Tag Archives: horror

What Can Shaun of the Dead Teach Us About Leadership and Growing Up?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

It’s funny how you can watch a movie when you’re young and when you’re older and get a different experience.  When I saw this movie when I was young, I thought it was a funny spoof on zombie flicks.  Now that I’m older, it’s still that, but much more.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is 29, approaching 30 and is seen by everyone, even himself, as a big loser.  He’s a clerk at an electronics store and his teenage employees laugh at him.  His step-father has zero respect for him.  His flat mate thinks his buddy, Ed, (Nick Frost) is dragging him down.

Worse, his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) feels she’s wasting her life dating Shaun.  She yearns for a better life and is tired of going on the same date to Shaun’s favorite dive bar, the Winchester.  When Shaun fails an ultimatum to take her anywhere else by forgetting to make a reservation at a fancy restaurant, she calls it quits.

Like a zombie, Shaun is shuffling through life, allowing life to live him instead of vice versa.  Rather than create a plan and work and through, he takes what he gets and dulls the pain with booze and hanging out with Ed.

Now, here’s where it gets complicated.  I think an argument can be made that Shaun is actually the only respectable one in the entire film.

Sometimes excellence doesn’t come from within but from opportunity.  Without the Civil War, Abe Lincoln might have been a mediocre president.  Though I’m not comparing Shaun to the Great Emancipator, we see Shaun kick ass and take names in the zombie apocalypse.

Here’s the thing. As a society, we’ve become programmed to think that success=perfection.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Success comes from showing up.

Shaun takes charge of a group of survivors comprised of his friends and family.  Everyone follows Shaun but as he makes mistakes, they don’t give him any leeway.  His stepdad repeatedly dumps on him.  Liz’s friend Dave routinely craps on him.

This is a show don’t tell thing.  What I noticed is that at no time do any of the naysayers stand up and take control of the group.  They all want to complain but none of them actually vocalize anything they’d do better.  No one tells Shaun to stand down so they can take charge.  This unfortunately happens a lot in life. People are happy to dump on the decision makers but they don’t want to make decisions themselves.

Call Shaun a loser, but a he always showed up.  He showed up every day to a job he hated.  He kept caring for friend Ed even though everyone told him to cut him loose.  He kept dating Liz even though she complains Shaun is holding her back, as if Shaun is somehow keeping her from going to school, seeking a new job, going on a vacation or doing something to improve her life.

All we can do is show up.  Maybe we’ll be lucky.  Maybe we won’t.  But we only fail when we stop showing up.

We don’t get too see too far into Shaun and Liz’s future, other than at the end of the movie (spoiler alert) they’re happy and Shaun acts like a man who is a bit more sure of himself.  Does he get a better job or always remember to make dinner reservations, I don’t know.  But he shows up.

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Movie Review – Overlord (2018)

WTF.  Literally, WTF?

BQB here with a review of “Overlord.”

I tried to do a good dead, 3.5 readers.  I took an old relative of mine to the movies.  He picked Overlord.  Sounds good to me.  On the way he’s talking about the Normandy invasion during WWII (i.e. Operation Overlord i.e. D-Day.)  He’s a history buff after all.

Suddenly, it dawns on me he doesn’t realize what he’s walking into.  I tell him this isn’t just a World War II movie.  It’s a zombie WW2 movie.  He is disappointed but decides to give it a shot.

All I can say is, “Meh.”

The movie starts out like it was written by a high schooler who saw a few WW2 movies and brought together all of the tropes and cliches.  It’s all exceedingly woke.  Bokeem Woodbine is the commander barking orders at everyone…fine for today but historically accurate?  Probably not.  Then again it’s a horror fantasy and it probably says a lot about our terrible past that in a movie about the dead coming back to life, a black man ordering around white men in the 1940s is the most unbelievable part of the film.

NOTE: Yeah, don’t get upset 3.5 readers.  I’m glad we fixed all that.  I’m just saying, this is a woke version of the 1940s that didn’t exist at the time.

