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

Start to End: Zombies Love 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 a page depicting total world domination!

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First pencil sketch.

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Quick ink.

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Here’s the boy in color along with an image of the earth I had on hand.

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Final art. Look out world, he’s coming for your braaaaaaiiins!

(As long as he can get permission to do so that is.)

Z Nation Season 2 Review

Before reading this you might want to check out my review of season one.

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I’ve said this before but, take all my bitching and complaints with a grain of salt.

As cheap and as goofy as the show is, it’s fun. It’s an over-the-top romp that neither tears at the heartstrings nor fails to entertain. So leave your brains at the door, grab a beer and enjoy
Z Nation season 2

The Good
Season 2 continues the great road trip across the continental US. This time focussing more on the midwest and southwest. As such, we get a answers to some of the most obvious questions most of us would ask: Left unchecked are there giant herds of zombies roaming the plains? Where are the native Americans and  farm communities like the mennonites? What happened to the religious extremists out west? What ever happened to Area 51 and what’s happening along the border with all those bad ass Mexican gangs?

It’s a great ride and there’s plenty of fun along the way.

  • Just like in season one, there are tons of pop culture references.
    The evil Kurian jumping into an old school refrigerator and getting thrown around in the nuclear blast was a clear nod to Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull’s highly unpopular opening. Seeing the door blow off and Kurian burning played to the fans very well.

My particular favorite was a nod to the X-Files in an episode dealing with aliens, (yes really,) which even included a character name Scully. There’s also a great Steve Urkle reference when Muphy mimics his voice saying “Did I do thaaat?”

Out of the whole season though the coup de grace had to be the episode titled “The Collector,” in which Murphy is captured by a guy who’s totally out of his mind trying to create a zombie museum of sorts. He has posters and memorabilia related to zombies and zombie movies and they start talking about some of the old school classic zombie flicks like White Zombie the very first zombie movie. And there he is, a celebrity zombie in the form of George R. R. Martin. The night’s watch would be proud.

  • Not being afraid to play around and try some crazy ideas when it comes to zombies is a definite plus. The show doesn’t have the effects team or budget like other shows so they need to get creative with their zombies. This really means they are basically just making monsters half the time, not really zombies, but it’s fun none the less.

Blasters: Zombies who were people killed by the nuclear blast at the end of season one. Now incredibly powerful powder-white nasties. Why? Why not.

Phytozombies: Zombie / plant hybrids. (Ridiculous but fun.)

Mennonite zombies: They’re really just regular zombies that happen to be Mennonites . . . and explode with anthrax spores.

Baby zombie (AKA Lucy): Ten times better than the baby in season one, Lucy is the daughter of Murphy and his girlfriend from season one.

Goat zombie: So apparently animals can be zombies too?

Aliens: Sure, they aren’t really aliens but that’s a good thing. If they were, the show would have gone into even campier territory tipping the scales to the totally ridiculous and not just the very ridiculous. These Zs are just humans in pilot uniforms.

Where have I seen this before? Doctor Who? Star Trek? I’m sure I’ve seen this somewhere. But where? The X-Files? Help!

Blends: One of Muphy’s newfound powers is the ability to make people who aren’t exactly zombies but aren’t exactly alive. It was his bite that turned Casandra into what she became and as the season progresses we see him getting more adept at turning people.

The Bad

  • The HUGE cliffhanger ending of season one left me thinking that the show might actually not be coming back for a second season. However the way those cliffhanger events were rapidly solved seemed a little too easy. The tension of that cliffhanger just evaporated in seconds. But then so did half the US.

The nuclear bombs that went off at the end of season one apparently killed millions more people according to Warren who confronts Murphy about it in the season opener. Millions? Really? The numbers seem a bit high for the number of survivors out there. That being said, millions of people being killed off in a heartbeat just doesn’t seem to cary any weight at all on this show even though it should be horrifying.

  • Anthrax zombies.
    Some mennonite zombies started bursting white powder all over the place when killed and there’s a lot wrong with this scenario. First of all it’s unlikely that the Mennonites were just standing around in a field waiting for someone to save them. Mennonites are farmers, hard working, manual laborers. These aren’t meek people. These are people who birth horses, bale hay, till crops and live off the land. The idea that they are weak as we see them portrayed on the show is laughable.

The white powder anthrax also shows a serious lack of thought. White powder containing anthrax was mailed to a number of public officials as a form of terrorist attack. But anthrax doesn’t just exist out in the world as a white powder.

Anthrax is spread by contact with the spores of the bacteria, which are often from infectious animal products. Contact is by breathing, eating, or through an area of broken skin. It does not typically spread directly between people. Risk factors include people who work with animals or animal products, travelers, postal workers, and military personnel. Diagnosis can be confirmed based on finding antibodies or the toxin in the blood or by culture of a sample from the infected site.”

I’m not a stickler about science in TV shows or movies most of the time. But when it’s this blatantly horrible it’s hard to ignore.

The Ugly

  • The effects …
    … aren’t so bad this season but one thing that stands out is the way zombie characters suddenly stand stock still or pause their action as they are moving so that effects can be slotted in around them. The effects just seem much more amateurish when these sorts of odd pauses for the shot occur.

