Monday, May 30, 2011

Second ever 3D ZOMBY cartoon!


This was my second attempt at creating a 3D ZOMBY comic, and I think this one turned out better than the first one. Seriously, put on your red-and-blue glasses and then back up from your screen a foot or two. It's really neat. The sadness and desperation seem to follow you around the room. So... uh, look out, James Cameron.

First ever 3D ZOMBY cartoon!!!!! In 3D!


If you have a pair of those red-and-blue 3D glasses lying around, break 'em out and enjoy.

ZOMBY says he only watches public television, but we know better....


I went back and forth on what the name of the zombie-themed TV channel would be. It was down to Afterlifetime and ZBS.

Unexpected but Most Welcome: Nude Scenes by Quirky Character Actresses

Judy Greer in Adaptation

Of course, it generates a lot of publicity when an A-list actress like, say, Natalie Portman or Anne Hathaway has a nude scene or an intense sex scene in a motion picture. And believe me, ladies, it's appreciated. But what really makes my day is a nude scene by a slightly more unconventional actress, one whom you might not necessarily expect to appear unclothed on camera. I'm talking about the kinds of actresses who play the leading roles in low-budget, independent pictures but who are generally relegated to smaller supporting roles in major studio films.

So here, then, is a tribute to those quirky character actresses who have doffed their duds on camera for our enjoyment over the years. (If you feel I have missed any, please let me know in the comments.)

(Decidedly NSFW after the break.)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Pet Rock joke in 2011? ZOMBY says, "Why not?"


The Mill Creek DVD Inferno: First Circle - LIMBO


In Dante Alighieri's Inferno, the outermost -- and therefore least severe -- circle of Hell is called Limbo and is reserved for the unbaptized and for virtuous pagans who did not accept Christ. Here one will find sinners whose punishment is living in a diminshed, though still fairly nice, version of Heaven. Meanwhile, in the Mill Creek DVD boxed set Drive-In Cult Classics: 32 Movie Collection, the outermost circle of Hell is reserved for films which are rated 5.5 to 5.4 on the Internet Movie Database. Yep, that's as lofty as the films in this set get, which isn't suprising considering that (I think) all of them come from Crown International Pictures.

Here, traveler, you will find reviews of the following films:

Separate Ways (1981)
The Babysitter (1969)
Carnival of Crime (1962)

Let us begin our journey.

Separate Ways


Few remember it now, but there was a time in this country when soapy domestic melodramas actually had a shot of making it big at the box office. Separate Ways was Crown International's somewhat feeble attempt to cash in on the trend. Fortunately, they recruited two fine cult movie actors, Karen Black and Tony Lo Bianco (both quite good here), to play the squabbling couple. Lo Bianco's an ex-racecar driver whose auto dealership is failing. Black is a stay-at-home mom who finds her marriage unsatisfying. They have trouble communicating. They argue. They have affairs. They go through a trial separation. She finds employment at a sleazy club called the Foxy Lady. Blah, blah, blah. Cut out the nudity and the profanity, and this would be perfect for the Lifetime network. Mill Creek gives us an acceptable but slightly muddy full-frame transfer which probably doesn't do Dean Cundey's cinematography justice. GRADE: C

Does It Pass the Drive-In Test? Probably not. If so, just barely. Ms. Black does at least three nude scenes, but these are brief and not quite satisfying. The scenes at the Foxy Lady are also far too tame to sate the drive-in audience. Meanwhile, there's some auto racing action at the beginning and end of the film, but this is really just the same not-too-exciting footage used twice. The filmmakers, admirably, did try to spice up one of the couple's fights by having it take place in a moving car which is driven crazily and dangerously by Lo Bianco's character. But for the most part, Separate Ways is just talk, talk, talk.

