Sunday, July 31, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review of Stripperland!

Title:  Stripperland!

Date: 2010


Fleeing the wrath of man-eating vixens who've taken over the world, a ragtag caravan of refugees makes its way across the country to the relative safety of the West Coast. But en route, they're attacked by unrelenting waves of starving strippers. If looks could kill ... well, let's just hope they can't.

When I saw the jacket cover I thought, “Zombies and strippers. What more can I want?”

How about a plot?

This movie describes itself as a parody of Zombieland.  In this version, the zombie outbreak starts with an exotic dancer who takes tainted drugs, and then spreads rapidly through the stripper community.  Our heroes who try to survive the living dead apocalypse are straight out of the original: the neurotic geek with his rules for survival, the anti-hero who lives for the zombie kill, and the two “damsels in distress” who are tougher and smarter than our heroes.  This is where the comparison ends. 

For the first fifteen minutes, Stripperland was entertaining as Director Sean Skelding set up the premise and introduced the characters.  After that, the movie devolved into a disoriented storyline that shambled along worse than the zombies.  The only reason I didn’t get up and pop this one out of my DVR was because I was on the floor petting the rabbits and didn’t want to disturb them.  They owe me for that one.  

Don’t waste your time with this movie.  I give this one half a rotting zombie head out of five – and I’m being generous.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Bunnies

Those of you who follow me on Facebook or read my blog regularly already know that on Tuesday we helped our Woodstock (Woody) cross Rainbow Bridge. 

He entered our lives exactly eight years ago as a neglected rescue rabbit.  An Easter gift that the family quickly tired of, he had spent the first eighteen months of his life in a small metal cage shoved under the front porch where he was fed once a day and let out to play for thirty minutes a week.  When Woody arrived here as a temporary foster, he was two pounds underweight.  His ears were so infested with mites the vet thought he was a lopped ear rabbit; when the vet cleaned off the scabs, his ears popped upright.  (For the rest of his life, Woody would have one ear standing up straight and one sticking out to the side.  We used to call him Helicopter Ears.)  At the time, no one gave him much of a chance for survival.  What no one counted on was his fighting spirit and zest for life.

I’m sitting in my study as I write this, which used to be the room him and his girlfriend Cinnamon shared until he became crippled by arthritis of the spine and confined to a small bed, and we moved him upstairs to be closer to us.  The memories came back like a flood.  The way he used to hop around my feet when I would bring him his breakfast and dinner.  The way he would race across the floor to get his treats, squeaking like a dog’s chew toy in his excitement.  The way he ran up and down the hallway with his girlfriend, hopping with joy.  The way he would sit by my feet while I wrote, patiently waiting for me to finish and get on the floor to pet him. 

Sure, sometimes he would get impatient with me when I spent too much time on the computer, and would show his displeasure with an act of rabbit rebellion.  Once, when I ignored him for several hours because I was absorbed in my writing and then went upstairs to have dinner, he retaliated by ripping open the bag of Carefresh I used in his litter box, digging out the entire contents of the bag, and spreading it across my study floor.  When I came down to write some more, I found him sitting in the middle of his mess, proudly taking credit for his handiwork.  I spent the rest of the night playing with the little guy, and all was forgiven.

In his final months, when arthritis robbed him of his mobility and prevented him from running and hopping, and cataracts blurred his vision, Woody still enjoyed life to its fullest.  He perked up every time someone entered the room, knowing he would get a treat and a pet, and thanked us by licking our nose or face.  In November 2010, the vets had warned that he would never make it to Christmas.  Woody lived for another eight months, and would probably still be with us today if he had not developed a tumor in the right leg that consumed his femur and eventually his strength.

Even in his last few moments, as the vet administered the shot that would send him to Rainbow Bridge, Woody thought of us more than himself.  His last act was to groom my arm, saying goodbye and assuring me that everything would be all right.  Woody passed away in my arms, surrounded by the ones who loved him most.

Woody had the most patient, loving, and selfless personality I have ever known.  I miss him dearly, but will always remember him fondly.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Status Update

It's been a very stressful week, to say the least.  But, as I have been mourning the loss of Woodstock and worrying about my mother (who is doing much better), a lot has been going on behind the scenes.  So let me provide an update. 

On Thursday, I finished revising the proofs for the print edition of The Vampire Hunters: Dominion and sent them back to Pill Hill Press.  The book is scheduled to be published 1 October -- just in time for Halloween

Sonar4 Landing Dock Reviews gave an awesome review of The Vampire Hunters, calling it "an action packed thriller with character driven details that draws the reader in."  Please check out mine and all the other book reviews. 

Finally, many thanks to George Straatman for featuring me as a guest author on his blog.  Please be sure to check him out at the Converging

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review of Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!


Title:  Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!

Date: 2008


When an unorthodox drug experiment conducted by a mad scientist transforms the residents of a small town into flesh-eating zombies, a motley crew of exotic dancers, pimps, hookers, and johns are forced to take refuge inside a seedy strip club.

I’ve seen enough direct-to-DVD releases to be sufficiently jaded, especially when it comes to movies that portray themselves as zombie comedies, or zomcoms.  Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! was a pleasant surprise.  

