The Top Ten Reasons Why I Hate Zombies (and the Movies About Them)
by Linda Brookover
10. They’re ugly. Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body notwith- standing (was Jennifer really a zombie, after all), taken as a horde or as individuals with their swollen tongues, yellow eyes, skin that suggests much too long a stay in a tanning bed/grave, and sunken (or missing) cheekbones…I’ll grant that “R” in Warm Bodies has a certain je ne sais quoi; but he gets de-zombified. Before that was someone actually considering sex with a zombie. Deadgirl may turn on some desperate jocks but, seriously, guys, could you really imagine getting it on with the lovely pictured below? These hideous creatures give the Frankenstein’s monster and just about any ghoul that ever haunted the screen a shuffle for their money.
9. Speaking of that: They can’t dance. Yes, yes, I’ve seen the “Thriller” video and that is the exception that proves the observation. Sure boyfriends may have come back from the cemetery to attend the prom, but they were still geeks with no sense of rhythm.
8. They’re undead and uncouth. They have no sense of personal space and constantly seek to violate that of whomever they encounter without compunction, such as bashing their heads through car windows. As for table manners, well, if you have seen just one of these movies, enough said.
7. They’re not very romantic—in the literal rather than the literary sense, but actually not in that sense either. Even in the misbegotten comedies that involve teen couples, they are simply never huggable. Can you imagine a zombie date, a zombie valentine, or, perish the thought, zombie sex? Even the most hardcore necrophile would have to be repulsed.
6. Despite no sex, they breed faster than rabbits. Sure you could argue that it is not actual breeding, but what else would you call it? It starts with just one zombie moving into the neighborhood, and before you know it the kids next door are inviting themselves to lunch…off your flesh.
5. They have no fashion sense. They look like they slept in their clothes. Even if they never spent time in a coffin but went right from ordinary life to zombiefied after being bitten, their previously unremarkable wardrobe is suddenly very shabby and somehow still looks like it was worn inside a freshly dug grave: it’s dirty, shredded, and bloodstained. If vampires rep- resent the height of movie monster fashion, zombies without question are the nadir.
4. They look like they smell bad. One can only presume that from the reactions and occasional com- ments of those who encounter them, so thank heaven Smell- O-Vision no longer exists. I mean Scent of a Mystery was one thing, can you really imagine Scent of a Zombie. Eew!
3. They’re pathetic. Okay, there may be the occasional zombie for whom the word “hope- less” has some emotional heft, who is capable of experiencing some angst, as in Warm Bodies or Zombie Honeymoon or Deadheads; but 99% could never strike a tragic pose or express anything other than a ravenous hunger. Except for a coup de grâce, nothing can be done to help them as they overrun the environment. Perhaps the real reason people like to watch them on screen is to feel better about themselves.
2. They tried to kill Brad Pitt, probably the only person that could get me to pay hard- earned money to see a zombie movie. It’s one thing to threaten the unknown (at the time, and probably still) low-budget performers in Night of the Living Dead and hey, would you really have cared if they managed to devour Jesse Eisenberg (his attitude was a tad conde- scending) in Zombieland; but hands off Brad.
And the Number 1 reason to hate movie zombies:
You can show me all the Zombie Strippers you want, like the one above and I’m sorry but They’re boring. Conversation is limited to the occasional grunt or perhaps a rattle in their throat like a reverse hiccup, often accompanied by the clacking sound of their deformed teeth biting together in anticipation of finding your neck. If the “dissedents” in Juan of the Dead really had a political agenda, it might be something more than a biting satire about biting people. Tragically some of these post-persons were probably lively conversational- ists when still were still breathing, but now.
Scott Von Doviak’s Stephen King Films FAQ, the latest in the series from Applause Books is now available, with all that’s left to know about the king of horror on flim. While his book looks back the four decades during which Stephen King has made his mark at the movies, Von Doviak is also looking forward. Here are his thoughts on what this year may hold for Stephen King film fans.
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Two things we know to be true: Stephen King is one of America’s most prolific authors, and Hollywood is always hungry for material. So it’s not surprising that the Stephen King movie has become a genre unto itself, spanning nearly four decades since the 1976 release of Brian De Palma’s Carrie. This year is shaping up to be one of the most King-heavy in some time, so here’s a brief look at what 2014 has in store.
— Mercy is based on the 1984 short story “Gramma,” which was previously adapted by Harlan Ellison for an episode of The New Twilight Zone in 1986. This feature-length version is directed by Peter Cornwell (The Haunting in Connecticut) and stars The Walking Dead’s Chandler Riggs and Super 8’s Joel Courtney as two boys who discover their ailing grandmother is not what she seems.
— On a similar note, A Good Marriage is a novella from the 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars about a woman who discovers her longtime husband is a serial killer. The adaptation directed by Peter Askin (Company Man) stars Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia and boasts a screenplay by King himself.