Back to the review.  The first half of the film is spent watching our heroes crash and wander about the French countryside, evading enemy attacks and mines and shit.  For awhile I felt like Dr. Malcolm in “Jurassic Park.”  “Uh, you do intend to have zombies in your zombie movie don’t you?”

Eventually, they give you a glimpse of potential zombie-ism but that’s just because someone must have picked up the script and said, “Jesus, we can’t bill this as a zombie film and leave the audience jerking off for an hour.”

Finally, our heroes discover a secret underground bunker where Nazi scientists are conducting experiments to turn humans into zombies i.e. soldiers that can last a thousand years or as long as how long they hoped Hitler’s reich would be.

Oddly, the bunker has lax security.  The heroes move between the bunker and the attic of a French house with reckless abandon.  It belongs to a young woman who gets to boss everyone around because again, this is super woke 1940s.

Here’s where I hate to dump on the film.  When we finally get to the zombies, there is some scary shit.  Scenes that will scare you and make you fear for our heroes’ safety.

It just makes you wonder why they didn’t bring that all up in the beginning because the overall problem is that the writers couldn’t decide if they wanted to do a straight up war movie or a horror movie and in the end, they don’t do either well.

It’s hard to criticize because I think the point was to make a crappy B horror movie but still…when you bill this as a zombified war movie, don’t make me wait all day to see the zombies.

STATUS:  Borderline shelf-worthy although honestly, this is a movie I have no interest in ever seeing again and if you miss it, you aren’t missing much.  It had potential and they blew it.  Sadly, somewhere out there is a WW2 Nazi scientist experiment gone wrong horror movie that would reel us in and scare the shit out of us…but this is not it and now because of this movie it will probably not be made.

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Andrew Lincoln to Leave the Walking Dead

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Sad news for “Walking Dead” fans, 3.5 readers.

My thoughts:

#1 – My initial hot take is you suck, Andrew Lincoln.  I hope this isn’t a ploy where you want more time to do movies because seriously, there is no movie that you could be in that people want to see more than a kick ass series finale to the show that made you a star.  Bryan Cranston realized that he had to juggle movies around his main bread and butter, namely sticking with “Breaking Bad” until the end.

#2 – But after calming down for a minute, maybe he doesn’t suck.  Lincoln is from England and he points out that the show has kept him from seeing his family for a long time.  AMC may be the network that a show about a meth cooking teacher built, but it is also the network that zombies kept afloat and in sticky cash.  AMC does not want to ditch those zombies any time soon.  It’s a great formula.  Hire dummies to run around the woods pretending to fight zombies.  Plot = humans need something in a place where zombies are.  Fight zombies.  Get sad a human dies.  Occasionally move to a new place that seems like it is run by nice people at first but then the people are bad.  Cut.  Print.  Repeat.

In that case, you can’t blame Andrew Lincoln for not wanting to stay FOREVER.  If AMC is going to keep the zombies coming until the end of time, then I suppose we can’t begrudge Andrew for not wanting to fight the zombies for the rest of his life.

“Law and Order” for example, found a winning formula and it has been on for decades now.  Sure, Mariska Hargitay stuck with it but that’s her choice.  Other actors haven’t stuck around.  I’m not even sure all the actors that were on it in the beginning are still alive.

I think we all have been waiting for that epic series finale that explains all but I have a feeling that AMC will keep “Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” and possible other spin offs going forever, just bands of humans fighting zombies until the end of time.

If they pull it off, more power to them.  My gut tells me they won’t and once Rick Grimes leaves, that will be it for the viewership.  Maybe not.  Maybe they’ll pull it off but that rarely happens when the main star leaves.

Examples I can think of – “That 70s Show” kept going without Topher Grace as his movie career kicked off.  I don’t blame the cast and crew for wanting to keep it going but I stopped watching after that and I think most people did because it was cancelled not long after Grace left.  Replacing him with a cousin didn’t help.

It’s not impossible to keep a show running without the main character, just unlikely.

