Wednesday, 27 March 2013

We Are What We Are: A Review

I first saw We Are What We Are (Somos lo que hay) at FrightFest a couple of years ago. It is the tale of a poor Mexican family. When their father dies it is down to the younger generation to bring in the money and continue the cannibalistic rituals which they believe keep them safe. Now, I remember watching it and enjoying it. I remember thinking that it was actually quite moving and thinking that it served as a strong comment on poverty in Mexico.


Well, I liked it enough to get it on DVD and watched it a little while ago. In all honesty it felt like I was watching an entirely different film. It wasn't that I hadn't remembered what happened, it was just that whereas in the sleep-deprived confines of the Empire Leicester Square I had thought this was a dark but worthy film, while sitting on my sofa in my bedroom it was all a bit silly, and not necessarily in a good way. The acting, the characters, even the story itself seemed to have been transformed into something that wasn't awful, but if anything came across as being camp and a little stupid.

I guess this just serves as an illustration of how much better most films are in the cinema. Even a low budget horror like this can be transformed on the big screen, when you can completely immerse yourself in the action. At FrightFest I would have given this film seven or eight skulls. On DVD it's only going to get five skulls out of ten.

So, if I ended this post there, I feel it would be on a bit of a downer, and generally I'm quite a positive person, so please click on this link to see what I think of whenever I hear the title of this film, it's pretty much guaranteed to make you smile.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Cool Stuff I Own #1

Now, there is a part of me that would like to live a tranquil and minimalist existence, with white walls and empty spaces. This small part of me, however, is massively overwhelmed by my love of stuff. It doesn't have to be expensive or super-fancy, but I like feeling cosy, and having stuff helps with that. Plus, I grew up in a house with lots of stuff in it, so basically it's my parents fault.

Anyway, some of the stuff I own is really cool, and much of that has been given to me by the lovely people I know, who all know how much I love stuff, especially when it has skulls on, is related to zombies, etc. This Christmas in particular was a bonanza of awesome stuff with skulls on, and I thought where better to celebrate it than here? Nowhere, that's where.

So, the first in a series of pictures of cool stuff I own is this little item...

No, I'm not talking about my nail polish remover, or even that rather attractive bell. How awesome is that skull?! Super awesome! It was given to me by Dan and pretty much lives on the table next to where I sit in the living room, in between me and the TV, because every time I see it, it makes me smile. I'm going to throw out a big shout-out to Mexico right now, because without the Day of the Dead my life and room would be a much duller place. Thank you Dan, thank you Mexico.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Lost Zombies

It's official. I am in love with Lost Zombies. It's a social network aiming to collect film, writing and even phone messages to put together as a community generated zombie documentary. There's all kinds of exciting things on there; photo's, films, some awesome stories on the blog.

I'm really excited about it! I love zombies. No that doesn't say it clearly enough. I LOVE ZOMBIES!!! Yes, I love them so much that I've turned into one of those people who write in capitals and use too many exclamation marks. Anyway, it always cheers me when I find other people who share this passion, and here's a whole social network full of them. I'll have to sign up and maybe stick one of my short stories on there.

I bloody love the internet for making things like this possible.

But before I get totally carried away I shall share with you how I came to find Lost Zombies.

I was in Bargain Books in Chiswick and had already picked up the Zombies short story collection which had the Guy de Maupassant tale from my last post. I was clasping that to my bosom and feeling quite pleased with myself when my brother called me over. He was holding a book called Dead Inside Do Not Enter: Notes from the Zombie Apocalypse. The story, so far as there is one, is that this book is compiled from a collection of notes and photos found in a rucksack. They are little snapshots into the development of a major zombie crisis. It's really clever how you feel as if you're following a story even though it's been put together by lots of different people. My only criticism is that it's a bit miserable, but I guess that's the way the apocalypse hits some people, and there are some really funny bits as well (the comic sans page is my favourite). So seven skulls out of ten for the book (awesome but it bummed me out), and a million skulls out of ten for the website (because that's how excited I am!)

Finally, credit where it is due, this all occurred on the day before my birthday, so my brother bought both of the books for me.

