Thursday, January 17, 2013

Will Somebody Still Say 'Dead By Dawn'?

It's time we face facts, people: there will never be an Evil Dead 4. I know, I know - I wanted to believe it, too. Every single time Sam Raimi or Bruce Campbell so much as mentioned the words 'Ash' or 'deadites', or anything even remotely related to the vaguest possibility of more blood-drenched mayhem with Ashley J. Williams, me and every other fanboy out there in the world sucked in our breath. Maybe in some alternate universe, some Earth 2 somewhere, Sam Raimi never made Spider-Man and he did end up making an Evil Dead 4. As it stands, though, we never did get one, and no matter how often Raimi and Bruce casually shrug off and give us some comment about people still thinking about it sometimes, we probably won't ever get it. Make peace with that now, and let's move on.

I remember the first time I watched Bruce Campbell, blasting deadites in the head with a shotgun while rattling off snappy one-liners. I was probably like, thirteen or so, and my friend rented it one night when I slept over. See, this was back in the day when Blockbuster reigned supreme (at least as far as video rental went). As a kid, you could wander the aisles and see some seriously scary shit on the covers of some of the VHS's on the shelves. One in particular that I remember always seeing was Army of Darkness, although at the time I had no idea what it was called. All I knew was that it was that movie with the fucked up looking cover, with that guy with the chainsaw and stuff.

Seriously, look at that. This muscular hero with a dashing smile, a chainsaw for a hand, and a beautiful lady gripping his leg. Then there were those skeleton guys climbing up to him, with their swords and shit. Not to mention the fucked up demonic army in the background. What the hell was that all about? Then there were the tiny men, these little bastards at the heroes feet, trying to set his foot on fire. As a kid, all of this was like, "Je-sus...."

Anyway, my buddy had noticed the cover on his trips to Blockbuster like me, and decided it might be fun to check out. We expected monsters and maybe some boobs. We did not expect this awesome, ass-kicking hero played by Bruce Campbell. This guy who didn't run from the monsters, or show any fear - he made fun of them, then blasted them with a shotgun. That was a completely new concept to me, and has remained one of my favorite character archetypes since. The Hellboy, the Buffy Summers - the hero who fought monsters and made jokes.

Now, the fandom had long wanted a fourth entry into the franchise. See, Evil Dead fans are of the cult variety. A small collection of the public in the long run, yes, but none in the fan community are quiet as passionate about what they hold dear. Those of us who cheerlead the likes of Firefly, or Fringe, or Freaks and Geeks feel this protective instinct toward what we love. We see it as an unappreciated genius, with it our soul honor and duty to preserve it's memory, to keep it alive and safe until the rest of the world finally notices it the way we did. It takes a very dedicated bunch to have that kind of affection for, well, anything. So you can imagine the outrage when it was announced we would be given not a sequel, but a remake. I'll spare you the specifics if you don't already know, but let's just say it was not met with enthusiasm.

People tend to hate remakes. Most of us just look at them with a persevering cynicism about the whole idea. "Why can't Hollywood come up with any new ideas?", "It will never be as good as the original", or "Didn't the last one just come out like, six years ago?" Even if they could have given a shit about the original flavor, nobody greets the idea of a new and improved version with much enthusiasm. Usually because they notably are not improvements, with many of them failing to understand what made the original so endearing, or twisting it so much to fit with today's audiences, it's very soul had been lost. At worst, people look at remakes as an insult, a big middle finger to the original fanbase that "Fuck you, this is the new version and if you don't like it, tough".

Then came the trailer, and.... well, take a look.

Okay, keep in mind this is the redband which just dropped a few weeks ago, but still HOLY SHIT. I mean  that has to get you at least a little excited. Call me naive, but I get a bit psyched watching this. It FEELS like Evil Dead - the deadite POV shot, the angry molesting tree, the chick looking up out of the cellar door. God, it just makes me wanna pop in my VHS of Evil Dead 2 right now. Only I don't, because who the hell owns a VHS player anymore? Still, every time I see it, I find I like what I see more and more.

