Wednesday Lee Friday
22 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
  • Tue, 16:42: Say what you will about @Eminem, but the man who gave us the phrase "Cannibal Magnetism" can't possibly be all bad.
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Wednesday Lee Friday
21 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
20 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
19 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
18 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
  • Fri, 15:30: It's FRIDAY, which means Friday's Pics spotlight: Alexandre Aja http://t.co/ApPgbA5LiY Horror, black comedy, and then some more horror.
  • Sat, 00:57: Just looked online to see whether or not it was raining. I'm like, 5 feet from a window. I've never felt so lazy. Also, it's raining.
  • Sat, 08:50: Haunted - Cyanide & Happiness Shorts Words cannot adequately explain my overall stokedness for this. Nov 13. http://t.co/Y62CqyQqom
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Wednesday Lee Friday
17 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
16 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
15 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
This week's ZZN reprint is from Danish director Casper Haugegaard.  I loved this little film.  



Casper Haugegaard is the director of the newly released film, Opstandelsen (AKA The Ressurection) I found this to be an awesome little Danish chompfest, and I enjoyed it very much.
ZZN was fortunate to interview the film's lead actress, Marie Frohme-Vanglund last winter. She shed plenty of insight on the film, and on her character, Esther. As if that isn't awesome enough, now Casper Haugegaard relates some production stories, and we learn that it can be tricky scrubbing blood off a church floor.

But that's no surprise to ZZN readers, eh?

WLF/ZZN: Who are your favorites, and/or least favorite purveyors of zombie pop culture? I could name a few. There wasn't really any particular zombie films that inspired me to do Opstandelsen. I love horror and gore, and that's what I initially wanted to do with this film. Zombies just seemed to fit the story that I wanted to tell, perfectly.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us about something unexpected that happened during filming. A lot of unexpected stuff happened, and a lot had to do with our extensive use of film-blood, plus the fact that we film shot the film in a real church. The first couple of weeks of shooting were supposed to be in the church. But after doing a very chaotic and gory scene inside the church we accidently left a small stain on the floor, which got us banned from shooting there ever again. We still had at least a week worth of shooting to do there. That really made things difficult for us as we now needed to change a lot of things. We had to go on shooting the underground scenes without knowing if we would be able to finish up the project, which was pretty stressful. When all underground scenes were shot, we still hadn't done the ending in the church. Then all of a sudden after begging the church for ages we were allowed to come back and use the church for two nights to finish it up. But this was like a third of the time we needed to do the scripted ending, so we had to think fast and alter things to fit our timeframe. So the ending might seem a little off to some people, but I really love how it turned out!

WLF/ZZN: What scene turned out the best in your opinion? The ending for one. But I'm also quite fond of the sermon in the beginning of the film. It really gets you in horror mode before the film unleashes the zombies and gore. And Hans Maaløe is one evil g*ddamn preacherman. But also some of the more violent and gory scenes works really well I think. The gory gags are so fun to do and it's amazing to watch something done in the simplest and cheapest way, turn out great.

WLF/ZZN: The film has a wonderfully unique setting, the underground scenes in particular. Is there a story behind your choosing, and gaining permission, to shoot there? When I started scouting locations for the film I just began to check out every cellar around me. And I found some pretty rough and dirty locations in places where I didn’t really need to gain permission. We were a tight little crew on the film, consisting of two or three people besides the actors. With a little crew like that it's easy to go and shoot unnoticed. So we actually didn't always bother asking for permission as we were going to soak everything in blood.

WLF/ZZN: Some of the blood spatter—especially on the actor’s faces, looks painstakingly applied. Did you have a particular philosophy with regard to the make-up and special effects? I just wanted the blood-spatter on the actors to increase throughout the film. Most of the time I did the blood-spatter on the actors myself because it was so much fun to throw blood at them. Every single day of shooting I covered them in this sticky, smelly, homemade blood-mix and they really hated me for it. So later in the shoot when I had to do my zombie cameo, the actors couldn't wait to do the blood-spatter on me. In terms of the gore and special effects I really wanted to do everything as old school, down and dirty as possible. No CGI blood spatter or anything like that. Horror films these days tend to overuse that stuff and just doesn't look good, no matter how well it's done. Even on big-budget films gory CGI gags look like crap. So I'm glad we stayed clear of that and did everything the old fashion way.

WLF/ZZN: Kunzen, the German composer wrote a famous oratorio that shares a title with your film. Coincidence, or inspiration? ...flat out coincidence.

WLF/ZZN: George Romero is insistent that zombies are regular people reduced to base instinct. Agree or disagree? I'm not fond zombie films explaining to much about what zombies are, and Romero for one tend to do that too much. In the case of "Opstandelsen" I guess the take on zombies is more in a spiritual sense, and my zombies are maybe a bit more demonic then they are "humans reduced to base instinct". But there's really no explanation for the zombies in my film and you never really get to know that much about them. I think the zombie is interesting to use in telling a story and it's an amazing concept to use when doing a story about Christianity. But I only needed them to be there as a background terror throughout the film, I didn't want to do a film "about the zombie character" as I think that is a general mistake a lot of zombie-directors make.

WLF/ZZN: What are your feelings on having Opstandelsen dubbed into other languages for DVD release? Bring it on! I would love that. As long as the subtitled version is available I don't mind a dubbed version being out there as well. We'll see what happens, but for now people in the US will have to settle for a subtitled version on the Danish DVD release.

WLF/ZZN: Are you dedicated to the horror genre? Not really. As much as I love horror and gore, and as much as I really enjoyed making Opstandelsen, I also want to explore a lot of other things. To do another horror film like Opstandelsen isn't something that appeals that much to me right now. But some day I might get back to it.

WLF/ZZN: What is next for you? I'm doing music videos these days, toying around with a lot of different styles and trying to do some interesting stuff. And then I just started writing a feature film that people should be able to enjoy in a couple of years. Very exiting stuff! If folks are interested in what I'm up to they should join me on FB.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much, Casper. And thanks for the badass film. *********Actually dudes, I posted this on Dreamwidth and am crossposting it here. It doesn't mean I love you any less. Honest. On Dreamwidth? Add me: "Wednes."
 
 
Color Me: busybusy
 
 
 
Wednesday Lee Friday
14 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
13 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
12 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
11 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
10 October 2014 @ 10:26 pm
Within a year of meeting H, (summer of 1999) I started referring to him as "Baboo" because of how Sally Brown calls Linus Van Pelt her "sweet Baboo." I read Peanuts cartoons voraciously as a kid, and had a zillion books of them. So this made perfect sense to me.
Eventually, Baboo was shortened to simply Boo.

I notice now, that "Boo" is a very common thing to call one's significant other, particularly (but certainly not exclusively) among African Americans. I hear it on Key & Peele last season, and then on Criminal Minds this past week.

My question is, is everyone doing it because of Sally and Linus? Is there another reference for this that I don't know?

