The Zombie Planet Trilogy (The Worst of the Worst!)

When you’re a ‘Noted Zombie Expert’ as I am, you gotta take the good with the irredeemably bad. Such was the case when I watched the Zombie Planet Trilogy (Zombie PlanetZombie Planet II: Adam’s Revenge and Zombie Planet III: Kane Chronicles) over the last week or two. Yes, it took me about two weeks to watch it all. Why? Because these movies are so awful, so horrible, so appallingly lousy… I could not stomach watching for more than about 15 – 20 minutes at a time. The movies that comprise the Zombie Trilogy are quite possibly the worst movies I’ve ever seen… and that’s saying something!

(Zombie Trilogy DVD cover)

They are so rotten, even RottenTomatoes.com doesn’t have reviews for them. These atrocious direct-to-video zombie disasters are from low-budget filmmaker George Bonilla. Here’s some Zombie Planet trivia:

Zombie Planet and Zombie Planet II: Adam’s Revenge were originally shot as one film. [1] Due to the ridiculous length of the original completed project, the decision was made to split it into two films.

Stacey T. Gillespie, credited with the role of Fred, actually plays seventeen different character roles throughout Zombie Planet and Zombie Planet II: Adam’s Revenge.

OK, here’s the deal. A new low-carb diet product has unintended side-effects, resulting in people craving – and crazed for – raw meat. Specifically, human flesh. Mayhem ensues when the people turn into the living dead, bringing on The Zombie Apocalypse. My two cents… In no way do any of these movies even reach the mediocre mark. Cheesy scripts, dreadful filming, abysmally bad performances, clumsy direction, horrible sound. Zombie Planet is abominably bad. Zombie Planet II: Adam’s Revenge is all that, plus it is boring. Seeing is believing…

(Zombie Planet trailer)

The Zombie Trilogy looks like it was made by drunken children. Calling it ‘bargain basement’ is an insult to bargain basements. It got to the point where I was trying to come up with positive things to say about these movies. “Unpretentious!” “Doesn’t get bogged down with CGIs and special effects (or good acting)!” Bottom line… I felt I had to watch these movies. Please don’t have any such misplaced sense of duty. As my family used to say… “Che schifezza!” Two revolted thumbs all the way down.

aa-tribalfang

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[1] The Kane Chronicles is not a separate new movie. It is merely the original ridiculously long version of the original film which was later divided into Zombie Planet I and Zombie Planet II.
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Shavuot 101: Your Holiday Guide

I’ve been asked on occasion by well-meaning and genuinely interested gentile friends about the Jewish holy days of Shavuot or, as I pronounce it, Shavuos.

What Is Shavuot?

(Shamelessly taken from Chabad.org)

The Torah was given by G‑d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai more than 3300 years ago. Every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acceptance of G‑d’s gift, and G‑d “re-gives” the Torah.

The word Shavuot means “weeks.” It marks the completion of the seven-week counting period between Passover and Shavuot.

The giving of the Torah was a far-reaching spiritual event-one that touched the essence of the Jewish soul for all times. Our sages have compared it to a wedding between G‑d and the Jewish people. Shavuot also means “oaths,” for on this day G‑d swore eternal devotion to us, and we in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to Him.

Women and girls light holiday candles to usher in the holiday, on both the first and second evenings of the holidays.The holiday of Shavuot is a two-day holiday, beginning at sundown of the 5th of Sivan and lasting until nightfall of the 7th of Sivan. (In Israel it is a one-day holiday, ending at nightfall of the 6th of Sivan.)

  • It is customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot.
  • All men, women and children should go to the synagogue on the first day of Shavuot to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.
  • As on other holidays, special meals are eaten, and no “work” may be performed.
  • It is customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot. Among other reasons, this commemorates the fact that upon receiving the Torah, including the kosher laws, the Jewish people could not cook meat in their pots, which had yet to be rendered kosher.
  • On the second day of Shavuot, the Yizkor memorial service is recited.
  • Some communities read the Book of Ruth publicly, as King David – whose passing occurred on this day – was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite.

Well, there you have it my little geeks and nerdlings. You now know more about Shavuos that most run-of-the-mill (i.e. non-Orthodox) Jews know!

This year, Shavuos starts immediately after the Jewish Sabbath (i.e. this Saturday night) and goes until Monday night. I, therefore, will not be posting a blog article this Monday May 28 but will be back at it, hammer and tong Wednesday May 30.