A trailer can be misleading, though. I think we've all seen that a bunch of times in the past, right? After all, a complete shit show can look like the next Return of the King if you just know how to edit about two minutes of it together into something passably intense. Besides what we see here, there isn't much other information about the film to go off of. Like, at all. Even the director and cast are mostly unknown faces Funny story, actually; I almost saw them all at this years New York Comic-Con, only I didn't arrive early enough to get a decent spot in line due to a slight case of sleeping in.

There's Jane Levy, who plays Mia. She's uh, been in Shameless, I guess, which I've heard about before. Shiloh Fernandez plays David, and this guy would probably be easier to recognize for some amongst the audience. He's been in stuff like Jericho, Gossip Girl, United States of Tara, unfortunately Little Red Riding Hood, so make your own opinions on that guys choice in work. Jessica Lucas is also in it, as Olivia. She was in Cloverfield, and basically nothing else. Playing the character of Eric we have Lou Taylor Pucci. He is credited on IMDB as being Boba Fett #1 in Fanboys - wait, did that ever come out? Anyway, rounding off the cast is Elizabet Blackmore , as Natalie, and.... um, she hasn't really done anything.

I almost forgot to mention our director and writer: Fede Alvarez, the man who brought us.... uh, El Conjundo? Actually, I've never heard of the guy, or anything he's done. That's probably because up until now, he's only written and directed a few Spanish short films. This would be his first feature. Still, Spanish seems good. Spanish folks make awesome horror all the time. Just look at Guirelmo del Toro, or whoever it was that directed The Orphanage.

Okay, so we've got a pretty unknown cast, a director I've never heard of. Guess it's pretty hard to say what to expect out of that. I mean, at least maybe if we had some big names in there, recognizable ones, we could gage what kind of flick we were in for. Personally, I think that's a good thing. Look, I love the original just as much as anyone else, but let's be real here, it's not some untouchable fucking work of genius. It was Sam Raimi and his friends, in a cabin, drenching each other with fake blood and stringing it together with hammy effects. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just that what he made was fun and I love it, but that doesn't mean it was like, the perfect movie ever made.

As a matter of fact, you know what? I have high hopes for this movie. Yeah, I'll admit it. I think Evil Dead could be fucking awesome. For one thing, you can tell it's got the spirit, and that's what really counts. It really seems to understand the original movie, as far as the atmosphere and presentation go. It's grungy looking, and creepy, and holy shit is that a lot of blood.

I say they deserve credit right up front on the grounds that they did not compromise themselves for a PG-13. This is an R, and that's the way it should be, damn it. Not to mention the deadites, man. I mean, they LOOK and ACT like total deadites If there's one thing horror movies need these days, it's more deadites.

But you know why I think this movie will REALLY succeed? Because there is no Ash in it. I would love to see Ash again - the real Ash, not some new guy trying to be Ash. What I want is Bruce Campbell, running around with a shotgun and chainsaw strapped to his arm. When news dropped that there would be a remake, that was the big question immediately had, was what would become of the character Ash. Dropping the idea entirely was probably the smartest thing they could have done. It would have been too distracting, constantly trying to embrace this new guy as a character we had all loved for so long. That right there already shows they're thinking pretty clearly. Besides, it looks like they're obviously going for the straight-up gory, horror-fest of the original movie and none of the camp and comedy of the sequels. That being the case, I doubt an Ash character would fit very well.

So that's my two cents, guys and gals, for what it's worth. Am I right, will Evil Dead be one of those magical remakes that ends up being just as good, if not better than, it's original source material? Will find out, I guess, when the flick hits theatres. Until then, shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Watch Weaver's Day Off

Here we - finally - have the newest Sad Zombie video, Watch Weaver's Day Off. Drop in and take a look at the hectic and outrageous day-to-day life of Weaver. There will be drama, there will be action, there will be Skyrim. Including a cameo from the lovely Ms. Kristina DeFonte, of Daily Hey Now.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Keep Your New 'Superior' Flavor, I Prefer My Spider-Man 'Amazing'

So, Peter Parker is dead.

Oh, sorry. Did you expect some kind of spoiler warning for that? Give me a break. If you're a Spider-Man fan at all, how you're even using the Internet right now without already knowing this information is beyond me. But still, there it is - Peter Parker, the man we've all come to know and love as the Amazing Spider-Man, is dead. What is that, you ask? Does that mean there will be no more Spider-Man? Of course not, Spidey still exists. So, then who is it, you may wonder, that now wears the familiar red-and-blues? 

