Daily Archives: July 11, 2016

Movie Review – The Purge: Election Year (2016)

Gratuitous blood, guts, violence and mayhem.

And for one night a year, it’s totally legal.

BQB here with a review of The Purge: Election Year.

SPOILERS abound.

So if you’ve never seen any of the Purge movies, here’s the set-up. It takes place in the not so distant future, at a time when society, so sick and tired of daily, non-stop crime, has instituted one night a year called, “the Purge.”

For 12 hours, all crime is legal, including murder. Police, fire and emergency services are suspended. Do whatever you want. And at least according to the film, the ability for everyone to get out all their violence and rage in one night makes the country run smoothly the rest of the year.

At a first glance, the premise sounds dumb. They like to go over the top with violence. They put people in wacky costumes and masks to the point where they’ve created a new kind of monster (forget zombies, watch out for purgers!)

But, when you start thinking about it, the premise of these films is actually scary.

We all like to hold ourselves out as great, wonderful, decent people but I doubt few of us spend much time thinking about what monsters we’d become if the threat of jail time wasn’t dangling over our heads.

No one wants to admit it but everyone has bad thoughts from time to time. Those thoughts don’t become actions because no one wants to be outfitted with an orange jumpsuit and live in a cage forever.

But if there was one night where you could act on all your evil thoughts?

Yup. Total chaos. We all aren’t as good as you’d think.

In past Purge films we’ve seen people kill their cheating spouses, attack their neighbors over spite, seek revenge on those who did them wrong, and even worse, just kill for sport.

When that eerie siren sounds, you the viewer realize just how scary a world without laws would be, as you start to put yourself into the shoes of the characters and realize that no one’s safe, no one can be trusted, that the rule of law is really all that is keeping people we think we know from doing terrible things to us.

There’s a twist in this year’s Purge film. Senator Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) is running for president on a platform of banning the purge once and for all.  The New Founding Fathers, the party that started the purge, won’t stand for that, so they get rid of a rule from previous purges – politicians and other important government officials, once protected during the purge, are now fair game, thus making it legal for the NFF to launch an attack on the Senator.

So it is up to Secret Service Agent Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) to save the day. Along the way, he’s helped by shopkeepers Joe and Marcos (Mykelti Williamson and Joseph Julian Soria) and Laney (Betty Gabriel) who protests the purge by running an ambulance of her own.

In my opinion, the first film in the series was good and the next two have gone increasingly over the rails. I think in a world of reboots and sequels, the people behind these movies came up with something original and frightening – i.e. that person you see everyday at work, in your neighborhood, etc. may seem nice but given the chance to do it legally, might just try to hack you to pieces for some perceived slight (you forgot to say hello to him, didn’t hold the door open or whatever).

It looks like they’re trying to build up this purge world with purge folklore and people fighting to keep the purge and people fighting to stop the purge but amidst it all, the producers shouldn’t lose sight of how watching this movie can make you appreciate that the law is all that keeps humans from acting out on their base animal instincts.

STATUS: Not shelf-worthy. Don’t rush out to see it. Worth a rental.

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How the West Was Zombed – Complete

 

shutterstock_32022656927Holy shit.

7 months.

136 Chapters and an Epilogue.

110,972 words.

And finally, after so many, many, many years of started and stopped attempts at a novel, I have finally, finally, FINALLY finished my first rough draft of a novel ever.

Plenty of work to go, but at this point, my characters came, saw, and did what they needed to do.

I can’t believe it.

There were so many times this year I thought this was a ridiculous waste of time. (I suppose the jury is still out on that.)

But I kept at it. And over time, the words added up.

Thank you, 3.5 readers. Your comments and clicks kept me going.

And thanks TA Henry. I grew to look forward to read your comments daily.  Even during times when it sounded like you wanted to reach through the computer and slap me, I realized it was only because you cared.

Time to rest up a bit. Relax. Chill out.  If you haven’t yet, please read it. Tell me what you think. What you like. What you don’t like.

I think I will let it sit for awhile and maybe even start a rough draft of Zombie Western #2 – Dead Man’s Hand (or possibly Undead Man’s Hand) before going back and rewriting the first draft.