Until then. TRY to behave!

aa-tribalfang

Experience Taking: How You Subconsciously Become Your Favorite Fictional Characters

The folks over at MedicalDaily.com have uncovered something really interesting!

Psychologists Discover How People Subconsciously Become Their Favorite Fictional Characters

Psychologists have discovered that while reading a book or story, people are prone to subconsciously adopt their behavior, thoughts, beliefs and internal responses to that of fictional characters as if they were their own.

Experts have dubbed this subconscious phenomenon ‘experience-taking,’ where people actually change their own behaviors and thoughts to match those of a fictional character that they can identify with.

(Severus Snape, from the Harry Potter books)

Researcher from the Ohio State University conducted a series of six different experiments on about 500 participants, reporting in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that in the right situations, ‘experience-taking,’ may lead to temporary real world changes in the lives of readers.

They found that stories written in the first-person can temporarily transform the way readers view the world, themselves and other social groups.

(Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events)

Psychologists also found that it was critical for the story to reveal characteristics shared by the reader earlier rather than later for ‘experience-taking’ to take effect.

“The early revelation of the group membership seemed to highlight the difference between readers and the character, and made it more difficult for readers to step into the character’s shoes,” researchers wrote in the report.

(The Mad Hatter, from Alice in Wonderland)

The environment also played a major role in determining whether participants will engage in ‘experience-taking,’ according to the researcher.

In an experiment which required participants to read in front of a mirror, researchers reported that fewer readers were able to undergo ‘experience-taking’ because they were constantly reminded of their own self-concept and self-identity.

Researchers said that ‘experience-taking’ can only happen when readers are able to in a way forget about themselves and their own self-concept and self-identity when reading.

(Long John Silver, from Treasure Island)

“The more you’re reminded of your own personal identity, the less likely you’ll be able to take on a character’s identity,” Kaufman said in a news release. “You have to be able to take yourself out of the picture, and really lose yourself in the book in order to have this authentic experience of taking on a character’s identity.”

In contrast, watching a movie does not require viewers to engage any more than as a spectator, which would limit the ability of putting themselves in the shoes of fictional characters.

“Experience-taking can be very powerful because people don’t even realize it is happening to them. It is an unconscious process,” Libby said, adding that the phenomenon could have powerful, if not lasting, effects.

“If you can get people to relate to characters in this way, you might really open up their horizons, getting them to relate to social groups that maybe they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Libby told the Edmonton Journal.

aa-tribalfang

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A Rooster In My Neighbourhood (WTF??)

OK… you need a bit of background here…

I’m kind of an ‘early to bed, early to rise’ type of person.

As a general rule, I’m pretty much conking out by 11:00 pm unless there is a really good reason for me to be up (e.g. downloading and watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones)!

Sadly, I also tend to get up fairly early… and by fairly early, I mean before 6:00 a.m. The alarm on my clock radio is set for 6:00 am and it is pretty rare that it wakes me up.

(Niagara Winter Sunrise – Photo Credit: Doug Hagadorn)

It would be nice for me to sleep in now and again. I just don’t get a chance to do so. Either I have to be up because I’ve got to be somewhere, or I just naturally get up because, well… that’s when I wake up.

So you can imagine that on those mornings when I can sleep in, it is a ‘few and far between’ treat for me.

This morning was one such occasion. It is Victoria Day (aka Firecracker Day) in my particular corner of The Great White North. No work. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. Up fairly late last night enjoying the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

In my nice huge (king size) bed, sawing wood, blowing some big league Zs, all is right with the world.

And the world, being what it is… there are seasonal changes in sunrise times. At this particular time of year, the sun rises at about 5:50 am or thereabouts and will continue to do so, progressively earlier each morning, until mid-June. No problem. Shades are drawn, door is closed. Hoping to wake up maybe around 8:00 or even 8:30 if I am really lucky.

Nature had other plans for me this morning.

I’m sure it hit my subconscious before I opened my eyes, so it was probably the second blast that woke me up.

I just lay there for a moment, puzzled. ‘That sounded just like a rooster,’ I thought to myself.

Well, they say that three’s a charm. I needed no further confirmation after that one.

There’s a rooster in my neighbourhood somewhere.

Judge my chagrin.