Doctor Octopus. 

No, no. You read that right. This guy...

Is now this guy...

After they swapped brains, and that guy...

Became this guy.

See what I'm saying? It was the old mind-switcheroo. Doc Ock swapped bodies with Peter, just as he was preparing to finally kick the bucket out of old age, leaving Peter to instead die in his old body, while he took Peter's body and... You know? You get it. Peter Parker is dead and gone. Doctor Octopus now inhabits Peter's body, and is Spider-Man. 

This is so fucked up. 

Okay, let me take a deep breath. First of all, let me clarify one thing: I have yet to read Amazing Spider-Man #700. I will get around to it eventually, but just so we're all on the same page, this isn't going to be a review of the issue. Whether or not the writing and artwork in #700 itself is any good is not what I feel like discussing. Actually, I've heard it's rather good on it's own merit, which does not surprise me. What I have read of Dan Slott's run on ASM has been very positive. I'm not here to review the issue itself, I'm just here to discuss one thing: Peter Parker is dead, and Doc Ock is now Spider-Man. 

I'm sure some people out there are thinking that this must just be some sort of publicity stunt, right? Surely something like this was only done to sell comics, and in due time, Marvel will return to the status quo, right? Well, yes and no. See, Dan Slott insists the move was not done purely to generate sales, and I think I believe him. The guy has churned out some quality Spidey stories during his run, and he truly does get behind this move. I think to him, this WAS done as an honest to god twist he saw as good storytelling, and to that end, good for him. It's a ballsy move alright, one that has already become rather polarizing amongst fans. Whether you like it or not, you have to admit, the guy did what he thought would be cool, and I respect that. As far as Marvel goes as a company, however, I think this was more done to bring in some cash. News outlets that don't normally cover comics are discussing this, so whether people like it or not, they will be likely to pick up Superior Spider-Man when it launches, just to see what in the hell is going on. 

Oh, right - I almost forgot about Superior Spider-Man. That's the new monthly Spidey title we're getting. See, this was all done not only as a crazy-ass comic twist, but as the genuine ending to Amazing Spider-Man as it's own series. Rather than just rebooting back to issue #1, Marvel has ended it entirely, and will begin anew with Superior, which sees the continuing adventures of.... Doctor Octopus as Spider-Man. This, according to Slott, was done by Marvel to prove just how totally for real-reals they are that Peter is really, really dead and will never, ever come back again (certainly not when Amazing Spider-Man 2 roles around).

This... upsets me. If it were just a story arc, that I could totally get behind, because as an idea in-and-of itself, it's cool. But with Marvel claiming this is a permanent change, there is just way too much... WRONG with this concept, especially for me to ever embrace it as the NEW status quo. 

First off all, let's take the manner this happened. I get that Doc Ock inherited Peter's memories of being Spider-Man, essentially giving him the kick he needed to become a real hero, rather than just some old jackass in a hero's body. That's all well and good. Again, if this were just a story arc, it would be a neat development for both characters. It's not, though. The fact remains that Doc Ock basically killed Peter and TOOK HIS FRIGGIN' BODY. Peter was not given any sort of heroic death, and Doc Ock wasn't given the body against his will or anything, only to accept it in the end - much like Peter did himself with the Spider-Man mantle. No, our current Spider-Man killed the previous one, whom bare in mind we've spent the last fifty years with. I don't care if Otto has decided to really honor Peter's memory or not, he killed Peter Parker, and the character we've come to know and love for so long now is gone. There's something way too disturbing about this whole scenario for me to ignore. 

Next - and this one really bothers me - Doctor Octopus will now be fucking Mary Jane Watson. Could I have just said "dating"? Or, "kissing'? Sure, probably; but when I say "fucking", it's because I really, really want us all to acknowledge how absolutely dark and twisted it is. This guy...

Will now be having sex with THIS woman....

Who use to have sex with THIS guy....

