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THE END IS EXTREMELY FUCKING NIGH
June 28, 2013 3:49 PM   Subscribe

It's debatable whether the troubled World War Z signals the end of the ongoing zombie craze, but the film that started it all is much more clear: Danny Boyle's bleak, artful cult horror-drama 28 Days Later, which saw its US premiere ten years ago this weekend. From its iconic opening shots of an eerily abandoned London (set to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's brooding post-rock epic "East Hastings") to the frenzied chaos of its climax, Boyle's film -- a dark yet humanist tale of a world eviscerated by a frighteningly contagious epidemic of murderous rage -- reinvented and reinvigorated the genre that Romero built (though many insist its rabid, sprinting berserkers don't really count). And while sequel 28 Weeks Later with its heavyhanded Iraq War allusions failed to live up to the original (despite boasting one of the most viscerally terrifying opening sequences in modern horror), and 28 Months looks increasingly unlikely, there remains a small universe of side content from the film, including music, short films, comics, and inspired-by games.

More scenes:
Infected Apes - I've Got Some Bad News - Home Movies - A Drop of Blood - Mailer - Return to Normality - Jim's Rampage
Deleted scenes:
People Watching - Cabbie Impressions - In the House - Alternate ending
Behind the scenes shots

How did they create an abandoned London without CGI?

Soundtrack by John Murphy on Grooveshark, including series theme "In the House, In a Heartbeat", shopping spree tune "AM 180", the beautiful "In Paradisium", and Brian Eno's "An Ending (Ascent)"

Death of a Nation: An alternate history buff games out exactly how the infection might have swept Britain

TVTropes entry

Short Films

Six short films were created to promote the release of the 2007 sequel, 28 Months Later:
Jealous Rage
28 Seconds Later
Welcome to London
The End is Extremely Fucking Nigh
Saturday Afternoon
77 Days Later
Comics

Two comics series were produced for the movies:

The Aftermath - A graphic novel by 30 Days of Night author Steve Niles, featuring four short stories, including a (somewhat obnoxiously) animated version of the prologue.

A multi-year, multi-volume series, 28 Days Later, that follows Selena's return to Britain after the first film. There are dozens of issues of free previews on CBR.

Also, unrelated to the films but on a similar theme, is Garth Ennis's graphic, hyperviolent, *extremely* NSFW series Crossed, which portrays a world devastated by a plague that compels victims to pursue their darkest, most evil urges. The website offers a free ongoing webcomic called "Wish You Were Here" following a small, desperate group of survivors on the island of Cava in the far north of Scotland.

Games

As a pixel-based game, it's about as low-res as you can get, but HardCorePawn's Game-of-Life-esque Stop the Zombies! simulator does a terrific job of simulating the dynamics of a 28DL-style infection, including the mass panic and the futility of containment. Click to drop bombs that take out friendlies and infected alike -- can you contain the four initial outbreaks with as little collateral damage as possible?

There's also this similar simulator that offers fine-tune controls of speed, virulency, military response, angle-of-view, etc.

And it's pretty cheesy, but National Geographic's Doomsday Preppers site offers this Google Maps-based Outbreak! simulator with similar levels of customization; it's also available on iOS.

More fun with 28DL: In 1 Minute, In 1 Take - LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" video parodies the film's opening - The Boondocks parodies the horrifying intro to 28 Weeks Later
posted by Rhaomi (90 comments total) 76 users marked this as a favorite

 
I found BBC's "In The Flesh" to be an intelligent, well-written zombie story about the end of The Zombie Crisis, dealing with many of its social effects still taking place. I recommend it for anyone who likes the genre, and even for those who don't.
posted by hippybear at 3:51 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the Stop the Zombies! simulators and others also inspired the indie game Atom Zombie Smasher, which is a fairly unique zombie-disaster management and civilian evacuation game.
posted by FJT at 3:58 PM on June 28, 2013


(though many insist its rabid, sprinting berserkers don't really count)

They are more like infects run amok, a macro sized disease that is literally face to chewy face with humans. The berserk, fast moving death and mayhem they portray is fascinating.

