Rosh Hashana: A New Beginning

Well boys and girls, geeks and nerdlings…

It’s time for this vampyre-lover and zombie-slayer to pack up the old gear and head on up to Toronto for Rosh Hashana (the Jewish new year) and the beginning of the High Holidays, or as I like to call them, the HiHos. [1]

It’s a time for me to get together with dear friends and loved ones. It is also an opportunity for some soul-searching and introspection. Going to my tiny little hole-in-the-wall shtiebel [2], studying, praying, discussing, arguing… that’s how I get my spiritual batteries recharged.

(‘Yiyei Or!’ ~ Let There Be Light!)

The plan is for me to go offline for Total Jew Lock Down today (Wednesday September 28, 2011) and resurface some time Monday (October 3, 2011).

See you in a few days!

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[1] For more on me and the Hi-Hos, read my recent blog on the subject.

[2] A shtiebel (Yiddish: שטיבל, meaning “little house” or “little room”) is a little hole-in-the-wall place where Orthodox Jews, often comprised partially or entirely of hasidim, come to pray and study. Instead of a large imposing edifice, it is often a storefront (like Bais Dov Yosef Congregation or the Ger Shtiebel where I go when I am in Toronto) or a just a room somewhere (e.g. in a hotel basement, like the Chabad shtiebel in Niagara Falls where I go when I am at home).

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George A. Romero’s ‘Day of the Dead’ and ‘Land of the Dead’: Reviews

George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead and Land of the Dead, are his third and fourth ‘Living Dead’ or ‘Of the Dead” zombie movies, respectively, after Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead.

DAY OF THE DEAD

(Day of the Dead)

OK, here’s the deal (as per the Gospel According to Wikipedia)…

Some time after the events of Dawn of the Dead, zombies have overrun the world. An underground army missile bunker near the Everglades is the base for a group which is part of a military-supported scientific team assigned by the remnants of the government to study the zombie phenomenon in the hopes of finding a way of stopping or reversing the zombification process. Dwindling supplies, loss of communication with other survivor enclaves, and an apparent lack of progress in the experiments have already caused tension and loss of cohesion among the scientists and soldiers. Dr. Logan, the lead scientist on the project, has been secretly using the recently deceased soldiers in his experiments, trying to prove his theory that the zombies can eventually be domesticated.

Mayhem ensues when the soldiers, commanded by Capt. Rhodes, and the scientists discover that Dr. Logan has gone crazy and his experiments have gone way over the top. What sets off the shit-storm at the end of the movie was when the soldiers and other scientists realize that Dr. Logan’s idea of ‘reward’ is feeding bits of the recently deceased soldiers to his test zombie, Bub. Rhodes threatens to kill the scientists if the helicopter pilot doesn’t fly him and his men out of the area and off to safety. Things really start to hit the fan when one of the infected soldiers opens the huge missile elevator and lets hundreds of zombies into the underground installation.

(Zombies reach out and touch someone!)

My two cents… Day of the Dead is the most pessimistic of Romero’s zombie movies to this point. The zombies outnumber the humans 400,000 to one. There is no trace of any radio signal or indeed of any human activity within 100 miles in any direction of the base. Even if they wanted to escape, where would they go? It seems the characters spend most of the movie yelling and screaming at each other. What you have is a mini-society melting down in much the same way as the people on the surface must have melted down in the face of the zombie apocalypse. As Max Brooks, author of The Zombie Survival Guide, said last summer at ComicCon, “The zombies don’t win. We lose!” It is our own faults and foibles, our stupidity and inability to get along that results in our failure. We screw it up. Royally.

Much of the acting is pretty wooden. Not that I expected to see glittering performances in this movie but… a bit of effort on behalf of some of the actors would have been appreciated. I thought Lori Carille as Dr. Sarah Bowman was just plain old bad. What I found both amusing and oddly disconcerting, however, was John Liberty’s performance as Dr. ‘Frankenstein’ Logan. It reminded me so strongly of The Daily Show’s John Hodgman doing his recurring segment ‘You’re Welcome’ that I couldn’t keep grinning at every scene in which Liberty/Logan appeared. Really. (Watch this movie again with Hodgman in mind. You won’t be disappointed.)

