Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sexual Disorders

MotD's very own psychopath, Nathan Tyree, has a sick new novel out now. It's called Stygiophilia. The narrator of Stygiophilia has big problems. He may be an alcoholic, the bird-snake god Quetzalcoatl has taken up residence in his apartment, his underage girlfriend may be just using him for sex and he can’t stop mutilating himself. His real problem, though, is that he is starting to really enjoy his life. He carries with him a terrible secret and a set of even more terrible desires that lead him on a year long journey toward a stunning revelation about what it means to be human in a world where humanity is dying. Stygiophilia is sexually explicit, violent, brutal, surreal and crushingly real. Nathan Tyree is the author of the cult classic Mr. Overby is Falling, as well as King of Citizen Bands and How to Make Love Like a Zombie. His books have been read and debated on six continents.

Have a look at Stygiophilia and maybe buy a copy

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Island of the Dead

You can't really say that it's come full circle, because it really makes more of a lopsided Q or something. George A. Romero's second Of the Dead film, Dawn of the Dead, was released in Italy (in a slightly different cut, edited by Dario Argento) under the title Zombi. While Romero was making his sequels (Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead) the Italians started a second line of sequels (or a first, since although they were unofficial, they came first). Lucio Fulci directed Zombi 2. Now Romero is a making a currently untitled zombie movie (Island of the Dead is the working title, but may change). This new film has a synopsis that is strangely similar to Zombi 2.

Draw your own conclusions from this.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Outside the Illness

November 23, 2011

I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I hate being alone.

I had to kill three today.

I was sure the street was empty before I opened the door this morning, but as I turned around to lock up I saw one of them standing in the yard next door. He was completely naked and holding the rotting remains of a squirrel, bits of its fur still clinging to his lips. As soon as he saw me, he immediately turned and began running in the other direction. This is the first time that this has happened, and I was surprised that he was fearful of me. I pulled the pistol out of my waistband and slowly began to head in his direction, curious as to where he would go.

He ducked around the corner and behind the house, so I broke into a jog in order to keep up. I didn’t want him to know I was following, so I was trying to give him some distance in case he looked back.

I reached the corner of the house, and peeked around just in time to see him head behind a house across the street, not looking back once. I began running in that direction. I had just about reached the yard when I heard a confusing series of yells that resembled no form of speech that I had ever heard. I froze dead in my tracks.

Seconds later he came running back out from around the corner, straight towards me, accompanied by two more of them, both female and both just as naked as he was. I immediately began firing at him and he dropped after a few shots. The other two did not hesitate for a moment and neither did I. I’m not sure how many shots it was later that one of the females fell. I do know that five shots went into the third, but she continued in my direction, seemingly unphased by pain or the condition of the other two. After that, I was pulling the trigger on an empty clip.

I dropped the nine and fumbled for the rifle hanging from my shoulder, but had barely gotten it past my arm when the third fell to the ground without another shot. All three were still moaning and lying in the boiling pools of their blood.

I took a few minutes to gather myself and let the adrenalin rush pass. I then pulled the hatchet loose from its belt loop and proceeded with the dismemberment, disappointed that this was to be the start of what looked to be a bright Wednesday.

That done I broke into the house, to check for supplies. This house had been better stocked then mine, and I filled my bag with all the cans it could carry (many of them beans, thankfully).

That done, I headed back to my place. I didn’t have the stomach for any more adventures, so I spent the day reading. I’m halfway through Making History by Stephen Fry now.

I wish I had a time machine.

See this

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hiring Zombies

Trends in zombie hiring. The disturbing trends in zombie hiring continue.

And then there's Frankenstein

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Zombie Pin Ups?

We've just discovered something that we really love. Since you are as sick as us, then you should love it too. Zombie Pinups

Just Some Updates

There's a lot going on that we need to tell you about. MotD has just learned that there is a porn parody of Romero's Night of the Living Dead. It's called Night of the Giving Head (which wins our award for best parody title ever). We can't find much information about it yet, but when we do you will be the first to know.