While I may not have a lot of hard empirical evidence at my fingertips to support me, I am fairly certain that just about everyone who’s ever moved to a city has done so in order to avoid being woken up by a rooster.

I looked at my clock radio. 5:25 a.m.

The pre-dawn concerto was in full swing about half an hour later. That was when I got out of bed.

Curse you, Rooster. Curse your cold black cock-a-doodle-doo heart!

aa-tribalfang

Elements of Zombie Decay (Part 1)

ELEMENTS OF ZOMBIE DECAY (Part 1)

 [re-blogged from Zombie Research Society]

Written by 1LT Chris Post [1]

One of the greatest determiners in how long the coming zombie plague will last is the lifespan of zombies themselves. In theory, the length of any outbreak will depend on how long individual zombies are capable of moving about and spreading their infection to new hosts.

Because zombies occupy a limited, rotting corpse, the real question then becomes: How long will it take for the zombie to decompose?

Decomposition is a process whereby plant and animal bodies are broken down into their base materials. The length of this process is affected by several factors, including:

  1. Presence of insects
  2. Microbial activity
  3. Moisture levels

I’ll focus on microbes and moisture in upcoming posts, but today I want to talk about insects.

Insects, specifically carrion feeders, play a vital role in decomposition, as they consume much of the flesh and soft tissue of a corpse. In fact, it has been documented that in some parts of the world dense insect populations are capable of reducing a body to bones in a matter of hours.

Assuming a zombified corpse is essentially the same as a standard corpse, insects would feed on the zombie’s flesh and organs, speeding up decomposition and reducing its lifespan. However, a few variables might play a part in mitigating this process:

  • MOVEMENT: The zombies own movement might serve to keep some insects at bay. One need only observe the common housefly to see that they will retreat from the slightest wave of a hand.
  • INEDIBILITY: Whatever causes the reanimation of the zombie corpse might render it inedible to insects. Without the assistance from insects, decomposition time could be extended significantly.
  • PSEUDO-LIFE: Larval parasites, such as maggots, do not eat living flesh. Maggots have historically been used to clean wounds because they only eat dead tissue, leaving the living flesh intact. If zombies have some residual life functions, such as circulation or respiration, it might be sufficient to prevent the maggots and other similar parasites from consuming their flesh.

Look for more observations about zombie decay, including a detailed breakdown of how microbes and moisture could save the human race, in parts 2 and 3 of this series.

aa-tribalfang

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[1] 1st Lieutenant Post is a squadron safety officer with the United States Air Force Auxiliary. In addition to training in emergency response and disaster preparedness, he has studied the theory and science behind the zombie of popular culture for several years.

Note: I am a lifetime member of the Zombie Research Society.

Creepy Girls (1): The Girl on the Stair

I stumbled upon this Motifake poster on Facebook the other day.

The poem on which the poster is based is entitled Antigonish. [1] It was written in 1889 by American educator and poet Hughes Mearns.

Yesterday, upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all

Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

The poem was considered amusing by most people and in fact was turned into a very popular song in 1939.

(Glenn Miller, Tex Beneke – The Little Man Who Wasn’t There)

A 12 July 1939 recording of the song by the Glenn Miller Orchestra with vocals by Tex Beneke became an 11-week hit on Your Hit Parade reaching #7.

Ironically, even though the Motifake poster is also made at least half in jest, I presume… it brings you closer to the feeling of the original poem. The poster reminded me of two powerful images in my mind, both from horror movies.

The first is from the 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist.

(The Exorcist – A girl upon the stair)

The other is from The Grudge, the 2004 American remake of the Japanese film Ju-on: The Grudge .

(A Japanese girl on the stair – The Grudge)

The image in the Motifake poster, is, I believe, from either The Grudge or Ju-on.

Many people claim to have psychic abilities and are able to sense or see ghosts, wraith, phantasms, etc.

I, on the other hand, am a total ‘dead receptacle’ when it comes to that kind of thing.

If, however, I ever ‘met a girl upon the stair’ as I walked up to my apartment, I think I would fill my pants, as it were.

And that is why I love the Motifake poster. It’s creepy. It scares me. And I get to experience that horror and fear without actually having some creepy girl infesting my staircase.

And when it comes right down to it, what could be better than that?

aa-tribalfang

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[1] The poem was inspired by reports of a ghost of a man roaming the stairs of a haunted house in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

This is the first in a series of “Creepy Girls” articles.