An important aspect of Day of the Dead is Romero begins to ‘humanize’ the zombie, giving it some thought and emotion. In this movie, the humanization character is the zombie Bub – the star pupil of Dr. Logan’s experiments. You see Bub go through the rudiments of memory, thought and emotion. (This humanization of the zombie is fleshed out a lot more in Land of the Dead, below) In some ways, Bub is a lot more ‘human’ that the soldiers under Capt. Rhodes’ command, who are portrayed as little more than gun-toting apes.

Bottom line… A step down in quality from Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. Still worth watching but don’t go in expecting a fantastic movie. It’s not bad. It’s OK. It’s just not great. I was kinda hoping for great. Or at least really good. I was let down.

I give it three-quarters of a bitten bleeding thumb up.

LAND OF THE DEAD

(Land of the Dead)

“In a world where the dead are returning to life, the word ‘trouble’ loses much of its meaning.”

OK, here’s the deal (as per the Gospel According to Wikipedia)…

Years after the events of [Day of the Dead], there are very few living humans left. Many have fled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a feudal-like government has taken hold. Bordered on three sides by rivers and on the fourth by an electric fence, the city has become a sanctuary. Fiddler’s Green is where the rich and powerful live in luxury, while the rest of the population subsists. Paul Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) rules the city with overwhelming firepower. ‘Big Daddy’ (Eugene Clark), a zombie, is unusually aware and intelligent, directs his fellow zombies to use firearms and overcome the human defenses. The zombies learn, adapt, and even communicate with primitive moans and grunts. When Big Daddy realizes the river is no obstacle he leads the zombies in an assault on the human city. The electric fence that once kept the zombies out now keeps the humans trapped inside.

(Big Daddy at the gas pump)

Kauffman (Hopper): “Zombies, man. They creep me out!

Mayhem ensues when the lead zombie, ‘Big Daddy’ [1], appalled, angered and outraged at how the zombies are being killed practically for sport by humans, begins to communicate basic ideas to the other zombies, telling them what to do. As a mob, they attack one of the fences, knocking it down and overpowering the soldiers guarding the perimeter. The zombies then walk across (or rather under) the river and gain access to the city.

My two cents… I found Land of the Dead a lot less ‘low budget cheesy’ than Day of the Dead and therefore much more enjoyable. And the quality of the acting is much higher… which also made it more enjoyable. It was filmed in Toronto and Hamilton (a lot of horror movies are) so I recognized some of the actors and a few of the locations. That’s always fun for me.

In all of his zombie movies, Romero is interested in social commentary. What do zombies and the zombie apocalypse say about us? Unlike Day of the Dead where basically none of the humans is really likeable, there are a lot of good decent human characters in Land of the Dead. Still, many other humans don’t come across so well. Some of them are such douches that you want to cheer for the zombies when things hit the fan. It’s not so much like a ‘we deserved this’ kind of thing… but at times, you just kind of feel that zombies are the chlorine that has been added to our gene pool, if you know what I mean. Like the old Sylvester Stalone line in Cobra. “You’re the disease… and I’m the cure!”

Bottom line… I found Land of the Dead way better than Day of the Dead. I recommend that you see both of them just because I think any fan of horror should see all of the George A. Romero zombie movies. It gives you a sense of history. But while you might feel that sitting through Day of the Dead is a bit of a chore… something you HAVE to do… you’ll have a much better time watching Land of the Dead.

I give it one and a half rotting zombie thumbs up.

A side note…

I took a peek at the overall ratings on the RottenTomatoes site for the whole Romero Living Dead series and I noticed a steady decline in the approval ratings, as follows:

Night of the Living Dead – 96%
Dawn of the Dead – 94%
Day of the Dead – 79%
Land of the Dead – 74%
Diary of the Dead – 61%
Survival of the Dead – 29%

Not that I pay all that attention to what critics say. It’s just something I thought I’d mention as RottenTomatoes take a survey of a bunch of critics and averages out the final result. In other words, the score – the approval rating – is the percentage of critics who gave the film a favourable review.

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[1] He wears blue auto-mechanic overalls with the name ‘Big Daddy’ on them. He is also armed with what looks to me to be an M-16 he picks up from a dead soldier/mercenary. He can think to a limited degree extent, use tools and can communicate basic ideas, even teaching zombies how to use tools and guns. It appears to me that he operates almost on a intelligent chimpanzee or even a toddler level which is light years ahead of the mindless living dead of the first two Romero zombie movies.

Machete: They Just Messed with the Wrong Mexican!