In other news, our sister site, An Ordinary Year, has a new chapter on-line. For the uninitiated, An Ordinary Year is a novel in progress by MotD's own Nathan Tyree. It's a twisted little piece that develops right before your eyes, so be sure to check it out.

We've got a lot of great stuff coming soon, so stick around.




The MotD team is in love with Dexter. Serial Killers deserve more love than they get. We, being the sort of sickos we are, spend a lot of time thinking about serial killers. The real life ones (Albert Fish, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacey, Dahmer, Jones) and the fictional ones. The fictional ones are sexier. They are layered and flawed and complicated. The real ones tend to just be damaged and sexually inadequate. But then, who isn't? Never mind, though.

We are fascinated by Patrick Bateman. Aroused by Norman Bates. Puzzled by Hannibal Lecter. Giggle over Jack Overby. Dexter Morgan is just the most recent. If you haven’t met him, you should.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Finis Mort

Finis Mort

Five out of Five stars


It’s not often that a movie reviewer is really surprised by what he sees on the screen. I guess that it’s totally fair to say that we are a jaded lot. Normally, even the most unexpected of movies has a familiar structure, or characters that we recognize. Fifteen minutes into most films we see the direction that the movie is headed and we begin to lean that way. Arturo Janneti’s Finis Mort manages to completely obliterate all expectations. This is Janneti’s first film, and I for one hope that we can hope to see much more from him.

The cast is almost totally unknown. Only Fred Kessler is familiar to audiences, and he appears only for a few moments of the movie. The fact that we have not seen these people before (and in some cases are guaranteed not to see them again) lends a certain quality of fascination to the film. The unfamiliarity of the faces combines with the Cinema Verite style to convince us that this is more historical document that entertainment. But, entertaining it is.

Since this film is of the sort that is likely to be seen by viewers who worry about spoilers let me give my recommendation right up front. See this film. Now that you know my suggestion, read no further if spoilers worry you.

For those who are still reading, here’s my full review:

The film opens on an indistinct, blurry image. The camera takes it’s time finding focus to finally reveal that we are looking at a gray room, wet looking all around, with a large wooden chair in the center of frame. A hooded man walks past the camera, then vanishes from sight. Off screen we can hear some muffled sounds. Maybe these are the sounds of a struggle of some sort. Perhaps we hear some moans and cries. We can’t be sure. Then the hooded man re-enters the shot. He is dragging a pretty girl (Julie Castgate) who is fighting to escape. She is wearing a sheer nightgown that barely comes o her thighs. Her hands are bound behind her back. One perfectly shaped breast finds its way free on the silken nightie. The hooded man forces her into the chair, and ties her into place. The image cuts to black

We fade in on Fred Kessler, dressed in a white lab coat setting behind a desk. He gives a monotone speech about the reality of what we are about to see. He tells us, again and again, that this is not fiction, but is rather real footage of brutal acts. He warns us not to watch. The look on his face is blank, as if he has been drugged. We know Kessler from many Z grade movies and his appearance creates the expectation of more of the same. Then we see a short title sequence.

I know that what I’m describing so far sounds like nineteen-seventies exploitation movie fare. I can’t explain why, but it doesn’t feel that way at all. Although we are only a few minutes into the program by the time the opening credits roll, it is already clear that we are in the hands of some sort of mad genius.

After the credits we can suppose that we have been dumped into a flash back. We watch a white van creeping up a quiet street at night. We see Julie Castgate (who in the credits is billed only as “Female Victim,” a decision that we may find odd) walking nervously down the sidewalk. The van comes to a sudden stop, and two men (Warren Smith and Ed Stall) jump out. They grab the female victim and drag her screaming into the van. Then the van speeds away.

By this point we in the audience are completely off balance. We can’t be sure what is going on. It is if is we are lost at sea.

Next we watch the hooded man (oddly, he is totally un-credited in the film, so we never know who the actor is) in a room with a large wooden table. The table is littered with knives and surgical instruments. He is sharpening a rather large butcher knife. This scene functions to give us our first real glimpse of what is to come. The foreshadowing is almost unbearable.

