certain: over the years the “Dead” films in his arsenal of horror movies have set the framework for the modern day zombie obsession that has swept the nation! Naturally, even when Walking Dead first premiered on AMC, Romero was asked to direct some of the episodes, but he turned it down due to a lack of connection with the story despite reading the graphic novel.
So, since Romero had turned down Walking Dead, fans have been wondering what he’s been up to the past few years. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything from the King of the Dead, with his most recent film being Survival of the Dead (2009), but Romero purists and Zombie fans will be pleased to hear he has been working on a new project! Teaming up with friend, Steven Schlozman, author of The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse, Romero has taken up the task of adapting this page-turner to the big screen!
The novel itself would appeal to zombie fanatics who enjoy zombie lore just for the heck of it. It is a relatively short read, I finished it in around a day after picking it up and putting it down several times throughout. Schlozman is an actual medical doctor as well as an avid horror fan, so the book reads almost exactly as a medical journal would. However, if you’re worried about not being able to understand it, Schlozman wrote it in a manner that anyone who finds the journal would be able to perform the autopsies (lucky us!). The invaluable information contained within these pages makes it a necessary addition to the bookshelf, right next to Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z.
The Zombie Autopsies follows the self-sacrificial tasks of character Dr. Blum, a neurodevelopmental biologist, and his team of researchers to a research facility on an island. It is there the team performs autopsies on No Longer Human subjects infected with Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome(ANSD)- in other words- they’re the flesh eating, mindless zombies we’ve come to know and love. The autopsies are extremely detailed, contain plenty of medical jargon that makes us nod and mutter “makes sense” and comes with deliciously beautiful and macabre autopsy drawings as Dr. Blum and his team race to find the cure for ANSD.
Romero has yet to take on a story like this and it’s exciting to see what his creativity will be able to nurture from it. In an interview with io9, Romero commented on the film,
“This is Steve’s story, not mine. It’s more like The Andromeda Strain. It’s very tense and very medically correct. This guy’s a doctor, it’s all about being medically correct. I think about it like the first Hammer Frankenstein film, which was all about very graphic scenes of brains floating in blood and things like that. I want it to be perfectly accurate, almost shockingly so.”
Good news for horror fans! Romero has never been one to skimp out on the gore and the Zombie Autopsies certainly leaves plenty of room for shock value as well as an intense storyline. A release date has yet to be announced for the movie.
During a career that spanned more than 60 years, Matheson wrote more than 25 novels and nearly 100 short stories, plus screenplays for TV and film. Several of his novels were made into movies.
Most iconic is his ground-breaking 1954 novel “I Am Legend”, cited by many authors such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz as a huge influence. Other novels and stories to have been adapted into film and television include Hell House, What Dreams May Come, Stir Of Echoes, and The Incredible Shrinking Man.
In a recent interview, he explained :
The idea for I Am Legend came to me when I was about 16. I went to see Dracula and the thought occurred that, if one vampire was scary, a world filled with vampires would really be scary. I did not write the book until 1952. We lived in Gardena, California and I set the story there, using our house as Neville’s house. I think that ascribing metaphors to a book after it is written is silly. My son Richard provided a much more likely one- that it was prophetic because of AIDS. I don’t think the book means anything more than it is: the story of a man trying to survive in a world of vampires.
Matheson’s death comes as he was about to be honored by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. He was to have received the organization’s Visionary Award at Wednesday’s annual Saturn Awards.
He will be sorely missed.
Rest in peace, sir.
You truly are a Legend.
“The idea for this unusual film sprung from a deep fondness of alphabet books from our collective childhood,” says ABCs producer and creator Ant Timpson. “A little digging revealed that the books had a dark history, and that many early versions were used as punishment primers. In a sleep deprived state that was all the ammunition required for an epiphany of sorts. How about creating a film inspired by the alphabet?”
And now, it’s time for the book based on that film… based on those books.
Get one of the only 666 copies produced by following the link here to Drafthouse Films official site!
Lonesome Wyatt has been making the most creepily weird country music for the last decade or so, with several projects always in motion. My first experience with his unique take on country and western music came from his band, Those Poor Bastards, a duo who has released several albums full of strangeness and desperation.
His other band, Lonesome Wyatt and the Holy Spooks, recently released a great album called Heartsick, and a collection of early recordings called Moldy Basement Tapes. I saw a recent announcement on his Facebook page, that they will have another new album coming out this spring, called Ghost Ballads!