#3 – So if Andrew doesn’t want to be Rick until the end of time and AMC wants the zombies forever, I can understand why he wants to exit but even so, we at least need a kickass ending arc to Rick’s character.  That will be like a finale for those of us who have stuck with the show from the beginning.  Maybe we’ll dump the show after Rick leaves.  Maybe we’ll stick around if the writers figure out a great Rick replacement.  But at least give us some closure with Rick.  I fear that won’t happen but we’ll see.

#4 – Andrew leaving should have been kept quiet.  We are now going into the new season with a spoiler.  We know Rick will either die or go off on his own or something.  If they could have kept Andrew’s leaving quiet, then an unexpected Rick death would have suprised the shit out of all of us.

#5 – We’ll see how it goes but I think Andrew and AMC owed us viewers a good resolution to Rick’s character and to the show itself, because I do have a hard time believing the show can carry on without Rick but we’ll see.  We viewers built your network with our support for your show, AMC.  We didn’t let you down when “Walking Dead” needed word of mouth and people hyping the show up on social media, so don’t let us down by giving us a lame ending to a show we’ve been watching nearly a decade now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Is Frankenstein a Zombie?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here.

As you are aware, I have traveled the world, fighting zombies, vampires, werewolves, chupacabras and yes, even ill-tempered hipsters and so I, I know a great deal about the occult.

I’ve shared much of my knowledge on this fine blog, though I doubt any of you have ever paid attention.

Here’s a test.  Is Frankenstein, and technically speaking, is Frankenstein’s monster, a zombie?

There is a right answer to this and I know it, but discuss in the comments and I’ll be back later to tell you whether or not Frankenstein is a zombie.

Remember, you must tell me a) if Frankenstein is a zombie and b) why or why not?

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Movie Review – Train to Busan (2016)

Zombies on a train!

BQB here with a review of “Train to Busan.”

As a zombie fan, I’ve been hearing mumblings about this movie in the nerd-o-sphere for awhile now.  It’s foreign, the characters speak Korean and it’s in subtitles, but foreign language films don’t necessarily stop me as long as the subject matter is something I’m interested in.  Personally, I prefer to read the subtitles and that combined with listening to the tone of voice and facial expressions I can get the gist of what’s going on even though I don’t speak the same language as the actors.  Funny how there are some things that transcend language barriers.

Anyway, in many ways, it’s a typical set-up.  Mom is divorced from Dad, Seok-woo (Yoo Gong), ostensibly because he works too much in his job as a stock broker, and apparently no matter where you are in the world, wanting to work hard is considered a crime by the ladies but that’s ok.  My review doesn’t need to be spoiled by my personal baggage.

Young daughter, Soo-an (Su-an Kim) misses her mother, who lives in Busan, and wants to cut her visit to her father’s home short.  After much wrangling, Dad concedes and hops a train with his kiddo.

Yadda, yadda, yadda…zombies!  A virus breaks out and South Korea is overrun with brain biters.  Worse, they’ve overtaken most cars on the train, leaving human survivors with only a few cars to move around on.

What happens next is a heroic tale of survival.  It becomes a constant running test when survivors are faced with a constant, repetitive choice, namely whether to slam a door between cars shut, sacrificing the life of a survivor who hasn’t made it through yet in order to protect one’s self and loved ones from the incoming zombie horde that’s chasing the unlucky human.

What would you do in that position?  Risk saving a fellow passenger, or slam the door in their face to protect yourself?  It’s a choice that’s made again and again, and as the movie progresses, we are left with a hope that maybe Seok-woo’s cold, businessman mentality might give way to a more humane, caring side.

Daughter Soo-an foils her dad’s efforts to think only for himself and his daughter.  She often lends a hand to complete strangers, putting herself at risk and in doing so, involving her old man in situations he’d rather avoid.

Meanwhile, the noble Sang-hwa (Dong-seok Ma) serves as a more overt check on Seok-woo’s conscience, almost bullying the man half his size to do the right thing.  While Seok worries chiefly about his daughter, Sang is worried about his pregnant wife, Seong-kyeong (Yu-mi Jeong).  Yet, he believes he can save her, his unborn child, and everyone else he can.