The strangest part of the film comes next. We get a strobe effect of images coming too quickly to be distinct. We can almost be sure that we have seen several dead bodies, and a girl’s screaming face. Then the screen cuts to soft black and stays that way for over a minute. Over the blackness we hear mechanical, grinding noises and indistinct dialogue. Then we fade back to the young woman in the chair. The man in the hood walks into frame and draws the blade of his knife across her face, releasing a small stream of blood and a terrified scream. The camera pushes in very tight on her eyes, which are wet and wide and filled with what looks like real fear.

Then we flash back (we guess) again. The girl is in another room, still dressed in her clothes from the street. The hooded man and the two men from the van are in the room. They strip her, and take turns raping her violently. This scene really doesn’t need any more description than that. As the scene ends we see the hooded man forcing the girl into the nightgown that we’ve seen before.

We return to the room with the chair. This is where Ms. Castgate does her best acting. She manages to portray real, paralyzing fear using mostly her eyes. At first she screams, but then the executioner (it is clear by now that that is what he is) forces a ball gag into her mouth.

He begins to cut her in delicate ways. He makes it slow; takes his time and punishes her. At the same time he is punishing the audience. We want to look away, but really cannot. Most of us (unless we are Charlie Sheen or Paris Hilton) have never seen anything like this. There is a fascination that builds around this sort of brutality, an obsessive appeal that makes us watch things that we never in our public minds admit to wanting to see. Perhaps it is catharsis. Perhaps we are just sick.

By the moment when he finally cuts her throat, and ends her life, we are hoping for it. When her eyes go dead we can’t be sure if we want that light to go out to spare her more pain, or to spare us more pain, or because our reptile brains long for the butchery. Maybe we are aroused, in some inimitable way, by all of this.

When she is finally dead the hooded man unties her, lays her out on the floor and removes what’s left of her clothes. Then he does the most unexpected (and most horrible) thing. The hooded man pulls his erect penis from his pants, strokes it a moment, then mounts the corpse in the room. The credits roll over the scene of this unbearable act.

The film ends with a statement from the film makers telling us that all of what we have watched is real. We, of course, don’t believe it. At least, I didn’t the first time I saw the film. By now I know that it is true. I, like you, have read the news stories about the murder of Julie Castgate. I, like you, know that Arturo Janneti is in hiding (in South America, the FBI suggests) and not likely to be found.

And yet, even knowing what we know now, we can’t help watching. We are shocked and amazed by this wondrous document. If you are like me, you will be seeking out a bootleg VHS of this film, and making copies for your friends. You will watch it late at night at parties you have hosted for only the select few who are likely to enjoy it (and most importantly: not likely to tell anyone about it).

Janneti’s film becomes like a drug. I expect that we will see other young directors attempting to copy it soon. I for one cannot wait.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bubba Ho-Tep

Elvis traded places with an Elvis impersonator and now lives a quiet life in an East Texas nursing home surrounded by decrepit old folks. He worries about life and the meaning of it all and about that growth on his penis which may be cancer. Elvis (Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead Fame) meets up with JFK (Ossie Davis). Kennedy, it seems, had his death faked. He was then dyed black and dumped in this rest home under another name.

Bubba Hotep is the story of these two old men, and their lives in what is, for all intents and purposes, Hell. It is about there attempts to regain some of their youth, vitality and zest for life. It scrapes around the edges of being a film about aging, and about how we abuse and forget our progenitors. Then, just when you think this movie is one thing, the mummy shows up.

Bubba Hotep is an Egyptian mummy that was stolen, then washed into a creek near the nursing home where JFK and The King reside. He has come to suck old people’s souls out through their rectums. He then, apparently, poops soul debris into the visitor’s toilet (where he also scrawls graffiti in hieroglyphs).

The Potus and the King decide that they must put a stop to this dreadful creature. That’s where the comedy/horror.camp aspects really get moving. Along the way we’re given a lot of flashbacks to Elvis’ former life, and some explanation as to why he left that life.

The big question is: are these men who they think they are? The answer: it doesn’t matter. The film works (as much as it does) through the ambiguity of this point.