Of course, the best thing he ever did, in my opinion, was to team up with the great Rachel Brooke for a haunting album full of heartbreaking tunes, called A Bitter Harvest.
I had the good fortune to catch this duo live a few years back in a shitty little bar in Flori-duh, and even had the chance to shake their hands and tell them thanks for existing.
It was a great show, and I would love to see more collaborations between these two in the future!
(PS They did an incredible version of Nick Cave’s classic “Where The Wild Roses Grow”, that I would gladly kill to hear again!)
For more info on this book, and many of the releases mentioned here, be sure and visit the official store here, where many of these albums are available for sale on vinyl, CD, and even cassette!
Check them out, freaks!
Crossed is without a doubt the most depraved, stomach-churning, hopeless work of art currently circulating in the comics world. By that, of course, I mean it is the best thing ever.
Beginning with Crossed #0 on August 27, 2008, Crossed is a ground-breaking independent comic series owned by creators Garth Ennis and artist Jacen Burrows.
The story follows survivors dealing with a plague that causes its victims to carry out their most evil thoughts. Carriers of the virus are known as the Crossed due to a cross-like rash that appears on their faces. This contagion is primarily spread through bodily fluids, which the Crossed have used to great effect by treating their weapons with their fluids, as well as through other forms of direct fluidic contact such as rape and bites, assuming the victim lives long enough to turn.
The outbreak spread rapidly, apparently overwhelming the entire world. The infected run amok, killing, raping, and maiming for fun. Infected pilots crashed their aircraft into buildings whilst technicians who had also succumbed to the virus intentionally blew up nuclear power plants. Families and friends turned on one another and butchered each other with whatever weapons they could lay their hands on. Within hours, society was in a state of collapse as entire cities burned, government officials fled or became casualties along with the general public and police and military response dwindled to nothing. Outbreaks were reported in every city in every state of the US on the first day of the outbreak, rendering any attempt at quarantine pointless. Emergency bulletins on the radio from the White House urging citizens to remain indoors and avoid contact with the infected seems to do little if anything to slow the spread of the Crossed, and soon human civilization is all but gone, and mankind appears to be an endangered species.
It is the hopelessness and savage nature of the book that makes it so memorable.
Following Garth Ennis’ original run with his creation, he said, “To be honest, there was never really going to be a volume two- William [Christensen, editor-in-chief/publisher of Avatar] would ask me regularly about the possibility, but apart from one or two vague scenes I pretty soon realised I had no more Crossed stories in me. I didn’t want to force the issue, either, because I’m very pleased with Crossed and don’t want to dilute it with a sequel that I hadn’t the ideas to sustain. That said, it’s pretty obvious that what you have with Crossed is a ready-made fictional world with a good deal of potential for further development, and the Crossed themselves seem to be strong enough villains to maintain an audience.”
So, a series of excellent sequels and spin-offs have followed in the wake of the original series, starting with Family Values, which was written by David Lapham with art by Javier Barreno.
The story continued with Crossed 3D, an experimental take on the story, available only in the innovative 3D format. The story follows SWAT veteran Lt. Hunt MacAvoy as he leads a rescue mission into the middle of Crossed-infected New York City to rescue a stranded doctor.
Crossed 3D was followed by Psycopath, which follows a group of survivors who pick up a man, Harold Lorre, who understands the way the Crossed think, and is tracking a specific group of Crossed who killed a woman he had stalked prior to the outbreak, and subsequently forced a relationship upon her as they survived and kept a fragment of her breast in a plastic bag when she was turned into a Crossed and killed. He is a psychopath and is killing members of the group as they discover his true nature, passing them off as the grisly acts of Crossed.
Psychopath is followed by “Wish You Were Here”, which began life as a weekly webcomic you can read for FREE here. The story is increasingly desolate here, following the daily life of a group of survivors trying to get buy on a remote island off the coast of Scotland. It is written in a journal style by “Shaky” (short for Shakespeare) and has an enthralling storyline, which is a great expansion to the Crossed universe.
You would think that doesn’t get much more depraved than a maniac fucking a dolphin in the blowhole while screaming for his Mommy, but that happens on the first page of this sick and twisted work of art, and things degenerate from there…
A newer monthly series called Crossed : Badlands is out now, and focuses on a different group of survivors every few issues. If you have never checked out Crossed, do your homework!
Thank me later.
Find them for sale directly through Amazon below, and be sure and dig on the free webcomic right here.