Honestly, that was the hard part.  Realizing along the way that I goofed, or things in the beginning would need to be changed, and avoiding the temptation to rewrite but rather, just imagine in my mind that what I needed to happen just happened, for if you start rewriting, you’ll rewrite forever, because by the end of the story, you might change your mind about what needs to happen a hundred times.

Thank you 3.5 readers. You are truly great 3.5 readers. I can’t wait to publish this and sell it on Amazon and make a cool $10.47 ($2.99 X 3.5 readers = time well spent.)

 

 

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How the West Was Zombed – Epilogue

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Wisconsin

The hunter was a sturdy man with brown hair and a mustache. His spectacles made him look like he belonged in a library yet his frame was built for the frontier.

A rainstorm earlier that day turned the forest floor to mud. He trudged along for awhile until he saw it – a fresh bear track.

He knelt down and examined it. “Hmm. Yes.”

He pushed a finger into the dirt then sniffed it. “Fresh. You couldn’t have gotten far you rapscallion.”

The hunter rose to his feet and pressed on, deep into the forest, rifle in his hands at the ready.

Surrounded by nature, he felt at home. At peace. He stopped momentarily to close his eyes and allow the fresh air to fill his lungs. Alas, his respite was interrupted.

“Master Roosevelt!” called an old man. “Master Roosevelt!”

Disgusted, Roosevelt did his best to ignore his unexpected visitor and followed the line of bear tracks.

“Master Roosevelt!” the old man called. “Please take pity and slow your pace, sir!”

Roosevelt did no such thing. Eventually, the old man caught up to him and huffed and puffed as he struggled to keep up.

“How did you even find me, Humphrey?” Roosevelt asked.

“Your esteemed father, sir,” Humphrey answered. “He bid me to find for you and not to dare show my face at your family’s estate until I do so. I’ve made inquiries at every trading post and tavern in the vicinity until I finally met some fur traders who did some business with you and pointed me in this direction.”

“Blasted Frenchmen!” Roosevelt said. “And what news do you bring, man?”

Humphrey withdrew a crinkled up piece of paper from his pocket and started to read. “A letter from your father, sir. Dear Theodore…”

“Summarize the most salient points,” Roosevelt said.

“In short,” Humphrey said. “Your father bids that you cease these adventures that you are always going on, that you stop, and I quote, ‘trying to be the wild jungle man from Borneo’ and come home to take your place at the family business as you were always meant to.”

“Balderdash!” Roosevelt cried. He stopped, which provided Humphrey with great relief, as he needed a rest. “Look around you, Humphrey. Have you ever seen a land as beautiful as this?”

“It was beautiful for the first few moments, sir,” Humphrey said. “But between the multiple blisters on my feet and voluminous insect bites on my person, I must say the beauty has lost its appeal to me.”

Much to Humphrey’s chagrin, Roosevelt started walking again. Humphrey continued his pursuit.

“Well, you’ll just have to disappoint him, Humphrey,” Roosevelt said. “For I shall never return to New York. My home is here in the great outdoors.”

“Master Roosevelt,” Humphrey said. “Most assuredly, it is beyond my lowly station to say this but I have served you since you were a mere babe so might I inquire, am I wrong in feeling that you and I have a rapport that would allow me to speak freely?”

“You are correct in feeling that way, Humphrey,” Roosevelt said.

“Excellent,” Humphrey said. “Sir, might I then inquire as to whether or not these expeditions of yours are more about proving to the schoolyard bullies of your youth that you are no longer the asthmatic bookworm they so enjoyed making sport of and that you are instead, now a specimen of vim and vigor?”

“Of course not, Humphrey,” Roosevelt replied. “Don’t waste my time with such poppycock.”

“I apologize, sir,” Humphrey said. “My only point was that I hope you know that you have proven your worthiness to all who love you and therefore opinions of those from days long gone by should be of little consequence.”

“I’ve never given those ruffians a second thought,” Roosevelt said.

The forest floor ended and turned into a ten foot drop which in turn, became a steep embankment that went on for as far as the eye could see.

