TV Review: The Walking Dead 11.9 “No Other Way” (dir by Jon Amiel)

Well, so much for The Reapers.

The Walking Dead‘s 11th season returned last Sunday.  As you can probably guess from the fact that it’s taken me until Friday to get around to watching and reviewing it, it didn’t exactly arrive with the type of fanfare that previously greeted every premiere of The Walking Dead.  Not to belabor a point that I’ve been making since this season began but it’s been a while since The Walking Dead was really a big deal.  It definitely had a good run, especially during the early seasons.  However, I don’t think anyone will deny that the later seasons have been frustratingly uneven.  Season 11 is the show’s last, though the future does hold the promise of Walking Dead movies and perhaps a Walking Dead anthology series.  The Walking Dead may be coming to an end but it’s definitely not dead yet.

When Season 11 started, it appeared that the majority of the episodes were going to center around the Alexandrians battling The Reapers.  I wasn’t particularly looking forward to that, as the Reapers weren’t really that interesting.  Beyond all of the babbling about religion, there wasn’t that much to separate them from The Whisperers or the Saviors.  So, as you can imagine, I was happy that this episode featured what appeared to be the nearly complete and total destruction of the Reapers.  Maggie and her group ruthlessly and systemically destroyed every Reaper that they came across, with the exception of Leah.  Gabriel killed a sniper, which leads me to wonder why Gabriel still wears his collar when its obvious that it means nothing to him.  Negan watched as Maggie killed every Reaper that she saw and he wisely decided that it was probably time for him to head off on his own before Maggie got around to killing him.  Indeed, the interesting thing about Maggie is that we really only cheer for her because we know her and we’ve been conditioned to be on her side.  She’s just as ruthless as the show’s bad guys and she uses the exact same justifications that were previously used by everyone from The Governor to Negan to Pope.  Even the fact that she’s mourning Glenn doesn’t really make her all that different from those she’s attacked.  In the world of The Walking Dead, everyone has lost someone.

(And really, it was pretty much Rick’s fault that Glenn died.)

Meanwhile, Alexandria was hit by a violent storm and a walker invasion but, as usual, everyone there managed to survive.  Afterwards. Maggie, Darryl, and the gang finally returned home.  However, also approaching Alexandria were Eugene and the Commonwealth.

The show then jumped forward 6 months.  Maggie was still in charge of Alexandria but it was impossible not to notice that Alexandria no longer looked as clean and peaceful as it once did.  Surrounding the town were the soldiers of Commonwealth.  And leading the soldiers was …. DARYL DIXON!

Now, that is an effective cliffhanger!

So, what’s going on here?  Is this yet another case of Daryl going undercover (booo!) or has Daryl truly changed sides?  I’m hoping that he actually did change sides, just because the whole undercover Daryl thing has been done to death and I think that Maggie and Darryl have a more interesting dynamic as rivals than as allies.  Given the history of the characters, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where Daryl might chafe at Maggie’s leadership style.  Or perhaps Darryl truly believes that the Commonwealth is offering up a better society than what’s going on at Alexandria.  I mean, honestly, Alexandria does require a bit of commitment on the part of its citizens.  I probably would chose not to live in Alexandria.

So, which is it?  Is Daryl a friend or a foe?  We’ll find out over the upcoming weeks!

Horror on the Lens: Night of the Living Dead (dir by George Romero)

Happy Halloween everyone!

Well, as another horrorthon draws to a close, it’s time for another Shattered Lens tradition!  Every Halloween, we share one of the greatest and most iconic horror films ever made.  For your Halloween enjoyment, here is George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead!

(Be sure to read Arleigh’s equally famous review!)

Load up with the trailer for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

It looks like Sony released a trailer for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, starring Kaya Scodelario (Crawl) as Claire Redfield, Avan Jogia (Starz’ Now Apocalypse) as Leon Kennedy, Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp) as Jill Valentine, Robbie Amell (The Babysitter) as Chris Redfield, Tom Hooper (The Umbrella Society) as Albert Wesker and Lily Gao as Ada Wong (Kin).

Director Johannes Roberts (The Strangers) looks like he’s bringing in elements from Capcom’s Resident Evil remake (originating back in 2002 on the Nintendo Gamecube), as well as Resident Evil 2. We have Lisa Trevor from the original and William Birkin (played by Band of Brothers & Ravenous‘ Neal McDonough), though it seems to be more of a mashup.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City premieres in Theatres on November 24th.


Horror on the Lens: Night of the Living Dead (dir by George Romero)

Happy Halloween everyone!

