Friday, 28 June 2013

Zombies Hate Brains

The zombie is one of the only, if not the only, monsters which is a purely cinematic creation. Whereas other monsters, such as the vampire, werewolf, harpy, and Mr Potato Head, all have their origins in folktales, myths, literature and a toy production line, the zombie as we know it today is a wholly filmic invention.
Tell me truthfully that this does not terrify you...

While the term did exist before film, it referred to something slightly different to the reanimated flesh-eating corpses we know and love, specifically a corpse placed under witchcraft to become a mindless slave of the spellcaster.

This type of zombie came from African and Haitain witchcraft culture and had little taste for human flesh but rather a taste for doing whatever the spellcaster wanted them to do, usually their laundry. This type of zombie did make several appearances in film prior to the 1960s.
To be clear, they did other things besides laundry.

But it was in 1969 that the idea of zombie as a lumbering flesh-eating corpse was born. Created by George A. Romero, a.k.a. His High Horribleness, the Exalted God of Zombie Movies (that's his full title), in his masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead, Romero introduced the concept of having slow meandering undead corpses chase people with the sole intent of satisfying their unceasing hunger with human flesh.

Coming up in Survivor, the contestants have to face off a horde of unrelenting zombies for immunity.

Contrary to popular belief, zombies did not go for brains initially, preferring the other other white meat (human flesh).
Zombie in the background: "I think there might be some brains in here... Gross."

Romero pioneered the look and feel of zombie movies, from the rotting flesh of the zombies, to the unknown cause of the outbreak, to the now cliche staple of a group of survivors holed up in a house (substitute for a bunker/mall/city section, whatever) protecting themselves from the unrelenting horde of zombies outside and dealing with the unstable group dynamic they find themselves in.
He also introduced the zombie shuffle.

Romero even developed the manner in which zombies can be seen as a metaphor for mindless consumerism through their endless and unceasing desire to consume. He took this metaphor to its most blatant extreme in Dawn of the Dead as the survivors have blockaded themselves in a mall and the zombies are effectively locked out.

Yet instead of wandering about for other people to feast on, the zombies are drawn to the mall since, as one character, Steve, reasons it is because of "Some kind of instinct. Memory of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives."
"Wow. That shit is deep, Steve. And Francine, I wouldn't rest my chin on the barrel of a shotgun if I were you."

Zombies now infect all media with their contagious hickies, spanning films, TV shows, games, comics and novels. However, that proliferation has meant that the zombie has lost some of its power to scare the bajesus out of people, which meant that the zombie had to be revamped in order to resonate terror in a jaded audience.

Thus, 28 Days Later introduced, or popularised, the concept of a zombie apocalypse as the result of a virus and, with the remake of Dawn of the Dead...


Yes, running zombies were now a reality on film. Dismissed were the lumbering dead weights of old, giving way to a fitter, leaner, faster undead corpse. However, some have bemoaned the loss of the traditional zombie, and while this might smack of purist whinging, faster zombies do seem to lack the innate terror that the slow-movers incurred when a host of them managed to surround a survivor and slowly moved in...

One vocal critic of the fast zombie is Simon Pegg, who co-wrote and starred in one of the greatest zombie movies of all time, Shaun of the Dead, so his opinion has some weight. Pegg raises some good points,

"The success of the movie [28 Days Later], particularly in the US, was undoubtedly a factor in the loose remake of Romero's Dawn of the Dead in 2004. Zack Snyder's effective but pointless reboot parlayed Boyle's "infected" into the upgraded zombie 2.0, likely at the behest of some cigar-chomping, focus-group-happy movie exec desperate to satisfy the MTV generation's demand for quicker everything - quicker food, quicker downloads, quicker dead people. The zombie was ushered on to the mainstream stage, on the proviso that it sprinted up to the mic. The genre was diminished, and I think it's a shame."

But Pegg is partially to blame for a recent trend in zombie movies, for while Shaun of the Dead was a brilliant romantic comedy with zombies in it, or a romcomzom,

That's not the only wood he's packing. Ladies.

This has given rise to the romance zombie movie.

No, seriously, he is a zombie. I know, he doesn't have rotting flesh but...

Whilst, at the moment this is still at the acceptable stage- by all accounts the Warm Bodies film is supposed to be quite enjoyable (I haven't seen it and cannot comment) and I liked the book despite its 'love will conquer all' deus ex machina ending- it won't be long before zombies go the way of the vampire and are hit with some sort of vomit-educing low like Twilight that completely and utterly ruins them as monsters, a blow from which they may never recover.