Carefully making my way through The Zombie Serengeti (aka The Walmarts), I picked up a DVD copy of Machete and snuck away without any of the living dead detecting me. *phew!*

I watched it last night while enjoying a nice big bowl of chili (I decided against tacos and tequila). Throwing another handful of fuel onto the ol’ coal burning computer, I sat down in my wingback armchair for a nice night of blood and mayhem.

(Machete movie poster)

This particular ‘Exploitation Evening’ took place, of course, less than a month after watching and reviewing the movie Hobo With a Shotgun.

I was worried that I would be let down. I need not have troubled myself. Machete failed to disappoint.

Like Hobo With a Shotgun, Machete is filmed in the 70’s and 80’s B-movie grindhouse style of exploitation films and, as such, shares many of the same qualities as other modern grindhouse movies. In other words, it is über-violent, bloody, funny, sexy, cheesy, action-packed and riotously entertaining. Also, like Hobo With a Shotgun, Machete started out as a ‘fake trailer.’

Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez (of Planet Terror fame), the film stars Danny Trejo. If only awards could be given for faces, Trejo would clean up! This guy has bad-ass written all over his mug.

(Danny Trejo as ‘Machete’ Cortez)

Machete also features a pretty high voltage supporting cast: Robert DeNiro, Jessica Alba, Steven Segal, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin.

OK, here’s the deal… as set out in the Rotten Tomatoes site which, by the way, gives it a very respectable 73% freshness (i.e. approval) rating…

“Machete (Danny Trejo) is a former Mexican Federale who plays by his own rules, and doesn’t answer to anybody. In the wake of a harrowing encounter with feared drug lord Torrez (Steven Seagal), Machete finds himself in Texas, where the shadowy Booth (Jeff Fahey) offers him the opportunity to make some quick cash by assassinating the unscrupulous Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro). When the job goes awry and Machete realizes he’s been set up, he turns to fierce taco queen Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), heavily armed holy man Padre (Cheech Marin), and trigger-happy socialite April (Lindsay Lohan) to show Booth that he just messed with the wrong Mexican. But before they can get to Booth, Machete’s gang will have to contend with blade-wielding ICE agent Sartana (Jessica Alba), who never met an adversary she couldn’t flay.”

(They didn’t call this movie Machete for nothing!)

In classic grindhouse style, Machete brings ‘over-the-top’ up front and centre. Blood, gore, sex and gratuitous violence are practically characters in this revenge flick. But this is exactly the whole point of these kinds of exploitation films. You get to revel in the whole “more is more” excess of it all!

And for those who insist on something other than just plain old fun, Rodriguez sets all of this redder-than-blood action against a background of hot-button political issues – illegal Mexican immigration and border vigilantes. I have to admit that I kept imagining a middle-aged white bread and mayonnaise Tea Party couple watching this movie in a theatre filled with Mexican-Americans!

There are parts of Machete that had me laughing out loud. A fleet of low-riders driving into battle followed by a taco cart… and Lindsay Lohan in a nun’s habit carrying a pistol that looks more like a bazooka than anything else.

Another real treat was watching famous Hollywood actors in supporting roles while Danny Trejo, who has spent his entire career in tough-guy bit-part supporting roles, take centre stage. I liked that a lot!

I had such a good time watching Machete and while it isn’t as good as the double-feature Grindhouse (i.e. Rodriguez-directed Planet Terror and Tarantino-directed Death Proof), it delivers exactly what it says it will… a thoroughly enjoyable good time in front of the old TV (or in my case, the trusty old coal-burning computer).

One and a half taco-loving thumbs up!

Yours Truly: Noted Zombie Expert!

As a ‘noted zombie expert’, I was interviewed the other day by a local newspaper concerning The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.

The reporter and I met at my favourite café… well, my favourite café since my previous real favourite café closed a few months ago. Long story. I’d rather not talk about it right now. It’s still so upsetting.

But first, a bit of background…

I am a member of the Zombie Research Society [1]. We are a group of academics, artists, professionals, scientists and enthusiasts who are interested in studying zombies as if they were a scientific reality. We’re not out saying that zombies are real or that there’s been a zombie outbreak somewhere. What we do ask, however, are the fun questions like… If you ran into a zombie on the street, what would it look like? What would it sound like? How would its brain work? How would it hunt us? How would we deal with such a phenomenon? How would we  best defend ourselves against zombies? How would we survive? In short, how would we prepare for and live through The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse? We extrapolate survival strategies. We also study zombie culture and try to promote better cultural representations of zombies (e.g. TV shows like The Walking Dead [2]), better movies, better books, etc.