Regardless, I have to give H a new nickname.
For no reason whatsoever, I've started calling him "Spaghetti."

*********Actually dudes, I posted this on Dreamwidth and am crossposting it here. It doesn't mean I love you any less. Honest. On Dreamwidth? Add me: "Wednes."
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Wednesday Lee Friday
10 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
09 October 2014 @ 12:09 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
This week's Zombie Zone News reprint is my interview with Stefan Petrucha, who wrote a really good novel about an undead detective. Turns out, he's also a fascinating cat. This interview is from January of 2012.



If you're not familiar with American writer Stefan Petrucha, you should be. He's taking zombies in some groovy new directions--an innovator, pure and simple. And he knows his stuff. Petrucha writes adult and YA fiction on a variety of supernatural and speculative topics. And of course, he wrote the TimeTripper series. He has a plethora of books and graphic novels under his belt. I recently had the pleasure of reading Dead Mann Walking, A Hessius Mann Novel for review here at ZZN. In case you missed it, I liked it a lot. Happily, Stefan Petrucha was kind enough to consent to an interview—which is awesome, because I had a bunch of questions. Luckily for us, he's an interesting and articulate cat.

WLF/ZZN: Hey Stefan, thanks for taking the time to answer our Q's. Lets start with an easy one, was this book inspired more by your love of zombies, or your love of detective books?
Thanks for having me, and for the lovely review!
To answer your question; both and neither. I’ve been a fan of zombies and noir for ages, particularly George Romero, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. In the past, I’d done some noir work in graphic novels (Boston Blackie and the satirical Lance Barnes, Post Nuke Dick), as well as a Dawn of the Dead satire back in college called Afternoon of the Airheads – so the genres are always percolating somewhere in my fetid mind.
That said, I’d wanted to write a zombie novel for a while, but, not wanting to repeat the obvious, I was waiting for a good idea. Some great work has been done, and unless I had an intriguing concept, I didn’t think it would be worth the effort.
One day I was listening to an NPR show about the death penalty and one of the speakers said something like, “The reason the death penalty is so controversial is because you can’t take it back.”
I immediately thought, well, what if you could? Naturally, we wouldn’t be very good at it, making the results kinda horrific. At that moment, the basic concept of a detective wrongly accused of murder, then brought back, lodged in my brain with long, sharp talons that have yet to let go.

WLF/ZZN: Tell us a bit about Hessius Mann.
In some ways he’s the typical gruff noir detective – Chandler’s Phillip Marlow, or Hammett’s Sam Spade, the one man in a corrupt world trying to do some good. Marlow and Spade have their shortcomings, but Hess one-ups them in terms of flaws. He’s not only dead, his memory, which was photographic when he was alive, has been left more like something out of Christopher Nolan’s film, Memento.
There are also things he’d rather not remember, like whether or not he actually did kill his wife. He knows he’s got a short temper, so, despite evidence indicating his innocence, he’s not really sure what went down. He’s struggling not only against the bad guys and the corruption, he’s struggling with a failing body and a failing mind.

WLF/ZZN: The cover design is creepy and cool. Who was the artist? How much input did you have on the concept?
Glad you like it – I think it’s a great cover. It was designed by Ray Lundgren, whom I hope will be working on the next cover as well. .
I was asked at the onset to contribute ideas, but I’m not a great cover designer, so I was happy to have them ignored. I was then presented with the cover image pretty much as it stands. I thought it was great. I wanted to have a hat added, to lean a little more toward classic noir, but a stock photo had been used and couldn’t be changed. I did niggle the text a little, changing “First in a New Series” to “A Hessius Mann Novel” which sounded more like classic detective to me. I think Ray did a fantastic job – I’m very pleased with it.

WLF/ZZN: Many of the "Livebloods" in Dead Mann Walking are, to put it bluntly, complete asshats. Is this indicative of your own annoyance with humanity in general?
Ha! Partly, I suppose, but I’m also trying to turn the trope on its head. In the usual zombie story, the living are surrounded by the violent dead, so here, the dead are surrounded by the violent living. That’s the interesting thing about monsters – there’s really nothing they can do than humans haven’t already done.
My own attitude is that I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand.

WLF/ZZN: It is widely agreed that the sci-fi genre deals with themes on society, and the horror genre deals with the human condition. Where does that leave Dead Mann Walking?
Hm. I’m not sure that particular division is so widely agreed upon, at least not in film/TV. Romero’s first three Dead films all make some pretty heavy commentary on society, while something like the revamped Battlestar Galactica deals as much with the human condition as anything else. But the best work always crosses genre lines, and I prefer rules that ask you to test their limits.
With Dead Mann, Hess has a lot to say about both society and the human condition. I don’t think that makes it closer to science fiction, though. If anything, the science fiction elements are minimal, just enough to establish the existence of the zombies, and even there the “science” is intentionally vague. It’s not magic, but I didn’t want the man on the street to particularly understand how it works. How many people know how the pictures and sound come out of their TV?
I think both elements come partly out of Romero, but mostly out of classic noir, which always deals with (generally corrupt) society, so the proper category for Dead Mann would be something like noir/horror. Urban Fantasy always struck me as kind of a catch-all anyway – but the bookstores do need to shelve these things somewhere so folks can find them. Personally, I’d almost rather see Dead Mann in the mystery section, or next to something like Dexter – though this would involve me changing my last name for alphabetical reasons.

WLF/ZZN: The character Misty seems to denote an empathetic, yet hopeful attitude toward conquering addiction. Comment?
I love Misty. I’m very proud of the way her relationship with Hess plays. They’re both at the bottom of the heap, but rather than sink, they try to drag each other up. She’s certainly a sign of life and light, and to that end, works much in the same way as the standard detective secretary, smart, perky and worried about her boss. Her past life gives her something more, though – she’s earned whatever she’s got, in terms of optimism, the hard way.
That plays a key factor in the second book, Dead Mann Running, where things get a lot darker for Misty, leaving Hess, when he needs her most, to fumble through things on his own.

WLF/ZZN: Do you have a planned number of novels for the Hessius Mann series?
Nope. I plan to keep writing Hess novels as long as I live – afterwards, too, if possible.

WLF/ZZN: What kind of social services might improve the lives of the undead Chakz in Fort Hammer?
Bleach showers for one. Rot is a chakz worst enemy. Also, a roof over their decaying heads and a repair kit, complete with needle, thread and Krazy Glue, for reattaching lost limbs, sewing up gashes, and so on.
Speaking of social services,I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say that at the end of Dead Mann Walking, official chak camps are established. In the second book Hess visits a couple, witnessing some surprising results regarding how the campers fare.

WLF/ZZN: Hessius mentions that Night of the Living Dead scared the crap out of him. Can we assume that you feel similarly?
Absolutely. It was one of those magical things I first saw all alone at midnight on TV. The opening graveyard scene has yet to be topped. Fast zombies are great, too, but the slow, relentless attack by that corpse is amazing. There’s also a sequence where a child-zombie winds up chomping on her dad and killing her mom that still gives me chills.