— Cell is now shooting and may make it into theaters by year’s end. The big-screen version of King’s tale about a cell phone virus that turns people into zombies stars John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, who previously co-starred in the King-based thriller 1408. Tod Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) directs.
— The first season of Under the Dome on CBS was so successful from a ratings standpoint that what was once intended as a limited series has been extended indefinitely. What began as a promising series quickly deteriorated, however, and the first-season finale was a nonsensical mess. There’s reason to hope the show will get back on track, as King is aboard to write the first episode of the second season, due this summer.
In addition to the above, there are always King projects in various states of pre-production, notably Tom Holland’s The 10 O’Clock People, which may finally go before the cameras this year. One film fans shouldn’t hold their breath for is the long-awaited big-screen version of The Stand, which has churned through a number of potential directors over the years. The latest word is that Josh Boone, writer/director of Stuck in Love (a movie in which Stephen King made a cameo appearance) is on board, but the actual end of the world may come before this post-apocalyptic vision reaches theaters.
Now that all the statuettes have been handed out, and the 2014 Oscar telecast has concluded, Applause Books would like to pay tribute to George Kennedy, winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1967 for his portrayal of Dragline in “Cool Hand Luke.”
Kennedy writes about that role and the rest of his remarkable life and career in Trust Me, published in 2011 by Applause Books.
Follow this link, to see the book trailer and hear an extended interview with Kennedy on “Off the Meter” with Jimmy Failla.
Always At the Movies
Roger Ebert, the famous film critic who died on April 4, is rightly being remembered as an impassioned defender of cinematic art and a fierce opponent of Hollywood’s lowest-common-denominator ethic. He was a champion of the sleeper and the un-blockbuster. If his aesthetic standards were not as rigorous as those of highbrow reviewers like John Simon or Stanley Kauffmann, they nonetheless informed a generation of moviegoers who learned from him that big budgets and big stars do not inevitably produce great films. But Roger Ebert left another, more troubling, legacy – one he surely didn’t intend but which has nevertheless changed, for the worse, the medium he loved.
When it debuted on PBS in 1978, “Sneak Previews,” the program Ebert co-hosted with Gene Siskel, was a unique show that afforded TV viewers the unusual opportunity to learn about new, old, and little-known films. Today the review paradigm it pioneered – thumbs up, thumbs down; five star, one star; I say, you say; he says, she says – is ubiquitous on television and the Internet. Today movies, TV series, music, books, dance, and just about every other art form are subject to instant judgements passed by countless professional and amateur critics, ranging from highly paid celebrities, as Roger Ebert certainly was, to talking heads on the local news and down to anonymous bloggers and online trolls. Today there are cable networks devoted to old movies, websites devoted to new graphic novels, YouTube channels about television and Facebook pages about radio. Today the opinions of Ebert’s descendants and imitators are themselves praised, panned, and deconstructed by ever-expanding circles of commentary. Today the relationship between even the most populist creators and the least discriminating audiences is mediated by leagues of insiders, second-guessers, and full-time spectators. Today the entertainment and cultural industries are, in a significant sense, their own chief subjects.
Finish the article on George’s blog!
In this exhaustive and insightful reference text, rock writer and cultural critic George Case details the key names, dates, figures, and features of one of the biggest and most mythologized rock-and-roll groups of all time: Led Zeppelin. Here, finally, are the answers to the puzzles that have haunted fans for over four decades – puzzles such as the meaning of Led Zep’s enigmatic album covers; the truth about leader Jimmy Page’s involvement with the occult; a breakdown of the sometimes murky roots of their greatest songs; firm data on their musical instruments, live performances, and studio productions; and sordid specifics of the band’s infamously debauched private lives.
But here, too, is a deeply reflective analysis of why Led Zeppelin’s music has endured as long as it has, and of how Led Zeppelin’s mystique has only grown in the years since their official disbanding. Placing the group in the context of their time and place, Case scrupulously compares and contrasts their achievements with those of their influences, rivals, and followers. Led Zeppelin FAQ is not only an indispensable listener’s companion to a classic rock act, but a considered history of rock and roll as a business, an art form, and a worldwide social phenomenon.
“Another Happy Day,” starring Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, and Ellen Burstyn, and featuring George Kennedy, author of Trust Me, opens today in New York and Los Angeles.
If “Another Happy Day” is not a hit, it’s not for lack of Ellen Barkin’s pit bull intensity as producer and star with Demi Moore and Ellen Burstyn. I will always remember Michigan in Sept 2010, after Barkin (who I didn’t know) phoned and asked me to play her father in a full-bore, angst-ridden family brouhaha. I made her aware I couldn’t walk. She said she knew. If I was going to die while there, however, do it while the camera was rolling.