The plot is basic – strippers, hookers, johns, and a pimp are trapped in The Grindhouse when a zombie outbreak occurs in the parking lot after one of the local street walkers smokes meth tainted with an anti-cancer/cell regenerating experimental drug.  The characters are predictable – the stripper with a heart of gold, the stripper with an IQ equal to her bra size (not that she wears one), the stripper who is hardened by her experiences, a pimp who is about as intimidating as a constipated Chihuahua, etc.  And none of the actors/actresses will be accepting an Academy Award in the foreseeable future (however, Jessica Barton is an FMH model and Hollie Winnard is a former Playboy Playmate, so that’s enough credentials for me).

Yet Director Jason Murphy pulls it together and makes it work.  The plot is fast-paced and entertaining.  Murphy introduces the first zombie within the first fifteen minutes, and from there it quickly becomes a munchfest.  The movie doesn’t try to be cerebral or socially relevant.  It’s 82 minutes of hookers being turned into happy meals and some impressive gore shots.

One of the factors that made Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! work for me was the dry humor.  Murphy was smart enough not try and play the movie for laughs, instead opting for a sardonic wit more in keeping with the movie’s tone.  I got a kick out of the running gag in which patrons pull up in the parking lot expecting to see a show, only to be set upon by the increasing horde of zombies.  I also give Murphy credit for his ending.  I don’t want to give away the last few minutes and spoil it.  Suffice it to say, he figured out a unique way to deal with the mass of the living dead that gives the CGI folks plenty to play with (even if the effects are low budget).   

It’s not Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead, but Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! is worth the rental.  This is definitely a movie to watch Friday night with your horror buddies, pizza, and a few six packs.  I’d give it three out of five rotting zombie heads. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

RIP Woodstock

Woodstock, the neglected rescue bunny who entered our lives eight years ago yesterday, crossed Rainbow Bridge this morning after a year-long bout with arthritis of the spine and cancer.  He went to sleep this morning at Stahl's Exotic Animals Vet Service surrounded by the ones who loved him most.  Even as he was slipping away, he groomed me one final time as if to assure me everything would be all right.  This Sunday Bunnies will be a memorial to the little guy who taught me to live life to its fullest. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Bunnies

Ruby decides to consult with Daddy on the proofs of his latest book.  "It needs zombie rabbits."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Bunnies

Have you ever seen a pet look so disgruntled at being cuddled and loved?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review of ENTOMBED

Title: Entombed

Author: Brian Keene

Publisher: Camelot Books

Date: 2011

Pages: 204

Available:  Sold out.

Blurb: It has been several months since the disease known as Hamelin’s Revenge decimated the world. Civilization has collapsed and the dead far outnumber the living. The living seek shelter from the roaming zombie hordes, but one-by-one, those shelters are falling. Twenty-five survivors barricade themselves inside a former military bunker buried deep beneath a luxury hotel. They are safe from the zombies…but are they safe from one another? As supplies run low and despair sets in, each of them will find out just how far they’re willing to go to survive.

Let me first caution that, if you pick up Entombed expecting to read about hordes of zombies attacking the main characters, you will be disappointed. This is not The Rising, City of the Dead, or Dead Sea. In those novels, the living dead are the threat.  In Entombed, mankind (or what’s left of it) are the monsters. And they’re more frightening than anything Ob could conjure up.

The novel is told in first-person narrative by Pete, a tour guide at a former Cold War-era government relocation facility located beneath a luxury resort in West Virginia that has been converted into a museum.  When the zombie apocalypse finally reaches the resort, Pete and twenty-four survivors escape into the underground complex and lock themselves in, becoming trapped as the living dead swarm the doors and prevent their escape.  The consummate loner, Pete spends all his time in the museum’s movie room watching old movies, television shows, and cartoons, effectively ostracizing himself from the group.

The group soon faces an even greater threat than the zombies massed outside – starvation.  Although the museum has an adequate supply of water, the only food available is what is left in the break room vending machines, which is rapidly depleted.  After a month of entrapment, Chuck, the Alpha male and resident bully, calls the group together to discuss their only option for survival – cannibalism. Pete refuses to take part and goes off to watch movies, and so the others unanimously vote to let Pete be the volunteer.  (This reminds me of a saying a colleague used to use about five wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner is not democracy.)  When several members of the group show up at the visitor center to inform Pete of the decision, Pete resists with deadly consequences.  What ensues is a bitter fight for survival within the underground complex.

Entombed is a disturbing psychological study, a contemporary Lord of the Flies which details what happens to man once we have been yanked out of civilized society.  [Spoiler alert] Although in the beginning you feel for Pete’s plight and want him to survive, half way through the novella you begin to question his motives and wonder whether the rationale for what he does is based on insanity brought about by starvation or the thought processes of a sociopath.  [End spoiler alert]

The second novella in the book, White Fire, focuses on Captain Tom Collins and Phil McLeod who are transporting the bioweapon White Fire across Illinois when a tornado overturns their van and releases the contents on the town of Godfrey, with the anticipated deadly results.  While trying to handle the situation that is rapidly spiraling out of control, Collins confronts an unusual antagonist who forces Collins to face up to his own culpability in the catastrophe.

Fans of Brian Keene should not pass up this novella, if they can find a copy. I give it four out of five rotting zombie heads.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday Bunnies (a day late)

No humorous Sunday Bunnies today.  I spent most of yesterday at the emergency vet with my crippled geriatric rabbit Woodstock.  He has developed a tumor in his right leg that has eaten away most of his femur.  However, if the little trooper is in pain, he doesn't show it.  He still eats up a storm, gets excited at treat time, and will spend half an hour licking my nose.  I'm taking him to his normal vet tomorrow to decide what the next course of action is.  Wish us luck.