Despite its flaws, this movie is very entertaining. Mostly this is due to the performances by Campbell and Davis. They both play it straight. Had they gone campy, or over the top, the entire thing would have collapsed upon itself like an overcooked soufflé. Since they play it straight, we tend to believe and like the characters.

Campbell does a great job of being Elvis like, without becoming a parody of Elvis. The make-up helps with this, but really it's his voice and attitude that carry it off.

Davis doesn't play the JFK accent and mannerisms, but instead merely acts presidential. This was the perfect choice.

Now, having stated that I enjoyed the film, I can’t help thinking that it reaches too far. In fact, why is the mummy even there? Really, any adventure could have worked. Given the brilliant set up, any set of events that caused these characters to reawaken and try to live again would have made this film enjoyable (because in the end that is what the movie is about). The mummy may actually detract from the film’s ability to function well.

Oh well. It is what it is, I suppose. I recommend this movie, but would have liked to have seen what else it could have become.

Zombie Survival

We know that you are just as concerned as we are about how to survive the coming Zombie Holocaust. Bone up at the Zombie Survival Wiki. All the zombie hunting skills you need can be learned there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An Ordinary Year

An Ordinary Year is a novel presented live. It is being placed on-line, chapter by chapter, as it is written and without any real editing. It should be fun to watch as it develops.

Be sure to check it out.

Magazine of the Dead: Cemetery Man

Magazine of the Dead: Cemetery Man


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cemetery Man

The "Zombie" genre has been around for quite some time. To be fair, "Zombie" movies are really a sub-genre, of a sub-genre. Horror is the genre, Vampires make up a sub-genre, and what is a zombie but another type of vampire? (maybe it's the other way around: what is a vampire but a sort of zombie?).

Anyway, the genre really got going with George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Romero saw the zombies as a metaphor for us, and used the fright film structure to satirize American Society.

Romero took the satire even further with Dawn of the Dead, which pitted consumerist zombies against consumerist survivors in a modern shopping mall.

The Dead Series spawned a third film, Day of the Dead, and the parody Return of the Living Dead, and its sequels.

Dario Argento (who had a connection with Dawn of the Dead) made many low budget, extremely gory zombie flicks in Italy.

Along the way many films have imitated Both Romero and Argento. I contend that movies like Halloween, and Friday the 13th (and their sequels) are members of the zombie community. Think about it, undying, slow moving, implaccable, remorseless killers stagger about and hunt hapless human victims. (I suppose by my logic Jaws also fits, but perhaps that's taking it a bit far).

So, after all that build up, here's the first mention of Cemetery Man, the film I'm reviewing.

Cemetery Man is about a grave digger (Rupert Everet, of My Best Friend's Wedding) who must dispatch the dead, who tend to rise from there graves seven days after being planted. No explanation is given for this phenomenon, nor is one needed.

In the tradition of Zombie movies, the dead are re-killed by a bullet to the head; we would expect no less.

Everet keeps a detached, reserve about him. His reaction to the horror he encounters seems to be annoyance at all the work he has to do. The thought of a bus load of dead children doesn't shock him, or fill him with sadness, or even rage, it makes him dread all the hard work he will have to do. He is perfectly laconic, and indifferent to human suffering.

He is helped by a mute assistant (Francois Hadji-Lazaro, who was fine in City of Lost Children)

Then things start to change. He falls in love, and this being a zombie movie we can see where it's going. The moment his love appears we know that she will die, and that he may be forced to deal with the zombie she will become.

However, the film offers the possibility that she doesn't die, or that she does and the cemetery man loses his mind.

Things are complicated more by the mute assistant falling in love with the severed head of a dead girl (weird, huh? I said most people would hate this movie).

This movie treats the zombie genre like no other film has. Through attitude, and tone it transforms it. Through reaction, it transcends it. It shifts gears more quickly than a NASCAR driver on amphetamine. Like some of the best films of the french New Wave (Shoot the Piano Player, Breathless) it moves effortlessly from funny, to macabre, to sad and back around again.

