PostApocalyptica

PostApocalyptica
Alien InvasionFilm

Oblivion

Director Joseph Kosinski certainly has a flair for visual style. His first film, TRON: Legacy, was absolutely gorgeous to look at and was also aided tremendously by a great soundtrack from Daft Punk. Toss in a liberal dose of Olivia Wilde in skin-tight spandex and neon, and it was easy to ignore the fact that the story was so lacking. With this year’s Oblivion, Kosinski has followed the same pattern again: Gorgeous set design, a great soundtrack (this time by M83), and a story with plot holes big enough to fly a fleet of drones through.

Oblivion
Novel

Skeletons by Al Sarrantonio

I first discovered Al Sarrantonio back in 1989 in a Weird Western horror anthology called Razored Saddles (I still have my copy signed by Joe Lansdale right here on my bookshelf). Al's story, Trail of the Chromium Bandits, was pretty good -- a Cowboys & Indians story a full two decades before it was a Thing. I liked it well enough that I remembered his name, and two years later I stumbled across a (then) new novel of his in the bookstore. It looked like a pretty interesting story idea, so I picked it up. I wound up devouring it over the next 48 hours and it became one of my favorite books. It has been out of print for a long time, but Skeletons (along with most of the rest of his novels) is now available for the Kindle.

Skeletons
General

Nick Pollotta, Rest In Peace

This past weekend, on Saturday, April 13th, frequent Deathlands author Nick Pollotta passed away from complications related to cancer. Although he had been ill for some time, his abrupt passing came as a surprise for those who knew him. He had just completed a Mack Bolan manuscript this past Wednesday, and was due to begin writing a new Deathlands novel this week. During his career he published more than 50 novels in a variety of genres including science fiction, fantasy, humor, horror, western, military thrillers, gaming, and paranormal romance. His first novel Illegal Aliens, featuring illustrations by legendary artist Phil Foglio, is considered by many to be a classic of the genre. His final Deathlands title to be published is Deathlands #110: Sins of Honor, which is due to be released next month by Gold Eagle and which is already in the hands of readers belonging to the Gold Eagle Subscription Service. For more about his impact on Deathlands, continue reading below the fold.

Nick Pollotta
FilmZombie

Cargo

I was going to write to day about an old favorite book of mine, but honestly I just didn't get it done in time and don't want to rush it. I'll be posting that next week. But in the meantime, check out this extremely well done short film which I stumbled across thanks to one of the Axlers, Doug Wojtowicz. It is elegantly told with very little dialog, and is all about the lengths that we as a parent will go to in order to keep our children safe. Check it out after the jump.

FilmZombie

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Last week's penultimate episode for season 3 of The Walking Dead featured a sly homage to George Romero - towards the end of the episode there was a zombie who was clearly made up and dressed identically to the iconic Airport Zombie (or Flannel Shirt Zombie) from the original 1978 version of Dawn of the Dead. I recognized it right away, because I am not ashamed to admit that Dawn of the Dead qualifies as my all-time favorite movie. Although Romero effectively invented the modern Zombie genre with 1968's Night of the Living Dead, it was the the sequel ten years later where he really left his mark. I have lost count of how many times I have seen this movie in all its permutations, but I can tell you that it occupies a significant chunk of shelf space in my living room with all of the different editions that have been released over the years. What is it about this movie that makes it work so well, and continue to be relevant 35 years later? Because at its heart it is really a very smart social commentary on American consumerism, wrapped into a compelling story featuring memorable characters and relationships. Yes, it is awash with violence and gore, but there is just oh so much more to this movie.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)
DelugeFilm

Bait

Josh is having a rough day. A year ago he was a lifeguard at an Australian beach, engaged to be married to a beautiful woman, when he saw his best friend (and girlfriend's brother) devoured by a great white shark right in front of him. Now he works in a crap job at a supermarket for a crap boss, and he is barely keeping his life together. He unexpectedly bumps into his now ex-girlfriend, who has just returned from Singapore with a brand new boyfriend. Then at the same time the grocery store becomes the scene of an armed robbery, with one of Josh' coworkers shot to death in front of him. Seriously, it's a rough day. So of course that's when a freak tsunami happens, leaving Josh and a handful of other survivors standing on top of the grocery shelves to keep above water in the now-submerged store. And oh yeah, there's a great white shark swimming around eating anyone stupid enough to get in the water.