One effect in particular that throws me off is the constant use of filters. I don’t particularly like them on photographs and like them even less in movies and TV shows. It makes the imagery more consistent if you’re shooting at different times and locations and want to maintain that look and feel when the images are cut together but it also makes everything look less realistic and more forced if it’s not done very carefully. Not a plus in this case.

Although the zombies are fun, the look and feel of them is pretty uninteresting. Occasionally we get a great effects shot like a Z getting crushed or churned up in a truck’s wheels but for the most part they all just look like people with makeup on their faces which makes the other effects shots stand out even more as effects. The Zs are all basically at the same level of rot regardless of when and where they died during the apocalypse.

  • Lucy
    When Serena shows up heavily pregnant with Murphy’s love? child I don’t think anyone knew where it was going to go. Was it a Z? Was it a normal baby? Was it going to kill it’s mom? What a creepy character in every way. And it looks like she’s growing up . . . scary.
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Look at those smiles! I love these guys.

  • The worlds largest cheese wheel. Wow. Just wow.
    If anything symbolizes the silly, cartoony nature of the fun on the show it’s definitely this. This is also where my cynicism breaks down. These guys are having fun, making an entertaining show that gets a few laughs and isn’t too hard to watch. In fact when it comes up they make it a point to reference the Liberty Bell scene from season one where they unleashed the bell at a group of zombies to great effect.big-cheese
  • Zeros  This season dealt a lot with the gangs along the boarder towns of Mexico but in Z Nation they take it up a notch with the Zeros being lead by a queen whose minion are often made up to look like  sugar skulls.zero-queen-z-nationThe Zeros are total badasses but also tend to fall for the typical TV bad guy clashes. There’s an evil doctor or mad scientist working for them, (Kurian,) They to do monologue all the time and they have an endless supply of minions protecting their incredible evil lair.

    Some notable deaths:

mackMack’s death at the start of the season was a kick in the pants. The strong love affair he had with Annie was a nice bit of hope running through season one.

 

 

casandraCasandra’s death seemed like a smart idea for the actress Pisay Pao. The character had been reduced from a complex interesting contribution to the show to a trashy chick that grunted all the time. The entire season up to the point she was killed I just thought I wouldn’t want that if I were the actor.

saracoatsSerena . . . I just loved this character and this actress. She’s strong, ballsy, fun and I got the feeling she was really fun to have on set. Her energy just came through and she stole the show in her episodes. I was sorry to see her go.

kurians-headI’m not sure Kurian is really dead but he’s close enough.

After developing a serum the zeros think is a cure for zombies but which will actually just make it possible for Murphy to control people, Kurian finds himself beheaded.

But having also been injected with the syrup he can’t die and so his severed head lives on in a box. Sheesh.

THE CDC
So the season ends with the group getting to the CDC lab and after a few tense moments they get inside and all seems well. Until it doesn’t, because the happy ending you may have been hoping for just isn’t. Things aren’t all what they seem and the CDC isn’t what it used to be.

Citizen Z catches on to this when he realizes his system has been hacked and seems out to walk south. Unable to warn anyone with his systems down it means the team walks right in to the CDC trap and the shit hits the fan.

Sound familiar? 

All in all this season was just as much fun as the first season, maybe even more and I’m totally looking forward to season 3!

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue

This movie has also been called Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. The copy I found via YouTube was titled The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. Internationally over the course of several years, the film was released under fifteen different titles.

Sheesh!

If you haven’t seen it yet beware the spoilers below and I’ll save you a bit of time by saying, yes, it’s worth watching; not a bad piece of horror at all.

Do_Not_Speak_Ill_of_the_Dead_poster274full-let-sleeping-corpses-lie-(the-living-dead-at-manchester-morgue)-posterThe Poster
These two posters are perhaps my favorites. The one on the left is the original theatrical release poster and reads: No Profanar El Sueno De Los Muertos or Don’t Speak Ill of the Dead.

Very cool.

The artwork is creepy and the stripped down imagery feels modern for the time. With a line of corpses or corpselike figures coming towards the viewer in a seemingly endless stream we just know this doesn’t mean good for anyone involved.

Something about it feels a bit like a Mike Mignola illustration.

The Good 

  •  The plot revolves around a young man and woman, George and Edna, traveling through the English countryside after Edna crashes into the George’s motorcycle forcing the two together. They quickly fall foul of the police who suspect they are responsible for a series of murders which are actually being carried out by the undead who have been brought back to life accidentally as the result of an experimental machine used as an alternative to pesticide by some local farmers.

    The machine works on very basic nervous systems like those of insects and it makes them go crazy tearing each other apart. It also turns out to work on babies and the recently dead who are then somehow able to bring back the not-so-recently-deceased.

    This is a Cassandra-like tragedy where the main characters know what’s going on and try to warn people or elicit their help but no one believes them.

    I have to say that the lack of romantic connection and the incredible ending were actually two of the best choices for the film and make a fairly cliche film feel a bit more original.