Well, as another horrorthon draws to a close, it’s time for another Shattered Lens tradition!  Every Halloween, we share one of the greatest and most iconic horror films ever made.  For your Halloween enjoyment, here is George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead!

(Be sure to read Arleigh’s equally famous review!)

Zombies run amok in the Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula teaser!

Whoa!! It looks like we have a sequel to 2016’s smash hit, Train to Busan! Train to Busan Presents Peninsula takes place four years after the events of the original film. The zombies have taken over the land, and what’s left is more of a post-apocalyptic setting, with armored vehicles and cage matches. Director Yeon Sang-Ho returns for this update.

A Release Date hasn’t been set, though we’re told the film is coming soon. Until then, enjoy.

Horror on the Lens: Night of the Living Dead (dir by George Romero)

Happy Halloween everyone!

Well, as another horrorthon draws to a close, it’s time for another Shattered Lens tradition!  Every Halloween, we share one of the greatest and most iconic horror films ever made.  For your Halloween enjoyment, here is George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead!

(Be sure to read Arleigh’s equally famous review!)

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Day of the Dead: Bloodline (dir by Hèctor Hernández Vicens)

Hey, it’s another zombie film!

Eh, who cares?

At this point, there’s been so many zombie films that I’m a bit burned out on the whole genre.  I can still get enthusiastic for zombie films that attempt to put a new spin on the material and I still love the classic zombie films of the past.  But, for the most part, new zombie films just leave me bored.

2018’s Day Of The Dead: Bloodline is technically a remake of George Romero’s Day of the Dead but, then again, almost every American zombie film that’s come out over the past twenty or so years has been a remake of something that Romero did earlier.  The whole idea of an isolated military compound where soldiers plot to kill zombies (or rotters, as they’re called here) while scientists try to understand and maybe cure them has been done to death.  Once again, we’ve got a fascist army guy (Jeff Gum) and, once again, we’ve got a dedicated scientist who doesn’t like taking orders from the military.  The scientist is named Zoe (Sophie Skelton).  She was a medical student when the zombie apocalypse began.  Now, five years later, she’s trying to find a way to end it and blah blah blah, wake me when it’s over.

A good deal of the film centers around Max (Jonathon Schaech).  In life, Max was a pervy stalker who was so obsessed with Zoe that he craved her name into his arm.  In death, he’s a rotter who has retained some of his personality and bits of memory.  For instance, he’s still obsessed with Zoe and spends a lot of time saying, “You are mine, you are mine….”  However, Max’s blood potentially holds the cure for the zombie plague.  And, to be honest, that’s kind of an interesting premise.  In life, Max was the worst that humanity had to offer.  In death, he might hold the secret for saving the world.  Even as a rotter, he remains obsessed with Zoe and Zoe has to decide whether or not to destroy the man who tried to rape her or to keep him functional for the good of the world.

But …. eh.  I mean, it’s intriguing but the film doesn’t really do much with it.  It just becomes another zombie movie with a bunch of hardass soldiers and some scientists who don’t understand why the soldiers keep shooting everything.  Who cares?  We’ve already seen all of this in a hundred other movies, not to mention on shows like The Walking Dead.  Neither the script nor the characters in this film are interesting enough to really justify seeing it again.

Horror Book Review: Book of the Dead by Jamie Russell

If you’re still making out your Halloween movie list, might I suggest that you pick up a copy of Jamie Russell’s Book of the Dead?  Because, seriously — what’s a Halloween movie night without a few zombies thrown into the mix?

Book of the Dead is comprehensive study of the history of zombie cinema, starting with a look at how the legend of the zombie first began and then progressing through White Zombie, the dead films of George Romero, the great Italian zombie films of Lucio Fulci, and finally moving all the way to the modern era.  Scary zombies, funny zombies, porno zombies, political zombies, underwater zombies, French zombies; they’re all here!  It’s a well-written book, one that was clearly written by somebody who not only loves the movies in general but zombie films in specific.  Russell seems to be having so much fun writing about these films that it’s impossible not to share his enthusiasm.

Even better, the book contains a comprehensive appendix that lists and reviews basically every zombie film ever made!  Seriously, there all here — from the obscure to famous.  When I first started to seriously study the history of horror cinema, Book of the Dead was one of the first resources that I purchased and I used to obsessively study that appendix.  It’s thanks to this book that I discovered films like I, Zombie: The Chronicles of Pain.  It was thanks to this book that I discovered that there was more to zombie cinema than just corpses eating brains.

