Rise of the Zombies

Rise of the Zombies is a not so high dive into the fun world of the B horror movie.

rise-of-the-zombies-dvd-001The Poster
This is a good example of the poster putting the star power of the movie out front purely as an audience draw. Regardless of the  genre, quality, or tone, the movie’s biggest star, Danny Trejo, is front and center in hopes that fans of his other movies will show up for this one. A good indicator of this is the fact that Trejo isn’t even in the movie for long and doesn’t turn out to be one of the main characters. But as the star with the most drawing power, he’s on the poster.

You could literally take out the zombies and replace them with Sandinistas, angry rioters, a marketplace, a bunch of snowmen, and change the title to rise of the Sandinistas, etc. with no real change.

The Good
The plot revolves around a group of survivors holed up on Alcatraz. It’s the classic prison/fortress setting on an island and may seem like a great place to survive. Of course everything goes wrong as the dead keep washing ashore in waves. The majority of the survivors leave Levar Burton’s character behind to continue his research which turns out to be a red herring that doesn’t go anywhere.

From there it’s a constant chase scene to various points throughout the city looking for the vaccine that may or may not turn out to save the day.

Considering the budget, the film makers got quite a lot out of the city. There are some gorgeous shots of the bay bride in San Francisco and some good shots of the city.

The Bad
It’s just not scary or terribly interesting. The most successful zombie movies were good stories regardless of the type of monster involved. Night of the Living Dead was a commentary on race in America, Dawn of the Dead on consumerism, The Walking Dead is all about family and fortitude. Rise of the Zombies tries to shoehorn some ideas about god and abortion into the story, but they are present in very obvious and preachy ways. The dialogue doesn’t come across naturally or feel genuine. It just feels forced.

There are numerous coincidences throughout the movie that seem to be there to drive the story forward but which don’t actually make much sense. The dog the survivors find in a car just happens to belong to the very same researcher they are trying to find who’s miles away. The survivors happen to be looking at Alcatraz at the same moment Levar Burton blows himself up.

When a story ties together cohesively it’s satisfying but this just didn’t do the trick.

In the end our survivors lift off in a  helicopter and fly away into the sunset with a vaccine in hand. (It’s very nearly the same ending as the first Resident Evil game.) Amazingly the pilot got his arm cut off just a few moments before yet is still able to make it upstairs, prep the chopper, and get them airborne. Granted he has help from Marial Hemmingway’s character but it’s pretty hard to believe. Have you ever broken something or had that kind of trauma? The easy write off is that adrenalin is just making him numb to the pain but that’s such an overused crutch that again I can’t possibly feel anything other than a good eye roll for the ending.

The Ugly
A common issue with movies at this level is a color alteration or filter that looks like an Instagram photo. The color saturation is off and the look and feel of the movie seems cheaper. It’s actually a way to correct for inconsistencies in the filming schedule like different lighting at varying times of day and a way to create a consistent “feel” or “mood.”


Zombie Targets

Note: I prepared this blog post to go out around Halloween but was informed that these products are no longer available, which is a real shame because they are pretty awesome.

zombie-targets-3A while back you may recall me sharing some info with you about some amazing zombie paintball masks which I just completely fell in love with.

Well the good people at Nether Designs who brought you those bad ass masks are back with some sweet zombie archery and paintball targets. Imagine sticking a big juicy paintball in the eye socket of a zombie head and the satisfaction of seeing it burst as your arrow drives its way home!

Really picture that because honestly, I don’t know many people that could actually do that who don’t exist in the land of fiction. So it seems like one of those primary skills all people should have or at least try.

Big shout out to Joe Park for bringing these to my attention.

Check out Nether Designs of Facebook

or at their main site. 

zombie-targets zombie-targets-2


I wish I had the time to get on here and make more of these.

But, this being Halloween, I wanted to make a point to get one out to you.
This one is by request.
You’ve probably heard the horrible moan of zombies creeping through the night. Moaning incoherently or calling out for brains. Most zombies are moaners. But there are some zombies, some really naughty trouble makers that scream. Not unlike the scream queens of Hollywood horror, screamers let out shrill screeches that are a pain for everyone around them to hear. More importantly though all that racket attracts other dead heads to wherever they are which means trouble for any survivors that happen to be in the area.

Monster Letter Line Stickers

As you may have seen my previous set of stickers for the popular Line App which were zombie-centric horrors, you might also already know that I’ve recently made ups  a whole new set for Halloween.

These Monster ABCs spell out a lot of the most common texting phrases like LOL, and WTF.

Check them out here and if you like them, tell your friends. I’m horrible at self promotion so any likes and shares really are appreciated.


hi omg monster-letter-line-stickers idk

Drawings to Final Art: Granny Loves Brains

Very soon (October 21st) you’ll be able to get your hands on this great little book I did the illustrations for.

Zombies Love Brains is a salutary tale for young readers, aged 3 and over, which explains that becoming a zombie is no reason to be impolite to others, or to take things that don’t belong to you without asking first.

You can order a copy on Amazon here.

Here’s how I went from sketches to final art for just one page.

granny-loves-brandyZombies love brains more than granny loves brandy. And here she is in all her wrinkly glory. She’s not even dead, just pickled in brandy like the teeth in her glass.

Here int he inking stage, still an area I really want to improve in, I had all sorts of trouble deciding what to do with the dog’s left leg.

All that sorted out we have old Blue the faithful hound with something in his jaws. I think it’s a zombie hand.
And here’s the final art.

I’m still moving towards better color and line work over time. Many of the scanned images lack the pop of the original art though it’s often hard to tell unless they are side by side.

So keep an eye out as more and more zombies invade this Halloween and if you’re looking for a fun Halloween story for your kids, I’m sure you’ll love this one.

‘Zombies Love Brains’ Draft Cover Designs – Which One Is Better?

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been working on a zombie-themed picture book called Zombies Love Brains for kids aged three and older. I’ve now got all the final artwork for in fr…

Source: ‘Zombies Love Brains’ Draft Cover Designs – Which One Is Better?

Monster Letters LOL

These little guys are a sampling of images I’ve been making of monster letters that spell out common text expressions.

Which expressions would you like to see i a set of these guys?
brb bye hi jk lol no ok omg ty wtf yes yp