Tag Archives: military

Affliction Z: Patient Zero

Affliction Z: Patient Zero by L.T. Ryan
Book 1

I received a promotional e-copy of Affliction Z: Patient Zero (Post Apocalyptic Thriller) by L.T. Ryan shortly after it was released.  Frankly, it has taken a while for me to get un-busy to where I could dive in and read it.  Tonight I will be starting the last chapter and I have to say — I have been ENJOYING it!

The book begins dark, mysterious, and energetic.  About a dozen Navy SEALs parachute into Nigeria to rescue a team of Army Rangers who preceded them.  While they have their mission details, what they don’t have is intel on what exactly they’re getting into.  Shortly after they arrive they find out they’re in the middle of a zombie outbreak!

Beyond that, I will not give spoilers.

Here’s the great thing I found about L.T. Ryan’s writing…
Affliction Z: Abandoned Hope by L.T. Ryan
Book 2

Affliction Z: Patient Zero felt like reconnecting with a old friend — familiar and yet exciting discoveries from the unfamiliar interim.  I would like to say that I couldn’t put this book down, but that isn’t the case.  It has nothing to do with Ryan’s writing, it’s just that I’m a busy guy and binge-reading simply is not an option.  To me there were attributes I found similar to The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.  Chiefly, its pace presses forward and that resonates well with me — every time I picked up my e-reader this Affliction Z book would take off again!

Affliction Z: Descended In Blood by L.T. Ryan
Book 3

Elements I Particularly Enjoyed

  • The military references and other particular details seem spot on.  While reading I wondered if Ryan researched these or interviewed experts to get these right.
  • The chapters are easily read in chunks — this is good for a person who loves to read yet doesn’t have much time.
  • The situation the military guys are in is palpable!  For me it pops off the e-page.  I feel that I’m there with them in an unclear and unpredictable situation.
  • I’m always looking for something new when it comes to zombies.  Ryan presents possibilities I had never imagined for the character of the zombies — not just what their capabilities are and how the outbreak has occurred but also why.
Affliction Z: Abandoned Hope by L.T. Ryan
The color of her eyes are … uhm …. uh… green.

L.T. Ryan has quite a few books and series of books to his credit — and after the first book out of his Affliction Z series, I want more!  There are two other Affliction Z books and Ryan just released book four — titled “The Sickness of Ron Winters“.  I’d like to get my hands on Affliction Z: Abandoned Hope (2013) and Affliction Z: Descended in Blood (2014) first.

Links

World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries (2011)

World of the Dead, The Zombie Diaries 2, 2011
Remember how the cover for the first film has NOTHING to do with the film? Well, consistency is supposed to be good…

Have you ever had the experience where someone you know excitedly says “Hey, ya gotta see this film!“?  Then once you watch it you’re left thinking “What the heck was that about?”, or worse “There is something SERIOUSLY WRONG with my friend!”  Welcome to to World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2.

Immediately you can tell that this project has a higher budget and is visually more satisfying than the 2006 predecessor.  Then you get into the story and you start to see the problems…

The first thing you notice — as with the original film — is that the DVD cover is once again horribly misleading.  The cover art looks better than the film, and it represents something other than the content of the film.

Field full of zombies
I’m warning you — act like threatening zombies or we’ll shoot you!!!

The zombies feel very non-threatening — even less than in the original film.  The make-up is insufficient, the scares nearly non-existent, and the zombies are often so stiff they would be played better by untrained department store mannequins.  Add to that, when it comes to shooting the zombies I get the impression that the British film makers don’t have a clue as to what firearms sound like anymore (especially in the scene pictured).  The firearm sound effects left me non-pulsed — perhaps they were just the on-location recording of the blanks the actors were firing.

The biggest downfall of the movie…

World of the Dead, The Zombie Diaries 2, 2011
Yep, they should have stuck with this poster as the DVD cover

… aside from the emaciated plot and the you-are-there hand-held cinematography — are some of the specific content choices that film makers Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates included.  Various gangs of survivors prove to be even more vile than the zombies.  This is well summed up in a review by FlickeringMyth.com when they wrote…

“There are a couple of, frankly, unneeded rape scenes (one on a female zombie) that just felt like Bartlett and Gates wanted to do some kind of rape revenge film, but gave up and worked zombies into it”.