My goals walking into this interview, therefore, were a) to answer to the best of my ability questions regarding zombies, zombie history, zombies in literature, film and television, zombie culture, and preparation for The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse; b) to provide intelligent information and promote better cultural representations of zombies in the arts, sciences and media; and c) not to make myself look like an idiot in the process. A daunting challenge, no doubt!

The reporter was very nice, thank goodness. I was nervous about the interview because unlike other times when I have been interviewed by the press, this was on a subject other than criminal law… which is what I do in my ‘real life.’ This woman was going to talk to me and ask me questions about the subject matter of my other life… my non-criminal-defence-lawyer life… in other words, my life as a ‘noted zombie expert’ and all that entails.

She didn’t seem to know much about zombies except for the basics, which was great for me because I was more than happy to explain things as best I could as she led me through the issues.

At one point, she asked me if I had a Zombie Preparedness Kit and my gut reaction was to say “no.” But returning to my apartment that afternoon, I realized that, coming as I do from an Italian background, I’ve ALWAYS had at least a seven-day supply of food on hand as well as about three of everything else, including medicine, batteries, candles, flashlights, first aid kits, etc. That’s just the way I was raised. My 85-year-old mother, for example, has been preparing for an Ice Age for the last fifty years! I’m not kidding. If The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse happened today, she’d have enough food and supplies on hand to last the winter! I do need to stock up on water, though, so I will take a trip over to The Zombie Serengeti (aka The Walmarts) this afternoon.

I thought the interview went well. We covered a wide range of topics from zombie history, voodoo zombies, Romero zombies, modern viral zombies, zombies in modern culture, zombie vs vampyre comparisons and contrasts and how our society views both,  effective (and non-effective) anti-zombie weaponry, how to prepare for the Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse and even a bit about the Zombie Research Society. The article comes out some time next week. I hope I did well.

And I really hope I don’t look like an idiot.

I will keep you all posted!

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[1] Founded in 2007, the Zombie Research Society (ZRS) is dedicated to raising the level of zombie scholarship in the Arts and Sciences.  ZRS Members represent diverse backgrounds, interests, and theories, but are unified in their support of the Society’s three foundational principles:

1) A zombie is a biologically definable, animated being occupying a human corpse.

2) The zombie pandemic is coming.  It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when.

3) Enthusiastic debate about zombies is essential to the survival of the human race.

N.B.: The entire contents of footnote [1] above is the copyright property of the Zombie Research Society. © 2010 – All Rights Reserved. It cannot be reprinted or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without their express written permission.

[2] Season Two of AMC’s The Walking Dead premieres Sunday October 16, 2011!

Early Medieval Irish Zombies?

A British documentary [1] on Channel 5 a week or so ago, caused this past weekend’s online headlines to blare:

Revealed, Ireland’s real-life zombie scare: Eighth century skeletons buried with stones in mouths

The article goes on, “A number of 8th century human skeletons have been found with large stones stuck in their mouths – something researchers believe locals did to stop the dead from returning to walk the Earth as zombies.” (DailyMailOnline)

Did Zombies Roam Medieval Ireland? Sleep on it!

The piece goes on to explain, “The skeletons, which were featured in a British documentary last week, emerged during a series of digs carried out between 2005 and 2009 at Kilteasheen, near Loch Key in Ireland, by a team of archaeologists led by Chris Read from the Institute of Technology in Sligo, Ireland and Thomas Finan from the University of St. Louis.” (MSNBC.com)

Did Zombies Roam Medieval Ireland?

The article begins, “Two early medieval skeletons were unearthed recently in Ireland with large stones wedged into their mouths — evidence, archaeologists say, that it was feared the individuals would rise from their graves like zombies.” (Discovery.com)

The people of 8th century Ireland were afraid of zombies, too! (i09.com)

Zombie Scare in 8th Century Ireland Revealed? (TheBlaze.com)

(Skeleton with large stone in its mouth)

The “deviant burials” were comprised of two men who were buried there at different times in the 700s.

One of the men was between 40 and 60 years old, and the other was a young adult, probably between 20 and 30 years old. The two men were laid side by side and each had a baseball-size rock shoved in his mouth.