The Babysitter


Another film about an upper-middle-class couple whose marriage is in trouble, The Babysitter tells the story of a rather stodgy district attorney who decides to cheat on his even-stodgier wife with the couple's free-spirited hippie babysitter, Candy. Meanwhile, some junkie delinquents find out about the DA's extracurricular actitivies and try to blackmail him in an attempt to free one of their loser junkie friends. The Babysitter is definitely one of those time capsule movies which probably felt out-of-date a week after it was released, but that doesn't make it any less fun. In fact, I enjoyed the heck out of this, despite about a hundred boring parts. The full-frame transfer is pretty rotten (just try pausing the picture and see what you get), but somehow I didn't mind it much. GRADE: B

Does It Pass the Drive-In Test? With flying colors, even though it's in black-and-white. The Babysitter wallows in sleaze and scandal for virtually its entire running time. There's plenty of nudity, debauchery, and sadism along the way, including at least two scenes in which women's bras are removed at knifepoint. The only real drawback is that we have some great Manson Family-looking bikers in the movie, but there's not much in the way of biker gang action. But the drive-in crowd definitely got their money's worth with this flick.

Carnival of Crime


Ay! With a title like that, you might think Carnival of Crime would be about the felonious goings-on at a circus sideshow or something, but sadly this is not the case. The "carnival" in question is the one they have in Brazil. This is a dubbed, B&W cheapie about an architect whose adulterous (and, frankly, mean) wife goes missing. She's later discovered murdered, and guess who's wrongly accused of her death? It's up to the architect to solve the murder, which involves talking to a lot of sleazy-looking men I would describe as cads. To blatantly pad out the running time, there's a completely unrelated, tacked-on subplot about two assassins arguing amongst themselves in the jungle. The only really interesting thing about Carnival of Crime, though, is the stock footage of some neat-looking Brazilian architecture from the 1960s. The transfer, it must be said, is horrendous even by Mill Creek standards. GRADE: D

Does It Pass the Drive-In Test? Not hardly. Slow, talky, and horrendously dubbed, Carnival of Crime leaves virtually all the sex and violence off-screen. Even Brazil's Carnival itself seems fairly dull here. There's almost nothing to look at and even less to get excited about.

COMING UP! The Second Circle - Lust - featuring Van Nuys Blvd., The Pom Pom Girls, The Sister-in-Law, and The Teacher.

ZOMBY: Ziggy-haters of the world, your day has arrived!

Friday, May 27, 2011

ZOMBY returns... and he's brought jars of urine with him!


So good to be back, my dear readers, if only temporarily.

A couple of weeks ago, a horrendous, stubborn, and expensive virus attached itself to my computer like one of those face-huggers from Alien. That and an increased work schedule effectively kept me from updating this blog recently. But the computer is now (hopefully!) repaired, and I have a three-day Memorial Day weekend with no real plans. So I'll probably put some new Zomby cartoons and other assorted articles on the blog over the next few days. Hope you'll be around to read them!

How have you been, by the way? I've missed you.

Yours most truly,

Wayne Kotke
President, Spokesman and Founder of Dead 2 Rights


Friday, May 20, 2011

We Are Still Experiencing Technical Difficulties



I'm still out of commission, so no new content for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, please have a Good Humor bar.

Monday, May 16, 2011

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties


Hello, one and all.

It seems I had some kind of virus on my computer, and now I'm basically out of commission. So no updates on this blog for the foreseeable future, including ZOMBY.

As soon as it is technically possible to do so, I will start updating this blog again.

Thanks for your patience,

WK

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Descent into the Mill Creek Inferno: 9 Circles of Drive-In Hell


Those of you who are familiar with Mill Creek Entertainment's multiple-movie DVD boxed sets will know what I mean when I say that watching them is pretty much the cinematic equivalent of descending into a fiery pit of doomed sinners. I don't know where Mill Creek finds these films exactly, but the company's specality is taking low-budget flicks that have fallen into the public domain and rounding them up into massive (yet quite affordable) collections with names like Chilling Classics. Pretty much anywhere DVDs are sold, you're likely to find a bargain bin with Mill Creek sets, sometimes grouped by theme or genre (sci-fi, Westerns, horror). The movies themselves are often highly dubious in quality and the transfers range from acceptable to horrendous, but these are the risks you are taking when you buy cinema in bulk.

Recently while grocery shopping, I found a bin of bargain DVDs including some Mill Creek sets. I knew I could not resist their siren song, so I settled on one called Drive-In Cult Classics: 32 Movie Collection. It contained a handful of movies I'd seen and mostly hated, but the vast majority were new to me and at $10 (or about 31 cents per flick) the price was certainly right. Besides, with the TV season ending, I was looking for a summer movie reviewing project.