This book was originally published in 2005 and, at that time, basically went up to the Resident Evil-era of zombie films.  Subsequent editions have been updated with even more zombie films and even more zombie reviews!  This is the perfect book for all of your undead needs!


Horror Scenes that I Love: Checking Out The Boat in Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2

The scene below comes from the 1979 Lucio Fulci masterpiece, Zombi 2.

In this scene, a mysterious boat is floating towards New York City.  Two cops are sent to check the boat out and, as they eventually discover, the boat isn’t quite as deserted as they thought it was.

Now, there’s a few reasons why this scene is important.  Number one, Zombi 2 is an Italian film that was designed to pass for an American film.  (Technically, it was sold as being a prequel to Dawn of the Dead, which was released under the title Zombi in much of Europe.)  In order to maintain the illusion, Italian filmmakers would often spend a day or two shooting on location in a recognizable American city.  More often than not, that city would turn out to be New York.

Number two, since Zombi 2 was promoted as being a bit of a prequel to Dawn of the Dead, one could argue that this scene shows how the whole zombie apocalypse began in the United States.  It wasn’t radiation from space or Hell running out of room.  No, instead, it was juts a boat floating from an island in the Caribbean all the way to New York.

This scene is also memorable because of the “boat zombie,” who is one of the best-known of the movie zombies.  Even people who have never heard of Lucio Fulci will probably recognize the boat zombie.  He’s an icon of the undead!

Finally, this scene sets up one of the greatest closing shots in the history of zombie cinema.  New York beware!

SyFy Film Review: Zombie Tidal Wave (dir by Anthony C. Ferrante)

“Fire up the wood chipper!  It’s feeding time!”

So announces Hunter Shaw (Ian Ziering) towards the end of Zombie Tidal Wave, proving once again that any film, regardless of genre or tone, is automatically made a hundred times better by stuffing someone in a wood chipper.  Or, in this case, several zombies.  Needless to say, there’s soon blood and chunks of blue skin flying everywhere.  It’s messy but, when you’re being attacked by zombies, you do what you have to do.

SyFy advertised Zombie Tidal Wave as being from “some of the people behind Sharknado” and this film definitely shares the same sensibility as the first Sharknado film.  What’s often forgotten is that the first Sharknado film was not quite the all-out parody that the later films in the series eventually became.  It was definitely a comedy but, at the same time, there weren’t any celebrity cameos and David Hasselhoff didn’t end up in space.  Instead, it took a ludicrous idea — sharks in a tornado — and then presented it with just a hint of self-awareness.

Zombie Tidal Wave does the same thing.  As a result, you do get Ian Ziering delivering one-liners, like the one at the start of this review.  And the entire film is full of references to other zombie films.  For instance, there’s a band called The Fulcis and the first zombie to appears bears a distinct resemblance to the boat zombie from Zombi 2.  The many scenes of zombies rising from the ocean will remind veteran zombie fans of Shock Waves.  When the zombies invade a hospital, I was reminded of the infamous Hell of the Living Dead.  But, at the same time, Zombie Tidal Wave plays things relatively straight.  Zombies invade.  People get bitten.  Some people sacrifice themselves for the good of the other survivors.  Zombie Tidal Wave has its moments of humor but it never becomes an out-and-out parody.

Why are zombies washing up on the shores of an island community?  Well, it’s because of an earthquake, one that’s unleashed a horde of the undead.  Hunter Shaw is a fisherman and perhaps the most respected citizen of the besieged community.  Naturally, it falls upon him to not only bring everyone together but also to figure out how to defeat the zombies.  To be honest, it really is a typical SyFy movie, which a handful of characters spending most of the film looking for each other while trying to stay alive and then eventually banding together to battle the threat.  Some people, like Hunter and his wife (Cheree Cassidy) rise to the challenge.  Others, like the rich white guy in the pink shirt, don’t.  Personally, my favorite character was Taani (Angie Teodora Dick) because she grabbed a pointed stick as soon as the invasion began and spent the entire movie kicking zombie ass.  GO TAANI!

Anyway, as a lifelong fan of zombie movies, I enjoyed Zombie Tidal Wave.  It didn’t waste any time getting to the zombie action and really, that’s the important thing isn’t it?  The pace was quick and, as he did in Sharknado, Ian Ziering played the grim hero with the right mix of sincerity and horror.  I don’t know if Zombie Tidal Wave is going to launch a Sharknado-style franchise or not but it was still an entertaining SyFy film.