Ig has his own secrets, it turns out. His long-time girlfriend, Merrin, was murdered exactly a year prior to this black-out, and with his newly-acquired mind reading powers, he discovers that he has been the main suspect in the minds of his friends and family all along.
Part one is especially effective, since Ig’s disorientation is directly in line with the reader’s confusion as characters make confessions that take us all by surprise. We stumble through the first few chapters with Ig as he tries to get a grip on his spiralling-out-of-control life.
His live-in girlfriend stuffs her face with donuts and tells him he blew a guy in the parking lot last night. His parents secretly can’t stand him, and dread his coming around. His frail old grandmother harbors hateful feelings toward him, until now held deep inside. Worst of all, his famous brother Terry actually knows who killed Merrin, but has never told anyone. Until Ig’s new powers start to work on him, that is…
As the story progresses, we are transported back to lost youth, where we get to meet all the characters when they were young, before they become either hateful monsters or dead in the future.
Ig and Merrin have one of those unforgettable meetings and passionate romances that only seem to exist in fiction. Merrin is the kind of girl we all want to have, sweet and caring, with a deep and true love for Ig.
A sort of imaginary love triangle forms between Ig, Merrin, and Lee, an increasingly disturbing character with many secrets.
In the later chapters, Ig comes to embrace his new powers and form. He gleefully experiments with mind-control and his other newly-acquired tricks of the devil. When he decides to just let it happen and fully lets himself become a mischevious demon is when the book is at its best, in my opinion.
Of course, Ig has no choice now. He has somehow been transformed from the caring innocent boy in a treehouse with his girl, into a devil. He hides out in the old foundry where Merrin’s body was found, sulking with a congregation of snakes and brimstone.
He doesn’t want to be the devil, but he is.
Joe Hill has said that the inspiration for this story was to “take an unsympathetic character and see if he can make the reader care about them for a couple hundred pages”. And in that, he is wildly successful.
The character of Ig is an intriguing one, and some of his actions and reactions are the most interesting parts of the book. The question seems to be if you found yourself in this position, what would you do?
If you know the worst in people, could you still forgive them?
Even the author seems unsure.
The devil in Horns seems to be one who still believes in and fights for humanity ( his own and others).
In an afterword, Mr. Hill includes a very contrasting short story called “The Devil on the Staircase”, in which the devil is a very different type of character, one who sees humanity as a punchline to an old dirty joke.
All in all, Horns is a great read, playful and mean at the same time.
Recommended to all you weirdos.
Grade : B+
Having read a couple of Koontz novels in the past (although I’m convinced it was really the same damn one donning different covers) I didn’t have high expectations for this book. However, it had been a few years since he had last pissed me off so I decided to give him another chance. Plus, someone bought this book for me as a Christmas gift and after staring at it for months I gave in and cracked the bitch open.
I was intrigued when I read on the back cover that this book would be about the ghost of a serial killer haunting a family, albeit still a bit skeptical that it would somehow turn out to be amnesia, aliens, and/or a government conspiracy behind it all. I’ve been burned by this dickhead before. <shakes fist violently at the sky>
Horror writers and readers have a special bond. As readers, we agree to cast aside logic, skepticism, and common sense; we vow to accept the supernatural as real; up can be down, black can be white, and all laws of physics and time can be shattered.
That being said, the most believable character in this shit-stain of a novel was the ghost of the misshapen serial killer, Alton Turner Blackwood, who was born out of incest and slaughtered four families before a 13-year-old boy emptied a pistol (that was conveniently lying on the floor) into his head. Our story begins when his spirit returns 20 years later to exact his revenge on the now-grown man, John Calvino, who ended his spree of murderous mayhem.
That’s all fine and fucking dandy, until you’re introduced to Calvino and his family. I agreed to believe a ghost can invade and control peoples’ bodies and minds, as well as live in the walls and mirrors of houses. I did NOT sign up to read 600 pages of Leave it to Beaver: The Haunted House Episode.
Not a single member of this family has even the slightest character flaw. The wife is a commercially successful painter yet still manages to homeschool her kids while maintaining a perfect marriage. Oh, and like ANY respectable artist, she’s great with a shotgun. Calvino himself is a homicide detective, but always home in time for dinner! The kids are all sickeningly wholesome. The prepubescent boy, who’s ALSO a talented artist, sketches only the nose of the girl he’s crushing on. Riiiight. And the girls are even worse. At age 11 and 8 they think in four syllable words. They’re so perfect, in fact, that they seem to be the only five people in the world that Blackwood’s soul can’t infiltrate. They’re too “pure”. (Apparently the 12-year-old boy he tapped in the novel’s opening to murder his family while savagely raping his sister wasn’t quite so virtuous.)