WLF/ZZN: I know Hessius prefers to carry a tape recorder to an iPod. But if he had an iPod, what music would he have on it? Any podcasts you think he'd be a fan of?
Ha! For the podcasts, Wait! Wait! Don’t bury me! As for tunes, Hess’ actual taste would probably run toward mopey jazz and pop, but that’s no fun. I actually wrote a column featuring my favorite zombie songs, so let’s say he’d like those.
First and foremost would be Dead Mann Walking, the song actually written for the novel by the hard rocking creative madman behind Carnival Comics, Jazan Wild. It’s available as a free download at my website. As for the others, there’s Alice Cooper’s I Love the Dead, The Gonk, from Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, All the Men in My life Keep Getting Killed by Kandarian Demons, from Evil Dead, the Musical, Zombie Jamboree originally by Lord Invader (quoted at the beginning of the novel), and last, but definitely not least, Re: Your Brains by the amazing Jonathan Coulton.

WLF/ZZN: Zombies do not appear to be your only area of interest. You also write about ghosts, vampires, werewolves—would it be fair to say you’re a renaissance man in the world of horror?
Much as I like it, “Rennaissance” sounds kinda haughty. I see myself more as working down in the trenches. I’m an old Dark Shadows fan, and they really ran the gamut in terms of supernatural tropes, so it feels natural to move from one to the other.
Past that, my interests have always varied, including mysteries, historical fiction, literary fiction, and superheroes. My next book, a young adult thriller from Philomel called Ripper, takes place in New York City in 1895, and has a bit of a steam-punk feel. I like to describe it as being like Harry Potter, except without magic and with a serial killer.
At least I’ve never felt stuck in a rut, creatively!

WLF/ZZN: What do you do when you aren't taking horror icons into exciting new places?
Starting this month I’m teaching an online class through the University of Massachusetts called Writing for a Living. There’s also TV, time with the family and the occasional video game. I’ve been playing Settler 7, but I’ll have to drop that and get serious about the sequel to Ripper, which I’m currently working on.

WLF/ZZN: How has writing about Hessius Mann altered your personal zombie apocalypse plan?
I now sleep with two guns under my pillow instead of one.

WLF/ZZN: Do you have any advice for young writers who want to truly innovate within the genre as you have?
Thanks for the compliment!
My general advice to new writers is not to simply write what you love. First, develop great taste, then write what you love. As for innovation, I think that involves taking an abstract step back and figuring out what makes a genre work, and playing around with those basic concepts, and bringing it back to an emotional heart.
As a final word of advice, take my online, course Writing for a Living.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much, Stefan. Any parting words for your fans?
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your years of loyal support, but, really, you need to buy a lot more of my books – and force your friends to do the same.

*********Actually dudes, I posted this on Dreamwidth and am crossposting it here. It doesn't mean I love you any less. Honest. On Dreamwidth? Add me: "Wednes."
 
 
Color Me: awakeawake
Background Noise: AHSF
 
 
 
Wednesday Lee Friday
08 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
07 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
  • Mon, 13:35: Dammit!! I almost got away with never watching Twin Peaks. Thanks a lot, Showtime.
  • Mon, 15:31: Boardwalk Empire was amazing this week! Sigrid's revelation, massive gunfire, Jillian's despair, June's heartache. http://t.co/nkH8ORMMXf
  • Mon, 19:12: Somehow I managed to commit myself to writing 17 new articles this week. Now I'm wondering if I should just plain commit myself. ;-)
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Wednesday Lee Friday
06 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
05 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
04 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
  • Fri, 21:16: Planning a screaming tirade about someone's jewelry? Do take a moment to learn the difference between Hamsa and Hamas. #Fuckwit #H8
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Wednesday Lee Friday
03 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
  • Thu, 17:39: Finished all of the existing Mad Men episodes. Damn, I've never seen Harry Hamlin play such a bastard. His father, Zeus, must be so...
  • Thu, 17:52: I think Monopoly would go faster and be a lot more fun if we used a pair of 20-sided dice. Discuss.
  • Thu, 23:35: Friday's Pics Spotlight: Chris Sarandon Fright Night, Skellington, Child's Play, and more! Geek Binge http://t.co/QHOoPdsZyy
  • Fri, 10:45: Friday's Pics Spotlight: Chris Sarandon (the scary stuff) Vampire, murderer, televangelist, evil ruler... Geek Binge http://t.co/7RtN7e1UvK
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Wednesday Lee Friday
02 October 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
01 October 2014 @ 11:14 pm
I've been doing Wednesday Reprints of my old Zombie Zone News articles since they can no longer be seen on the site. Taking a break from interviews this week to reshare my article detailing why I hate The Evil Dead--especially when everyone assumes I must love it.



I hate The Evil Dead: Explained, because you asked for it.

As a life-long zombie fan from the great state of Michigan, I am met with varying degrees of surprise when new friends learn that I loathe The Evil Dead movies—and indeed, all of Sam Raimi's horror. "Even Army of Darkness?!?" they say in feigned hipster shock. Yes, 'fraid so. People have been asking me to explain (read: justify) this for at least 20 years now. I wanted to explain it, but I honestly didn't know—until now. This might end up being more about me than the film itself, but hey, you asked. See, I don't just "dislike" Evil Dead. I loathe it. I've reached a point where I'm pissed that people praise it so highly, love it so much—especially when the most gung-ho people aren't even zombie fans. "The Evil Dead" is kind of a silly title if you think about it—akin to The Mean Murderer or Bad Men We Don't Like.

Until my preparation for this article, I hadn’t seen the original Evil Dead in over 15 years. I remembered it as tritely scripted, horribly acted, rife with ridiculously bad dialogue, and generally shitty overall. It was also advertised as a zombie movie, which it really isn't. On the off chance that I asserted this, I would typically be met by—let’s say vigorous disapproval. Eventually I became perplexed, suspicious that there must be something I was missing. The disagreement was SO strong that I doubted the veracity of my hatred—even Stephen King has admitted liking The Evil Dead.

"But…it's terrible," I'd say, referring to the aspects of the films which are…you know…terrible. And here's the thing—no one disagrees that Evil Dead has horrible acting, is poorly written, has amateurish special effects and makeups that are lit far too brightly, and is generally stupid. Everyone concedes these points. "But, you don't understand--they had so little and did so much," they bray. What I gather from that is that I'm supposed to love the movie because they took the time to make it, and it was hard. It's probably hard for Uwe Boll to make movies, but the fact that he did so isn't enough to make me go. I'm not falling for THAT again. Now that YouTube exists, we now know that movie making is not some elusive skill that only Kubrick, Fincher, and Hitchcock were ever good at. Simply making a film with a small budget is not a good enough reason to like it.