But how to attack a set like this? I decided to base the project on the depiction of Hell in Dante's Inferno. What does this mean? Well, Dante divided his version of Hell into nine different layers or circles, each lower than the last depending on the severity of the sins. As one descends from one circle to the next, one comes closer to Satan himself who resides in the Ninth Circle. So I took the 32 films in the Mill Creek set and divided them into nine different circles depending on their current user ratings on the Internet Movie Database. I will be watching the films in descending order of IMDb scores, with the absolute worst coming at the very end.

Here is a chart of how the project will progress.

FIRST CIRCLE: LIMBO
(IMDb ratings 5.5 to 5.4)

Separate Ways (1981)
The Babysitter (1969)
Carnival of Crime (1962)

SECOND CIRCLE: LUST
 (IMDb ratings 5.3 to 5.0)

Van Nuys Blvd. (1979)
The Pom Pom Girls (1976)
The Sister-in-Law (1974)
The Teacher (1974)

THIRD CIRCLE: GLUTTONY
(IMDb ratings 4.9 to 4.8)

Blue Money (1972)
Pick-up (1975)
Best Friends (1975)
Pink Angels (1976)

FOURTH CIRCLE: AVARICE AND PRODIGALITY
(IMDb ratings 4.7 to 4.4)

Malibu High (1979)
Double Exposure (1983)
The Devil's Hand (1962)
Hot Target (1985)

FIFTH CIRCLE: WRATH AND SULLENNESS
(IMDb rating 4.3)

Malibu Beach (1978)
Single Room Furnished (1968)
Cindy and Donna (1970)

SIXTH CIRCLE: HERESY
(IMDb ratings 4.2 to 4.0)

Terrified (1963)
The Hearse (1980)
Land of the Minotaur (1976)
The Stepmother (1972)

SEVENTH CIRCLE: VIOLENCE
(IMDb ratings 3.7 to 3.1)

Lurkers (1988)
Night Club (1989)
Trip With the Teacher (1975)
Blood Mania (1970)

EIGHTH CIRCLE: FRAUD
(IMDb ratings 2.7 to 2.1)

Bloodlust! (1961)
Madmen of Mandoras (1963)
Click: the Calendar Girl Killer (1990)
They Saved Hitler's Brain (1968)

NINTH CIRCLE: TREACHERY
(IMDb rating 1.9)

The Creeping Terror (1964)
Weekend With the Babysitter (1970)

I hope you will join me on my journey over the coming weeks as I descend further and further into the Mill Creek Inferno. Either way, I hope you will pray for me.

Today's ZOMBY raises the ugly specter of what exactly "morgue porn" might be.

The utterly insane video for Lindsey Buckingham's "Holiday Road"

The eyes of Lindsey Buckingham.

On those occasions when you think of Lindsey Buckingham's "Holiday Road," the theme song from National Lampoon's Vacation, what images come to mind? Do you think of a family going on a summer vacation? Or, rather, do you think about a dreary, totalitarian corporate prison where the miserable employees toil at rows of identical desks, the windows have iron bars, and there is toxic-looking blue liquid in the water cooler?

I generally think of the first scenario. Lindsey Buckingham, though, thinks of that second one, the business-prison one. At least that's what I gleaned from the song's truly nutty music video:



You keep thinking that Lindsey's gonna turn things around and a party is gonna break out in that office with Hawaiian shirts and binge drinking. But, no, the mood stays grim right up to the end, when "business Lindsey" sees "sexy time Lindsey" walk mysteriously into the fog-shrouded woods. (Full disclosure: I don't think I get what's supposed to be happening at the end of this video.)

Overall, I can't say that I've ever seen such disparity between an upbeat 1980s pop song and its music video. It would be like taking "Walking on Sunshine" and setting the video in a gulag. I can only imagine what inspired Mr. Buckingham to do this. But there it is, for you to enjoy.

