Spartan Super

This zombie spartan is about how I feel right now.

On October 21st, a group of coworkers and friends and I got together to run the Spartan Super. It’s a 12K race through the mountains here in Japan and it was HARD.

We’re going through an extended rainy period where it hasn’t stopped raining for over a week. The mud was up over my knees in places and running became impossible at some points.

Many of the obstacles became even harder as it was tough to get a grip on handles and the very real danger of slipping and getting seriously injured was around every corner.

But we did it. We all finished it and I feel great for having done it.

What ran through my head throughout the race was the emergency situation. The time when an earthquake or a storm hits and you have to run, you have to carry a heavy weight, you have to climb over walls or navigate difficult terrain. It’s the sort of thing we always see in our favorite post-appocoliptic survival stories and this was a great way to show what we were all capable of.

Good times!

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Flipping Legend

Ok, so you’re a ninja, and you’re really good at doing flips. So you flip left and right, occasionally back, and sometimes in a swirly special way. You keep going, collecting riches, falling into tiger traps and eaten by zombies.

It’s a great five minutes until you have to wipe your ass and leave the bathroom.

Two thumbs up your butt good.

(Yeah, I’m not much of a gamer.)

Check it out in the App Store here.

Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies

Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies

You had me at the title.

The Premise
Is pretty self explanatory right? I mean, it’s Honest Abe vs the undead.

If the title seems familiar you’ve likely heard of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. ALvZ is a one of these copycat movies that  rides the coat tails of other films which are gaining popularity at the time. Like when a movie about an asteroid hitting the earth comes out with a big budget and lots of advertising so someone else rushes out a very similar story for a fraction of the cost or artistry.

In this movie, Abe discovers that an infected soldier is carrying the zombie bug and leads a team of his new Secret Service men to figure out what’s going on.

Along the way he runs into a young Teddy Roosevelt, Pat Garret, John Wilkes Booth, and a number of other historical figures from the time including his old girlfriend.

The Good
This is one of those fun cases where the very premise of the movie is so preposterous that we know it’s just meant to be fun and that’s how I took it.

I won’t give it away but the ending does have a fun little twist involving John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln assassination which was my favorite part of the flick.

The movie isn’t particularly well made but is pretty self aware. It knows it’s a fun, cheap, flick. So have a drink, well . . . have a few drinks and laugh it up with your friends when you watch it.

The Bad
For movies on budgets like this there are certain things that just can’t be done well yet still get attempted. Having Lincoln and his buddy zip line down a rope while a munitions dump explodes behind them, just doesn’t look right. It’s the sort of spectacle that’s hard to make look right even on a good budget. A movie like this would do better to keep to a fun story, physical action and clean, clear story that still achieves the same goal of making a fun flick.

The Ugly
So the one main African American character in the movie is called … Mr. Brown.

Come on guys! I mean, literally ANY other name could have been used.

Deadgirl

The Poster
Simple, clean, design that evokes the theme of death and sexuality of the movie.

The Good
This is a pretty disturbing movie for reasons that go way beyond zombies. This is a movie about rape, it’s about men controlling women, and it’s about the devils and angels on our shoulders.

The story follows two high school boys who find a beautiful woman chained up in a basement of an abandoned insane asylum. (Yeah, I know. Scary movie tropes galore.) One wants to help her and set her free which is the male fantasy of being the hero who saves the girl. The other wants to keep her as his plaything, the common male adolescent fantasy of having a dream girl all his own to do what he wants with. It’s a theme explored more humorously in movies like Weird  Science but which is handled very darkly here.

In this movie she is a zombie. This seems like a bit of a gimmick at first but it’s really just a story telling device to objectify her in the literal sense. As a dead person she becomes just an object and this is done in order to help the story be tellable at all. If it were just a girl in a basement and two hillbillies had the same debate over letting her go or using her as a sex toy it would be only a slightly different movie.

So the good I can say about this is that it is the kind of themes like rape culture, male adolescent maturity, male/female power struggles, etc. should be talked about. It’s uncomfortable and awful, but there are things like this in the real world happening all the time to real people. Using the horror genre as a way to explore that theme makes sense.

It’s hard to watch though and did not receive good reviews. I was personally uncomfortable through most of the movie.

The Bad
Most of the characters are complete morons. JT wants to use the girl for sex and Ricky wants to set her free. Yet at no time does Ricky do anything effective about it. He doesn’t call the police or alert any authorities.