Side note: I once paid to see Drag me to Hell in the hopes that there would be ONE Sam Raimi horror movie that I could enjoy. No dice. I love Spiderman, but all of Raimi’s horror watches like he’s enjoying a private joke that I just don’t get. The talking goat was enough to make me want to walk out in a huff; and I spotted the **spoiler alert** button switch from a mile away. Sad, because like Evil Dead, Drag me to Hell has a promising beginning.
It's even been suggested that I don't like Evil Dead because I'm a girl. And apparently, Girls don't know anything about zombies. Pish tosh, I say. If you don't think chicks know zombies, I'd implore you to check out Z Magazine, and its proprietess Eloise Knapp. Hell, you can read my own zombie book, The Finster Effect, which is a damn sight more interesting than any horror Raimi has ever directed. AND it's set in the great state of Michigan.

The Evil Dead starts out fine. There is some great footage of a swampy, wooded area (that isn't in Michigan, for some reason) where scary shit is no doubt brewing. These swooping opening shots are fun and visually appealing—setting us up to think the movie will have a certain artistry that just doesn’t develop. By the time Ashley et al have a near-miss car collision, it’s clear to the viewer that not a single one of them can act. An abundance of 20/20 hindsight tells us that only one of these people went on to do any actual acting—if indeed, Old Spice commercials and Bubba Ho Tep can be counted as "acting." ;-)

Because this film is so well-known among fans, I'm not going to do a play by play of character or plot. If you're reading this article, chances are you don't need the information. That said, I do feel compelled to mention the following:
--How am I supposed to like a character who thinks it's funny to point a loaded gun at his buddy? Unless the setup is "they're a bunch of douchebags and you shouldn't care if they die," I don't see the point.
--Some of the props are really cool—the book and the skull in particular.
--A chick is raped by a tree. I'm gonna say that again in case you aren't getting that. A Chick. Is Raped. By a Tree. Evil Dead is considered to be an American classic, and a shining example of great filmmaking on a tiny budget. And in this zombie opus and source of American pride—a chick is raped by a tree. Women have come a long way in horror since then, but c'mon.
--Scott: Huge Asshat, or the Hugest Asshat? In fact, for being such close friends, all of these people are serious dicks to each other.
--Um, is that gerbil supposed to be a wild animal? If so, really?
--The clouds going past the moon shot is an affront to all things lunar. If you can't just shoot the actual moon, please don't bother.
--"Zombism." Personally, I believe in a relaxed and inclusive definition of "zombie" which can include infected, voudon, bite-based, chemical, viral, etc. But being possessed by a Demon is not really zombism. Evil Dead "zombies" don't seem to want to actually eat anyone, not as a primary goal anyway. What really bugs me about this is how many zombie aficionados will scream for days that 28 Days Later is not zombie movie because infection isn't dying blah blah blah, but have no issue with this? I guess later in the film it's a little more zombie-like, but really? Evil Dead is a zombie movie like Pet Sematary is a zombie movie—which is to say: kinda, but not really. In fact, it isn't even marketed as a zombie movie anymore.
--Bruce Campbell. I know he has legions of fans, and is purportedly a really nice guy. He's handsome. Ridiculously, absurdly, chiseled-out-of-stone handsome. No disrespect, but Bruce looks like he could be Mitt Romney's brother. He's so handsome, I'm suspicious and want to dislike him on general principle.
--Claymation. I gotta admit, I like it.
--Zombies don't talk. And you can posthumously tell that prick Dan O'Bannon I said so.

Lets agree for the time being that The Evil Dead is a zombie movie. Zombies are part of the horror genre, and will be until they sparkle and make the romance with teenage girls. But The Evil Dead isn't scary. It's gross and silly and ridiculous. It doesn't take horror seriously. And I do. Horror is serious business, and if you're going to piss on it with your foolish FX and shittier than shitty dialogue (which is free, BTW. Good dialogue costs nothing, and the only thing you need to get it is talent) it needs to be at least as funny as say, Fido. Evil Dead isn't, not in MY humble opinion. It isn't even as funny as Saturday the 14th and how many of you have even seen that little gem of a film? ** insert horsehead bookends joke here **

There's one more thing that keeps me from digging The Evil Dead. And I didn't put it together for the longest time. And it begins with the Fake Shemp. A "Fake Shemp" is a delightfully nerdy expression derived from when the Three Stooges had to complete a few shorts after Shemp Howard's sudden death. They worked around him with (what we now call) some Ed Wood-style body doubling. They had to shoot around Bruce Campbell to finish the film. Since Ted Raimi was far too adorable to stand in for Mitt jr, they used a series of these Fake Shemps.

Hmmm…a Three Stooges joke. Even with that knowledge, it still took someone actually telling me that one reason I don't appreciate Evil Dead movies is that I don't like the Three Stooges. Once I looked for it, Evil Dead was rife with references, parodies, a veritable cornucopia of Three Stooges humor. That's the ongoing joke that I just don't get. And let me assure you, that running gag is holding that movie together more than some of you realize. Without it, the whole thing turns to an unfunny crapshack.
Even more eye-opening was the realization that I don't know a single chick who likes Three Stooges. Not one. I mean, I've seen a few of their shorts and don't wish them any specific harm. A lot of fingers in eyes and pies in rich dowager's faces. Hardee har har. But aside from thinking that recent movie was an affront against the gods of cinema, I know fuckall about the Three Stooges, and am quite comfortable with that. But I was pissed to realize that my dislike of Evil Dead had more to do with me being a chick than I'd care to admit.

In the end, I can forgive lame special effects, bad makeups under too bright lighting, suspiciously handsome actors, and can even learn to tolerate poorly written dialogue. But if I'm not scared, I need to be laughing, intrigued, or care even the tiniest bit about these characters. I wasn't, and I couldn't, and I still can't. And that, ultimately, is what keeps me from enjoying The Evil Dead.
Aren't you glad you know?

*********Actually dudes, I posted this on Dreamwidth and am crossposting it here. It doesn't mean I love you any less. Honest. On Dreamwidth? Add me: "Wednes."
 
 
Color Me: crankycranky
 
 
 
Wednesday Lee Friday
01 October 2014 @ 03:32 am
  • Tue, 10:40: #Gotham is like the 60's Batman in that big stars are falling all over each other to appear in it. How nice for all of us! Frank Whaley FTW.
  • Tue, 12:40: You guys all know I'm writing for a new site, right? Here's a link to my archive so you can keep up if you want to. http://t.co/kqz5MnLu6T
  • Tue, 15:05: Aside from my pic being squishy, I'm digging my new & growing archive @ Puckermob. Check out my lists of things. ;-) http://t.co/1164le08RQ
  • Tue, 19:07: Bruce Wayne's mom and Superman's Earth mom both have the same first name. How did I not notice that before?
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Wednesday Lee Friday
29 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
  • Sun, 22:59: Wow, Sunday night #FOX served up the good stuff. Best Crossover EVER. (nice Simps opener too)
  • Mon, 10:25: Boardwalk Empire: "Cuanto" Review | Geek Binge http://t.co/uTM6t6MxEC Secrets revealed, requests made, & unexpected bloodshed. #HBO
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Wednesday Lee Friday
28 September 2014 @ 12:05 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
27 September 2014 @ 12:03 pm
  • Sat, 00:46: "Post-it"notes keep falling down. Turns out, they're some crapshack knockoff brand. Thanks a lot--former office I stole them from. @3MNews
  • Sat, 00:47: Does anybody know why they make glow-in-the-dark sunglasses? Also, how do we make them stop, because that's stupid. #tacobell #FourTwenty
  • Sat, 04:17: Everyone bitching about bendable iPhones clearly hasn't seen the show @Extant_CBS. They have future smartphones that still snap like twigs.
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Wednesday Lee Friday
26 September 2014 @ 10:40 pm
Want to read a substantive post with well-considered opinions on racism, economics, war, and government asshattery? Well, this is not that post.
This post is to discuss my favorite (non Bill Paxton, obvs) character on Agents of SHIELD, Leopold Fitz. We know him as one-half of Fitz-Simmons, or as simply: Fitz.