No movie would be complete without a villain and that comes in the form of Yon-suk (Eui-sung Kim), a train company executive who, unluckily for everyone else, happens to be riding on the train and is willing to sacrifice just about anyone and everyone just to save his oily hide from the gray matter chompers.

Overall, it’s a great film, a real thinker, with special effects that rival a Hollywood blockbuster.  Perhaps one of the more harrowing scenes comes when Seok, Sang and high school student, Yong Guk (Woo-sik Choi) form a three man phalanx and narrowly scrape through a tight car full of brain chewers in order to rescue their respective loved ones.

3.5 readers, Asia has really embraced the action genre and I don’t know if this is a new thing or perhaps it’s just something I’ve been turned onto thanks to Netflix, where you can find a vast cornucopia of Asian action films in subtitles.  Some are dubbed with American voices, but I do prefer to just read the subtitles, so catch this one before it obtains a mainstream level of popularity and they ruin it with dubbing.

The Ip Man Series and almost anything with Donnie Yen are worth watching and while Hong Kong seems to be Asia’s Hollywood, South Korea is catching up with this flick.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Seriously, I know a lot of people are like, “Ugh, I have to read subtitles?  No thanks.  Too much work.  It’s worth it and there’s plenty of action on screen to make up for it.  It’s currently available on Netflix.

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Movie Review – A Quiet Place (2018)

Shh!

Be vewy vewy quiet, 3.5 readers.  It’s time for BQB’s review of “A Quiet Place.”

I love it when I’m pleasantly surprised.  I knew very little of this film going into it.  I thought maybe it was just a standard horror flick that husband/wife duo John Krakinski and Emily Blunt whipped out but it’s anything but standard.  In fact, in this day of sequels, prequels and originals, you’ll want to scream for joy at this original idea.

But don’t.  Don’t make a sound.  You see, the world has been conquered by mysterious, scary creatures who, if you make a noise, will pop out of nowhere and eat you.  The population has been decimated and survivors live very quiet lives.  They make a modest amount of noise by walking around but other than that, no talking, no singing, no music and the slightest accident, i.e. knocking a plate onto the floor, can prove fatal.

There are exceptions to the “Be Quiet” rule.  There are places, circumstances, etc. where talking can happen but for the most part, the characters rely on sign language, subtitles and facial expressions to tell the story.  It’s impressive that the actors are able to get so much across by utilizing so little.  From a writing standpoint, it’s an exercise in “show, don’t tell” because all the characters can do is show.  They can’t tell.

Challenges abound.  Not to get too deep into it but daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is deaf and lives in a world where there isn’t a place that will fix her broken hearing aid.  Just as in zombie apocalypse times, empty shops and ghost towns abound, and the Abbott family must get by through their wits and occasional scavenging.

Further, they engage in a variety of clever ways to go about their daily routine, figuring out how to get through their days as quietly as possible (an expected baby poses a significant challenge as we all know what babies love to do.)

STATUS:  An unexpected gem.  Shelfworthy.

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Quote About Broken Spirit from Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

“Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.”

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Bookshelf Battle Cast Episode 002 – The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe – Analysis and Discussion

A good glass of wine is supposed to be relaxing, unless you’re sharing a bottle with a Montressor.  Damn, that family of dicks won’t let anything good.

But there’s a lesson in this dickishness, 3.5 listeners, for if you act like a dick, you never know how badly your dickish ways have upset someone – so much, in fact that this person might lay in wait, plotting an intricate, fiendish plan of revenge against you…muah ha ha!

And you’d never know it because if you’re as obtuse as Fortunato, you’d probably think whatever dumbass thing you said to your pal Montressor is all water under the bridge by now.

We’re never told what the slight was that turned Montressor into a homicidal mad man.  Then again, it’s doubtful that Fortunato could have done anything that merited being walled off in a tomb and left to suffer and rot while still alive.