“One of them was lying with his head looking straight up. A large black stone had been deliberately thrust into his mouth,” Chris Read, head of Applied Archaeology at IT Sligo, said.

“The other had his head turned to the side and had an even larger stone wedged quite violently into his mouth so that his jaws were almost dislocated,” he added.

“[The mouth] was viewed as the main portal for the soul to leave the body upon death,” explains Read. “Sometimes, the soul could come back to the body and re-animate it or else an evil spirit could enter the body through the mouth and bring it back to life.”

(Little Old Venetian Vampyre Lady?)

A similar find was discovered on the Venetian island of Lazzaretto Nuovo a few years ago… the skull of an old woman with a brick in her mouth. In that case, however, the skull was found in a mass grave of 16th century plague victims. It is suspected that the gravediggers, fearing she was a vampyre, shoved the brick in her mouth to prevent her from chewing her way through the shroud. How this would prevent the Nosferatu Nonna from clawing her way out is another story. Maybe the shrouds were made of heavy canvas and could not be easily torn without sharp fangs. Still… I have a family full of little old Italian ladies. Trust me, they are tough and resourceful!

Seriously cool stuff, in any event.

(Politically incorrect Irish Zombie exploitation tshirt)

However… (here I go, throwing a wrench in the Irish Zombie Gearworks)…

The idea of zombies as we known them simply did not exist in Ireland or even Europe in the 8th century. Zombies are originally a west African and, later, Afro-Caribbean concept, and it is only in 1968 with George A. Romero’s seminal classic Night of the Living Dead do we see the creation of the ‘apocalyptic’ or ‘viral’ zombie. As for vampyres, while they were certainly a part of European (especially Eastern European) culture by the late medieval/early renaissance period, they simply don’t figure in the 8th century popular imagination of Western Europe and the British Isles.

Still… Irish zombies. You gotta love it!

Faith an’ begorra, me lassie child! ‘Tis a wee fair sight fer Irish eyes!

(I’ve never understood how the English thought the Irish spoke this way!)

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[1] It’s interesting to note that while the documentary focuses on vampyres and is in fact entitled, “Mysteries of The Vampire Skeletons: Revealed”, the newspaper media have, despite the documentary, chosen the zombie angle the vampire one. Are zombies the new vampyres? See my previous article: Zombies are the New Vampyres?

Zombies Are the New Vampyres?

In the Season 4 finale of True Blood, the red-headed waitress Arlene, dressed as a zombie for Halloween, says, “Zombies are the new vampyres! Didn’t you know that?”

No. I didn’t. And I don’t think I agree.

Well, it may be kind of true on a superficial ‘fad’ level.

Let me explain…

(The vampyre Selene, portrayed by Kate Beckinsale in Underworld)

The last decade has seen a wild and overwhelming increase in the popularity of vampyres throughout our culture, in books, magazines, movies, television and the internet. Vampyres capture our imagination, playing on two deep levels… attraction/love, and revulsion/fear. On one hand, they are vicious predators willing to drain our blood and, perhaps, kill us; on the other hand, deep down we secretly want them to want us, to take us and, perhaps, make us one of them.

Somehow, I don’t see that level of emotional investment… and certainly not conflict… when we think of zombies. Zombies are ‘pure’ in that we universally dislike them and want to destroy them, or at least to avoid them at all costs. The thought of rotting walking corpses that want to eat us tends to gross us out.

(Crawling zombie girl from The Walking Dead)

In the last couple of years, there has also been an upswing in zombie popularity but nothing nearly comparable to that enjoyed by vampyres. I also notice a difference in the way people, in general, feel about the two groups. While we may have fun with zombies in a spooky Halloween kind of way, it doesn’t seem to me that people have as deep or as close a connection with zombies as they do with vampyres.

So why do we prefer vampyres to zombies? They both used to be human.They’re both dead. Vampyres are the undead. Zombies are the living dead. So, in essence, they are both just reanimated corpses. They both view us as food and want to feed on us. So why does one make us all tingly and weak at the knees and the other makes us want to blow chunks?

I think part of the reason lies in the fact that, on a deep emotional and psychological level, we don’t take zombies as seriously as we do vampyres. They are not as ‘real’ to us because they can’t get us where we really live… in our hearts. They aren’t as human as vampyres. And because of this fact – that they are less than we are, that they are, in essence, de-humanized – it is easier to make fun of zombies and have fun with them… and kill them.