Cut so you don't get spoiled up.Collapse )

*********Actually dudes, I posted this on Dreamwidth and am crossposting it here. It doesn't mean I love you any less. Honest. On Dreamwidth? Add me: "Wednes."
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Color Me: awakeawake
Background Noise: Defiance Soundtrack
 
 
 
Wednesday Lee Friday
26 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
24 September 2014 @ 11:55 pm
Time once again for another Zombie Zone News reprint, this time, it's Peter Clines.  This is from a series we did with Audible.com when they started getting seriously into indie horror.  There are some great authors in this series, more of which will follow in the coming weeks.  

Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday: Peter Clines



Today's 7 authors in 7 days interview is none other than Peter Clines. Inventive and brave, Clines defies genre to give readers something unexpectedly awesome every time. Ex-Heroes inspired fervor among zombie fans, and Ex-Patriots promises to get already rabid fans even more frothy. Ha hails from Maine, the horror capitol in the world, and his newest novel was produced as an audiobook by Audible.com. http://www.audible.com/pd?asin=B0057YOIYI

Clip to follow after the interview.

WLF/ZZN: Hey, thanks for taking the time to answer our Q's. I'll start with what some horror writers call The Grandma Question. Why zombies? Why can't you write about something pleasant?
Hah. Well, let’s get the awkward one out of the way. Honestly, why not? Are zombies really that much more horrible than anything else? This sort of question always makes me laugh because so many people write about disturbing, unnerving things that are real. John Grisham writes about legal and financial machinations by people out to screw the little guy. Lee Child writes about government cover-ups. Ray Bradbury’s written several stories about book burning. Dan Brown writes about secret cults and religious conspiracies. Dozens of bestselling authors write about oppression and unfettered greed. Yet grandmothers everywhere applaud these people as writing “pleasant” stuff. But, man, you wipe out one small town with zombies or vampires and suddenly you’re one of those messed-up horror writers who obviously had a scarring childhood incident.

WLF/ZZN: You are known for work that straddles multiple genres. What's amatter? One genre not good enough for ya?
I just love crossing the streams. I know it’s bad but I think it appeals to most folks on a simple level. When we were kids playing with toys we’d see GI Joe team up with Star Wars and Transformers all the time. It was only when we got older that we learned about all these lines that aren’t supposed to be crossed. So the short answer is that I haven’t matured much since I was nine.
On another level, I think most really good stories tend to cross genres a little bit. I bet you can find a dozen or more old movies about people locked in a store or warehouse over a long weekend, doing all the things we’d all do, and then George Romero dropped in zombies and we had Dawn of the Dead. Stephen King took your classic “small American town” story and added vampires and we got Salem’s Lot.

WLF/ZZN: I understand that you oppose fast zombies. How is it that in your books, super heroes exist but still can't quite get a handle on slow zombies?
I just think the idea of fast zombies is a bit silly, and I feel comfortable standing in the same corner as Romero on this one. The walking dead in general are kind of pushing the bounds of believability. I think when people come back from the dead better than they were before—suddenly able to sprint non-stop and leap a dozen feet into the air—I think it’s pushing ridiculous. Simon Pegg’s expressed the same view and said something like “death is a disability, not a superpower.”
That being said, just to be fair, I don’t really consider things like 28 Days Later or The Crazies (Romero’s or the remake) to be zombie stories. I know that label got slapped on them, but I think that was just laziness on the part of some reviewers/ publicists. These are stories about living people who are suffering from a condition. They’re more ghoul stories than zombie stories. It’s a different kind of monster and a different kind of horror.
As far as superheroes not being able to handle slow zombies... that’s like people saying “well, why doesn’t Congress just fix the economy?” The big problem with slow zombies is always numbers. Everyone says “oh, they’re slow—just dodge them.” But how do you dodge twenty people? Or fifty? Or a hundred? Think about it. I established in Ex-Heroes that there are almost five million zombies in Los Angeles alone. So if you killed a hundred zombies a day, every day, for a year, you still wouldn’t’ve killed one percent of the zombie population of L.A. Even if you bumped it up to more than two hundred a day, you’re talking about fifty years to clean out Los Angeles. And then you can move on to the rest of California, the rest of the U.S., the rest of the world... It’s not called an apocalypse because you can recover in a week. There are no quick and easy answers.

WLF/ZZN: Can fans expect another sequel?
Yup. I wrote Ex-Heroes as kind of a stand-alone book, but Jacob Kier at Permuted Press loved it so much, and it’s doing so well with folks, that I got to write Ex-Patriots with a third story in mind. Sooooo... a couple small things are left unresolved, a couple seeds are planted. I’m finishing up a different book right now and then I’m hoping to have Ex-Communication done in time for Christmas next year.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us about the audiobook version of Ex-Patriots.
It’s like getting the book read to you by someone who speaks very well and can do really cool voices. If I read it to you, everyone’s voice would crack or sound squeaky. A lot. Especially the female characters.

WLF/ZZN: Which ZombieFest selections are your favorite(s)?
You want me to say something besides “mine,” right? Well, Bryon Morrigan’s Acheron comes out right after Ex-Patriots and it’s very fun. I got to read it at the start of the year. It’s about a soldier in the middle east who gets caught up in... well, I don’t want to say too much because it’s a great slow-build story. Let’s just say it starts out with a creepy mist and the walking dead and gets crazier and crazier. Part of the fun is the main character, Captain Nate Leathers (and you have to love that name), is very down-to-Earth and he’s viewing all the events through a very pragmatic eye.