You're welcome.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The king of (anti) comedy: Len Cella, cinema's truest auteur

Len Cella, both as himself and as a giant cat

If you've ever wondered why movie critics spend so much time yakking about a film's director, as opposed to anyone else in the cast or crew, you can blame Francois Truffaut. Back in 1954, you see, Truffaut came up with something called the auteur theory which holds that a film's director is its primary author. ("Auteur" is French for "author.") This theory helped film be taken seriously as a legitimate artform, but it's problematic. Films are collaborations, after all. There are actors, writers, editors, cinematographers, and dozens of other artists and craftsmen involved in the production of a motion picture.

But what if there were a true cinematic auteur, someone who literally did it all, i.e. wrote, directed, starred, edited, the works? Might that individual be the ultimate cinematic auteur?

Such an artist is Len Cella.

ZOMBY knows how gross he is sometimes and is sorry for that.

Friday, May 13, 2011

You can't beat that deal, ZOMBY!

Yesterday's ZOMBY

Blogger had some kind of malfunction yesterday, so this Zomby is a day late. I trust you were able to live without it. If not, I hope you will consider joining Dead 2 Rights.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

If this "ZOMBY" doesn't make you laugh, at least it'll help get you drunk!


HOW TO MAKE A ZOMBIE COCKTAIL

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz dark rum
  • 3/4 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz cherry brandy
  • 1/2 oz light rum
  • 1/2 oz high-proof dark rum
  • 2 dashes grenadine

Preparation:
  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a highball glass with crushed ice.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Revisting the Beatles "Anthology" project, a decade (plus) later

"As far as I'm concerned, there won't be a Beatles reunion as long as John remains dead." - GEORGE HARRISON (1989)
The late George Harrison spoke those words a mere five years before his participation in The Beatles Anthology, a multi-media project that was essentially sold to the public as the next best thing to a Beatles reunion. No mere TV special, the Anthology would encompass an eight-part documentary series on ABC (which would temporarily rechristen itself A-Beatles-C for the occasion), three double albums of musical outtakes and rarities, and finally a mammoth coffee table book. This material trickled out over the course of several years. The TV show aired in 1995. The albums were released in 1995 and 1996. The coffee table book, for whatever reason, didn't come out until 2000. All, of course, were tremendous financial successes and conquered their respective charts (the Nielsen ratings, the Billboard charts, and the New York Times best-seller list).

But the Anthology project concluded over a decade ago, and I thought it was high time we reexamined it to see how it has held up over the years.

Examining the Mother/Daughter Relationship in Horror Films

Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair are mother and daughter in The Exorcist.

Of all the possible combinations of parents and children, it is mothers and daughters whose relationships have made for some of the most fascinating horror films of all time. Sure, thanks to Psycho, we have lots of mother-son horror films with unhinged mama's boys going on homicidal sprees due to unresolved Oedipal trauma. But for the most part, this is just garden variety Freudian stuff, straight out of a Pysch 101 textbook. Meanwhile, the mother-daughter dichotomy is not so narrowly defined and can thus be explored in any number of ways, and horror films have done so more than movies of any other genre or category.

Cinderella's wicked stepmom.
I feel that horror movies are in many ways the modern-day descendants of fairy tales -- and by that I mean the old-school Grimm fairy tales, which were much darker and more violent than the modernized versions. (If you've got some time on your hands, try researching the history of the Cinderella myth. In one incarnation of the story, women actually cut off parts of their feet to fit into the glass slipper. Ouch!) One key theme that runs through fairy tales is the often vicious rivalry between older women and young girls, with the former being bitterly jealous of the latter. Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty are all about girls who are relentlessly plagued by envious, aging women. Latter-day authors seeking to create new fairy tales borrowed this theme for their own stories. In The Little Mermaid (1837), for instance, Hans Christian Andersen has his guileless title character enter into a sinister pact with a Sea Witch (re-imagined as "Ursula" in the Disney film), while of course L. Frank Baum gives his Dorothy a rival in the Wicked Witch of the West and Lewis Carroll's Alice memorably incurs the wrath of the Queen of Hearts. ("Off with her head!") Even modern authors cannot escape this theme. Joyce Carol Oates, for instance, has stated that there is an undercurrent of "sexual jealousy" between the mother and daughter characters in her fairy-tale-like short story, "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?"