Unless stuff like this continues to be made.


Simon Pegg article-

Saturday, 8 June 2013

If the Flash is so Fast, How Come the Bad Guys Can Run Away?

The Flash superpower is super-speed which he acquires by being able to tap into the 'Speed Force', a mystical source of energy that makes people really fast and stuff. With this, he can do some really neat stuff aside from just ran really fast. For instance, he has complete control over all his molecules and being able to vibrate them at supersonic speeds such that he can pass through walls. He can also use this to obscure his features by vibrating them such that they're blurred to preserve his identity, as the Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick did because his costume was modeled on the Greek/Roman god, Hermes/Mercury and that did not leave any creative room for a mask, because that would be a far too simple an alternative. The Flash can also time-travel, initially with the aid of his Cosmis Treadmill, which was literally a treadmill he used to travel in time.

With a treadmill. Of course.

Here it is in action.

No Bruce, I told you I wouldn't travel back in time to dye Jason Todd's red hair black. I'm... I'm just going to the gym.   

But seriously, how else do you explain Todd going from this,

Sure, Jason... terrific...

To this?

Did he pass mustard? What?

Later the Flash could do time travel without it just because he can tap properly into the Speed Force, run really fast and because he is the Flash.

Of course, I have been saying the Flash rather indiscriminately without clarifying which actual Flash I am talking about, because there have been several. I already discussed Jay Garrick's outstanding lack of a mask for fear of obscuring his dazzling features, but when people talk about the Flash they usually mean either Barry Allen or Wally West, although there is a whole Flash family of super-speeders.

Time for a race at the family reunion? Because what else are people who can ran really fast gonna do? Play Wii?

Personally, my favourite Flash was always Wally. Predominantly because I loved him in Justice League Unlimited. The way in which the writers would have him run in battle, nearly always tripping over or colliding into something, like cracks in the road or a falling car, and his goofy manner resonated with me as a kid.

What can I say?

Wally also had the best rogues gallery, and while a number of his foes were leftovers from Barry Allen's turn as the Fastest Man Alive, Wally's rogues were a collective who conspired crimes together, unlike Batman's own impressive collection of rogues, who often got in each others way or hated each other.

Yeah, Bruce. It must be so hard for you, dealing with the Joker... by himself. With no other super-villains. So hard.
But there was villain of the Flash that does not get the recognition he deserves as one of comic's most creative characters. I am, of course, talking about the Turtle.

Oh , yeah.
Firstly, aside from the fact he should be named the Tortoise rather than the Turtle, since turtles are actually kinda fast when you put them in water but tortoises are slow no matter what, this is a great idea for a villain of a guy who's really fast. Fast hero = Slow villain. That is mathematics at its most basic. He was a Barry Allen villain and the Flash's first gimmicky villain. However, the Turtle's initial 'power' was his "slow, deliberate planning". No shit. That was his schtick. Making slow and deliberate plans. Apparently he was so successful that he spawned an imitator, Turtle Man, who, in addition to using slow, deliberate planning as a weapon, actually made devices that had a slow theme.

Oh, yeah. 

In his first appearance, Turtle Man broke into a bank and hide himself inside. He then left with the gold/money long after the police came to investigate and it was blocked off as a crime scene. That was some slow and deliberate planning right there. He then tricks the Flash into running into a wall by projecting his shadow on it, just because he can. Later the Turtle takes Turtle Man under his wing as they create an underground crime syndicate without the Flash's knowledge, using that to humiliate and discourage the Flash, eventually kidnapping him because slow and deliberate planning.

The Turtlefather will see you now.

However, when the Flash's super friends came to save him, they eventually got discovered and as Turtle Man want into custody, the Turtle is caught in an explosion as he destroyed his base of operations, although he survives and goes into prison. And this is where it gets cool, somehow, through means never explained in any shape or form, aside from what we gather was some slow and deliberate planning, the Turtle gains the power to steal speed from people, slowing them to a crawl. This is a power which he obviously uses against the Flash, who must run faster than ever before just to break free of the Turtle's deadly speed-stealing powers.

He also got creepy... turtles are supposed to be cute...
But yeah, this was a nice change of pace for the Flash, since he usually fights humans with gimmick guns rather than actual super-villains. Which is why he totally owns them when they're not fighting together, like how he nails Deathstroke here.

No fair, that's cheating. Move like a faster than average person, supersonic is not cool. Not cool.
Poor Wilson. Although good on him for being brave enough to think he could pull off those boots, I mean, wow. I did not know bell bottom boots were even a thing.