WLF/ZZN: You've been credited with creating something truly unique within an oversaturated genre. Do you agree that the zombie subgenre is oversaturated?
I think “oversaturation” is a term that gets thrown out to explain why things fail. No one ever says television is oversaturated with sitcoms or procedural shows until one of them bombs. That’s when the word gets whipped out, because the alternative is “your material sucks.” But the truth is that network television continues to support dozens of sitcoms, dozens of procedurals, and many more are waiting in the wings.
I do think there’s a definite flood of zombie material right now, and I think a large part of that is zombies got cool just at a time when small presses were coming back and e-publishing was really taking off. So there’s been a lot of space on the bandwagon for people to jump on. There’s a lot of really good stuff out there getting a lot of support, but I think the percentage of bad stuff we’re actually seeing is going up because people are able to bypass that filter of editor and publisher. And let’s be honest for a minute—the majority of people should be filtered out. That’s just the way of the world. Not everyone can write good stories. Also, not everyone can cook, not everyone can play guitar, not everyone can repair cars, and not everyone can perform brain surgery.
So, short answer, you could say the market’s oversaturated—cluttered might be a better word-- but I think it’s really just where you’d expect it to be with all the new tech out there. I think every genre’s seeing the same thing right now, we just don’t realize it because most of us here aren’t big into historical romance or period mysteries or whatever.

WLF/ZZN: What, if anything, can you share with us about your own zombie survival plan?
Denial. I will stop them all by sheer denial.

WLF/ZZN: Just for fun, what is the worst zombie movie or book you've ever encountered?
Tough call. I have seen and read some things that I thought were really, really awful. I’m trying to get better about biting my tongue, though, so I probably shouldn’t say anything. It turns out people have started listening to my opinions over the past year or so, which I think means I should be a bit more careful with them. I will be zombie Thumper and say nothing at all (cause, y’know... he’s a dead rabbit. They don’t talk).

WLF/ZZN: How has your experience been with Audible.com?
Really fantastic. I was a bit intimidated at first because I was stepping into an all-new realm, but the people were wonderful (and very patient). One of the people working on Ex-Patriots actually caught something that had slipped past all my proofreaders and editors so we got to make some last-minute tweaks. Jay Snyder, the narrator, is just great. When he recorded Ex-Heroes we traded a bunch of emails because he wanted to make sure he was pronouncing names correctly and what actors I could picture playing different parts. After years in the film industry, where the writer’s opinion is usually ignored at best, it was a pleasant surprise.
They asked me to do some bonus material for the July releases, too. Those are the Junkie Quatrain stories that are tagged on to all four audiobooks. They’re set in a post-apocalyptic world where an infection turns people into uninhibited cannibals. But they’re not zombies. They’re more like... ghouls (link up here, link up there). Each story stands alone, but if you read more than one you’ll start to see overlaps and connections. Rhetorical questions are asked in some stories that actually get answered in others.

WLF/ZZN: Anything you'd like to say to your many readers?
Some of you people have really sick minds. Especially you. Yeah, you. That’s not what I meant by that at all. How did you even come up with that? Seriously, get your minds out of the gutter.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much. Any last words of advice to those of us who may someday have to fight off zombies without the assistance of super heroes?
Don’t get backed into a corner—always have an escape route. And possibly an escape route from your escape route. Don’t get too dependent on your firearms (they run out of ammo or jam at all the worst times). And for God’s sake, it is not “just a scratch” and it will not be okay.
*********Actually dudes, I posted this on Dreamwidth and am crossposting it here. It doesn't mean I love you any less. Honest. On Dreamwidth? Add me: "Wednes."
 
 
Color Me: busybusy
 
 
 
Wednesday Lee Friday
23 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
22 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
19 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
18 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
17 September 2014 @ 07:39 pm
From 2011, please enjoy this interview with Chef Formaro of Zombie Burger and Drink Lab, reprinted from Zombie Zone News:

Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday: Chef George Formaro


Regular readers know that I get to interview all sorts of cool purveyors of undead culture—actors, novelists, musicians, directors, photographers, and so forth. This is the first time I've ever interviewed a chef, because let's face it, zombie food doesn't sound altogether palatable for the living.
And yet…Zombie Burger and Drink Lab is set to open in Des Moines in just a few short days. A harbinger of undead things to come? Perhaps. An atmospheric space with a killer menu of horror and zombie-inspired faire? For sure. Tuesday, August 30th is opening night—and man, you do NOT want to miss it. Burger lovers, zombie fans, even those silly vegetarian types will find something to love on Chef Formaro's extensive menu—which is designed to look like a newspaper during a zombie outbreak. Safehouse-inspired décor and awesome murals create a fun atmosphere for families, while the Drink Lab section serves alcohol just for the grown-ups.

Okay…I sound more like a commercial than an interviewer. I'll admit it, I love cheeseburgers almost as much as I love zombies. They are nature's perfect food. Imagine the joy of a gourmand such as myself having the opportunity to interview Chef Formaro on his truly unique and awesome restaurant!

WLF/ZZN: Chef Formaro, you've created an establishment that combines two of my favorite things on this Earth: zombies, and burgers. What inspired you to bring horror and comfort food together in such an unorthodox way?
Zombie movies and burgers both have an element of fun about them, and I've always been a fan of both. So it just seemed like a fun idea to put them together. And once we started talking about it, the concept kind of took off on its own. The people of Des Moines have really been getting into the idea, and we're not even open yet!

WLF/ZZN: Unlike the usual human nosh in a zombie movie, your menu is extensive, mouth-watering and diverse. What makes your menu well suited to horror fans?
Well, the food is fantastic for both horror and non-horror fans. It's the zombie-movie theme of the menu that makes it fun for horror fans. If you're a fan of the genre, then you'll get the jokes in the names, like the "They're Coming To Get You, Barbara" burger. (WLF note: Ha!)

WLF/ZZN: Why Des Moines?
Des Moines is a great city. There are a lot of smart, fun people here who get the kind of thing we're doing with Zombie Burger. Plus it's where I live, and probably always will, so I want to make sure this town has places like this that you won't really find anywhere else.


WLF/ZZN: A lot of your menu items have a definite family-friendly vibe. As a person without kids, I was delighted to see that the Drink Lab features a more grown-up atmosphere. Any specialty drinks we grown-ups should be trying?
My favorite drink is the Zombie, big shocker huh? Also, adding booze to the milkshakes is a must have! I like the Cherry Darling with vodka.

WLF/ZZN: ZZN fans would love to hear about your horror cred. Who are your horror heroes?
When I was a kid, I loved the old-time horror movies, so if you're talking actors, I was always a big fan of Lon Chaney and his Phantom of the Opera. And Lon Jr.'s WolfMan. And I loved Boris Karloff's Frankenstein.
If you're talking movie characters, I'd go with Barbara from Night of the Living Dead. I actually own the zombie prop head of Uncle Rege and the fire poker that Barbara used to kill him from the 1990 remake!

WLF/ZZN: Do you worry that zombies will be offended at the many, many vegetarian selections?
My experience with zombies is that they're hard to offend. And who knows, the more civilized undead might actually like the fact that you can get any of our burgers with the vegetarian patty. It's got to be a little boring eating brains all the time

WLF/ZZN: Are "Jersey Rippers" as terrifying as they sound?
Rippers are a Jersey thing. Throwing the dogs in hot oil causes them to rip. Thought it was apropos for our concept...and tasty !