And.... ah, whatever, you get the point. See, I'm a big M.J. fan. I really never felt like the movies did her character justice, and even the comics sometimes really bugger things up with her. When she is done well though, with a competent writer, Mary Jane is a character I really, really like, and someone whom I feel has always been very important to Peter's story. Except, oh wait - Peter is dead now, right? So I guess she's important to Doctor Octopus's story now, isn't she? Yeah, that's pretty odd. Not just, like, a small tilt of your head and a little "huh", odd. I think I was more comfortable with the idea of Wolverine having sex with her in Peter's body that other time Peter got mind-swapped with someone. It's just weird and uncomfortable, like some old man deciding to marry a woman he once taught in kindergarten. Actually, that's pretty much exactly what it is.

Oh, while we're on the subject, I suppose we all may as well point out now how Doctor Octopus has also gotten his freak on with the other most important women in Peter's life...

No, thank god. Besides, Norman Osborn already hit that, and Doc Ock doesn't like sloppy seconds - y'know, because he's a hero now, and heroes are above that. 

Yeah, that's right. For those of you who didn't know, there was a a time back in the day when Aunt May was gonna marry Doctor Octopus. Now, ever since, it's been easy to just disregard it as one of those wacky-ass comic book storylines, the sort you never really ever have to think of again. Or we wouldn't if it weren't for the fact that Dan Slott decided to take the time to REMIND US OF IT. Like I said, Doc Ock got Peter's memories, and Peter got some of Doc Ock's. Including the one where, y'know, ol' Otto boinked his aunt. It's like they went out of their way just to remind us of this, so that when it came time for them to tell us "NO, SERIOUSLY, DOCTOR OCTOPUS IS TOTALLY PETER NOW", we would all be very, very acutely aware that the man who is now Peter Parker had, at one point, fucked his aunt. 

Yeah, go ahead and absorb that. Peter Parker - the man who is now Peter Parker - has had sex with M.J. and Aunt May. That's, uh... yeah, that's what I think of when I think about superheroes. 

I would say that, beyond these two, I think, rather glaring issues with this whole stunt, the other thing that really bothers me is the fact that nobody is aware Peter died. That's because, in a way, he didn't. His body is still running around, with Doc Ock pulling the strings. His family, his friends, his loved ones, the rest of the superhero community - to them, Peter is still alive and well. He's just kind of a douche now. That bothers me almost as much as Doc Ock manhandling Peter's former wife - the fact that none of the characters who even mattered in Peter Parker's life even know he's dead. The only exception is one of his oldest enemies, who need I remind you, is the one responsible for his death in the first place. 

Look, I get that the big thing Dan Slott is trying to push here is that the mantle and the MEANING of Spider-Man are bigger than the man behind the mask, but that doesn't mean that the man behind the mask didn't matter. People love Spider-Man because of who the character was, Peter Parker. They loved his sense of humor, his sense of justice and all that, and the fact that he was always the underdog. It's not like the costume was the reason they bought the comics. It was just as much Peter Parker himself as it was the superhero he doubled as. Now his replacement killed him, stole his life, and there is nobody around to even honor his memory other than the man who murdered him. 

That leads me to my last real problem with this big change: Peter Parker is Spider-Man. That's it, that's all. End of story. I don't care how it's written, or how it's done - Peter is and always will be the Amazing Spider-Man. You ask just about anyone out there, and there are pretty much three secret identities anyone can name: Clark Kent is Superman, Bruce Wayne is Batman, and Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Now, there have been plenty of times someone else has briefly taken over the mantle of a hero, but when it comes to Spider-Man, the matter upsets me a bit more. To me, Peter Parker defined what we all love about the character. It was as much the man who wore the costume as it was what the superhero we identified with that costume could do. Some superheroes aren't as clearly defined by their personalities, but Spider-Man to me is not one of them. It's always the personality of Peter Parker that I think draws people to the character the most. Now the man behind the mask is Doc Ock? Explain again how I'm supposed to embrace this change? 

That's basically all I have to say about that. Again, like I said before, I'm not trying to review the issue itself here, or how it stands as a story in it's own right. Like I said, I do enjoy Dan Slott's stuff, and I have heard it is done very well. As a story, I like the idea - as a permanent change, I absolutely hate it. You can bet I'll be right there when Superior drops though, just like everyone else. Eager to see what the word is on this new Spider-Man. Who knows? Maybe this new Spider-Man will be awesome. Maybe everyone will totally forget Peter. 

Or maybe I should once again remind you all that he's been naked with Aunt May before.