“Hey, my friend and I found something really messed up in that abandoned hospital.”

Instead he tries to sneak in and set her free, (again playing the part of the hero). He wastes time arguing with his friend, continues going to school, and tries to find a date, over the course of several days!

Call the police asshole!

By the end of the movie Ricky has changed his thinking and ends up with a dead girl of his very own. But then why the moral quandary? If he had been good at the beginning he would have called the cops. If he had been bad from the start he wouldn’t have spent half the movie fighting and arguing about setting her free.

The lack of logic just keeps on flowing when someone new gets infected and turns while he’s at school. Why aren’t the authorities alerted to how and where he was infected?

Yet his friend knows and shows up at the asylum to free Deadgirl.

Call the police asshole!

And when the infected jock’s girlfriend corners JT at a gas station and is yelling at him to explain what he did to her boyfriend (because everybody EXCEPT the authorities know,) JT responds with, “why don’t I just show you?”

And she goes! This is MOMENTS after JT and his friend Wheeler have been beat up by a woman they tried to abduct. They are sitting in their car covered in blood and this girl goes with them?

Call the police asshole!

The Ugly
Maybe I’m getting tired of these movies but I just didn’t find this entertaining. It was gross and ugly and the characters lacked any redeemable morality.

Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare

Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare
It has been a WHILE since I played any games. With life and work, parenting, and survival, it’s hard to find time.

But this fun little nugget has got me hooked which surprised me as I wasn’t really a big fan of the first Dead Ahead game.

 

 

 

The Good
The game play and design are easy. You start with a map of the territory you are meant to explore and find supplies in. Select an area to enter the battle and you and your team roll up in your big bad school bus.

Some zombies are hanging out at a block in the road which your team needs to clear in order to get by all the while fending off the zombie horde. Each area you clear allows you to access other areas revealing more supplies, different zombie types and greater challenges.

As you gain supplies, money, and experience you have a chance to hire more people to help you and strengthen your team allowing you to take on bigger and badder challenges.

The artwork is nice and the game play very easy to manage. My four-year-old was able to handle it.

 

 


The Bad
The gameplay becomes incredibly monotonous after a very short time. The small wins and little bonuses thrown in here and there aren’t likely to keep you coming back to it for loads of replay time.

 

 

 

The Ugly
There’s not much new about the setup of the game. Loads of ads are available for you to watch so you can earn extra coins and therefore money for the developers. The games and things advertised in the ads are rarely anything I would actually want to download and once the ad starts, I don’t watch. It’s a silly business model that works none the less.

Overall, it’s a fun game, I like playing it and like the fact it’s stable, well-designed and at least a bit fun to play. Not a bad way to kill a slow train ride home.

George Romero, The Quiet Man

It’s been a long time since posting to this blog, and it would take something like this to bring me back to it. But I couldn’t not writ about this.

George A Romero, creator of the Night of the Living Dead and credited with the development or popularization of the zombie as a centerpiece of American story telling has died.

From the L.A. Times:
Romero died Sunday in his sleep after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” according to a family statement to The Times provided by his longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald. He was 77.

Romero died while listening to the score of one his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side, the family said.

You know the Quiet Man don’t you? You might know it even if you don’t. The Quiet Man is a rare brilliant gem of a film with John Wayne as an American returning to Ireland to look up the family roots. He’s an outsider and has to prove himself worthy to the local gentry. One scene in particular has him taking his woman in his arms as the wind whips around him and the little house in Ireland. It was this scene E.T. was watching at home as the parallel events played out at between Eliot and the girl he liked at his school.

It was an appreciation for not just that film but filmmaking and its history that informed Spielberg in his own storytelling. In that way, a long past film was resurrected to entertain another generation who didn’t even suspect it. Romero has passed, and unlike his creations, will not be back. But for future directors and moviemakers, he will live on in our storytelling.

George_Romero

Lingerers

Lingerers

At first, I thought lingerers were kind of rare in zombie lore, but the more I look around the more I think they are basically the norm. Lingerers are zombies who retain something of their old selves. They remember something, either an ingrained skill or maybe even all their memory.

In the Romero movies many of the zombies slowly began regaining their human skills and memories over time. In Return of the Living Dead they were basically just angry versions of themselves.

Regardless of the film series, these are some of the most common zombies around.

lingerers