Is there a method to Poe’s madness?  Montressor avenges his family against Fortunato’s slight.  Worse, the evil narrator accomplishes his goals – a) he Fortunato, but makes Fortunato suffer and makes him aware that he, Montressor did him in b) Montressor is not caught c) fifty years later, Montressor, as an old man, has lived a full life and now he can make the world aware of his supposed genius, how he masterfully killed Fortunato without getting caught.  One assumes the narrator is so old now that jail would matter little to him.  He’s lived most of his life as a free man so now he can boast of the evil deed he is most proud of to the world.

We see a lot of foreshadowing and ways in which Montressor plays on Fortunato’s ignorance and pride.  Montressor gets Fortunato liquored up, lulls his victim into assuming safety by asking him to leave the dumb under feigned fears of the old man’s health and insults Fortunate’s pride by suggesting Luchesi, Fortunato’s rival in the world of wine tasting, be the one who give the thumbs up or down to the amontillado.

Was there even a cask of amontillado to begin with?  Oh Monty, you devious prick.

Is it better to seek revenge, or as Jesus would advise, to turn the other cheek?  Alas, Montressor doesn’t seem to suffer for his revenge, though he might suffer in reputation as you, the reader, end up fearing and hopefully looking down at him, right?  Honestly, if you walked away from this story think Montressor is a good role model to emulate, you might need some counseling my friend.

Keep in mind that Fortunato isn’t just dressed as a fool, he is one.  He’s prideful and into himself and easily manipulated by appeals to his narcissism.  The idea that his rival wine taster might be consulted him makes him lose his senses.

Sometimes people are dicks…and sometimes these dicks will insult you.  They act like fools when they do, they have already damaged their reputations by being rude to you.  Often, when a person insults you, it is less about you and more about them, about their need to prop themselves up by dragging you down, feeling better by giving you a verbal kick to the ribs.

Montressor would tell you to get revenge but I mean, yeah we aren’t in Montessor’s day so you’ll totally get caught and even if you don’t get caught, you’ll be torn apart inside over the horror you committed and if you are like Montressor and don’t feel bad about it then yeah, again, seeking counseling for your screws are loose.

What say you, 3.5 listeners?

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Top Ten Ways to Pick Up Chicks During a Zombie Apocalypse

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It’s the end of the world…but that doesn’t mean it has to be the end of your love life.

Let’s face it.  Anyone could be eaten by a brain biting bastard any second.  So, I mean, even though you’re a total CHUD and weren’t able to pick up pussy with a handle in real life, you might be able to score with a chick during the end of days.  After all the fear of death around any corner is a total turn-on.

So, from BQB HQ in Fabulous East Randomtown, it’s the Top Ten Ways to Pick Up Chicks During a Zombie Apocalypse:

#10 – Tell her you are sorry her husband was eaten by a zombie.

Maybe you are actually sorry her husband was chomped.  Maybe you liked the guy.  Maybe you thought he was a dick and cheered the zombie on.  Maybe you were jealous that such a big doofus had such a hot wife, so you pushed the prick right in the way of those undead choppers.  Doesn’t matter.  She’s sad her man is dead, so be a gentleman, give he some condolences and wait at least until sundown before you make a move.  Any earlier than that is disrespectful to the dead, unless her husband became a zombie after he gotten bitten.  In that case, fuck that guy, because he’s a damn zombie now and he deserves no human pussy.

#9 – Lie About Your Heroic Feats

Your mother told you not to lie?  Oh, that’s adorable.  :::slaps you::: Bitch, get real!  The newspapers are out of business and no one’s keeping score, so feel free to embellish your resume.

NO – “I have been hiding in my closet with a baseball bat for three years, leaving occasionally to pee.”

YES – “I single handedly saved 100 orphans by fending off 1,000 zombies with nothing but a bottle opener and a toothpick.  I then taught the orphans kung fu and trained them into  a vicious zombie army and together, we kicked the heads off of 10,000 zombies.  I then found a town that was being abused by a cruel dictator.  So, I told him to leave or I kick his face off with a roundhouse kick.  He refused to leave, so I indeed removed his face with a kick.  All the women of the village were so turned on that they allowed me to impregnate them. In short, I kill at least 500 zombies a day before breakfast and I have saved the lives of 500,000 people.”