  • The sound design is nicely done as well with a haunting sound track of ambient noise and music as well as some gruesome noises created when the dead are nearby. It’s a bit much to really be coming from one of them but it creates an incredible atmosphere and is used to good effect.
  •  It’s beautifully shot. Most of the setting and imagery outdoors was well framed with rich color saturation that I just fell in love with. Though the film takes place in England, most of the movie was actually shot in Italy with  just a few locations created in Britain.
  • Despite how slow and shambling the zombies are, they feel threatening in a very realistic way. It’s like being in a dream and not being able to run or run fast enough to get away from whatever is chasing you. No matter what you do, the threat slowly keeps coming at you.

The Bad

  • Like a lot of movies from the time, and let’s be honest from today as well, it relies on some funny science that’s been shoehorned around supporting the plot. Honestly it doesn’t bother me much at all as I like getting into the mindset of the time period. More often than not these kind of explanations reflect the popular science stories of the time. That’s why you always hear Bones talking about adrenaline on the original Star Trek. Adrenaline was a hot topic at the time just like DNA and cloning have been since the 90’s. The difficulty is that for modern audiences the science seems a bit silly after a certain time and ends up dating the film.
  • I’d have to look into it but I have the feeling that when bodies were transported in 1970’s England they weren’t put in mysterious silver space-boxes with windows on multiple sides as we see this morgue using. This detail jumps out at the viewer and jars the sense of realism in an unsatisfying way.
  • Although I like most of the soundtrack there are times where the dated nature of the music really interferes with my enjoyment. Instead of building tension it simply reminds me of watching educational programs from the seventies and eighties.

The Ugly

  •  Boobs. Boobs? Boobs!
    There’s this odd scene in the beginning where a young woman runs naked through traffic. I suppose it was meant to signify the culture of the town of the time with the 70’s in full swing and all but other than a quick excuse for some T&A I can’t figure out what it was even doing in the movie. Was it meant to disarm us or throw us off our guard? Did it represent the counterculture or the perception of young people as wild hedonists?
  • It doesn’t actually have anything to do with Manchester.
    It’s understandable that films like this get shopped around and have their titles changed for international audiences. In this case the British release title includes the Manchester Morgue although the story doesn’t take place in Manchester. It takes place in South Gate. This would be like an American movie being called the Boston Morgue Murders but actually never taking place in Boston. For audiences it would definitely seem a bit strange.
  • Cliche
    There are small plot points that are a bit cliche. When a person important to the plot just happens to be in the right place at the right time it’s to move the story forward and advance the plot. This can be pretty unrealistic though like when George is at the asylum. A nurse gets hurt and the doctor simply hands her off to George, a total stranger saying “Look after her.” Moments later George is there interacting with the baby that injured the nurse. It moves the story forward and informs the viewer but it doesn’t feel at all realistic.

    All in all this was a great flick to spend an hour or so with.

Zombies Vs Robots

It’s rare that I get a chance to disappear into a comic but I loved melting into the artwork in Zombies Vs Robots and later Zombies Vs Robots Vs Amazons.

The story is simple and fast and yeah, kind of silly but the artwork has this loose painterly and lovely look to it. It’s without a doubt my favorite comic art that I’ve seen for quite some time.

The story starts with the lone human child being defended from the zombie hordes in the hopes of cloning it. Fortunately for the fun of the story telling the robots are all, well, kind of preposterous.

Although I’d heard of this comic for a while I hadn’t bothered to take the time to really check it out until I saw the artwork which floored me.  Ashley Wood (Popbot) and writer Chris Ryall (The Great and Secret Show) did a phenomenal job creating a whole world and incredible images with loose painterly strokes both in image and word that give the reader juuuuust enough to communicate their unique style and let the reader fill in the blanks with their imagination.

Beautiful.

Find out more at IDW publishing.

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Moral Orel

Moral Orel was a stop motion animation show that really took the piss out of organized religion in a pretty hilarious way. It contrasted the wholesome imagery and values of Leave It to Beaver with drugs, sex and yes, even zombies.

In the very first episode the preacher tells people not to waste God’s precious gift of life. Orel gets it in his head that dead people are doing just that; by laying in their graves they are refusing life and therefor sinning. He takes the next natural step any kid would do and heads to the library to get the Necronomicon and bring the dead back.

Hilarity ensues.

I’ve embedded the video below, but just in case that doesn’t work you can always Google it yourself right?


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/64463703″>S1 E1 – The Lords Greatest Gift</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user17843766″>peppermint larry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Zombie Rancor Monster

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The Rancor monster was undoubtedly my favorite creature in the Star Wars universe mostly because I had the toy which I won off a friend in a bet. It was glorious, HUGE durable plastic and it really took a beating.

Never having followed the Star Wars expanded universe I didn’t know much about the content of the books, comics, or games. I did know that the Sith attempted to cheat death through various means. Palatine even talks about this when he mentions Darth Plagueius the Wise in Episode three. Ghosts are all over the Star Wars canon, but zombies?

Apparently, and this is all new to me there were attempts at raising the dead performed by Sith in the expanded universe and there was even a zombie rancor monster.

IF you want to read more about it on Wookieepedia just click here for the details.