As to 28 Days Later and 28 Months Later, they are one of the most best examples of a sequel being as good as the original, albeit in a different way. However, the opening sequence of the later was pretty tame, it was the zombies (zombfections?) locked in that basement room in the safe zone that was truly terrifying.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:03 PM on June 28, 2013


Danny Boyle stole the idea for the red-eyed zombies from The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (a.k.a. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie) anyway.
posted by jonp72 at 4:05 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was surprised how much I enjoyed the comic book series, and equally surprised when it ended. Not that it ended poorly (not at all), but because it was actually written to tell a specific story that came to a natural conclusion, instead of being the never-ending treadmill that most comics are. That's one thing that Boom! does very nicely.
posted by Lokheed at 4:07 PM on June 28, 2013


Catherine McCormack deserved better. From Braveheart to 28 Weeks Later, Catherine McCormack deserved so much better.
posted by Auden at 4:12 PM on June 28, 2013


while sequel 28 Weeks Later with its heavyhanded Iraq War allusions failed to live up to the original

I had heard this and went in with low expectations, but I actually really enjoyed 28 Weeks Later.
posted by Hoopo at 4:22 PM on June 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Count me amongst the number who actually quite liked 28 Weeks Later as a very different kind of zombie movie from the original that still works, heavy-handed Iraq War allusions and all. About my only complaint is how odd the pacing was for me—by the time the movie ended, I thought there was still half a movie left to go.

I honestly don't know what Boyle and company would've done for a 28 Months Later, though. Given the implications of 28 Weeks, it almost would've had to turn into the kind of movie I think Boyle wants to avoid. Either that or turn into the movie World War Z might have been, had they actually stuck to the book's premise.
posted by chrominance at 4:29 PM on June 28, 2013


Low Budget Films That are More Thrilling than Most Big Summer Movies
posted by Artw at 4:32 PM on June 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


Last I heard 28 Months would have been about a small group of survivors in the midst of a Russian winter, rather than the world-spanning chaos you might expect. It might work in a claustrophobic 30 Days of Night way, but I was kind of hoping for a better view of a global catastrophe that the end of Weeks hinted at.

(Speaking of which, Ivan Fyodorovich kindly notified me the short film section should reference 28 Weeks Later, not 28 Months, but I won't modbother about it.)

Also, it's funny that 28 Days Later was not the first movie to feature a lone protagonist wandering the empty streets of a major city to a moody post-rock tune -- 2001's Vanilla Sky had Tom Cruise running through an abandoned Times Square with Radiohead's "Everything In Its Right Place" and Mint Royale's "From Rusholme with Love" playing in the background. Like Boyle, they actually shut down the city streets for the shoot -- no CGI involved.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:35 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


"As far as sci-fi goes, I'm not sure apocalypse zombie has yet tapped out, though as you say, the World War Z movie might still constitute a swan song." - Robert Vaux, RPG.net Forums, March 13, 2007

We did it, guys. We finally did it. God rest Brad Pitt for ending this cliche once and for all.

Fucken finally.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:42 PM on June 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


...and rising like the Eiffel Tower over a pack of infected:

'World War Z' Sequel in the Works
'We've got enough material,' Brad Pitt says

posted by Rhaomi at 4:45 PM on June 28, 2013


For me it was Resident Evil that started up the zombie craze and The Walking Dead that killed it.
posted by cazoo at 4:46 PM on June 28, 2013


The officer character, Major West, remains to me one of the scariest villains in movies. Not because he's smart, which he is. It's because's he's practical. Pragmatic. Level-headed.

The speech where he talks about the infected soldier he's keeping around always gives me the chills because it'll work.

"He's telling me he'll never bake bread, plant crops, raise livestock. He's telling me he's futureless. And eventually, he'll tell me how long the infected take to starve to death."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:47 PM on June 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


Zombies have improbably been a thing for so. fucking. long that I've gone from extreme interest to extreme disdain all the way back to extreme interest and am now heading back into extreme disdain yet the fuck again. But! I do really enjoy Crossed, in all its permutations. I'll admit that while I dig Wish You Were Here, I'm a little concerned that it feels more like a standard zombie story (as it goes on) than like a Crossed story, which is similar, but...not so much the same. As far as I can tell, the entire point of Crossed is to shock readers the way zombie movies did, like, ten years ago. It mostly works.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:53 PM on June 28, 2013


I'm looking forwards to the third or fourth WWZ movie where the budget doesn't stretch to any big names and they have to get inventive and crazy and maybe actually just do the book in order to squeeze the next film out of the franchise.
posted by Artw at 4:57 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


What really annoyed me about 28 weeks later was the military hasn't come up with any creative solutions to deal with an outbreak. You wouldn't need to bury landmines to kill infected for example. We're really good at coming up with ways to kill each other and no-one managed to get some sentry guns down there ?
posted by MrCynical at 5:01 PM on June 28, 2013


I had this take on the 28 Time Units Later series a couple of years ago, and I stand by it (and am glad to see I'm not the only one who liked parts of Weeks other than the opening sequence).
posted by Riki tiki at 5:01 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I used to love zombies. Loooooove zombies. As a kid terrorized by Night of the Living Dead and the stuff that came after, it was my favorite supernatural theme -- vampires? Fuck 'em. Werewolves? Boring. Gimme the zombies every time.

But I'm zombied out. The books, the movies, the TV shows...everybody's, well, bled it dry and eaten its brains. But I won't forget the horror of the final scenes of 28 Weeks Later, when the rage-zombies are running with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Gave me nightmares. I wish something could still do that, but it's never going to happen again.

