Man of the Moment

Sean William Scott

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Closet Monsters: Undead

Now, if more zombie movies were like this, I could stand them. This Australian film is a fun sci-fi/horror/comedy, heavy on the gross-out humor, that plays up all the cliches of the zombie genre. Felicity Mason stars as Rene, a local beauty-queen who just lost the family farm. She's heading off from her small fishing town to the big city to try to earn some money when a meteor shower falls on the town. Then the townsfolk begin turning into flesh-easting zombies. Then the rain turns to acid. Then aliens begin abducting people. Then a giant metal wall surrounds the town. Then things get weird.

The film doesn't so much subvert the stereotypes and cliches of genre as it melds them together. There's a manic edge to it that's missing in more "serious" horror films, and you're never quite sure whether any given scene is going to lead to a laugh or a scare. There are elements of lots of other films here, Night of the Comet most conspicuously, but Night of the Living Dead, Braindead and The Crazies as well. It's also interesting that the film is very similar in tone, though perhaps a bit more on the serious side, to the later film Shaun of the Dead. I'll leave it to others to argue over which film is better, but given that the advertising I saw for Undead made the film look deathly serious and rote, it's a bit disappointing but not surprising that the world could only embrace one tongue-in-cheek zombie film.

Plus, Mungo McKay is very hot if you're into intense hill-billy bears.

In the fourth issue of Michael Alan Nelson and Chee's Second Wave, the stand-off at the farm-house from last issue gets resolved and the band of survivors grows slightly larger as they go off searching for medical assistance. They hope to find some in a small town that was largely isolated from the attacks, only to find that alien invasions don't do much to stop racism and xenophobia.

In the second issue of Talent the mystery deepens as to what, exactly, the organization trying to kill Nicolas Dane is up to, as we see even more clearly what depths of cruelty and depravity they're willing to sink in pursuit of their agenda. Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski have written an engaging mystery, and the art of Paul Azaceta complements the darkness of the story.

In Hero Squared's second issue, Milo and Captain Valor attend therapy to try and work out their differences. It doesn't go well. But it doesn't go well in a solidly entertaining way. The Giffen/DeMatteis/Abraham book is ideal for those looking for biting humor in their super-hero comics. Though, personally, at this point I'm kind of hoping that Milo Slacker finally gets a clue before too many more issues.

Pete and I finally broke down and bought a PlayStation 2. It was a combination of not wanting to have to wait for the Wii to come out to play any new games and the realization that we could use the machine as a back-up DVD player now that ours is dying. We picked up a variety of games, but three in particular are worth mentioning. (Yes, I know I'm late to the party on all of these.)

Kingdom Hearts: You wouldn't think an amalgamation of Disney characters and the Final Fantasy series of RPGs would work, but the game is actually both fun and challenging, if suffering slightly from the level-up grind that tends to plague RPG style console games.
Katamari Damacy: Is it wrong that this game brings out my homicidal tendencies. For a thoroughly non-violent game, there's something quite pleasing about rolling people up into a giant ball.
Silent Hill 2: The series was recommended to me by a couple of people who knew I was interested in horror games but was frustrated by the combat systems in most of them. There's not much combat, and the emphasis is on mood and atmosphere. Unfortunately, that mood and atmosphere largely consists of wandering around in the fog and occasionally hitting a monster with a stick. Oh, and if you solve a ridiculously easy "puzzle" you can wander around a dark building occasionally hitting a monster with a stick.
You know, as much as I dislike stupid fighting in games that aren't about fighting, I think I dislike games where you have to find the exact right spot to stand to trigger an event that tells you what the hell you're supposed to be doing in the damn game even more.


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