Whereas Romero made zombies scary, comic, pitiful, and human, this film mostly forgets them. The zombies are much less important than our strange grave digger, and his, at times belated, reactions to them.

Cemetery Man is a strange, distant, cold movie. It inverts a well worn genre, and in the process creates something new and interesting.


The New Flesh

The New Flesh: A Post-Postmodernist Review of the Mind-Body Problem as a Theme in George A. Romero’s Films Day of the Dead and Land of the Dead.

By Nathan Tyree



Philosophers have long wrestled with what has come to be known as the “Mind-Body Problem;” the question of whether we, as humans, are merely physical, material creatures or if we are possessed of some non-physical mind (soul or spirit are often used synonymously with mind). This open question has developed into one of the greatest schisms in the history of modern thought. The partisans in this battle are aligned on three sides: materialists, dualists and idealists. The eminent auteur George A. Romero has quite brilliantly aligned himself on the materialist side of this fight with the latter entries in his Dead film series. A careful watching of both Day of the Dead and Land of the Dead makes this point almost excruciatingly clear.

In this discussion the first order of business is to define the sides in the ongoing fight over the question of the soul. As was stated earlier, there are three sides: Idealism, Materialism and Dualism. We will need to explore each of them separately.

Idealism

We will look at Idealism simply so that we may dismiss it almost out of hand. The Idealist believes that there are only minds and thoughts created by minds. To make it clear, the Idealist denies that there are any material objects or physical beings in the whole of the universe. A cursory examination of the idealist philosophy reveals that it is largely absurd as well as being psychologically unsatisfying. Even if we were to ignore those two highly persuasive facts, we would still have to contend with the problem posed by temporal constancy. The idealist must believe that the chair that he sits in is not, in fact, a chair but rather merely an idea in his mind which he has mistaken for a material object in the shape of a chair. This seems barely on the outskirts of plausibility until we consider the following scenario: You enter a room and arrange the chairs in an odd configuration, then write down the precise location of each chair before exiting the room. An hour later a person that you have had no contact with then enters the room and writes down the location of each chair in the room. If the two of you come together and compare notes you will learn that you have observed the same configuration of chairs. If you have each only mistaken your own private thoughts for material objects shaped like chairs then it seems that you should observe different things. In this way Idealism knocks out its pins and collapses upon itself. It was never really taken seriously by anyone anyway and has few partisans. The other two sides in this battle have much more power behind them.

Materialism

Materialism holds that a person is an animal. We are, the materialist claims, merely material, physical beings. Nothing more and nothing less. The mind, the materialist says, is an effect of the physical brain. The materialist insists that there is no soul or spirit and that what we call ‘mind’ is merely a series of electrical and chemical reactions within that self same brain.

Dualism

The Dualist would agree with the materialist that man is a material being, a physical animal. But, the dualist claims, in addition to the physical components man also is possessed of a non-physical mind (spirit or soul works just as well here). The dualist says that it is this non-physical aspect that is responsible for consciousness, thought and our knack for ethical decision.

Those are the three sides in the mind-body discussion.

The Living Dead

George A. Romero is a film maker best known for his zombie genre movies. Romero’s Zombie films are: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead. These films all take place in a universe where humanity has been over run by a plague of flesh eating zombies. These zombies are previously dead humans that have been resurrected by some process that is never explained to the audience. In each film a small band of human survivors attempt to outlast or out fight the undead cannibals that stalk them. The first two entries in the series are both extraordinary entertainment and fascinating satire but fail to reach the philosophical heights that the latter films would reach.

Day of the Dead features a zombie named Bub who is the subject of certain behavioral experiments. In the course of the film Bub demonstrates the ability to learn, to remember things from his past and to use objects (one is tempted to say tools, but that seems to miss the point of a phone in a world where there is no one left to talk to). Near the end of the film Bub even comes very close to speaking a word.

In Romero's follow up, Land of the Dead, the zombies evolve even further. In that film, the undead follow a leader, Big Daddy . Big Daddy not only displays the ability to use tools, but transmits and teaches that ability to other zombies. The film culminates with an army of the undead marching on the last human city.

What then, does all of this have to do with souls?