They'll keep making stuff, but it's over.
posted by emcat8 at 5:02 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I watched a showing of 28 Days Later at my college, they showed both the normal ending and the alternate ending. I was never really sure what to make of it - whether the alternate ending was originally intended as the real one and was edited out because someone thought it was too bleak for audiences, or if they were just playing around (so to speak).
posted by C'est la D.C. at 5:03 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know what would be a nice monster to bring back? The Gill-man. Let's have Hollywood make some more of those...
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:05 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rhaomi: "Also, unrelated to the films but on a similar theme, is Garth Ennis's graphic, hyperviolent, *extremely* NSFW series Crossed,"

Crossed is bullshit, it's basically just Garth Ennis yet again having an excuse to joyfully show gore and lots and lots of rape.

I'm not against any showing any of those things in fiction, but this is Ennis' schtick, and it's getting really tiresome.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:05 PM on June 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's not the genre. it's the genre's fans.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:05 PM on June 28, 2013


28 Time Units Later

How long until someone makes a movie called 28 Friedman Units Later?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 5:05 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


C'est la D.C.: "28 Time Units Later

How long until someone makes a movie called 28 Friedman Units Later
"

The pre-pre-prequel, "28 Planck times Earlier".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:06 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is the best zombie movie.
posted by Pendragon at 5:13 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Crossed is bullshit

YES thanks for saying that. I have a very high tolerance for gore but I flipped through it in a bookstore and felt sick to my stomach. I think new zombie content only works if it has a significantly interesting twist or niche, but Crossed decided its niche was to be as disgustingly depraved as possible.
posted by ORthey at 5:13 PM on June 28, 2013


I doubt World War Z marks the end of the zombie movie but I suspect it does set an upper limit on their budgets. Which is good, because frankly if you can't make a zombie movie for < $20 million you're doing it wrong.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:13 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


YES thanks for saying that. I have a very high tolerance for gore but I flipped through it in a bookstore and felt sick to my stomach. I think new zombie content only works if it has a significantly interesting twist or niche, but Crossed decided its niche was to be as disgustingly depraved as possible.

There's really more to it than that, but subtlety thy name is not Crossed.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:18 PM on June 28, 2013


Riki tiki: "28 Time Units Later"

I was looking forward to 28 Millennia Later, which would be totally bonkers, far-future science fiction. With zombies.
posted by brundlefly at 5:21 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Si Spurrier makes a good case for Crossed here, including a valid defense of the splash page in the first issue that made me stop reading it. He makes a good case for there being more to it than just torture porn.

That said, its not been convincing enough for me to go back to it.
posted by Artw at 5:24 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was looking forward to 28 Millennia Later, which would be totally bonkers, far-future science fiction. With zombies.

Couldn't that essentially be the borg on Star Trek?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 5:26 PM on June 28, 2013


For me it was Resident Evil that started up the zombie craze and The Walking Dead that killed it.

Yeah. Max Brooks' "Zombie Survival Guide" also came out about the same time. "28 Days Later" clearly didn't start the new age of the zombie, it was part of the first wave.
posted by anonymisc at 5:27 PM on June 28, 2013


I was so unnerved by the movie ( had heard nothing aout it, went in totally blind) and such a novice drinker that I tried to shake away the feeling of dread of horror with a few Martinis the size of my head, on no food, and long story short I am no longer " welcome" at the Crowne Plaza San Fransisco.
posted by The Whelk at 5:29 PM on June 28, 2013 [21 favorites]


Tenth planet Cybermen for the space-zombie win!
posted by Artw at 5:30 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Crossed still sends me into days-long depressive episodes if I mistakenly dwell on some of the first trade I read a few years back. To think that someone painstakingly drew those pages makes my skin crawl.
posted by bpm140 at 5:31 PM on June 28, 2013


If you are like me and like your horror films with a healthy dose of character development, then you have got to see The Battery. Took $6,000 to make and is a beautiful exploration of the relationship between two survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Never seen another horror film like it. One of the best movies I've seen in years.


The first Crossed series was decent, but it's hard to appreciate a story when you know the writer and artist are deliberately out to shock you. I like Wish You Were Here a lot, maybe because it explores more of the human side of things rather than "LOOK AT THIS HORRIBLE THING AIN'T IT HORRIBLE". But I'll admit as terrible and egregiously gross and wrong I find the series, I can't stop reading all the permutations. Like not being able to look away from a train wreck.
posted by schroedinger at 5:32 PM on June 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Another interesting piece of "zombie" media is Pontypool. It goes to some weird places.
posted by edeezy at 5:40 PM on June 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


Ponty... pool?
posted by Artw at 5:41 PM on June 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


in the house in a heartbeat is a major part of this film's legacy for me. Such a good track, perfect zombie music. Also, I loved 28 weeks, the opening is just heartbreaking.
posted by factory123 at 5:51 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pontypool.... I read the book, still not sure what the plot was.
posted by Pendragon at 6:03 PM on June 28, 2013


On a shallow note, 28DL was my first exposure to Cillian Murphy's electric blue eyes, for which I am eternally grateful.