Did I mention the 8-year-old kid sees dead people, Sixth Sense style? Well neither did Koontz until three quarters of the way through the story, but by that time you’ll be wishing so hard for the ghost to brutally murder each and every one of these Earth angels that you won’t care. In fact half way through this butt fruit of a book you wouldn’t be surprised if our happy family went tap dancing on the moon. Although perhaps they DID, but were abducted by aliens and the government had to brainwash them so they wouldn’t remember. I smell a sequel!
What I’m trying to say is, don’t waste your time with this piece of shit unless you’re running low on toilet paper and it happens to be lying around. Although it would be a shame to get a rectal paper cut from such putrid pages. I solemnly vow to never pick up a Koontz novel again…. unless, of course, the army of aliens erases my memory. Those rascally bastards are everywhere!
I have been a huge follower of the Walking Dead for years now, it was in fact the graphic series that brought me back into the world of modern comics. I have the whole series bagged and boarded in my mom’s garage in Florida right now (I hope). Despite a very irregular publishing schedule in the early days, my son and I always looked forward to new comic Wednesdays, hoping for the next chapter in the story of the Walking Dead.
I was such a fan, I even read the lengthy letter column every issue, interested that the writer Robert Kirkman took the time to thoughtfully (or humorously) answer every question posed him by his fans. He gives great insight into his ideas for the story in those responses, and I always found them intriguing.
This article will refer only to season 1 of the show, since I haven’t yet seen the 2nd season, and really wasn’t too keen on it, until I read Kimmy Karnage’s excited review of the finale here http://horrorhomework.com/blog/?p=1396.
Ok, here we go!
5 reasons the Walking Dead TV series is inferior to the Walking Dead comic books :
1. Black and White.
Right off the bat, the first mistake they made was not presenting this in black-and-white. It would have been a bold move for a modern TV series, and could have been used to great effect, as it is in the books.
The artwork in the books is amazing, particularly in the first issues, drawn by Tony Moore. The black, white and grey help to set the tone, and give the book that great classic cinematic flair.
When Tony Moore moved on to write and draw his own great series Fear Agent, Charlie Adlard took over art duties with a distinctly different style that was still used to great effect without color. Adlard has drawn all the issues since #6, to my knowledge.
Black and white would have truly helped the atmosphere and starkness of this story on the screen as well. It is, after all, a defining feature of the source material.
2. The characters are all wrong.
One of the things Robert Kirkman said over and over again in those old letters columns was that the Walking Dead story was not about zombies, but about the characters, and the different ways they choose to react to the horrific situation they find themselves in.
If you aren’t even going to bother staying true to the characters that were well-written, why bother with the adaptation in the first place? Just call it something else, and poof! You have a new story. I mean the core idea of a zombie apocalypse is not exactly original, but the selling point is your original characters and situations in this frame-work.
Robert Kirkman knew this when he was writing the original books. In fact, he said from the beginning that his goal was to write a zombie story that didn’t have to end after 2 hours, because he found he was always curious what happened to the characters after the credits rolled on Night Of The Living Dead.
So, Rick is pretty well done, but that is only because his character starts off as the do-gooder, generic hero archetype. He goes to very dark places in the books, which I am sure we will never see on network TV.
T-Dog? Um, is that seriously supposed to be Tyreese? No fucking way. Take one of the toughest characters ever written and turn him into background noise…
I will never understand the logic here.
Merle and Darryl, what is the point? Although it is always nice to see Michael Rooker chewing on scenery, that contrived scene of him being left handcuffed on the roof-top and having to saw off his own hand = snoozeville. Boring, lazy and just a stupid side-plot that was never even resolved that I know of.
Which brings us to Shane. His character is completely wrong.
Not only does he look much less physically imposing, he hardly acts like the complex character he is meant to be.
Out of the incredibly short six episode run, one episode in particular stood out as a complete waste of time. It was (I think) the fourth episode, entitled “Vatos”.
You might remember it as the “gangsters with a heart of gold” sub-plot, where all these tough gang-banging thugs were really just threatening to kill our heroes to protect a nursing home filled with elderly people. This episode was just irrelevant and insulting, and completely unbelievable.