Frankly it left this bagpiper & humble amateur zombie-film reviewer astounded.  I cannot recall feeling this disturbed by any zombie film I have previously seen.  This content included a challenged young man bullied into delivering a beating upon one of the primary male characters, and then pushed into committing a graphic rape/murder on one of the female primaries.  I have to wonder where the writer and his co-director think that this was appropriate, or fit within the film!  I also have to wonder about the actors (or even the crew) assuming they saw the script before they agreed to do the film — why would they participate in bringing this film to fruition?

Is there any redemption for this film?

World of the Dead, The Zombie Diaries 2, 2011, gas mask
Me around people who smoke

There are elements to this film that really work — the albeit over-used zombie-trope military element, the military and civilian survivors trying to escape from England, and the guys who ambiguously appear wearing protective suits and gas masks.  However it seems as though Bartlett and Gates thought that their ideas were so great — so sound — that they didn’t think to check their script or finished film with a third party.  And if they did, they didn’t listen to them say “There’s some good stuff here, but over all THIS IS A BAD IDEA.”  Or maybe they just half-assed it and figured this would fill a feature.  In the end, it is as The Daily Mail described the film, it’s an “88 minute waste of electricity.”, and I rate it Red Blood.

Seriously, I’m starting to think I ought to make a list titled “Zombie Films To Avoid Watching“.  Do you think I would have this one on it?  YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!

A List Of Words Irrelevant To This Zombie Film
World of the Dead, The Zombie Diaries 2, 2011
At least you see one of these folks in the film — but destroyed city, a massive horde of zombies? Nope nope-nope!
  • Smash hit
  • Phenomenon

Links

pew pew pew
pew pew pew!

Day Of The Dead (1985)

Yellow Puss

Whaddayaknow — George A. Romero wrote & directed another zombie film!

What’s the significance of this film?  I’m still trying to figure that out myself.  Heck, 30 minutes into the film I asked “Where’s this film going?”  After an hour & thirty-seven minutes I asked myself that again and then the credits started rolling.

  • Music that was used in Shaun Of The Dead, which SOTD did intentionally drawing from a number of Z-films to pay homage to their predecessors
  • Yelling “Hello?” that sounds like the same delivery I first heard in 28 Days Later and suspect that Day Of The Dead was the origin
  • Experiments with cognizant zombies – most notable in the film is “Bub”, a male zombie who at a base level shows memory of things from when he was a human (ex applying a disposable razor to his face for shaving)
  • In some cases over-the-top campy acting, which can be characteristic of B/Z-films, but in this case struck me as poor acting &/or directing choices. I think the film could have had better execution & resonance in the same scenes (ALTHOUGH I NOTE – it was only the military AKA government characters that acted in this ‘ridiculous’ way, which may start to make some sense when you understand that this is supposed to be representative of a conflict between the public & the government.)
  • Questionably gay straight guy or straight gay guy
  • Oldest private in history, Private Steele – so did he join late, has this zombie conflict been going on that long and there was no one around to promote him, or is that he joined young and remained a career private?
  • Better make up & effects than Dawn Of The Dead
  • Instead of being held up in a shopping mall (Dawn Of The Dead) with a helicopter they’re holed up in an underground facility of some sort with a helicopter
Bub just got the latest BagpiperDon album.

I happened to have a collector’s edition of this film when I viewed it, so I also had all the extras — including the ‘interviews with the cast members X#-of-years later’ AKA ‘today’.  One of the things said (by Romero) was that the two parties of people in this film — scientists & military — stuck in the underground bunker was meant to represent the public and the government of the time (mid-1980s) and how there was a distrust between the two.

Some zombies are more handy than others.

Perhaps this film had that significance then (in 1985) but viewing it in 2017 it has no staying power.