WLF/ZZN: Are any menu items directly inspired by horror films?
In Planet Terror is a BBQ sauce. Loved the JT's Bone Shack setting for a chunk of that movie. No blood in our sauce though. And we have fun names tied in all over. We thought it would be cool for Zombie fans to see where our minds were when we were creating the burgers. The Horde is a French zombie movie and the burger is a Franco inspired burger. The Romero Pittsburgher is our take on a famous sandwich joint in Pittsburgh.

WLF/ZZN: I understand that the burgers and Jersey Rippers are served on custom rolls you've developed yourself. Do all those rolls ever make you nervous, given the events in Night of the Living Bread?
We have been doing some really crazy, diabolical stuff with liquid nitrogen, CO2 siphons and other unmentionables, it would not shock me if the bread were to be tampered with and get out of control. Yes, it has been a concern of mine.

WLF/ZZN: Is the Zombie Burger and Drink Lab well situated for zombie defense?
Personally I think a spiked shake is the perfect defense to monster attacks of all kinds. But for those who are worried, I have been assured by the building's architects that the walls and windows can withstand horde levels of zombies.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us a bit about the artist(s) who created the zombie themed murals?
Ron Wagner is a local illustrator who does amazing work. He created three large-scale murals of zombies taking over Des Moines that are prominently featured throughout the space. For more information on Ron, please visit:http://www.rjwagner.com/biography.shtml

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much for the interview, Chef. I predict that the opening will be attended by hordes of…something.

In case anyone is not familiar:

*********Actually dudes, I posted this on Dreamwidth and am crossposting it here. It doesn't mean I love you any less. Honest. On Dreamwidth? Add me: "Wednes."
 
 
Color Me: boredbored
 
 
 
Wednesday Lee Friday
17 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
16 September 2014 @ 07:49 pm
Last week, I got an Email from the producer of Thom Hartmann's show. If you don't know, he's a progressive pundit and pretty cool guy. They'd seen one of my phonesex articles at Kinkly.com, and wanted me to talk about phonesex on the show. Like most of the times I get asked to do things, I agreed immediately without much thought to what I was getting myself into.

My old webcam was not really of TV quality, so I ordered a better one from Amazon. Even though I have Prime, and paid $9 extra, it didn't arrive when it was supposed to. In fact, it arrived today (the day after the interview). Thanks for the shipping refund, and for adding to my stress, AMAZON PRIME.

I was fortunate to be able to borrow an excellent camera. They told me they'd send the questions ahead of time, so no worries there. Some of my FB peeps had already done the show, so I knew I wouldn't be able to see the video of Thom as he asked me the questions.

Turns out, I didn't get the questions before hand. The first two things he asked me, I had no idea. I made some shit up. Then I babbled through the rest of the questions, occasionally forgetting to look directly into the camera.

I haven't actually watched the interview yet, but all my buddies said I did great. What are they gonna say, right? By today, a bunch of people on Twitter were making fun of me. Of course, Twitter is second only to 4Chan in the frequency and acidity of cruel comments. Anyway, here it is:



The important thing is, I didn't throw up.

*********Actually dudes, I posted this on Dreamwidth and am crossposting it here. It doesn't mean I love you any less. Honest. On Dreamwidth? Add me: "Wednes."
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Color Me: nauseatednauseated
 
 
 
Wednesday Lee Friday
16 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
15 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
13 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
  • Fri, 18:45: Does anybody want a digital copy of the new #U2 album? Somebody seems to have slipped me one as a joke. #seriouslyiTunesWTF
  • Fri, 21:38: Dear People who would invent a drug called "VLIBRYD." Stop it. A "V" followed by an "L" is stupid and makes no sense. Thank you.
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Wednesday Lee Friday
12 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
11 September 2014 @ 05:06 pm
JoJo went to HVHS (the vet) today. It was a relatively painless ordeal for all concerned. He's been licking so much that now the inside of both back legs and the bottom of his belly are both largely bald. But--no scabs, no infection or redness. Just a whole lot of licking for no good reason. Also, tiny patches on the back of his front legs.

I managed to get him in the carrier all by myself. This is kind of a big deal. He howled like the world was ending. We joked that he might actually be turning into a werewolf he was howling so damn loud.

HVHS was super nice and easy to deal with. They loved how beautiful and chill he was. I mean, he was loud and nervous, but with that in mind he was very good. They gave him fancy food and trimmed his nails for the lowest price because he behaved so well.

They think he has contact dermatitis. We need to shampoo our carpet and look into what's different about his litter. They took a skin scraping from him but didn't notice anything unusual. They're gonna call us back later with test results, but his health seems otherwise very good.

He's home now. We could have given him a steroid shot, but decided against it. They were really great at HVHS, and everything was only $77. I gave an extra $20 for donation because it was less than I was expecting, and because they were great. I'm relieved that there's nothing seriously wrong with my little man, but really wish he'd stop all that damn licking.

*********Actually dudes, I posted this on Dreamwidth and am crossposting it here. It doesn't mean I love you any less. Honest. On Dreamwidth? Add me: "Wednes."
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Color Me: cheerfulcheerful
 
 
 
Wednesday Lee Friday
11 September 2014 @ 12:01 pm
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Wednesday Lee Friday
10 September 2014 @ 06:24 pm
Hey kids,

As many of you know, I used to have an interview segment at Zombie Zone News. Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday was a ton of fun, and allowed me to trade Emails with some really cool people. However, an error at the website led to most of those interviews being unavailable to read. The good news? I still have all my interviews, and thought it might be a neat idea to repost them somewhere that they can actually be seen. I have not edited these in any way.
For my own laughs, I decided not to post these in order. Also, the Bear McCreary interview was requested. How can I say no?  Honestly, this was not one of my better interviews because I felt SO far out of my league.  Bear was totes professional and patient with my ignorance. 
So here it is, from March 2011, my interview with composer Bear McCreary:

From Zombie Zone News, March, 2011"



Like most of you, I waited all summer long in anticipation of the premiere of The Walking Dead. I carefully avoided news articles and pics, not wanting even the tiniest spoiler. Open credits begin. Music by Bear McCreary. Cheers! Applause! My Walking Dead party was chock full of BSG devotees, Sarah Connor fans, and Dark Void players. Our already palpable anticipation doubled. We were not disappointed.
Bear McCreary has composed scores for some of the best television of the last ten years including Battlestar Galactica, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Eureka, Caprica, and The Cape. Then there's the movies like Wrong Turn 2, Rest Stop, and BSG Razor. You can, and should, read all about Bear on his website. http://www.bearmccreary.com/
As we all know, the score from Season One of The Walking Dead set the bar for horror television. The banjo work alone is reason enough to buy this soundtrack. Bear's ability to create mood, enhance themes, and elicit emotion, is nothing short of masterful. I was super geeked when Bear agreed to answer some questions just for us.