It seems clear that learning, memory and choices are actions of the mind . If zombies can learn, then they must have minds (again, soul works just as well). The problem this causes for Dualism should be clear:

The Dualist believes that the soul (mind) is something non-physical which leaves the body at death. The zombies have died, and when that happened, the incorporeal part of them should have fled. When their bodies were re-animated, they should have become mindless automata. The Materialist suffers no such problem. The materialist claims (as we have discussed) that the mind is just a material function of the brain. As such, the re-animated zombie still possesses its brain, and so should be capable of thought (that these abilities are somehow diminished can be explained through the decay of brain tissue).

When these facts are considered, it seems manifestly clear that Romero’s Zombie films belong to the class of philosophical literature and that they fit cleanly on the materialist side of the mind body problem.











Teh Zombie Hunterz

Oh Noes! 1337speak zomgbies!

Check out another tasty find in our quest for all things that make us gore splattered and giggly.

http://www.thezombiehunters.com/

Start from the beginning, and report any infected to HALO authorities immediately.

That is all, Citizen.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Outside the Illness

Outside The Illness (A Survivor’s Diary)
By David Emerson

November 21, 2011

It's fucking cold outside.

Found a new house today. It looked pretty much untouched from the street. In fact, this whole neighborhood seems to have been pretty empty when the shit hit the fan last month. I've only seen three other people within a few blocks of here, but none of them are too lively (get it?).

There's something about this house, though. It reminded me of my own home. I think it's the windows.

The doors were locked, but that wasn't much of a problem. The lock picks I nabbed last week got me in the front door. It still takes a while. Guess I need to keep practicing.

Locked the door behind me as soon as I got in (definitely not forgetting to do that again). I checked all the rooms, didn't find anyone. There's kid's toys all over the place.

Found an old leather bound journal in the upstairs bedroom, tossed into the corner of the closet. Only two entries in it, but it looks like the first several pages have been torn out. Last entry is from 8 years ago. I guess the writer decided they didn't like what they had written, tried to start over, and then gave up the endeavor altogether. I'm keeping it for when I run out of room in this notebook.
Took all the pictures down from the walls and placed them in the closet. I feel like less of an interloper when I can't see their smiling faces. I stuck a chair from the kitchen table under the front doorknob. Not sure if that's going to do anything or not, but it always seemed to help in the movies.

No guns. Cheap knives in the kitchen.

The family that lived here didn't keep too much food on hand. There were a few cans of soup (chicken noodle and New England clam chowder), vegetables (green beans and peas), and fruit (pineapple and apple pie filling) in the cabinet, but not much else. Everything in the fridge was disgusting. I did find a bottle of vodka (orange Smirnoff) in the basement freezer next to a nearly empty bottle of Jagermeister. Save for these, the freezer was empty. Ate the clam chowder, and washed it down with the vodka. Got a little drunk. It helped.

I'm going to have to forage again tomorrow, but, as I said, it's fucking cold outside.


Picked a scab on my arm and squeezed out some blood. Still okay on that front.



There's a bookshelf with a ton of books on it here, most of which I've never read. I'm thinking about picking one out and starting to read it, but it seems futile. What if I get started on a book and die before I finish it?

A new comic

You know us. We like odd things. Just recently the MotD team has fallen in love with a new web comic called Parallax City. Give it a look.

Parallax City.

Dig that title.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Violet Blue

Who is the Violet Blue person, and what does she know about making love like a zombie? Does she really understand How to make love like a zombie, or is it all just mental masturbation?

The world needs to know.

Dead Ellen

Dead Ellen

By

James Horn



Dusty, desiccated flesh laid back
Like arms twisted
To the edge where it starts
The crack, tear pop
Taking

Taking her apart slowly
And keeping the bits
In my fridge

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The psychosis you have reached is not available

bzzzt
bzzzt
bzzzt

Sorry, we're dead right now.
Come back after the inaugural party.
No.. come back after we're done being Hung Over from the inaugural party...

Just kidding. But seriously, life is piling on and we're bad. Something will go up here soon.

Oh yes, my droogies, very soon.