But zombies are a riot! When it comes to childish good times, it’s tough to beat zombie-play. The whole Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse thing is a wonderful source of  harmless fun. In colleges and universities all over, zombie apocalypse games are common. Students are divided between zombies and survivors. The goal of the survivors is to keep from being attacked by zombies and to survive another day. The zombies’ goal is to turn a survivor into a zombie. From what I understand, The Last Man Standing wins. It is supposed to be enormously popular… and a good time is had by all.

(Sheriff Rick Grimes [Andrew Lincoln] and crawler zombie, from The Walking Dead)

Vampyres never achieve that level of playfulness. Sure, there are vampyre comedies but those very same comedies play on the fact of people being so attached to the whole vampyre mystique.

Another thing to factor in is that vampyres are more like us in that they can communicate with us and play with our minds and hearts. Vampyres can seduce us. A zombie, at least the classic George A. Romero model of zombie, can’t communicate. Nor can it, on any real level, think… let alone come up with a half-decent pick-up line. They are mindless automatons with one thing and one thing only on what is left of their rotting minds… to eat. Us!

Maybe that is what it boils down to in the end.The vampyre gives us that all important illusion of romance and desire before they take the ultimate advantage of us.

(Beckinsale as the ever-beautiful, ever-dangerous Selene in Underworld)

So while there may be a temporary flirtation with zombies… and as I said before, they’re a lot more fun than vampyres… ultimately, it is the vampyres to whom we return.

TRUE BLOOD: Season 4 Finale (WARNING: Major Spoiler Alert!!)

I watched the much-anticipated Season 4 Finale of True Blood and I am still reeling!

Without giving a blow-by-blow description of each scene…

Oh, screw it… here’s a blow-by-blow description of each scene!!

WARNING!! MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!

READ NO FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY PLOT GIVE-AWAYS!!

TRUE BLOOD: SEASON 4 FINALE


Lafayette’s house: Next morning, Lafayette and Jesus at breakfast. Jesus apologizing and saying if Lafayette wanted them to lead a magic-free life, that would be OK. Jesus smooches Lafayette and realizes something is not right. Lafayette sticks a fork into the back of Jesus’s hand, pinning it to the table, a la Luca Brasi!

Sookie’s house: Sookie and Tara talking. Sookie sees vision of her grandmother dead on the kitchen floor. Tells Tara she feels Gran is there at the house.

Bon Temps Cemetery: Sam buries his little brother Tommy. Mrs Fortenberry comes along. They are the only two there. Mrs Fortenberry offers to make Sam one of her famous pork rind casseroles. Sam says, “No… don’t trouble yourself!” LOL Mrs Fortenberry says that Tommy was like a son to her. She wants Sam to call her Mama. “We’re all the family we got left.” It’s kinda sad, really. Sam’s new girlfriend, Luna, and her little girl show up at the grave.

Road Crew Site: Jason goes to see Hoyt, who’s taking a chainsaw to some branches.  Jason tells Hoyt he had sex with Jessica. Hoyt asks “How??” and, naturally, Jason describes how… “Well, if you really want to know… uh… missionary, then doggie, then her on top. Nothin’ too kinky.” POW! Hoyt punches him in the face. “No. How could you do this to me… not how did you fuck my girlfriend!!” Jason broke the code. Hoyt said Jason could have anyone he wants but Jessica was his only girl. Jason says he drank her blood… and that she was all he could think about.. and that it just happened. POW! Hoyt punches him in the face again! LOL Hoyt tells Jason that what he and Jessica had was real and that is something Jason will never have because something in Jason is missing.

Lafayette’s place: Jesus is duct taped into a chair. He’s trying to talk to Lafayette, telling him Marnie is making him do this stuff and that he has to fight her. Jesus and Marni get into an argument. Marni threatens to hurt Lafayette. Jesus asks what she wants. Marnie says she wants Jesus’s magic… all of it.

Merlotte’s: Sookie goes there. They’re having a Halloween party. Terry and Arlene are dressed as zombies. Arlene: “Zombies are the new vampires. Didn’t you know that?” Sookie is looking for Sam. Sookie says she is sorry Tommy died. She says Sam fired her. Sam realizes it was Tommy but he says she can have her job back provided she wears bunny ears for Halloween.

