Saturday, December 4, 2010
The zombie apocalypse has been pretty fully explored in two-hour chunks. But no one had really tackled the genre in episodic television until recently. First, Dead Set debuted on IFC on Oct. 25. The survivors are sequestered on the set of a Big Brother house and initially think the whole thing’s a hoax. The five-part series is campy gore, an extension of the many silly and fun zombie b-movies available on Netflix.
The Walking Dead, on the other hand, was done with all the cinematic care director Frank Darabont put into The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile and AMC put into Mad Men and Breaking Bad. With hours at his disposal to develop characters and plot, Darabont spends most of the hour-and-a-half pilot dipping us gently into the scene. The camera stays with the crumpling bedside flowers, the carcass of a woman in the flickering fluorescent light and the fingers poking through the cafeteria door before we see our first zombie since the gut-punch open.
As coma-woken police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) stumbles past rows of dead bodies outside the hospital, we expect them to waken. We keep seeing bodies, and we’re kept guessing whether they’re live, dead or undead.
The first survivors he meets are a father and son, Morgan (Lennie James) and Duane (Adrian Kali Turner) tormented by Morgan’s wife walking the streets outside the suburban home where they’re squatting. Unable to put her out of her misery or move on without her, they’re frozen in place, tormented by loss that hasn’t really gone away. It’s the most nightmarish of scenarios—hunted by the shell of a loved one—the zombies aren’t generic; this one is personal.
Few living souls and little action for a zombie show also leads to good character development. Grimes is shell-shocked by the world he wakes up to and Morgan serves as his shepherd into reality. There are more survivors, and they’ve somehow got to work together and fight the fantastical, but they won’t always work together. It’s the horror version of Lost with fewer smoke monsters and more crawling torsos. The teaser for the remainder of the series is also reminiscent of Stephen King’s mini-series The Stand.
The show’s glacial pace matches the walking dead themselves. There are no threatening zombie chases until the epic final scene. Slow as sleestaks, single zombies aren’t hard to put down. But en masse, they’re terrifying. And there’s a whole city full of them in Atlanta.
It’s strange to see my city after the apocalypse. The downtown connector is a wasteland, abandoned cars packing the south-bound lanes, emptiness heading into the city. Grimes comes in on horse, straight past Marietta Street and Georgia State University and MARTA buses and buildings I drive past often. The tension as he wakes the dead builds until he runs into an undead crowd. Darabont let the tension build slowly all episode long, and any hope for salvation at the CDC comes crashing down as he realizes he’s trapped in a zombie city.
As a voice crackles over the radio, he realizes he’s not alone. And I realize I’m definitely along for this ride.
Basicly pretty interesting TV show, IMDB gave it 9.4 out of 10 score
Posted by Mitopir at 2:05 AM
Friday, December 3, 2010
Dictionary.com defines the word “deflorate” as “past the flowering state; having shed its pollen.” That seems wickedly apropos for the Black Dahlia Murder, who have indeed just past their flowering state as the “it” band of death metal. Their last album, 2007’s Nocturnal, was praised to the sky, and for good reason – it was a nimble, invigorating exercise that proved blast beats and Cookie Monster vocals could almost be populist. Such frightening musical elements never sounded quite as accessible before the Black Dahlia came along (at least not without losing their menace and/or becoming parody). I would hazard a guess that hailing from Detroit has something to do with BDM’s ear for melody. Barry Gordy, your precious juice runs through Trevor Strnad’s “voculars.”
Deflorate is another solid entry from Black Dahlia, strewn with rib-shattering drum work and too many epic mosh riffs to count (although I’d finger the triumphant intro/outro of “I Will Return” as the record’s tastiest jam, a beard-stroking old school Viking riff if ever I heard one). Strnad seems to have found some safe middle ground with his singing, refusing to shoot into registers nearly as comically high or low as prior outings. This vocal temperament serves to strengthen an already powerful collection of metal – even the brief solos whip up a significant amount of anger. Yet the songs on Deflorate don’t immediately grab the listener as they did on Nocturnal, a problem that lies either in the somewhat clumsy arrangements or the slightly warmed-over production. Were Black Dahlia an award-winning Romanian gymnast in the 1970s, this perfectly graceful floor routine would lose points for a shaky landing. They’d still make a made-for-TV movie about her life, though, and people would tune in from coast to coast.
One other serious point about Deflorate (aside from the insane cover featuring what appears to be an ancient Babylonian god with multiple colostomy bags nuking Encyclopedia Brown with his eyes) – it could very well be a concept album revolving around Michael Jackson’s life and death. If that sounds crazy, look at the song titles and their order: Michael began in the Jackson 5, a group full of “Black Valor”; he later made “Thriller,” which was something of a “Necropolis”; he took Emmanuel Lewis to the Grammys one year, certainly a “Selection Unnatural”; after the molestation trials, MJ was “Denounced, Disgraced” and his many plastic surgeries left him a “Christ Deformed”; his expiration caused a media “Death Panorama” as family members scrambled to ascend his “Throne Of Lunacy” as the “Eyes Of Thousand” watched; in the end, Michael Jackson proved the old idiom “That Which Erodes The Most Tender Of Things”; luckily, he “Will Return” via his final concert film.
If the BD Murder can come clean and admit Deflorate is a tribute to the King of Pop, I will personally buy them dinner the next time they visit the White Castle across the street from my apartment. Should they remain coy, I shall curse the Black Dahlia Murder but continue to enjoy their concise yet equally grand take on all that is doom and gloom. You can’t argue with thirty-three minutes of pummeling this epic (or epically tight) in any time zone. Even if BDM’s pollen count remains low, there seems little doubt they will continue to batter our thirsty, sex-starved ear drums on a consistent basis for years to come like the swarm of horny, evil, Rust Belt bees from the 7th Level of Hell they most assuredly are.
If Charles Bronson were to bust in here, put a gun to my head, and demand some kind of numerical rating, I’d give Deflorate three shitty nature jokes out of four.
review from metalinjection.com
Posted by Mitopir at 5:04 AM