I was actually really angry at this silly pointless waste of an hour.
5. The 1st Season Finale.
Here is the worst crime against the story.
A complete change of the plot and actual point of the source material. The focus in the final episode becomes the search for answers to why the zombie outbreak happened.
This is something that the writer Robert Kirkman was explicitly against when he created his series. He wrote around that, and made it his mission NOT to try and explain where the zombies came from, just how his creations deal with them. This is one of the most attractive things about the story, the fact that he leaves this ambiguous.
Because somethings just ARE.
Sometimes shit just happens, and no one knows why.
That is where the comic series is most effective, because it’s focus stays on it’s characters and their immediate survival, not on the larger universe. It is a common thing in horror fiction of today to over-explain everything, and the season finale of the Walking Dead went directly against every thought that created it to begin with.
Who is responsible?
I blame the director, Frank Darabont.
He has a history of fucking with the adaptations that he has done, and some of them have been very popular. His adaptation of the Shawshank Redemption is somehow everyone’s favorite movie, same goes with his version of the Green Mile.
He is a director that has proven to be bankable and trustworthy to the suits, and I think it is possible that he thinks he knows best. And the producers are probably letting him do his own thing, since it has proven to be a great success on cable.
Oh well, at least I still have the books to entertain me…
And to all of you fans of the show, do yourself a favor and pick up the paperback or hardcover collections for a much more satisfying experience.
Walking Dead graphic novels – Grade : A
Walking Dead AMC season 1 – Grade : C
I have been a fan of Clive Barker for many years.
I started reading Stephen King books in my pre-teen years, and after tearing through virtually all of them in a years time (give or take), I moved on to anything else weird I could get my hands on.
If there was one guy I felt I could trust (at that time in my life and his career) it was Stephen King himself. So, when I started seeing these books pop up by this crazy British author Clive Barker with King exclaiming, “Clive Barker is the future of horror!” I took notice.
I started reading them all. The Hellbound Heart was the novella the movie Hellraiser was based on. Fans like me have been waiting years now for the impending release of The Scarlet Gospels, featuring the characters and universe that first appeared in The Hellbound Heart centering on the character of Pinhead and Harry D’Amour, from The Last Illusion, The Great and Secret Show, and Everville.
Cabal was a great short novel and was the basis for the awesome movie Nightbreed. This movie was a teenage favorite of mine, and I still proudly retain my VHS copy, which is probably older than some of you students.
I devoured the notorious Books of Blood, and his other collections, The Inhuman Condition and In The Flesh. In the earliest days of his career, Clive Barker quickly became a master of short, mean, often sexually-charged horror stories. The Books Of Blood were instantly regarded as classics, and re-published again and again in various interesting editions.
Then, he moved on to the great epic adventures of Imajica and Everville. These were complex, long books with many interweaving plot-lines and interesting characters. Set in universes filled with magic and evil, these books, along with The Great and Secret Show were an awesome escape for me during my high school years.
I even went along for the sweeping historical homo-erotic romances he wrote in the late 90’s, like Galilee and Sacrament.
Clive consistently followed his own paths, even as he became less and less commercially successful. At the same time he became more and more creatively interesting, trying new venues of artistic experimentation like video games ;
comic books ;
and action figures :
Especially notable are his paintings. He is as prolific a painter and artist as he is as an author. His work is shown consistently at galleries around the world and proudly displayed on his website linked here!
He released his amazing artwork collection, “Visions of Heaven and Hell” in 2003, and gave his fans amazing insight into his mind and creative processes.
The young readers’ fantasy series Clive has worked on for the last decade, Abarat, is continuing with the amazing freshly-released third book in the series, Absolute Midnight. He paints portraits of all the characters and landscapes concurrent with the writing of the story. This world he has created, where each island is a different hour of the day, is very much reality for him. It is a great series and a wonderful alternative to all the mainstream Harry Potter knock-offs flooding the young readers’ market now.
If you still don’t believe me, check out this awesome trailer for the 3rd book in the series. It looks truly terrifying, and demands to be read!
What a shame that as I wandered through the local chain book-store the other day, I couldn’t find a single title by the prolific author. He is truly a one-of-a-kind artist, and deserves much more attention than he has received lately.
Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for the internet, where we can easily find all of these treasures that were once so hard to locate.
Do your homework, children. Thank me later.
Faithfully submitted by Darth Biscuits.