If you're all zombied out—I'm not quite, but I understand the impulse—Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver trilogy is a surprisingly excellent reconstruction of werewolves as "tragic monsters."

I'm very curious what the Next Big Thing(s) in horror-pop culture will be, and how we'll cycle back to these same tropes eventually. Zombies and vampires are huge right now, but they also never really went away.
posted by nicebookrack at 6:33 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ghosts where supposed to be the big thing but they kinda ...never materialized.
posted by The Whelk at 6:39 PM on June 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


My first exposure to zombies as a kid was to the really old school zombie movies, from back when the connection to Haitian voodoo hadn't been completely erased (bastardized, sure, but still there). I would love to see someone explore those ideas again - the idea of zombie as implacable undead force, rather than contagious disease. Maybe the zeitgeist isn't right, I dunno.
posted by nickmark at 6:39 PM on June 28, 2013


There is also the idea of a zombie as someone totally enthralled to another's will.
posted by The Whelk at 6:45 PM on June 28, 2013


I think we're due for a Mi-go trend. Being a brain in a vat and knowing it is pretty freaky, and could fit in with some sort of surveillance-future-fascist-alien-state type of thing.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:53 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I quite like zombie-that-is-just-a-buncha-bugs-inside-a-person.
posted by Artw at 6:53 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I quite like zombie-that-is-just-a-buncha-bugs-inside-a-person.

I've got good news and bad news, girls...the good news is your dates are here. What's the bad news? They're dead.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:57 PM on June 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Battery was absolutely nothing new, unless you consider the addition of sports analogies to a zombie movie somehow exciting. Like the rest of the low-budget hackwork horror (and yes, I include Pontypool in this) that's been churned out in the last few years (The Signal, The Innkeepers, Stakeland) and praised by a very loud few while being rightfully ignored by most everyone else who cares an iota about quality filmwork, it was poorly acted, poorly written, and poorly shot-on-DV cliché after cliché.
posted by item at 7:11 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The revived dead in Roadside Picnic are creepy but mostly stand around doing nothing. They smell nice and exude an atmosphere of health.
posted by Artw at 7:30 PM on June 28, 2013


Artw: "That said, its not been convincing enough for me to go back to it."

It's not just Crossed, really. If Crossed was the only horrible and cruel thing Ennis had ever done, and all his other stuff was not like that, but was thoughtful and intelligent, it'd probably be ok to me. But Ennis is like this all the time. He's a sadist, a homophobe, a racist (although he tried to write some stuff in Preacher to make him seem less of one), and is deeply uncomfortable with women, non-straight sexuality, and a bunch of other things. And EVERYTHING he writes is over the top violent, gory, rape rape rape all the time (to justify even more horrible violence as revenge).

So, in summary, fuck Garth Ennis.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:33 PM on June 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


praised by a very loud few while being rightfully ignored by most everyone else

Meh. Indie films are not "ignored". The very definition of independent basically means people don't get to see them because they don't have the financial backing for distribution or advertising. Of course you might end up with a less than stellar movie, but indie isn't a code word for "stuff no one should watch" because sometimes those movies are quite good.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 7:38 PM on June 28, 2013


Ghosts where supposed to be the big thing but they kinda ...never materialized.

( •_•)
( •_•)>⌐■-■
(⌐■_■)
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:45 PM on June 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


If you are like me and like your horror films with a healthy dose of character development, then you have got to see The Battery. Took $6,000 to make and is a beautiful exploration of the relationship between two survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Never seen another horror film like it. One of the best movies I've seen in years.

I just saw this recently, and was going to recommend it.
posted by stifford at 8:11 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Existential Dread: "I quite like zombie-that-is-just-a-buncha-bugs-inside-a-person.

I've got good news and bad news, girls...the good news is your dates are here. What's the bad news? They're dead.
"

Loved it loved it loved it!

To this day, when someone looks at me and says they have news for me, I just deadpan "Thrill me."

And the scene with the handicapped lead having dropped his crutches and being unable to escape the bathroom stall as the creep crawls closer? Delicious, delicious terror with no gore and gobs of suspense.
posted by Samizdata at 8:22 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joakim Ziegler: "Artw: "That said, its not been convincing enough for me to go back to it."

