Happy Halloween! A Zombie Film Excerpt

Happy Halloween! As the new season of The Walking Dead is going strong, we’ve decided to celebrate by giving you an excerpt from The Zombie Film!

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One of the highest rated shows on television, cable or broadcast, The Walking Dead is adapted from the popular graphic novel of the same name and with the same set-up: Rick Grimes is a former cop who has been in a coma for several months after being shot while on duty. When he wakes, he discovers that the world has been taken over by zombies and that he seems to be the only person still alive. Returning home to discover his wife and son missing, he heads for Atlanta to search for his family.

By the end of its third year episodes, The Walking Dead had refocused on the same ironies Romero had suggested in 1968. The core group of survivors, with whom the audience had traveled through zombie land for two seasons, WDhas taken refuge in a prison guarded by implacable ghouls. It’s a bit larger than the farmhouse in Night of the
Living Dead but the emotional situation and the bickering amongst themselves is much the same. What’s more their main conflict is no longer with the “walkers” or “biters” but another, larger group of humans ensconced in a fortified town, who are more numerous, better armed, and lead by a sociopathic control freak that needs to kill them so that he can continue to rule his little world unchallenged. While that character may not yet have become Dennis Hopper’s Kaufman in Land of the Dead, he is getting close.

Zombie Apocalypse (2010), Zombie Apocalypse (the television movie), and Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption (both 2011) reflect and exploit the growing millennial anxiety around an increasingly dangerous world and the fascination with zombies on the Internet as well as in the news. All three rely heavily on the same low-budget rendering of a dystopic future, the zombie world established from Night of the Living Dead through 28 Days Later in which humans are outnumbered by zombies and in a continual state of anxiety and outright combat, much like the “war against terrorism.” In a period context, Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012) hoped to coat tail on the success of the bigger-budgeted Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in the same year. Unfortunately neither met with either critical or financial success.

Even as a spate of ultra-low-budget projects over the last decade have infested the genre (and our Filmography) as thoroughly as the aimless hordes in The Walking Dead have overrun the Deep South, some filmmakers have found an alternative to the standard “don’t get bitten before you shoot those snarling zombies in the head” scenarios without needing a lot more money.

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Interview with Scott B. Bomar

Scott B. Bomar spoke with Chapter 16 about Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern RockRead the rest of the interview here!

Long-Haired Country Boys

Rumbling out of the South at the beginning of the 1970s, Southern rock was a mix of back-to-basics rock and roll, blues, country, and soul—wrapped in a new vision of the American South. In his new book, Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock, Nashville native Scott B. Bomar chronicles the history of this uniquely American music and the musicians who created it.

Despite the chart successes of the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band, and others, the artistry and innovations these musicians brought to rock music are often overlooked, casualties of persistent and pernicious prejudices about the South. Bomar tackles those oversights directly, building a case for the importance and inclusiveness of a style that sought to embrace the most admirable aspects of Southern life and culture while rejecting old bigotries. Drawn from interviews with dozens of musicians and illustrated with scores of band photos, album covers, label shots, and concert posters, Southbound gives the stories of individual bands as well as the history of a truly American music.

Bomar recently answered questions from Chapter 16 via email:

 There’s a great quote from Gregg Allman near the start of the book: “‘Southern rock’ is like saying ‘rock rock.’ Rock and roll was born in the South.” How did you arrive at a definition of Southern rock that was workable for the book, and what is that definition?

Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee—all those guys came from the South, and understanding that is part of the Southern-rock story. When people use the term “Southern rock,” however, they’re generally talking about the Allman Brothers Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and so on. What happened was that you had these kids growing up on blues, soul, country, and rock in places like Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, or North Carolina. They had shared cultural experiences as Southerners, but they also had the shared experience of becoming long-haired music freaks in an environment that was fairly conservative. Even though Southern rock is often regarded as “redneck” music today, a “redneck” in the 1960s was a guy with a crew cut who just might be inclined to kick the ass of a freaky long-haired rocker.

So these guys were pretty countercultural and tended to stick together. As they formed bands and became successful in the early 1970s, the fact that they were Southerners made them unique in the wider world of freaky long-haired rockers. So they were fish out of water at home because they were rockers, and they were fish out of water in the rock world because they had funny accents. Needless to say, they tended to bond because they understood one another. Charlie Daniels told me that Southern rock is a genre of people more than it is a genre of music, and I think that’s a pretty good definition of something that’s a little slippery to fully define.