Horror movies take this theme one step further. Whereas in fairy tales, the older woman is usually some kind of mother surrogate (The Evil Stepmother, The Evil Queen, The Evil Witch, etc.), horror films cut right to the chase and explore the mother-daughter relationship directly. As I said before, though, these cinematic relationships are complex and multifaceted. It isn't always a case of the mother being jealous of the daughter, but I'd say that theme is always buried somewhere down deep in each of these films.

ZOMBY is a hellspawn, and here's the comic to prove it.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

ZOMBY might -- mind you I said MIGHT -- be spending too much time on the Internet.

Terrible Zombie Movie Challenge: Dead Men Don't Die

Elliott Gould delights us all in Dead Men Don't Die.

Recently, the inimitable Zombie Farmer and I recorded a promo for the Mail Order Zombie podcast. It was a lot of fun and (I hope) turned out pretty well, and the program's benevolent host, Brother D expressed his gratitude by sending me an envelope containing THREE (!) full-length zombie movies on DVD. Now, one of these was the infamous Buddy Bebop Vs. The Living Dead, which both Brother D and Need-a-Nickname Scott awarded a score of 1 headshot out of a possible 5. Not a promising sign. But on the last episode of MOZ, Brother D said he compensated for this by sending me at least one "good" movie to balance out the awfulness of Buddy Bebop. Unfortunately, he couldn't remember exactly what he did send me, so I guess it's up to me to figure out which one that is.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

I figure with only three movies, my odds of finding the elusive "good" one are fairly high. And since Brother D has already acknowledged that Buddy Bebop is not it, my chances are getting even better. It has to be one of the other two films, right? I began my quest tonight with a 1990 film called Dead Men Don't Die starring Elliott Gould. Could this obscure comedy be the chosen one?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The "Female Trouble" Theme Song: Before and After!



For the first ten years of his career, maverick Baltimore auteur John Waters scored all of his movies the same way: with "stolen" songs, mostly R&B oldies, from his own personal record collection. But for his 1974 magnum opus, Female Trouble, he wanted to have a newly-penned theme sung performed by his top-billed star, the 300-lb. female impersonator Divine. On the film's DVD commentary track, Waters reveals that the song's backing track is taken from a pre-existing song called "Black Velvet Soul."

Well, thanks to the magic of the Internet, it is now possible to compare these two historic tracks. The original "Black Velvet Soul" was written by Bob Harvey, a founding member of Jefferson Airplane, and performed by R&B singer Cookie Thomas.

Anyway, here's Divine's version:



And here's the original:



ZOMBY, the two of us need look no more...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

ZOMBY prepares food while pantsless. Yum.




AUTHOR'S NOTE: Zomby's eyes take up more room on his head than Ziggy's eyes do. So whenever Tom Wilson draws Ziggy with a hat, I actually have to move the character's nose down a little to make room for the eyes. Please, Tom Wilson, don't draw Ziggy with a hat. It adds, like, seven seconds to the process on my end.

And now you know.



Monday, May 2, 2011

O-Zombie bin Laden: The First Interview!

Our former nemesis, now zombified.

The headlines today have been dominated by the death of notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden. In what must be considered a journalistic coup for Dead 2 Rights, I have wrangled an interview with the deceased al-Qaida leader as he begins his new "life" as one of the living impaired.

WK: So... big day, huh?

OBL: I'll say.

How do you feel?


Weird. Tired from the move, mainly.

I'll bet. Are you surprised not to find yourself in paradise with 72 dark-eyed virgins?

Honestly? No. Death clarified a lot of issues for me, like, instantaneously. It's like the picture had been all blurry and then suddenly came into focus. Namely, I realized that the living version of Osama bin Laden was a complete shitheel. I don't know what I was thinking, to tell you the truth. Wow. I was way, way off. I realize that's not much consolation, but there you are.

So I take it you won't resume your old ways as a quote-unquote "zombie"?

Me? No. I have a ton of atoning to do, so I'd better get started. I'm thinking of changing my name, disguising my appearance, and joining Greenpeace.

Classy. Do you mind discussing your recent demise?