It's not just Crossed, really. If Crossed was the only horrible and cruel thing Ennis had ever done, and all his other stuff was not like that, but was thoughtful and intelligent, it'd probably be ok to me. But Ennis is like this all the time. He's a sadist, a homophobe, a racist (although he tried to write some stuff in Preacher to make him seem less of one), and is deeply uncomfortable with women, non-straight sexuality, and a bunch of other things. And EVERYTHING he writes is over the top violent, gory, rape rape rape all the time (to justify even more horrible violence as revenge).

So, in summary, fuck Garth Ennis.
"

I wouldn't seeing as you claim he's homophobic. And I am afraid he's still living off all the good will Preacher earned him with me.
posted by Samizdata at 8:24 PM on June 28, 2013


It's not just Crossed, really. If Crossed was the only horrible and cruel thing Ennis had ever done, and all his other stuff was not like that, but was thoughtful and intelligent, it'd probably be ok to me. But Ennis is like this all the time. He's a sadist, a homophobe, a racist (although he tried to write some stuff in Preacher to make him seem less of one), and is deeply uncomfortable with women, non-straight sexuality, and a bunch of other things. And EVERYTHING he writes is over the top violent, gory, rape rape rape all the time (to justify even more horrible violence as revenge).

Other than maybe sadism*, I don't think any of these things apply to Crossed...ironically, they may apply less to Crossed than to most of Ennis's other work. Crossed is violent, but it doesn't revel in violence (though some of that may come down to Jacen Burrows, a very talented storyteller who chooses to underplay a lot of scenes that might otherwise be even more gruesome; I suspect he does this not to be tasteful, but to avoid making the book so spectacularly gory that it becomes absurd and blackly hilarious, which happens a lot in the stories that follow in Ennis's footsteps). What I read as the homophobia in Preacher has always bothered me a lot, and it's one of the reasons I don't recommend it to many people (another is that I feel the book starts coming apart about two years in, to be honest), and more recently it turned me off of his brief run on The Shadow. But I just don't see these issues with Crossed. Probably because Ennis's less socially progressive traits usually manifest in a humorous context, and Crossed is generally just not funny. (Well, it has its moments.)

*Which I'm not convinced is a fair charge to level against Ennis's original Crossed. The crossed themselves are sadists, but the crossed are monsters and villains. I think Ennis's group of survivors is about as real and sympathetic a group of characters as Ennis has ever created.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:27 PM on June 28, 2013


I got it! The most boring zombie movie ever: Drones vs Zombies. Combines all the fun of a flight simulator with none of the terror of a zombie movie.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:29 PM on June 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Crossed is bullshit

I've run hot and cold on Crossed; while it shares a lot of the excesses that made The Boys an unpleasant slog in a lot of ways, those two series, along with Punisher MAX, are a really interesting trio of bleak-as-heck books that I think shows Ennis' turn from gross-out black comedy leavened by a certain amount of humanism to something approaching nihilism. After those series I see more parallels between Ennis and someone like Josh Simmons, rather than the 2000AD Mills & Wagner-influenced generation he came up with.

Interestingly, all three series debuted after September 11th (It's referred to explicitly in The Boys, can't remember if the other two allude to it or not), and Ennis' Americaphilia and love for New York, where I believe he's lived for at least over a decade, isn't any sort of secret. That's a rather pat explanation that I don't have evidence for, but that's my theory.

Si Spurrier makes a good case for Crossed here, including a valid defense of the splash page in the first issue that made me stop reading it. He makes a good case for there being more to it than just torture porn.

It's been a while since I listened to that episode, but I felt Spurrier was trying to have his cake and eat it too with his explanation.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:47 PM on June 28, 2013


kittens for breakfast: "Probably because Ennis's less socially progressive traits usually manifest in a humorous context, and Crossed is generally just not funny. (Well, it has its moments.)"

The opening of "Wish you were here", where one of the crossed has stabbed a dolphin, dragged it ashore, and is holding it head down while fucking it in the blow-hole, is hard to read as anything but humor to me. Actually, I find that, individually, pretty funny, it just doesn't work in such massive amounts.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:19 PM on June 28, 2013


Why Hitman has the best final episode of any comic - it really does. Ennis can really do some fantastic stuff sometimes, though often its harsh and brutal. Hitman was great, his Punisher run - where he tined down the customary humour he'd been leavening the violence with - was all the more outstanding fir that and the recent Fury series he's done is on a similar level.

And he also does some silly shit and IMHO what I've seen of crossed is very much that.
posted by Artw at 9:20 PM on June 28, 2013


The opening of "Wish you were here", where one of the crossed has stabbed a dolphin, dragged it ashore, and is holding it head down while fucking it in the blow-hole, is hard to read as anything but humor to me. Actually, I find that, individually, pretty funny, it just doesn't work in such massive amounts.