Lafayette’s: Marnie prepares for a big spell thing. She threatens to kill Lafayette. Jesus summons his inner demon. When he is the demon, Marnie stabs him, licks the knife and becomes the demon. Jesus says he is sorry to Lafayette and slumps over, dead.

Merlotte’s: Arlene’s kids are there for lunch as is Sam’s girlfriend Luna’s little girl. An old Marine Sgt buddy of Terry’s (Patrick) shows up at Merlotte’s. Terry saved his life. Twice. Sookie and Alcide talk at the bar. Alcide suggests he and Sookie get together. She says she can’t help who she loves… she’s tried. He says “Try harder!” He gets a call on his cell and says he has to go. He asks her to think about what he said.

Lafayette’s house: Tara goes looking for Lafayette and Jesus. She finds Jesus dead in the chair and does one of her trademark screams (her best yet, actually).

Merlotte’s: It is night and Sookie is outside in the parking lot lighting jack o’ lanterns. Wiccan waitress Holly (dressed as a fairy, wings and all) comes to Sookie. Holly says that at Halloween, the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. They both say they feel something is wrong. Tara pulls up saying the Marni is back and killed Jesus and that she thinks Marnie has possessed Lafayette. They take off in Tara’s stupid yellow-green Gremlin (didn’t Lafayette give Tara his old car when Eric gave him the Ferrari?)

Tara’s car: The girls are thinking the first thing Marnie would do is go after Bill and Eric.

Bill’s plantation house: Dead guards litter the yard. Bill and Eric are silvered to a stake on top of a pile of wood. Looks like Marnie is going to light them up! Eric: “Any idea how to get out of this one, your Majesty?” Neither of them wants to sacrifice his own progeny. Bill: “I liked you better when you were brain-damaged.”

Sookie, Tara and Holly show up but Marnie/Lafayette is there wearing a very stylish blue mumu. Holly, who apparently carries around a box of salt in her purse, starts making a salt circle around everyone. Marnie lights the faggots (as it were). Sookie does her fairy blast thing and knocks Marnie out of the circle. Marni turns into the Jesus demon. Sookie, Tara and Holly make a circle and start doing incantations. Marnie can’t make it into the circle.

The incantation calls for friends, family, loved ones to come and protect them. Spirits rise up from the Bon Temps Cemetery and walk towards the plantation. Bill and Eric start to burn. Bon Temps ghosts show up, including Antonia della Groino or whatever her name is who puts out the fire says that it is time for Marnie to come with her… to come home. Marnie says “I’m not finished!” Sookie’s grandmother Adele shows up and says, “Oh yes you are!” and pulls Marnie out of Lafayette’s mouth, throwing her onto the ground. Yay, Gran!!

Marnie starts whining about how she isn’t finished and how she never gets what she wants and nobody cares about what she wants and how everyone thought she was a freak because spirits spoke to her. Antonia talks her into leaving the world of the living, saying that they will be at peace but the vampyres will be stuck on earth forever and that there will never be any peace for them. Antonia and Gran talk her into crossing over. Marnie: “Oh, this fuckin’ sucks!” She, Marnie and Gran walk to the cemetery.

Sookie begs Gran to stay, saying that she is so lost without her. Gran says she can’t stay but that Sookie has it within her to get by and that being alone is nothing to be afraid of… we’re all alone at the end. All ghosts disappear back into the Bon Temps Cemetery. (Or do they??)

The girls to check up on Lafayette and huddle around him. He is still alive. Eric: “Excuse me? We’re feeling a little crispy up here!”

Merlotte’s: Arlene is complaining as she is taking out the garbage out back. She’s the only waitress (Sookie and Holly took off with Tara). The ghost of her fiance, Rene, appears to her in the parking lot and warns her about Terry who is bringing trouble of the worst kind. Rene: “I’ve met the ghosts of his past and they aren’t going to rest forever.” Rene tells Arlene she should run away.

Jason’s house: A figure in a red hood and cape walks through the woods to his house and knocks on the door. Jason comes to the door, pressing a popsicle to his face (from where Hoyt punched him) thinking it’s kids on Halloween. It’s Jessica looking destabilizingly hot in the red hood and cape and sexy lingerie. Jason tells her that he told Hoyt about them. Jessica says, “Let me in.” They have sex.

Jessica says she is not ready to be in a committed relationship. Jason says he wishes she said that before he took an ass-kicking from Hoyt. She wants to know if this can be enough for now. She doesn’t want to hurt Jason like she hurt Hoyt. Jason: “You know what you are? You’re dangerous.” Jessica: “Yes. I am!” They have sex again.