Bait
NovelNuclear

The Savage Boy by Nick Cole

Last summer I stumbled across the very excellent novella The Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole. As the title implies it is a Hemingway pastiche, set 40 years after a nuclear apocalypse has virtually destroyed North America. I enjoyed the story very much, a very strong tale that was both very personal and which held numerous surprises. Not long after I posted my review, I heard from Nick Cole that he was working on a sequel. I was very excited to read it, and purchased my copy as soon as it came out last month on the Kindle. Here, then, after much anticipation is my take on Nick Cole's The Savage Boy.

The Savage Boy by Nick Cole
FilmZombie

Day of the Dead (2008 remake)

After watching Slither last week it naturally got me to thinking about James Gunn's excellent Dawn of the Dead remake. But as much as I love that movie, I wanted to watch something I hadn't actually seen this week. As an alternative, I watched the 2008 remake of Day of the Dead. I went into it with exceedingly low expectations, so I guess I wasn't disappointed with the fact that I was disappointed. But in the damning-with-faint-praise department, it was actually not as awful as it could have been.

Alien InvasionFilm

Slither

This week I re-watched one of my all-time favorite genre films, and enjoyed it every bit as much as the first time I saw it back in 2006. Slither is a masterpiece of comedy horror that is a who's-who of genre actors. Nathan Fillion  is perfect as Bill Pardy, Sherrif of the small town of Wheelsy, South Carolina. He is a geek god, and I am so happy that he finally found mainstream success in Castle, he deserves every bit of it. Elizabeth Banks, who made such a huge splash the year before in her supporting role in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, is both warm and funny in her portrayal of a wife who is determined to stand by her man - even as he turns into an alien slug monster. Gregg Henry, as the town mayor, is to my mind the definitive That Guy. You may not know his name, but I guarantee you have seen his work and loved it. As soon as he shows up on screen, you immediately say to yourself, "Oh hey, it's that guy! Cool!" Then there is Michael Rooker, who is currently getting some well-deserved love on The Walking Dead, in this movie playing the previously mentioned alien slug monster. Toss in a few quick scenes with The Office's Jenna Fischer (who at the time was married to writer/director James Gunn) and a vocal cameo by Rob Zombie, and you have a veritable smorgasbord of genre awesomeness.

FilmUnspecified Apocalypse

Solarbabies

The 80's really were the golden age of post-apocalyptic movies. The success of The Road Warrior became the template for every other cheap knock-off that came after, all desert wastelands, battered leather, and machinery held together by duct tape and baling wire. There was no particular reason that the apocalypse always had to be set in the desert, aside from the fact that it was very cheap to film there and because that was the imagery that viewers expected. In 1986, along came Solarbabies, which postulated that all of the Earth was a desert because *mumble mumble* and that all children are immediately taken by the totalitarian government and placed into indoctrination camps. Oh, and they like to play a basketball-like game on roller skates, because Roller Boogie was really hot that year. (Seriously.  Andrew Lloyd Weber even did a big Broadway musical about choo-choo trains performed with the entire cast on roller skates. It was a thing. Go ask your dad.) The movie featured hot young actors like Jamie Gertz and Jason Patric, and even veteran Hollywood villain Richard Jordan as the bad guy. And oh, my, was it a train wreck.

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DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, ROGUE ANGEL, ALEX ARCHER, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of GOLD EAGLE/Graphic Audio LLC, a division of RBmedia, and are used strictly under Fair use guidelines.