That's Spurrier though. TBH I think that works better than the equivalent Ennis bit.
posted by Artw at 9:21 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Samizdata: "And I am afraid he's still living off all the good will Preacher earned him with me."

Preacher had its share of homophobia, like the whole "Hurr hurr, Starr had his penis cut off (or whatever the hell happened to it, I can't remember), so now he has to pay prostitutes to anally penetrate him" thing.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:22 PM on June 28, 2013


The Boys is a weird random up and down mix of good and silly Ennis to me - it ends very well but the middle was a drag. Some of the best bits were war stories, which is very much his thing - if you want to read some of his best, most heart wrenching stuff check out his Battlefields stories.
posted by Artw at 9:25 PM on June 28, 2013


or whatever the hell happened to it

IIRC "My cock is in the bitches mouth, literally"*

FWIW he seems to have knocked comedy bum sex on the head after Kev. Mostly.

* It's a dog.
posted by Artw at 9:29 PM on June 28, 2013


"Preacher had its share of homophobia, like the whole "Hurr hurr, Starr had his penis cut off (or whatever the hell happened to it, I can't remember), so now he has to pay prostitutes to anally penetrate him" thing."

It's been a while since I read Preacher so I might be forgetting the context, but how is the above scene homophobic?

Was Preacher really that way? I got the impression that Ennis has a inner 12 year that enjoys being ridiculous.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:56 PM on June 28, 2013


I think that's basically right, but his inner 12 year old can be a teeny bit problematic at times.
posted by Artw at 10:19 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "It's been a while since I read Preacher so I might be forgetting the context, but how is the above scene homophobic? "

Starr's whole arc is basically going from enforcer for the world's most powerful secret organization to becoming its leader, and then being progressively humiliated and reduced to less than human by a combination of his own megalomania and Jesse Custer.

A lot of that humiliation is bodily or sexual, and this is part of this, emasculating him and reducing him to having sex like the gays.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:38 PM on June 28, 2013


I don't want to fall too far down this Garth Ennis tangent, but I also find him continually using the same problematic tropes off-putting. I've read Punisher MAX, most of the Boys, and Preacher, and all of his villains tend to be sexual deviants, and his big badasses tend to be superhetero I-can-screw-anybody. His view towards violence lends itself to killing asshole victims that don't really deserve it and have every character and the narrative itself excuse it. I understand that his Northern Irish heritage causes him to treat the Irish rebellion with ridiculous amounts of skepticism, but they become immoral villains in anything he can shoehorn them in. Women exist to get degraded and then blamed for it in his works.

I don't mind if an author uses extreme violence, racism, sadism, off-Broadway sexuality, or rape in the purpose of narrative, but they better damn-well know what they're doing, and they shouldn't lean on such problematic tropes over and over without really knowing what you're doing. Writers also need to make sure that the narrative itself doesn't support problematic actions just because a character does. I mean, it's not moralizing to not use rape as a funny hur-hur moment, because *gasp* a guy got raped! How is he ever going to live this down!

I pretty much won't read Garth Ennis anymore, though I was happy with Jason Aaron did with Punisher Max after Ennis left on issue 60. He was a lot more skeptical of Frank Castle being a total badass that should be idolized for his hardcore no-nonsense approach which still trying to show why he does the things he does. There are other writers out there I'll give another chance too, but Garth Ennis has me tapped out.

In zombie news, I just need video games to give zombies a rest. There are amazing games that use them, but now it's just softballing it in with so many. Take a break. Think of alternate antagonists. Ask yourself what your game wants people to feel. To think. How they should react and imagine. Zombies aren't the best choice much of the time.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:42 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


In zombie news, I just need video games to give zombies a rest. There are amazing games that use them, but now it's just softballing it in with so many. Take a break. Think of alternate antagonists. Ask yourself what your game wants people to feel. To think. How they should react and imagine. Zombies aren't the best choice much of the time.

On the contrary, I've yet to see a really effective video game take on the concept, at least as portrayed in 28 Days Later. It's the scariest horror scenario I've seen in film, bad enough to give me nightmares years later, but I've never found a game that quite scratched that same itch.

Left 4 Dead's zombies are too gimmicky and specialized, while the protagonists are too fast and too tough. Dead Island and Dead Rising, meanwhile, hew too close to Romero's shambling corpse ideal, which I find somewhat boring.

There are games that have come close. DayZ has a vast open world and a strong social element. Half-Life 2's Ravenholm nailed the fearsome, fast-moving aspect, as did BioShock Infinite with the Handymen. And Halo 2/3 sported popular zombie modes that encouraged the on-the-fly construction of ramshackle fortresses and the idea that you join the ranks of the infected once you're taken down.