People have often asked me why I decided to become an actor. I used to pass it off by saying my mother and father were in Vaudeville, so my instincts were natural. A precise response would have been that I have never not been an actor. I can’t help but absorb stage and radio drama, play all the parts in a movie or lose fights to Peter Gunn.
The greatest rewards come from your peers. You finish a shot. They call “Print..” and then, “We’re moving on…” The bubble you’ve been operating in disappears, the center of attention is no longer singular and you’re just sitting there, coming back to a real world of cables and film canisters. But then, my dears, the good fairy takes a hand. After one take, Ellen Burstyn was looking at me. She smiled a soft smile. She nodded slightly, just once. Life can’t be more rewarding.
There’s a cast photo (below). The shoot was over. It was taken after 2 a.m., when I had five hours to get to the Detroit airport and go home. Every smiling actor you see posed this just for me, a souvenir from hearts which had become part of mine. So I’ll try to share:
Tomorrow will be “Another Happy Day” as soon as your smile brightens it.
— George Kennedy
a review of Another Happy Day (Salon)
“These are memoirs of a kid born in New York City in 1925. His dad, George Senior, was a pianist, composer, and orchestra leader at Proctor’s Vaudeville Theatre, and his mother, Helen, played in a classic dance troupe. Hanky-panky ensued. They married, and I soon was the result…
I write like I talk. A long time ago I tried making ‘talking and telling the truth’ one and the same. That isn’t just difficult; it means painfully reviewing things you’ve been led to believe since you were a child. That’s very hard to do. Like many, I have marched along adhering to conventions (sex, color, church, party, gang) without examination. There’s a wonderful, protective ‘togetherness’ in that anonymity. You obey or are damned, less joined together than stuck together. You become an echo rather than a voice.
This book is about what happens when you stop fearing and think.
Available for purchase here from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.
In honor of The Ides of March‘s release in theaters today, Applause Books author Kimberly Potts explains George Clooney’s current career, and why we may be seeing a lot less of him in front of the camera in years to come.
All those interviews and late night talk show appearances George Clooney and his Ides of March co-stars have made in the last few weeks have led to a plethora of stories about how a whole lot of celebrities have gone skinny dipping at Clooney’s famous villa in Lake Como, Italy.
But what they haven’t gotten across about the movie is that it could very well lead to the Oscar winner’s next Academy Award nomination(s).
In Ides, which hits theaters today, Clooney plays Mike Morris, the governor of Pennsylvania who’s now a Democratic presidential contender. Ryan Gosling pops up as his campaign leader, and a scandal later, we’re knee-deep in a thrilling political drama that resonates all too strongly with recent real-world political scandals, and sparks all sorts of discussions on matters of politics, ethics and doing things for the greater good.
And while Gosling’s performance is stirring all the buzz, don’t be surprised if Mr. Clooney isn’t a nominee for Ides when Oscar nominations roll out next year. Clooney stars in the movie, he co-wrote the script and directed Ides.
And, as arbiter of all things Hollywood awards-related, GoldDerby.com, points out, the only thing potentially standing between Clooney and Ides of March gold is the fact that his second movie of the year, the family dramedy The Descendants, is so terrific it may steal his Ides thunder.
Still, one-upping yourself is not a bad position to be in, and both movies are payoffs to what has been Clooney’s career philosophy: to agree to star in the movies studios want him to make, and then using his position to get made the movies he personally wants to make.
In the newly revised and updated release of my Clooney biography George Clooney: The Last Great Movie Star, Clooney asserts that his ultimate goal is to work only behind the scenes, making his movies, but not starring in them.
Is that possible? Even Clint Eastwood, whose career I think Clooney’s is modeling, still takes an on-camera role now and then, and it’s tough to imagine a time when Clooney’s face on the screen and name on the poster wouldn’t be a tremendous selling point for a movie.
Besides, I think the book’s title only becomes more and more true every year. With entertainment fans’ attention constantly being pulled in dozens of directions, celebrity of Clooney’s magnitude becomes a rarer thing. He is The Last Great Movie Star.
George Clooney: The Last Great Movie Star
In this updated biography of one of Hollywood’s most colorful leading men, pop culture expert Kimberly Potts traces Clooney’s life from small-town boy to big-screen idol. Potts fills us in on Clooney’s early attempts to break into film (including his Batman flop), his many well-publicized romances, his political and humanitarian efforts, plus a major fight with director David O. Russell on the set of Three Kings. Potts also recounts how Clooney has gained success and acclaim with his shrewd strategy of alternating blockbuster movie roles, such as the Ocean’s franchise, with less lucrative “passion” projects – such as Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck – that reflect his personal ethics. He won an Academy Award for the former and rave reviews for the latter, and has continued to earn accolades and Oscar nominations for smart dramas such as Michael Clayton and Up in the Air.
Available now from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.