September 24, 2007 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Mockumentaries based on myth are pretty popular. There's Max Brooks' World War Z, (zombie warning), being turned into a movie. Along the same lines is the favorite Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency. Animal Planet and Discovery got into the game with a wild potential future, dragons, and even a couple projected alien worlds based on work by Barlowe.

There's room for more in here if I missed any. This is my first non-AskMe post so please forgive my green-ness.
posted by monkeymadness (41 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
My brother and I think that the World War Z movie will be dull. Zombies attack, woo. It wasn't the story that made the book amazing, it was the style of the presentation, and that will almost certainly be lost with a hundred-minute film. Our idea would make it far better: a ten-episode miniseries with a totally different cast and director every season.

Too bad it's too late now.
posted by Plutor at 7:39 AM on September 24, 2007

posted by Plutor at 7:40 AM on September 24, 2007

The Future is Wild: The AD&D Supplement

Oh, the internet.
posted by ormondsacker at 7:49 AM on September 24, 2007

Plutor, a miniseries does sound cooler. It's always nice to see different folks take a similar concept in their own direction. It would fit the book nicely.
posted by monkeymadness at 7:52 AM on September 24, 2007

I am similarly experiencing a sort of pre-emptive disapointment at World War Z. It just doesn't seem likely that anything good can come of it, especially since it has a major star attached.

I'll be happy to be disapointed.

Oh, and it'd make an awesome radio drama, if people still do such things.
posted by Artw at 8:13 AM on September 24, 2007

I just heard about World War Z the other day and since it was written by a comedy guy and I'd just read the funny Surviving the Coming Robot Uprising I was all "this is going to be HILARIOUSLY AWESOME".

I got about 2 paragraphs in, then skipped around and put it right the hell back on the shelf. Disturbing. Probably awesome, but definitely not what I was expecting.
posted by DU at 8:13 AM on September 24, 2007

I think there was a documentary about the exploration of an alien planet as a sort of follow up to The Future Is Wild. Both of them very much in the category of "some shit we made up" rather than any kind of serious dicumentary endevour, if you as me, despite the various experts.
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on September 24, 2007

DU - The Zombie Survival Guide may be more what you are looking for, but yeah, i was kind of suprised that a guy that wrote an amusing novelty book came up with something like that.
posted by Artw at 8:16 AM on September 24, 2007

gah. I'll be happy to be disapointed == I'll be happy to be proved wrong.
posted by Artw at 8:17 AM on September 24, 2007

Oh and I saw that Alien Planet thing. It got a lot of bad reviews on Netflix, but people didn't understand the point. I thought it was awesome.
posted by DU at 8:18 AM on September 24, 2007

World War Z, the book, is awesome. Not hilarious (for sure) but definitely disturbingly awesome.

I'll third the miniseries idea - that sounds cool.
posted by djeo at 8:20 AM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

World War Z does have an audio book reading, Artw, and the voice talent is great--Alan Alda, John Turtorro, Henry Rollins, etc. I admit this is the only version I've "read", and it is abbreviated.
posted by monkeymadness at 8:26 AM on September 24, 2007

If I got a wish for World War Z, it would be that they would include the historical zombie incidents in the Roman Empire from The Zombie Survival Guide. It would be a great opening.

I'd like to say that I want this because it argues for the relative advantages of ancient culture & technology over the modern world in dealing with zombies, which is thought-provoking. But honestly, it's because Romans vs zombies = totally sweet.
posted by Jorus at 8:29 AM on September 24, 2007

Why is After Man still out of print? That's a travesty.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:47 AM on September 24, 2007

I think the World War Z movie has potential, so long as it's presented completely deadpan, in a Ken Burnsish, History-Channel sort of way. And I agree, adding the historical zombie attacks would really help support that style, with, say, fake Greek urn paintings depicting the battles or whathaveyou.
posted by supercres at 8:54 AM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Drat. I misread that as being Mel Brooks' World War Z. Now, that would be worth seeing!
posted by hamfisted at 9:47 AM on September 24, 2007

Max is Mel Brooks's son.
posted by Plutor at 9:51 AM on September 24, 2007

The Future is Wild was pretty neat when I saw it, and I've never seen the dragon one before. Cool!
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:04 AM on September 24, 2007

Plutor, you said there were a "couple" things based on Wayne Barlowe's work. As far as I know, there was only the one series/special, Alien Planet. Is there more that I don't know about? (I'm a Barlowe fangirl, and I'm very happy we're having him as Guest of Honor next year.)
posted by jiawen at 10:05 AM on September 24, 2007

Yet another voice in the wilderness here declaring "World War Z" to be really, really, really awesome.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:05 AM on September 24, 2007

World War Z was the book that made me, for the first time in my life, see zombies as truly horrifying rather than bumblingly pathetic. That led me to go back and really read and watch zombie lore and movies with ravenous interest and horror. I'm really hopeful that the movie, whatever form it takes (and they should REALLY listen to some of the phenomenal suggestions here), manages to have a similar effect for me.
posted by bunnycup at 10:19 AM on September 24, 2007

Yep, World War Z is a really good bit of zombie-lore. And it's very much Not Comedy. If it's got one thing that lets it down, its that Brooks' attempts at internationalism just get bogged down in rather too-obvious national stereotypes. (The English guy's effete, bumbling and obsessed with the monarchy? Gee, that one came out of left-field.)
posted by flashboy at 10:21 AM on September 24, 2007

Oh, and let me add - monkeymadness, I think this is a great first post. You might have been tempted to stop with a discussion of WWZ, and its movie potential, but taken a bit beyond with other contextual keys and themes it's even more interesting.
posted by bunnycup at 10:22 AM on September 24, 2007

I have to point this out: The D&D supplement ormondsacker linked to is not based on The Future Is Wild, but on a book called After Man written by Dougal Dixon.