If there were a game that combined:

- the bloody, sprinting, violent behavior of 28 Days Later-style Infected
- a vast open world like ARMA, Skyrim, or Fallout, with towns, rural areas, and interiors
- a large bystander population with decent AI (normal everyday, fleeing panic, fighting back)
- a multiplayer element, for playing with dozens or hundreds of others
- the gameplay mechanics of Halo 3's Infection variant (you can become infected and hunt down others, and the identity of Patient Zero is assigned on a randomized basis each game)
- interesting procedural missions (rescue your daughter! reach an evac point! kill N zombies!)

It would be amazing. With modern processing power, you could easily simulate emergent situations like one Rage zombie taking out a whole city, the mass chaos of an evacuation, or competition for looting/survival with a few others in a devastated, abandoned post-outbreak wasteland.

Putting together this post, I was really, really surprised there isn't a mod like this for GTA IV or similar. Even an indie title that dispensed with fancy graphics and focused on nailing the dynamics of panic and epidemic spread would be nice. Just make a first-person shooter version of this!
posted by Rhaomi at 11:31 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


C'est la D.C. : we should know in another six months when it'll be out.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 12:09 AM on June 29, 2013


I thought "28 Weeks" was pretty decent, actually, but for me the most chilling bit of either film was the deserted London sequence. Probably because I live here and, well, it was just so incredibly unnatural to see those particular locations, like that. I had a similar reaction to the Vanilla Sky Times Square bit too (I was living in NYC when I first saw that film), but not as viscerally as I did with London.
posted by Decani at 12:12 AM on June 29, 2013


In zombie news, I just need video games to give zombies a rest. There are amazing games that use them, but now it's just softballing it in with so many. Take a break. Think of alternate antagonists. Ask yourself what your game wants people to feel. To think. How they should react and imagine. Zombies aren't the best choice much of the time.

My first year game design students' final assessment for the semester was to develop a proposal and pitch for an original board game. Even after having a guest lecture from a veteran of the Australian videogame industry (i.e. was working at Beam Software/Australia House back in the 80s) and board game enthusiast who spent 5-7 minutes of an hour long lecture demonstrating just how much of a glut of zombie themed board games were already out there (slide after slide after slide of ~5 pictures of box art per slide) we still had more than a few groups decide that, no, what the world really needed was yet another board game about zombies. Generally with bafflingly complex rules.

Apparently it was worse a couple of years back when it was a videogame rather than board game proposal though, so maybe there is light on the horizon. Of course, if you are an African American protagonist in a classic zombie film going outside right at dawn is probably a bad idea.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 12:49 AM on June 29, 2013


Now this is more like it.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:07 AM on June 29, 2013


You know what would be a nice monster to bring back? The Gill-man. Let's have Hollywood make some more of those...
posted by Strange Interlude


Well, Buffy had a go at 'em.
posted by workerant at 5:17 AM on June 29, 2013


I'll mention The Zombie Diaries as a flick I really liked...

Disclaimer: few others seem to like it, and I'm well aware that a horror movie can just strike you right in some cases, even if it's not much good. (Probably the scariest/best horror movie experience I ever had was Pet Semetary in the theater...) But TZD plays up one of the themes that tend to grab me, to wit: pretty much no matter what horrific shit might come along, human beings (some of them, anyway) are always the most (horrible and) dangerous things around...

Also, FWIW, which isn't much: I really just don't like The Walking Dead (tv version), which just seems like a soap opera with zombies to me. I'll watch almost anything with zombies in it, but I only check in on TWD occasionally, to see whether they're actually doing anything, or just having yet another agonized conversation.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 6:17 AM on June 29, 2013


Zombies, vampires and comics - inputs to use when you have the money but no story telling talent.
posted by w.fugawe at 6:49 AM on June 29, 2013


item: "The Battery was absolutely nothing new, unless you consider the addition of sports analogies to a zombie movie somehow exciting. Like the rest of the low-budget hackwork horror (and yes, I include Pontypool in this) that's been churned out in the last few years (The Signal, The Innkeepers, Stakeland) and praised by a very loud few while being rightfully ignored by most everyone else who cares an iota about quality filmwork, it was poorly acted, poorly written, and poorly shot-on-DV cliché after cliché."

Jeez. Who chewed on your skull this morning?
posted by Drexen at 7:15 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The mention of how they shot the abandoned London scenes made me think of "Running on Empty" which is done in a completly different manner, but I think is more effective for being done in full daylight.
posted by hwestiii at 7:55 AM on June 29, 2013


So how is The Last of Us as a piece of zombie media? And as a game, is it as undeservedly overrated as Bioshock Infinite was?
posted by Apocryphon at 10:42 AM on June 29, 2013


I just really can't handle Crossed. It is one of the few times I have ever become so angry while reading a comic. Not at the creators but at the depictions.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 11:39 AM on June 29, 2013


So strange, I just recommended 28 Days Later to a woman at work who was talking about zombie movies.