This film could probably be good with a re-write & re-make, not unlike how Total Recall was grossly improved.

Day Of The Dead at IMDB

For those about to rock, we salute you!

Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz (2013)

Red Blood

As far as I’m concerned Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz does not deserve the honor of a review or a comment on my webpage — but — I bought a copy, I’ve seen it, and I’m fairly thorough …. and I’ll share my opinion for other film fans of a genere to see something great or avoid something terrible.

Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz = AVOID

So there are a few things that happen in HolloWood that really stink up art, films, creative ideas …. and I mean stink up like the scrapings from the dog park at the end of a July weekend.  One of them is excessive creative liberties …. “I paid for the license on this story, and now regardless of whatever that story is I can do what I want — and I do!”  Another one is the thought that world federation wrestlers, extreme fighters, or ultimate weight lifters can act …. instead of putting them out to pasture once they’ve body-slammed their brains out or whatever, someone tries putting them into film.  Sometimes that works — a great example would be Dwayne Johnson — not only did we get lucky there, we got a real gift.  Usually what’s done is they put them in high-action/low-story roles, and because there’s a bunch of action it must be a good film.  WRONG!

This film takes the setting of Outpost and tries to give the back-story — the origins of the machine and the experiments — and strings along a battle-royal with some Russian Special Forces soldiers who come off more as resistance fighters and ultimately does nothing to establish the subtitle of the ‘rise of the Spetsnaz‘.

The opportunity for a quality, meaningful, story-establishing prequel to Outpost (2008) was entirely missed with Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz.  As my understanding goes, there was more money wasted on Rise of the Spetsnaz than there was spent on making Outpost: Black Sun (2012).  Black Sun is in my mind a superior film to ROTSpetnaz.  Black Sun derivatives from the character of the original 2008 film but stays enough within the universe.  Rise of the Spetnaz just took the setting and did whatever it wanted for the sake of making some meatheads an acting career.  In Black Sun the world is being threatened by the machine and the un-dead phase-shifting nazi super soldiers, and had the money that was thrown away in making ROTSpetnaz been put to Black Sun it could have delivered this world-threat development better.

I now own the 2008, 2012, and 2013 Outpost films.  I’m glad to have seen all three to know all the ground covered with the original idea, but had I known what was done with Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz I wouldn’t have paid ten cents for a copy.

Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz (2013) at IMDB and Wikipedia

Outpost: Black Sun (2012)

Yellow Puss

The short writing about this film is this …. at one time I had a longer writing …. it’s relative to that time that I thought I didn’t need to back-up my hard drive.

More or less to say, the additional film that should have been made to compliment the original 2008 Outpost.  The story works, you get to revisit the dangerous location found in the original film and yet go further in.  The phase-shifting zombie-nazis are now more of a threat — in this case, to the whole world!  There are some creative liberties I could have done without.  The sad thing is that this film has less money behind it (or at least to my understanding) than the 2013 Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz and did far more to carry the story line.  Had only the wasted Rise of the Spetsnaz money been put to this film then Black Sun could have been even better.  If you liked the original Outpost, see Outpost: Black Sun —  skip seeing Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz.

Outpost: Black Sun (2012) at IMDB and Wikipedia

Outpost (2008)

Green Ooze – BagpiperDon’s +/- Top 10

This film was my first exposure to zombie nazis. I found a copy of the film on DVD at a liquidator store for $3 — figuring that it was going to be a roach, I was just too amused at the combination of zombies & nazis, and found out that it was a fantastic film.

Oh, and if you get really opinionated about the film, you can debate as to whether or not the nazis are zombies, phase-shifting zombies, or humans transformed into ghosts. Regardless, in this humble Highland bagpiper’s z-film opinion, this flick kicks ass.

Die Glocke AKA The Bell on Wikipedia

Outpost ‘Behind The Scenes’ Featurette

Outpost official page movie on Facebook

Outpost (2008) – IMDBWikipedia,  and Rotten Tomatoes

Outpost: Black Sun – the pretty-darn-good 2012 direct-to-DVD sequel

Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz – the garbage 2013 prequel that Should Not have been made