Not at all.

Well, the paper said you died in a "firefight" in a "mansion." That sounds a lot like Al Pacino in Scarface.

Hmmm.

You sound tentative.

I don't know what that is, the thing you're referring to.

You've never seen the movie
Scarface?

I was a terrorist, kid. We didn't keep up with movies. We were too busy... you know, terrorizing.

Bummer. If only you'd had Netflix, maybe everything would have been different.

Tell me about it.

Will you be catching up on what you missed?

No. Like I said, I've got plenty to atone for, and that's how I'm going to spend my time. From here on out, it's nothing but peace, love, and charity for me.

That's... uh, refreshing I guess. Tell me, of all the media outlets in the world, why did you choose to speak to me?


Don't take this the wrong way, kid, but I wanted to keep a low profile and I've seen your readership numbers. There's literally no lower media profile than this blog.

Oh. I don't know how to respond to that, so I guess we'll wrap this up.

Do you validate parking?

Not for you. Sorry.

No. I totally understand.

ZOMBY states that which did not need to be stated.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Here's the T-Mobile girl as naked as she's gonna get! (UPDATED - AUGUST 2011!)



The statistics have spoken. Based on what Blogger is telling me, an inordinate amount of people have found this blog by searching for "Carly Foulkes nude." I have prided myself on making Dead 2 Rights a blog which gives the readers what they want, and there is nothing I would like more than to comply with this request.

Join us after the break, won't you? WARNING: Slightly NSFW!

Accidentally great on purpose: Chubby Checker's psychedelic phase

A more serious Chubby Checker on the cover of one-and-only psychedelic album.

"I wouldn't want to meet that m*therf*cker!"
-comedian DAVE CHAPPELLE on CHUBBY CHECKER

Hold on, Dave. You just might want to meet him after all.

The Sixties were a time of such social and cultural upheaval that a person could be considered the epitome of cool at one end of the decade and the very antithesis of cool at the other. Such was surely the case with singer Ernest Evans, a.k.a. Chubby Checker. At the beginning of that tumultuous decade, Chubby ruled the charts with such great dance-friendly pop R&B hits as "The Twist," "Limbo Rock," "Pony Time," and (best of all) "Let's Twist Again." Chubby's reign as the king of pop came during one of those awkward, in-between eras of rock music. The first wave of rock (Elvis, Chuck Berry, etc.) had subsided and the second wave (The Beatles, Stones, etc.) had not yet begun. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, something had to bridge the gap, and that something was twist music. For a heartfelt tribute to this era, please see John Waters' original 1988 version of Hairspray, a film which features roughly a half-dozen great Chubby Checker songs on the soundtrack (though, for legal reasons, not on the soundtrack album).

By the time the 1970s rolled around, Chubby Checker's reign on the top was definitely over. By 1973, he had already moved to the nostalgia circuit (as recorded in the massively-entertaining concert documentary Let The Good Times Roll), which is where he remains to this day. But in 1971, Chubby had not quite given up yet, so he did what any sensible person would do: he went to Holland and recorded a psychedelic rock-soul masterpiece with Jimi Hendrix's producer, Ed Chaplin. The resulting disc, known alternately as Chequered or New Revelation, apparently did not set the pop world aflame, and Chubby himself has basically disowned the thing. Perhaps he knew his future lay in giving "twist" demonstrations on morning talk shows.

But none of that stops Chequered from being awesome. Here, check out the lead track -- a slow-cooking, spaced-out jam called "Goodbye Victoria":



Quite a change from "Limbo Rock," right? You can see from the LP cover how Chubby was trying to change his image. Gone were the greasy pompadour and the fixed smile of his twistin' years. Now he was wearing his hair naturally and sneering at the camera. Maybe that's why this record didn't go over big at the time. Or maybe it was because the songs on the LP had titles like "Stoned in the Bathroom" and "Love Tunnel," which didn't fit Chubby's squeaky-clean image. Who knows? The good news is that the album is easy to find -- free! -- nowadays. Just do a Google search for "chubby checker" chequered and you'll find any number of places to download it.

Here. I've done it for you.

At long last... someone is happy to see ZOMBY!!!