Fangtasia (office): Pam is PISSED OFF! “Where the fuck is he??” Screamer Waitress (in a sexy nurse costume): “I don’t know!” She says Sookie called earlier looking for Eric. Pam (quote of the episode): “Sookie! I am so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name! Fuck Sookie! I’ve been with Eric over a hundred years! I’ve watched him seduce supermodels and princesses and spit out their bones when he is finished. How can someone named Sookie take him away from me?” She tears up the office and breaks down crying.

Sookie’s house: Lafayette is in bed and Tara tries to comfort Lafayette saying he didn’t kill Jesus. It wasn’t his fault.

Bill’s house: Both Bill and Eric feed from Sookie, a wrist each. They look fine now.. all the burn marks are gone. She loves them both and she can’t stand it anymore. Bill says if she wants to be with Eric, she has his blessing. It looks like Sookie is going to choose Bill… but no. Then it looks like she is going to choose Eric… but no! She dumps them both!

Sookie’s house: Lafayette in bed. He wakes up and senses something. The ghost of Jesus appears. Jesus says he is OK with how things happened… that it is better than dying of cancer in some ward with a nurse who screws up his IVs and giving him bed sores. Lafayette isn’t OK with that. He doesn’t know how he is going to live knowing what he did. Jesus says, “Just keep breathing, baby. *smooch* It’s that simple.” Lafayette begs him not to leave. Jesus: “Dude. I’m dead. You’re a medium. I’ll always be with you!” And he disappears. Lafayette cries.

Merlotte’s parking lot: Holly goes to her car. Sheriff Andy Bellefleur comes up to her with flowers. She says it’s a bit too much right now. He says that’s OK.. that he’s sober and he’s lonely and he could be really good to someone if she lets him. Holly offers him a nice big hug, which he takes.

Sam’s house (outside): He and his girlfriend Luna kiss. He tries to convince her to stay for the night. Luna says her daughter isn’t ready for that. She feels that if they move too fast and get too happy, if they get too cute and cheesy G-d is going to drop a brick on their heads. Sam says life is violent so when you find something good, you have to enjoy it and celebrate it. Luna says OK, then drives away. Sam turns around and there is a wolf snarling at him.

Jason’s house: Jessica’s putting on her sexy black nylons. Jason asks if she’s really leaving. She says yes. He says if she didn’t like it, he can take direction. Jessica says she liked it a lot and suggested that next time, they might try oral! She says Hoyt was shy because of her fangs. (Yikes!) [They may not be as cute as she and Hoyt, but they are kinda cute together too.] She leaves and a moment later the door knocks. He think’s it’s her coming back. It’s not… it’s… Reverend Steve Newlin from the Fellowship of the Sun. He says, “Trick or treat?” and bares his fangs! OMG! He’s a vampyre!!

Parking garage: Alcide and a construction worker walking in the garage. Worker says something weird happened but he can’t remember anything. There is a huge hole in the floor and a silver chain in the busted concrete. Russell Edgington is back!!

Bill’s House: Pam Flanagan shows up at the door with some vampyre cops in their stupid outfits. Eric: “Hi, Nan. And gay stormtroopers.” Bill tells her the Marnie thing has been resolved. Nan is pissed off. She quit her job with the AmericanVampire League… and the authority. Bill: “No one quits the Authority.” Nan: “Quit. Fired. Same difference.” Her last duty was to execute Bill and Eric but then she realized she would be next. “I have been alive for 816 years. I refuse to be retired like a fat first wife!” She is rebelling against the Authority and wants Bill and Eric to join her. What’s in it for them? She helps them protect Sookie. Eric, bored with the conversation, kills the gay stormtroopers. Bill stakes Nan, turning her into goo. Eric: “What a bitch.”

Sookie’s house: Sookie comes home. Hears TV. Thinks Tara is still awake. Goes to the fridge. ~click click~ It’s Debbie in the kitchen with a shotgun! Tara runs in front of Sookie to save her. Gets shot in the head. Sookie wrestles Debbie to the ground and blows her head off. Sookie cradles Tara on the kitchen floor screaming, “Somebody help us!”

THE END

Final Tally:

Dead: Jesus, Marnie, Pam Flanagan, Debbie.

Back: Russell Edgington, Steve Newlin

Unknown: Tara