Also, I don't think Barlowe's Expedition is based on any kind of myth. It is fiction, though.
posted by jiawen at 10:22 AM on September 24, 2007

jiawen: You probably mean to address me with your question. It's a single show, but two different "worlds" are presented.

bunnycup: Thanks.
posted by monkeymadness at 10:37 AM on September 24, 2007

Incidentally, if anyone else here is a fan of Dr. Pecos at the FVZA, he started on werewolves at his site but hasn't added much in awhile. Maybe a few more requests will remind him that people are still reading and looking forward to updates on his site.
posted by monkeymadness at 10:40 AM on September 24, 2007

Monkeymadness, you're right. Sorry, poor reading skills this early in the afternoon.

I don't remember what the two "worlds" were. I thought it was all Darwin IV? Maybe I'm superimposing the book on the show.
posted by jiawen at 10:44 AM on September 24, 2007

Just to throw it out there, because I'm hoping someone does (or did) this and will let me know how it went, but I've always maintained that combining the Zombie Survival Guide with World War Z would make for an excellent tabletop RPG sourcebook with minimal adaptation.

It'd be just like a Shadowrun sourcebook where in the beginning the World War Z half provides background and draws in you in with a bit of story (like the whole chat exchange between the folks of Chicago before the bugs came out of torpor for "Bug City") as well as possible campaign/character info. In the latter info heavy section, you'd just need to pencil points into the entries of the Zombie Survival Guide for enemies and equipment or some such.
posted by kkokkodalk at 11:38 AM on September 24, 2007

You're playing Urban Dead, right?
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on September 24, 2007

Um, kkokkodalk, All Flesh Must Be Eaten.
posted by moonbiter at 12:20 PM on September 24, 2007

The Vampire Domestication slideshow is pretty awesome. Blindsight, the book that spawned it was okayish but not nearly as good.

It’s interesting that, unlike Vampires, Werewolves and other classic monsters there aren’t really that many decent Zombie books. My Name Is Legend might be the template for most modern zombie apocalypses but the book itself is very Vampire orientated. World War Z I think is the first decent book taking movie zombies and putting them on the page.
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on September 24, 2007

Yet another "World War Z is amazing" vote here. And yeah, they need to do the movie as a documentary- archival footage, interviews, and Morgan Freeman narrating.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:53 PM on September 24, 2007

Artw and Moonbiter: Yes, those do look interesting, but I wasn't saying there aren't games out there dealing with the undead. Unless I'm missing something from what I read on those sites, what I meant was it'd be interesting to use the characters and stories specifically from Max Brooks' works. And even more specifically what I was trying to say is that it's pretty interesting how the informative and serious way that Brooks treats his subject in The Zombie Survival Guide, then the varied characters and settings from World War Z, gives possibility that the combination of those two books would be very similar to a sourcebook.
posted by kkokkodalk at 1:43 PM on September 24, 2007

The first fake documentary?
posted by grumblebee at 1:55 PM on September 24, 2007

Another post-apocalyptic mockumentary is Ever Since The World Ended, which we discussed here:

Did anyone end up seeing this? Man, I think about the trailer all the time, and I'd love to see it, but I have a feeling it's something I would need a television, DVD player, my own computer, internet access at home, credit card, and NetFlix to understand.

(Ladies: I'm single!)
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:58 PM on September 24, 2007

kkokkodalk - I'm sure theres some homebrew GURPs thing somewhere.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on September 24, 2007

Another 'World War Z rocks' vote here. The audio version is very compressed though and imho misses a lot of what makes the novel great.

Oh and there's been plenty of 'we've got to get the Walking With Dinosaurs guys something to do' in the UK. Though some have been better than others... Alien Worlds was good fun but but the totally dumbed-down Horizon's 'what it dinosaurs were still alive thing' was particularly risible.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:17 PM on September 24, 2007

World War Z is fantastic, and really gets in your head.

For example, (SPOILER) when they talk about all the radio operators going insane from listening to the cries for help that are too far behind the lines.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:41 PM on September 24, 2007

Just gotta second what supercres and Pope Guilty said. The movie has to play it completely straight just like the book did. "The World at War" would be an excellent template to crib from. (ISTR that Max Brooks was inspired by Studs Terkel's oral history of the Second World War.)

I for one cannot wait to see some cinema verite footage from the Battle of Yonkers. And Hope Valley.

You know what would be even cooler? If the Great Zombie War took place in the 19th century. Then you could totally do the Ken Burns "pan across a dageurrotype while a mournful fiddle plays over Tom Hanks reading a heartfelt letter to his sweetheart at home" style.
posted by whuppy at 7:28 PM on September 24, 2007

One thing I'm fairly sure won't survive World War Z's translation to cinema is the sly dig at vacuous Hollywood culture... the agents and showbiz execs having to go work in factories with their ex-maids as the bosses and the great scene were music biz people, chat show hosts, Paris Hilton-types etc are holed up in a house in NY and making a reality-show about it.

One thing, being a Brit, I wondered if the politicians in the book were supposed to be based on real people I didn't recognise. Or am I reading too much into it?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:01 AM on September 25, 2007

jiawen: I know it's late but I just remembered that there was, in fact, only one world on Alien Planet. I got it mixed up with Extraterrestrial narrated by Michael Dorn.
posted by monkeymadness at 7:36 AM on September 26, 2007

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