But I did write a book about it, so I had to come up with something more precise. In the introduction I listed four criteria that guided my decisions about who would—and would not—be included in the book. Sometimes people skip introductions, but this is one of those cases where it actually frames the entire book. And maybe it will even start a little debate.

You’re young enough to have missed the original heyday of Southern rock. How did you first discover the music?

My dad is in the music business, so I was surrounded by music as early as I can remember. Maybe I had some records for kids when I was little, but if I did, I don’t recall them. I was into Elvis and the Beatles at a very young age, so I was always looking to the past when it came to my musical choices. I started playing guitar around age twelve or thirteen. It was the 1980s, so what was on the radio wasn’t very guitar-heavy. That’s when I really got into classic rock, and it was around that time that 104.5 The Fox was just getting going in Nashville. Southern rock was a big chunk of their classic rock programming, so I was always hearing the Allmans, Skynyrd, Wet Willie, Marshall Tucker, ZZ Top, 38 Special, and those kinds of Southern groups on the radio. This was also around the time that everyone was embracing CDs, so I was building my music collection with the CD issues of classic albums.

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Win a Martin D18 Acoustic

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Guitar Player and Rolling Stones Gear have teamed up to give you a chance to Win the Brands of the Rolling Stones! Now you can own some of the major brands of equipment the Rolling Stones played including Fender, Martin, Framus, Zemaitis, Gretsch, and Vox in this exciting new sweepstakes! They are also giving away the new book Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost.

And to wrap up this amazing contest, we present this gorgeous D18 Martin acoustic! The contest ends this Friday, so if you haven’t entered yet now is your chance. Don’t pass up this opportunity to win the brands of the Rolling Stones!

D-18

Interview with Ryan Finnigan

The Room: The Definitive Guide author Ryan Finnigan was interviewed by Rob Aldan of Backseat Mafia about his organization, The Five and Dime Picture Show, and his new book!

If you don’t know, The Five and Dime Picture Show takes place every few weeks at The Film Unit in Sheffield University. It specializes in screening cult and unusual films at affordable prices.

Read the rest of the interview HERE.

How did Five and Dime come into existence?

00127688In a pretty convoluted way… Matt and I met at the Lantern Theatre some time ago, I wrote a short film and we needed a theatre location and ended up shooting there, with Matt hosting and providing technical support. At that point, I had been shopping around a cult film night idea unsuccessfully to some local cinemas, I found out that Matt was screening some films at the Lantern including The Room and so I harassed him by e-mail into letting me get involved, although it eventually just faded out… we met again by chance when I was looking at putting together a film show with Adam Batty (of Hope Lies… ) and eventually, we resurrected the idea of working a film night together and wound up meeting with Richard Clesham, then of Film Unit, to pitch our idea to their committee… and the rest is history.

Have cult films always been a passion of yours?

I think both Matt and I have long been attracted to anything off-the-beaten track, which probably comes from each of us having seen so many films over the years. It’s refreshing to see anything “weird” or challenging. Personally, I’ve also found something quite thrilling about finding something obscure or outrageous and I think once you find other people who are like-minded, discovering oddities and sharing them has an almost addictive, competitive element akin to treasure-hunting and the more people you introduce it to, the better.

Was there one film that started it all off?

I don’t especially remember one title, but more of a feeling. I was and still am a night owl and as a teenager, late night TV discoveries were particularly influential. I vividly remember seeing late night screenings of both Videodrome and Evil Dead 2, which were so unexpected and thrilling in different ways, that they remain two of my very favourite films. Channel 4 was particularly excellent in my youth and their weekly double-bill of Troma’s Edge TV followed by a Troma film had a big impact on my passion for the independent film world and cult-trash, and with titles like Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town and A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell, it was hard not to love the cut of their jib as a teenage boy. Aside from that, buying and collecting VHS and swapping them with friends was a big thing – I particularly remember the early Peter Jackson films like Bad Taste and Braindead, as well as more widely-respected titles like Leon and Blade Runner doing the rounds.

You have your third annual screening of The Room. Why is it clearly so close to your heart?

It’s completely unique. There is nothing at all like the experience of both the film and the screening environment – there’s so much energy in the room. Pun intended. We’re both ex-film students and I think for me, there’s something rebellious about The Room. Not only does it break every single rule of filmmaking in 100 minutes but it’s certainly far, far away from silently and academically pondering over say, the Bergman oeuvre and there’s something liberating and curious about interacting with the film, in a way that’s not always the same.

