Saturday, August 28, 2010

Isopod Extra Auditions

I spent an hour this morning at auditions for extras for the upcoming "indie sci-fi thriller" Isopod, to be directed by Barry Levinson.  A pretty simple process:  wait in line, fill out a form, staple your picture to it.  About 600 people showed up.  Filming should run mid-September to mid-October in Georgetown, South Carolina.  

There's very little information on Isopod so far, just the director and genre, announced by a Production Weekly Twitter message on August 10.  The bare IMDB entry gives you an idea of how little is known about the film.  Isopods are crustaceans, mostly very small.  Pillbugs are the best-known:

probably followed by the "giant" deep-sea ones:

which do look a little scary but are only about a foot long.  My speculation is that if the film involves actual isopods at all, it'll be a ginormous version of the deep-sea ones or a horde of the parasitic isopods which suck fish blood, suddenly bent on destroying humankind.

We shall see.  Maybe it'll be like one of those 1970's ecological horror films like Frogs ("Today the pond!  Tomorrow the world!) or Night of the Lepus:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bio-Zombie: Hong Kong Horror-Comedy

A 1998 feature from director Wilson Yip, Bio Zombie follows the misadventures of Woody (Jordan Tan) and Bee (Sam Lee), slackers who unwittingly set off a zombie plague at the mall where they sell bootleg DVDs.  Along with their fellow retail workers, the pair battle the undead with everything from hacksaws to power drills.

The result is a little like a Shaun of the Dead/Dawn of the Dead combination, but while Woody and Bee are engaging protagonists and there are some genuine laughs, a lack of substance and lame zombie effects make Bio-Zombie a pale and sickly creation compared to either of those films.     

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dead-Alive: Peter Jackson's Zombie Movie

Along with Meet the Feebles (1990), 1992's Dead Alive (also known as Braindead) proves that Peter Jackson has a twisted sense of humor, and we can all be relieved that he didn't direct The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy as some kind of ghastly parody. 

In Dead Alive, the zombie plague is transmitted by “Sumatran Rat-Monkeys”; a zoo specimen in New Zealand bites Lionel's (Timothy Balme) domineering mother (Elizabeth Moody), who infects others, starting a chain of walking corpses.  Lionel tries desperately to keep his romantic interest Paquita (Diana Peñalver) and his small town neighbors from finding out by confining the zombies to his mother's house.  At first he succeeds, but in the end the film turns into a gore fest in which Lionel fights zombies by the hundreds, at one point with a lawnmower strapped to his chest. 

The actors are pretty cheesy, but this is in keeping with Dead Alive's aesthetic theme.  There’s an engaging 1950’s feel that adds a lot to the film. Dead Alive is reminiscent of The Evil Dead movies in that it's full of over the top slapstick humor and creative bloodiness.  Unique and entertaining, it's definitely worth checking out.     

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Harper Cemetery

I've never found cemeteries very spooky unless they're on film and zombies are clawing their way up out of the ground.  Instead, they (the older ones, anyway) are full of historical interest ("stories in stone") and tend to be peaceful, sometimes beautiful places.  I have yet to visit any historic cemeteries that compare to those in New Orleans, but I recently went back to an early favorite, Harper Cemetery in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.
Looking at Harper's Ferry from Maryland Heights across the Potomac River, Harper Cemetery is on the hill on the upper right.  Named for Robert Harper, who founded the town, the cemetery has graves dating from the late 1700's (including Harper's).
There are no ostentatious tombs or statuary, and the stone below is probably the most elaborate.
All in all, a pretty pleasant spot to be buried.