WLF/ZZN: You were a kid who watched TV and played video games, who grew up to work in TV and video games. Does this affirm that TV and video games are not only good for us, but the road to creative fulfillment?
I think that feature films have utterly lost their monopoly on being cool. When I was a kid, films had a sense of grandeur and scope that TV and especially games didn’t even attempt to match. Nowadays, film is trying to keep up with a quickly evolving landscape. The creative opportunities I’ve found in games and TV have been absolutely remarkable. And while I enjoy working in features too, I only take on the projects that allow me to explore new musical sounds. Basically, I take on projects that are dramatically interesting. I don’t even care if its for a film, TV or a game, as long as it’s fun to work on it.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us about your relationship with zombies before you signed on to score The Walking Dead.
I’d always been aware of the zombie genre, but it really wasn’t where my passion lied. However, that all changed when I read Kirkman’s comic. I was sucked into the world of these characters, because I loved them so much. And TWD comic is a good crash course for zombie newbies, because it hits so many of the tropes of the genre. From there, it was a hop, skip and a jump to finding all these great films.

WLF/ZZN: How stoked were you to do it?
Pretty f*cking stoked. Can I say that? Maybe I should rephrase: Pretty f*cking excited about it.

WLF/ZZN: Can you share anything about how scoring this series has influenced your own plans or preparation for the zombie apocalypse?
I’m keeping my banjo handy.

WLF/ZZN: You've talked about the concept of Unity in the score for The Walking Dead, and that the leitmotifs intertwine to create one sound. Does the inspiration for these character themes come more from the actor's performances, or from the script?
Honestly, there aren’t really any character themes to speak of. That’s where the unity comes from. Rather than highlighting all the characters’ differences, by giving them each a unique sound, I’m painting them all with a single brush. They come from different backgrounds and have different values, but they’ve all been brought together by this horrific event and their current surroundings.
If anything, the quality of the actor’s performances has allowed me to step back a little musically and accomplish this. The scenes work so well on their own, I can focus more on creating a musical world, rather than working hard on creating specific character arcs. This approach may change in Season 2, of course, but that’s what worked in Season 1.

WLF/ZZN: Does your musically Unifying the human survivors indicate that you are rooting for the humans to win?
Zombies are fun. But, if you’re rooting for the zombies to win it means the characters aren’t connecting and the whole thing is a failure. That’s precisely what makes Kirkman’s source material so fabulous. As a well-versed comic book / horror fan you KNOW people are going to die. But, Damnit, Kirkman makes you love these people anyway.

WLF/ZZN: The banjos in The Walking Dead are even scarier than those from Deliverance. It literally sounds like a zombie is playing. Do you agree then, with the premise of Land of the Dead, that some zombies will retain the musical abilities they had in life?
That’s exactly how I thought about it, even though I think Kirkman / Darabont would disagree. The zombies in TWD really don’t retain their humanity at all. But, that’s how I got Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek to find the right sound on the banjo. I told him to imagine he was a banjo player who became a zombie and was playing through muscle memory. That really got him in the mood and he created some incredibly terrifying textures.

WLF/ZZN: I haven't heard any accordion in The Walking Dead yet. Did I miss it? When will fans get the accordion they are pining for?
I’ll bet Season 2 finds some.

WLF/ZZN: Speaking of the accordion, I really think you and Weird Al Yankovic should play dueling accordions, maybe for charity? Are you game?
He’d kick my ass.

WLF/ZZN: Are you able to reveal any new instruments you'll be introducing in Season 2? Anything relating to a certain prison, perhaps?
No spoilers on that one, I’m afraid.

WLF/ZZN: Before The Walking Dead, you scored such shows as Caprica, Eureka, The Cape, and the celebrated reimagining of Battlestar Galactica. Was it always your intention to use leitmotifs in Battlestar Galactica, or did that evolve organically?
Quite the opposite. I had strict instruction from the producers to never use any themes at all. But, I couldn’t help it. That’s just where the show was leaning, so I did it anyway hoping no one would notice. Finally, around the end of the first season, the producer said that a scene with Boomer wasn’t quite working. “Can you just bring back that Boomer theme here? I think that will really help.” At that moment, I knew I wouldn’t get fired for using themes.

WLF/ZZN: Felix Gaeta was my favorite BSG character. It was worth suffering through Gaeta's misfortunes just to hear him sing. Can you tell us a bit about how Gaeta's Lament was conceived and incorporated into the show?
It was incorporated into the script that Felix would sing while being operated on. I worked closed with the actor Alessandro Juliani to write a melody in his comfortable vocal range. AJ is a classically trained singer, and has a really beautiful voice. I was stunned working with him. Regrettably, he couldn’t show it off in the series because his character was supposed to be in utter agony. So, he couldn’t sing to his full capacity. Thankfully, we re-recorded it for the Season 4 soundtrack album and he was able to show fans just how serious a singer he is.

WLF/ZZN: Is there anything fans can do to get Caprica back on the air? Facebook revolution? Letter campaign to SyFy? Maybe HBO?
Build a time machine? I’m afraid that ship has long sailed. I miss Caprica. It didn’t get the fulfilling finale that “BSG” had. I will always remember that as one of the more beautiful themes I’ve composed.

WLF/ZZN: I just learned moments ago that The Cape was cancelled, and that the finale would only be aired online. Can you comment on this trend of cancelling innovative, well-produced shows while perpetuating vapid derivative crapfests devoid of anything resembling originality?
It’s an unfortunate reality of the TV business, but not limited to that industry. Bands that don’t go big on their first album don’t get a chance to make a second. In the old days, they had time to evolve a fan base. Queen didn’t take off until their THIRD album. If they were around today, they’d never make it. Similarly, a movie has only opening weekend to prove itself. All you can do is do your best, work on projects you believe in and hope for the best.

WLF/ZZN: The mega-version 8-bit track from the Dark Void theme is awesome. Was that your idea?
That was a bit of a gift, at first. Inafune-San, the creator of “Mega Man,” was a producer on “Dark Void.” So, I made an 8-bit version of the game’s theme in the style of “Mega Man II.” To my surprise, CAPCOM loved it so much, they actually made an 8-bit game to go with it, and I wrote a full score for it. The full orchestral and 8-bit scores of both games are still on iTunes. I love that fans can experience both.

WLF/ZZN: What advice would you offer aspiring composers who want to work in TV and video games?
Do your best work. Treat every project like it matters. Believe in what you’re doing. But, most of all, do this because you love to do it above all else. If there’s something in life you enjoy more than writing music, by all means… do that instead.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us. Is there anything you'd like to say to your many, many fans?
Check out my blog, bearmccreary.com, in the coming weeks for some big announcements. I’ve just released a book of piano sheet music arrangements of “Battlestar Galactica” music. There are soundtrack CDs, concert DVDs and other cool things on the horizon. Thanks and keep on listening!
*********Actually dudes, I posted this on Dreamwidth and am crossposting it here. It doesn't mean I love you any less. Honest. On Dreamwidth? Add me: "Wednes."
 
 
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