I think it took a while for me to analyse what it is that really motivates my own passion for the film, beyond the fact that it’s absolutely hilarious and a wild ride in company. Essentially, I think it comes down to how touching it is that Tommy Wiseau went to such great, misguided lengths to try and get the world to notice and love him, which I think is in turn both very silly but also incredibly sad. Over time, I think a lot of people find that from their initial reaction of laughing and mocking the Hollywood alien who doesn’t fit the mould, they actually wind up kind of identifying with Wiseau. I’ve definitely seen the film a lot of times and have watched it from a lot of different perspectives, which I can’t say about any other film. Also, I suppose that I just fell completely in love with Tommy and find him fascinating on a day-to-day basis, so I guess his plan worked.

Speaking of which, you’ve written a book about the film. How did that come about?

Well, I’ve been a fan of the film for years now and ahead of our last screening, I became incredibly obsessed with it for a 10th Anniversary feature for my website and contacted cast members and started to do features, with Alan Jones beginning an extensive analysis of the film too and Mute providing some graphics. The enthusiasm never really died down after and was only exacerbated by the release of Greg Sestero’s The Disaster Artist and eventually meeting Tommy and Greg in London, at which point I kind of thought, “what if we compiled all this stuff into some kind of a guide?” So, I pitched it to a handful of publishers on a whim and found myself in negotiations to produce it within a couple of days.

What can fans expect to see in “The Room: The Definitive Guide”?

A lot of our collective blood, sweat and tears! Seriously though, it’s a comedic reference guide to the film and the Room/Tommy Wiseau phenomenon. I essentially contacted as many people from or involved with the film as possible and interviewed them, from cast members to celebrity fans and the people screening the film, there’s people involved from all over the world.

The book is in three parts and opens as a guide for people who have never seen the film with guest chapters from Juliette Danielle (Lisa in The Room), Michael Rousselet (the inventor of spoon-throwing), Steve Heisler (The A.V. Club/Rolling Stone) and James Durkin (the guy who introduced me to the film). Part Two is interviews with cast members and an extensive, hilarious analysis of the film by Alan Jones and Part Three covers life after the film and the fan culture that has grown around it, with loads of interviews with notable fans like Paul Scheer (How Did This Get Made?), Payman Benz (Director of the Tommy Wi-Show) and Alison Goertz (Cossbysweater).

On top of that, it’s filled with eye-popping graphics and design from Mute, which really brings it to life. We basically threw in as much fun as we could.

 

Read the rest of the interview HERE.

SWOT Analysis with Bobby Borg

Music Marketing for the DIY Musician is a comprehensive guide for up-and-coming artists who want their music to be heard and appreciated. Here, author Bobby Borg talks about one of the key points in DIY marketing: The SWOT analysis. Tune in soon for more episodes!

Listen: Scott B. Bomar on Freewheelin’ Sirius XM

Scott B. Bomar met up with with Chris and Meredith of the Freewheelin’ show on Sirius XM to discuss Southbound!

>>LISTEN HERE<<

Many of the architects of rock and roll in the 1950s, including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard, were 00102657Southerners who were rooted in the distinctive regional traditions of country, blues, and R&B. As the impact of the British Invasion and the psychedelic era faded at the end of the following decade, such performers as Bob Dylan and the Band returned to the simplicity of American roots music, paving the way for Southern groups to reclaim their region’s rock-and-roll heritage. Embracing both Southern musical traditions and a long-haired countercultural aesthetic, such artists as the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd forged a new musical community that Charlie Daniels called “a genre of people more than a genre of music.”

Focusing primarily on the music’s golden age of the 1970s, Southbound profiles the musicians, producers, record labels, and movers and shakers that defined Southern rock, including the Allmans, Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, the Charlie Daniels Band, Elvin Bishop, the Outlaws, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, .38 Special, ZZ Top, and many others.

From the rise and fall of the mighty Capricorn Records to the music’s role in helping Jimmy Carter win the White House and to its continuing legacy and influence, this is the story of Southern rock.

108 Rock Star Guitars: The Lou Reed Story

Lisa S. Johnson has a story about each an every guitar she photographed on her journey to create 108 Rock Star Guitars. Tune in to her Youtube page every week to hear a new story. Here she is talking about her experience in photographing Lou Reed’s blue Bolin.