Humphrey persisted. “Even so sir, I must insist…”

“Shh!” Roosevelt spotted it. A majestic black bear resting on its hindquarters straight below.

Roosevelt dropped to the ground, flat on his stomach in a prone position.

“Please sir…”

Without taking his eyes off his prey, the hunter reached up, grabbed hold of Humphrey’s coat and pulled on it until the old man relented and joined his master in the muck.

“Sir, your father will be very cross…”

“Not another word,” Roosevelt whispered angrily.

The hunter trained the sights of his rifle at the bear’s head.

“I’ve got you now, bear.”

Roosevelt pulled the trigger. Click. Nothing. His gun was jammed.

“Blast,” Roosevelt said as he stood up.

“Most unfortunate, sir,” Humphrey said. “But if we could now make our way to the nearest train station…”

Roosevelt drew a long knife out of a sheath on his belt, then rested his free hand on his man servant’s shoulder. “Take care of yourself, Humphrey.”

Without giving it a second thought, Roosevelt threw himself off the cliff and landed on his quarry’s back.

The bear roared as Roosevelt grabbed hold of its fur. “I’ll have none of your back-sass, bear!”

Roosevelt raised his knife high in the air only to drop it when the bear bucked about wildly. The hunter held on with all his might until the bear reared backward and threw his attacker off.

The bear hauled a paw back and swiped at Roosevelt, who rolled out of the way just in time.

Roosevelt rolled up his sleeves and took a boxer’s stance. “Ahh, so it’s fisticuffs, is it?”

The bear rose up on its hind lags to stand at its full length, then slapped its two front paws down at Roosevelt, who dodged certain death yet again.

“You’ve asked for it now, bear!” Roosevelt shouted as he landed a punch right into the bear’s nose. “Don’t say you weren’t warned!”

The bear’s roar echoed throughout the forest. It’s teeth were sharp. It’s breath reeked. Roosevelt was unfazed as he sailed an upper cut right into the bear’s jaw, followed by a good solid left hook.

“Relent, bear!” Roosevelt shouted. “This will only get worse for you!”

The bear charged. Roosevelt ducked out of the way then grabbed hold of the bear’s side and climbed onto its back.

The embankment grew steeper and steeper. The bear kept running until it reached such a fast pace that it was unable to stop. With Roosevelt holding on for dear life, the bear just kept running until…SMASH!

The bear’s face planted into the side of a brick wall. Its neck snapped. Its body collapsed. It was no more.

Roosevelt inspected his kill. Moments later, Humphrey arrived on the scene.

“Oh Master Roosevelt! Thank goodness you’re all right.”

“What do you think, Humphrey?” Roosevelt asked. “Shall I just mount the head on the wall in my den next to the wild boar or turn the entire carcass into a lovely throw rug?”

“Your wall is already cluttered with many the head of a wild beast, sir,” Humphrey said. “And I thought you said you weren’t going home.”

“I never said I wouldn’t visit.”

Roosevelt looked up at the wall. It went on farther than he could see.

“Humphrey?”

“Yes sir?”

“What in God’s name is this monstrosity?”

“Oh yes,” Humphrey said. “You’ve been away from civilization for quite some time. You see, the West has been zombed sir and…”

“What?” Roosevelt asked. “It’s been what?”

“Zombed,” Humphrey repeated. “Filled with dead men who continue to walk long after they’ve expired.”

Roosevelt squinted his eyes at Humphrey. “Preposterous!”

“Indeed, yet quite true, sir.”

Roosevelt looked around. Hundreds of workmen hustled about, carrying tools, bricks, lumber and building materials. Twenty feet down the wall, a large scaffold had been erected and workers were building the wall even taller.

The hunter and his servant walked along the side of the wall for awhile until they saw two soldiers manning a post at the top of the wall.

“Hold on,” Roosevelt said. “I’ll get to the bottom of this. You there!”

The first guard turned around. “Who goes there?”

“Theodore Roosevelt,” the hunter replied. “As a citizen of these United States, I demand to know what’s going on!”