Thank you, Ben xxx

Monday, 18 March 2013

In The Flesh, Episode 1: A Review

What to say about In The Flesh? Let's start off with my expectations. When I discovered that there was going to be a zombie show on the BBC I was really excited. I mean, they are monster of the moment so the more the merrier and it's good that the BBC are jumping on my favourite bandwagon.

Here's the basic set-up in case you haven't seen it (as always, I promise no spoilers). The series is set after a zombie outbreak. Scientists in white lab-coats have discovered some kind of treatment to rejuvenate brain cells and control the rapid, flesh eating zombies that we know and love so that they can return to their families. The story centres on Kieren, who is returning to a village where people are not so keen on the dead coming back and where the Human Volunteer Force are determined to keep the area zombie free.

Basically this story could have been made about twenty-five years ago about the Aids virus, or fifty-something years ago about black people. Not that I have anything against horror being used as a metaphor for issues that exist in the real world, it's just that when George Romero does it, he has a bit of excitement and some gore to help make the point, and hoards of zombies to boot.

I love zombies. I can't get enough zombies. So maybe that brings us to my first problem... The lack of zombies. You see some flash backs of Kieren's last kill, but that's it. what we mainly get is sufferers of Partially Deceased Syndrome moping about. No gory fun, here, this is typical serious/miserable British sci-fi. Lot's of people shouting, other people looking anxious.

So, that's the moan. I'm feeling a little let down by the whole thing. It was a little obvious and lacking a lightness of touch which I enjoy. Anyway, the clips from next week looked a bit more exciting and zombie-filled, and it's only three episodes, so I'm sticking with it, but so far it's getting about five skulls out of ten, because at least all the performances were really good.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

An Homage to Guy de Maupassant

I sat on my sofa that evening and could not decide what to write in my blog. Oh, how it tormented me! The indecision pulling me in so many directions I thought I should be ripped into pieces!
Then a moment of revelation! I had recently read a short story by Guy de Maupassant in a collection named Zombies edited by one Otto Penzler. Surely here I would find my salvation! I could write about this story with ease. A French author could surely only add a touch of class to my writing. The story is named Was it a Dream? and is the tale of a man whose beloved has died! died!!!! After catching a terrible chill! He visits her grave at night only to see the dead crawling from their coffins, scraping away the beautiful words etched upon their gravestones and replacing them with the terrible truth. Oh, what a awful sight to behold!!!!!!!!! What will his lover now have written above her final resting place?! Is any of this even real?!!!! Will the writer find himself lost within the forest of exclamation marks he has planted upon the page!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, dearest reader, I cannot bring myself to answer those questions because even now I hear the exclamation marks trying to scurry off the page! I fear they have infested my brain and I might never be free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They found me, unconscious, on the sofa the next morning.

Monday, 4 March 2013

RIP Paris (the cat)

It's been a little while since I last posted on this blog, and that's partly because last week my beloved cat, Paris, died. He was the softest, silliest, gentlest cat I have ever known, and if you ever felt ill, or sad, he would always come and sit on your knee and make you feel better, which just makes it even more rubbish that he isn't here now. Like I said last time, death is mostly just really sad when you come across it in real life.

That's a picture of him sitting on my knee while I'm wearing my super-cool I Heart Elmo pyjamas. Little insight there into my night-wear, you lucky people.
Well, it's about half an hour into my birthday right now, and just over a week since this lovely, silly thing passed away in the most peaceful way I can imagine and frankly, I've probably had a beer or two more than is sensible to write this, but I know Paris was loved when he was alive, and he is loved now and whatever has happened to him after he has died he will be happy, maybe in some kind of cat heaven, playing with his sister, Mishka... and I know at some point we'll have another cat who we'll love, but Paris will always be in our hearts, just like all the cats we've had before. So I dedicate this to Paris, Mishka, Ash, Dylan and Lottie, and to the non-cat pets, Gandalf, Gingershine, Nicholas, Peter, Flash and Gordon, and the unnamed goldfish, and to all the pets of anyone reading this, because they bring that extra bit of love and happiness into our lives.
Now I'm going to go and cheer myself up and enjoy my birthday and I promise the next thing I post will just be really silly.