What about Warm Bodies? I thought it was endearing/original, and pretty much put at least a (if not the last) nail in the zombie movie coffin.

Once you've successfully made zombies sympathetic AND romantic, what else is there?
posted by MoxieProxy at 1:45 PM on June 29, 2013


My favorite iteration of zombies (although some stuff Peter Watts has done is really close) is Siren's shibito (corpse people) because (spoilers but no one actually ever finishes these games so it probably doesn't matter) they're consciousness-less empty husks controlled by a Lovecraftian (as in "similar to stuff Lovecraft wrote," not "tentacles and sea monsters in SPAAAAACE!") entity that has spent a long time watching human beings but obviously doesn't understand them. So they have this "decoy duck" vibe as they go through typical human behavior that, to actual human observers, makes no sense. They tend to their gardens by just digging up dirt randomly and killing all their plants; they renovate their houses by just hammering on random boards over and over; they eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat (+∞) a bowl of spaghetti forever because it's A Thing Humans Do. There's a shibito mailman who delivers...nothing; just strolls around, occasionally stopping in front of a mail box, rummaging in an empty bag and pushing an empty hand in the mail slot. And then sometimes they trudge off to a bathroom and break down crying. Or they look at their feet and burst out laughing. All of them mutter to themselves in some weird unpronounceable alien language. The most unsettling part of the first game is when they try to talk to you. Whenever you pop out in front of them, they attack you, yes, but most of them act like they're scared of you. They all get more "touched" by the alien influence over time, but it's their mixture of "humanity-with...not" that really makes them so unheimlich.

They're great. They really creep me out in a way that zombies typically don't, and I think it's because you spend most of your time in these games watching them interact with each other and the world around them, without humans to harass. I've had nightmares where I encounter someone I know and care about except I understand somehow that they're not people but puppets. Superficially, they resemble familiar people, but their imitation of humanity is always bad and wrong and "off." Siren is great at capturing that feeling, and at emphasizing relationships between the living characters and the formerly-human-now-zombied characters, which is something you don't really see very often in these stories (point for the "zombies represent alienation amidst growing population density, urban anomie and faceless crowds" camp).
posted by byanyothername at 3:28 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I really just don't like The Walking Dead (tv version), which just seems like a soap opera with zombies to me. I'll watch almost anything with zombies in it, but I only check in on TWD occasionally, to see whether they're actually doing anything, or just having yet another agonized conversation.

It seems like TV writers - on all the shows - are just not capable of writing sci-fi. Those few exceptions are instant cult classics.
I'm so sick of hearing about a new show with an incredible setting that fires imagination and opens all kinds of story possibility, and then watching it and discovering that the writers completely forgot about the setting and just lazily dropped in the same old DRAMAZ as every other show. Same show, same stories, different window dressing. Why would I watch that?
posted by anonymisc at 3:57 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm amazed that there's people who actually liked "28 Weeks Later", because I found it head-bangingly stupid. Things like having snipers instead of machine gunners, a security perimeter teenagers could easily penetrate, confining a person with the most deadly disease the world knows, in a room WITH NO GODDAMN SECURITY, an emergency plan that responds to a violent disease outbreak by GODDAMN LOCKING EVERYBODY IN A ROOM WITHOUT LIGHTS... at a certain point in the film I said " no, these people are all too stupid to live, they deserve to die", and tuned out. I'd rather watch something that made a bit more sense, like "Godzilla vs. King Kong."
posted by happyroach at 4:19 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Strange Interlude: "Gill-man"

I just think it would've been cooler with a merman.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:52 PM on June 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm amazed that there's people who actually liked "28 Weeks Later", because I found it head-bangingly stupid.

Yes, a lot of the plot points are stupid, but the I liked the fact that it was single minded mission "save these two kids," with few, if any heroes against a backdrop of human selfishness that rocked my world.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:02 PM on June 29, 2013


As zombied out as I've been (and not fond of vampires) I still picked up a cute little comic I forgot to mention: The New Deadwardians. Edwardian era upper classes voluntarily become vampires to avoid the underclass, who have been swept into an epidemic of zombieism. Interesting take on both tropes.
posted by emcat8 at 5:52 PM on June 29, 2013


I got it! The most boring zombie movie ever: Drones vs Zombies. Combines all the fun of a flight simulator with none of the terror of a zombie movie.

There is an iOS game called Zombie Gunship that mostly fits this bill. But it features an AC-130 Gunship rather than a drone. AC-130s are kind of terrifying themselves, though.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 2:46 PM on July 1, 2013


Not to try to re-derail this onto Ennis again, but here's a flimsy little (autoplaying) interview w/ him where he speaks a tiny bit about the tonal shift and mentions a 9-11 influence (I forgot about the James Ellroy thing, too.)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:52 AM on July 2, 2013


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