“Fuck off,” was the first guard’s reply.

Outraged, Roosevelt grabbed a long ladder that was resting against the side of the wall and straightened it so that it reached where the two guards were standing.

“Hold it steady, Humphrey!”

“Master Roosevelt, I do not think this is such a good idea.”

As he watched his master climb up the ladder, Humphrey gave up on arguing and held the ladder with both hands.

Roosevelt reached the top of the wall and stood up. “Gentlemen. This fortification has blocked my passage to the Mississippi River. I demand you remove it at once!”

“Can’t,” the first guard replied.

“Why not?” Roosevelt asked.

“Zombies,” the second guard said.

“Zombies?” Roosevelt asked.

The first guard handed Roosevelt a spy glass. “Have a look see.”

Roosevelt peered through the spy glass at the shoreline, where three particularly disgusting zombies tromped toward the wall. The guards opened fire, bursting their hideous heads open.

“You’re killing them!” Roosevelt said.

“They’re already dead,” the first guard said.

“We’re just putting them out of their misery,” the second guard added.

“My word,” Roosevelt said. “In all my life I have never seen such wretched creatures. How did this happen?”

“I haven’t got the time or the patience to explain it to you,” the first guard said.

“Help!”

Roosevelt looked through the spy glass again. A young couple, a man and a woman, drifted across the river on a raft made out of logs tied together.

“Turn back!” the first guard shouted.

“We can’t!” the young man shouted from his raft. “There’s fucking zombies over there!”

The first guard fired a warning shot that landed in the water a foot away from the raft. “The next one’s at your head!”

“What are you doing, man?” Roosevelt asked. “Those people are in need of help!”

“We’ve got our orders,” the first guard said. “Everyone from across the river is either a zombie or a suspected zombie and is to be treated as such. No exceptions.”

“This is an outrage,” Roosevelt said.

“Climb back down or we’ll throw you off,” the second guard said.

“No,” Roosevelt said. “Sirs, I shall have you know that as a member in good standing of the Republican party, I protest what you are doing here.”

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” the first guard said. “A Republican!”

“Bunch of bleeding heart do-gooders,” the second guard said.

“Yes!” Roosevelt said. “Bleeding heart do-gooders are we, for the Grand Ole Party carries the mantle of Lincoln, who fought boldly and gave his life to abolish the dreadful institution of slavery. Our party cares so much for the downtrodden masses that we lobbied for equal rights protections for them in the Constitution.”

“I don’t got all day to listen to your Republican nonsense,” the first guard sense.

“And yet listen to it you shall, sir,” Roosevelt said. “For the Republicans have earned their status as champions of all poor, unfortunate souls and so ingrained is our place in the American psyche that I dare say that even one hundred and fifty years from now, whenever people ask, ‘Who will help those in the minority?’ the answer will most assuredly be, ‘the Republican party!'”

“I’ve heard enough,” the first guard said. “Down you go.”

“This is not right, sir,” Roosevelt said. “The people across that wall need our assistance. The proper response for government is to utilize its resources to help them, not to build a wall and turn them away.”

The guards pointed their guns at Roosevelt.

“Fine!” Roosevelt started to climb down the ladder, but not without adding. “But do not think for one moment you have heard the last word about this from me, sirs!”

Moments later, Roosevelt reached the ground. He did not skip a beat. He stormed off. Humphrey followed.

“Something amiss, sir?”

Roosevelt turned around, stared at the wall, and tossed his hands into the air. “I have now found my true purpose in life, Humphrey. As God as my witness, I shall rise through the ranks of politics, ascending even to the Presidency of the United States if need be and I shall not rest until this wall has been torn down and the full might of our army is dispatched to bring an end to all zombies from sea to shining sea.”

“A most noble calling, sir,” Humphrey said.

“Indeed,” Roosevelt said as he walked away. “Skin my bear and meet me at the nearest train station, will you?”

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 136

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“I can’t,” Slade said. “I’m sorry. I made a promise to someone important to me that I’d try to die with my boots on.”

Earp smirked. “Noble thought. Easier said than done. Who’d you promise that to?”