#8 – Share your rations.

Bitches love rations.

#7 – Pay women to spread rumors of your sexual prowess.

Women will often ignore a guy until they hear another woman wants him.  It’s called having stank on your hang-low.   So, just give some extra rations to some ladies and tell them there’s more where that came from if they tell every woman they meet about the hot time you had together.

#6 – Punch the biggest guy in the survivor camp in the face.

Chicks dig manliness.

#5 – Be fashionable.

Free shopping in all clothing stores.  There is no excuse for your tired ass look now.

#4 – Grow some shit.

It’s the zombie apocalypse, bitch.  Po-po has more to worry about than your herb garden.  Get yourself a green thumb and become a weed farmer.  Bitches love weed, especially during a zompoc.  Helps them get their minds off of potentially being eaten by zombies.

#3 – Get some ringer zombies.

Like, don’t take on some strong ass zombies who were weightlifters in their previous lives.  Get a couple of slow, fat zombies, turn them lose and karate chop their heads off.  All the babe will see is that you saved her ass and won’t realize that these were ringer zombies.  Never be too proud to fix a human vs. zombie fight.

#2 – Lie about your past.

Remember #9?  Guess what?  There are no fact checkers in the zombie apocalypse, so feel free to lie about your past too.

NO:  Baby, I was a jizz mopper at a gentlemen’s club.

YES:  Baby, I was a NAVY seal.  I killed 10,000 men with my pinky finger.

RULE OF THUMB:  Smarter the babe, the more realistic the lie.  If you’re a flabby fat fuck, a smart babe will not believe you were a NAVY seal.  But that’s OK.  You can just tell her you had your own Silicon Valley startup company and made a fortune.  Hell, promise her if the government and economy are ever restored, you’ll share some of your dough with her.  (Don’t worry.  People are lazy as fuck.  It’ll take like thousands of years for the government to be restored, so you’re in the clear.)

#1 – Don’t tell her if the government and economy are restored.

You’ve whisked her away to a secluded shack.  One day, she goes out in search of berries. Suddenly, there’s a power surge.  The TV and lights turn on.  A news anchor says all the zombies are dead and the world has been restored.

I mean, yeah, you could tell her that shit’s fine now so she can go back to her old boyfriend or…dude, please, you know I’ll lose all respect for you if you don’t rip that fuckin’ TV cord out of the wall, find the fuse box and turn all that shit off and tell her she better get her ass back here where it’s safe and don’t even think about looking for no berries again.  But be cool, just let her know it’s safe in that cabin, and only in that cabin, and you’ll protect her.

DISCLAIMER:  This was all just a joke.  You should be nice to women and considerate of their feelings and do not trick them and so forth. Don’t call them bitches and so on.  They are more than just their vaginas.  You should also be nice to women during a zombie apocalypse.  Share rations because you worry they are hungry, not because you think it might get you laid.  Be honest about your past (though she won’t, let’s be real) and if the zompoc ends…tell her…

…seriously, if the zombie apocalypse ends, tell her…within 5-7 days.  OK, fine, immediately.

 

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The Return of Count Krakovich, Incompetent Vampire

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Bleh!  I vant to suck your blood, 3.5 readers…bleh, but I don’t want to do a lot of work so bleh, bleh please just lay your necks down and make some holes in them with your necks so I can just slurp out the blood and then…

Bleh! Where are you going?  It sure is hard being a lazy, incompetent, asshat vampire.  In fact, you might have noticed that this year my name has been changed from Asshat Vampire to Incompetent Vampire.

Anyway 3.5 readers, I do like to check in with you all once a Halloween.  How have you all been?  I hope you have all been murdering many vampires because I hate those guys ever since they kicked me out of the League of Vampires.

I wish I had more to say but I have been a very depressed vampire as of late.  In fact I think I might just quit being a vampire.  Is that even possible?  Someone contact a vampire lawyer and let me know.

That’s it.  I am even incompetent at writing columns.  Happy Halloween 3.5 losers.  Bleh!

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