“My Deputy.”

“Gunther Beauregard?”

“You know him?” Slade asked.

“Our paths crossed a few times,” Earp said. “Good man. I was sorry to hear he died. Forty years as a U.S. Marshal and he never once demanded credit, hogged the attention or even sought a promotion. Never bothered a man unless he bothered him first. If there were more Gunther Beauregards in the world, my job would become unnecessary and you wouldn’t hear a complaint from me.”

Earp stood up. Everyone else followed.

“I’m sorry,” Slade said. “You came all this way for nothing.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Earp said as he picked up the star.

Earp tipped his hat at Miss Bonnie. “Ma’am.”

“Marshal,” she replied.

Earp slapped Tobias on the shoulder. “It’s that hat or pussy, son. Make a choice because you’ll never have both.”

Slade picked up the deck of cards then walked Earp outside, where the greatest lawman in the West’s horse was tied to a post.

“Funny thing you said about pussy,” Slade said. “You must think I’m one.”

“Oh hell no, Slade,” Earp said. “I don’t think anyone can call the man who stopped the United States from being overthrown by a damn vampire and his army of zombies a pussy. Practical is more like it and now that I know you spent some time with Gunther it makes sense.”

“I just don’t want to disappoint you,” Slade said. “The last ten years since I became a Marshal, all I’ve ever done is try to be like you.”

Earp scoffed. “Shit. Don’t be like me. Even I don’t want to be like me.”

Slade looked Earp in the eye. “You ever feel like, when you do this job, that you’re at war with who you are on the inside and who you need to be on the outside in order to win?”

“Nope,” Earp replied. “If a man deserves it, I’ll shoot him dead then fall asleep before my head hits the pillow.”

“I try to pretend I’m like that,” Slade said. “But every man I’ve ever shot deserved it and they all haunt me. I used to walk around pretending like they don’t. Sometimes I feel like I still need to.”

Earp put his hand out. Slade shook it.

“Good,” Earp said. “Then there’s hope for you yet.”

Hope. That was a big word for Slade. He was once convinced he was out of it, but now he was feeling like he had it more and more every day. Even a man he admired saw it in him.

Earp continued. “Sure, when we all start out in the Marshal’s service, a lot of men have to pretend like they breathe fire and shit daggers but once they earn their reputation as a good law man, they can act however they want. You foiled a Legion plot that was years in the making, Slade. You’ve earned the right to just be yourself.”

Slade let out a sigh of relief as though Earp’s words brought him great comfort. “Do you really shit daggers?”

“Sure do,” Earp replied. “Makes a mess out of the outhouse.”

Earp took the star in his hand and pinned it to Slade’s shirt.

“But I…”

“While you’re talking about yourself,” Earp said. “Let me tell you about a side of yourself you haven’t met yet. See, my brothers and I all agreed that once we retired from the law and left Dodge City, we were never going to pick up a star ever again. We were going to become businessmen in Tombstone and live the good life. We did our part. We earned some happiness. But sure enough, just when you think you’ve left all the assholes behind you, new ones arise, dirtier and smellier than ever. And try as you might to say that you don’t give a shit, that it’s not your problem, you know deep down inside that you care and sooner or later, you’ll pick up that star and fight those assholes again because if you don’t, no one else will.”

Slade looked at the star, then back to Earp.

“Do what you please with it, Slade,” Earp said. “Wear it on your shirt proudly. Take it off, throw it in a drawer and never look at it again. Live your life. Love your woman. Love your young’un. But on top of the vampires, zombies and werewolves, there are still plenty of human shit heels who will be happy to attack this nice town you’ve got here and when that day comes, you’ll need to do what you need to do. That star will make it nice and legal, whatever that means these days.”

Earp untied his horse then climbed up into the saddle. Slade shuffled through the deck and held up the Chairman’s card.

“Marshal Earp,” Slade said.

Earp corrected him. “Wyatt.”

“Wyatt,” Slade said. “Get the rest of them and I’ll ride with you against him.”

Earp tipped his hat at Slade. “I’ll hold you to that.”

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