Robert Kirkman

Fear The Walking Dead

I looked forward to this show for a long time after it was first announced. As a huge fan of The Walking Dead comic I naturally find the television adaptation of the series a bit disappointing. I still like the show but only when I consider it separate from the base material. The Walking Dead can get really slow at times and I explain to people all the time that they have to slow the series down with “filler” episodes in order to avoid catching up to the source of the story. The show is rapidly catching up to where the series is in current publication and I can’t see Robert Kirkman spoiling his series like George R.R. Martin has done for HBO with Game of Thrones. So if they catch up with the comics what are they to do but let this cash cow dwindle and earn only what they can get with syndication?

With this new original series I saw so much potential because it doesn’t have to slow down with filler episode. It isn’t limited to the base material like its big sister series is and there is nothing but budget to hold it back from being nonstop excitement. For example, in The Walking Dead if nothing else we can be certain that nothing will happen to either Rick or Carl, as far as their lives are concerned that is. Granted they surprised us all by killing off Andrea but she was a much different character than we see in the comics. Nevertheless this new series has the opportunity to do anything and surprise us in ways that the original couldn’t hope to do.

After watching the third episode of Fear The Walking Dead I still see plenty of potential but I am nevertheless disappointed above all else. To start, I think the show would take a big step in the right direction by immediately killing off the junkie son, the dad, and the mom. The sister is alright, the dad’s old family is cool, and obviously this new Latino character is going to be awesome but they should just ax the rest of them quickly. They are hopelessly unlikable characters that do more to annoy us as viewers than hold our interest.

Let’s start with the junkie son, played by Frank Dillane. I have a big problem with this guy because I specifically hate watching anything involving junkies. That aside, I think everything else just serves to harden that opinion. Why would anybody under the sun ever listen to a junkie during a crisis? The guy keeps saying things and almost stands as the leader among the small group occasionally. Why is this guy even allowed to talk at all? The guy is lucky he wasn’t strung out and in an alley when the shit started and eaten by a zombie. He has no business throwing his opinions around like he knows anything other than the addiction that guides his thinking. In a crisis situation, or any situation for that matter, a junkie is nothing more than a liability. What’s this guy doing when nobody is looking? Well he’s doing what junkies do, searching for his next fix. Whether he is searching desperately through a bathroom  for anything he can get his hands on or taking a screwdriver to his neighbors windows he is just not worth the trouble. This guy is a loser and I cannot stand him. When his mom protests him crushing up the Oxy pills, you know the ones she risked her life to steal for him, he looks at her and says “Whose the expert here?” That kid isn’t the expert, he’s the junkie trying to get there faster and he is not to be trusted. Maybe if they did what they should have done and fed him to the Asian zombie neighbor maybe she would have been preoccupied when her husband came home and not had to be shot in his arms with him completely unaware of what is going on. The guy can’t even make it through half an episode before begging for more in a really annoying scene that captures how pathetic this guy is. Come on AMC get rid of this loser character, or at the very least cut his lines by 75%.

The dad, played by Cliff Curtis, I just don’t really like. Can’t really put my finger on what it is specifically but he just rubs me the wrong way. He’s kind of rude at times and overextending at others. I could live with him though whereas I can’t stomach the junkie at all. The dad still has potential to evolve as a character but so far he seems hopelessly unprepared for both life and the situation at hand.

The enabling mother on the other hand, played by Kim Dickens,  I have no interest in seeing her character evolve. She just seems to always say and do the wrong thing. Whether she is stealing narcotics for her junkie son or simply suggesting a wildly out of place family board game while her neighbors across the street get murdered I just think she is ridiculous. If she so stupidly asks “what’s going on?” again I’ll be somewhere throwing my arms up in disgust.  In episode 2 when she is pleading with someone over the phone about how her some needs meds because he is in pain I wish the person on the other end of the phone would say, “mam, you’re son is a loser junky, tell him to grow some balls and kick the habit like a man.” It makes a lot more sense to just steal drugs and keep getting him high to avoid the inevitable. I really don’t like the mom or her son.

I really hate these characters but not all of them. I think the daughter wins by comparison simply by not being annoying like her family. The angry teenage son from the dad’s first marriage seems cool and I think he may have it more together than his father does. I also like his mother too, played by Elizabeth Rodriguez, because she exhibits strength and the potential to be a great character. The Latino barber, played by Ruben Blades, is obviously on his way to being a badass of the apocalypse but he has it right about his companions. They are weak and this show would be better off to weed them out sooner rather than later.

Despite my disappointments I still see enough to keep me interested and I think the show will develop into a fantastic series in time. I look forward to where it is going and I look forward to the next season of The Walking Dead that will come out next month. However, the only thing I simply can’t wait for is the next Walking Dead Wednesday when the new issue of the comic comes out. If you haven’t started reading what actually started this whole thing you are really missing out.

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Night of the Living Dead

Year: 1968
Directed By: George A. Romero
Written By: John A. Russo and George A. Romero

RYAN’S REVIEW

Here is the last of our Halloween movies that we had planned to do last month during October. We chose 6 movies to review and watched all of them but never found the time to write down our thoughts on this one. We had planned to publish this review on the day of Halloween because it is so legendary but opted with Nightmare on Elm Street instead. After watching Freddy’s debut film we changed our mind because it just seemed to fit so well with the day. I think this movie is great for Halloween but in today’s society zombies are bigger than Halloween and seemingly welcome year round.

We live in a zombie society these days in a pulp tense but almost in a literal sense as well. America is an apathetic and sedated society. When you take a step back it almost seems like we are all the walking dead just going about our routines blindly without noticing the world around us. It’s probably why they have become so popular. Take away the gore and half of the fans might as well be looking in a mirror when they sit down to watch The Walking Dead or go to the theater to see the newest zombie film.

Regardless any reason there is no denying the simple fact that zombies are popular. They make for great media and Amber and I have been sucked in for a while. (We do have a zombie apocalypse bag packed in our closet and a plan of action should the dead start rising today). We are big fans of The Walking Dead comics by Robert Kirkman, as well as the show, and we also read the Empire of the Dead comic by George A. Romero that ties into this film. None of what we see today would have been possible without this film. This film is legendary for a number of reasons but most importantly it created the zombies that have become so popular today.

With this film George A. Romero created something new. Though in the movie the dead are only referred to as ghouls; they quickly took the title of zombie afterwards. Prior to this film zombies had been in films before but weren’t the flesh eating dead we know today. Romero created a new type of monster with his ghouls and did it without using masks or costumes. These zombies weren’t the living zombie under the spell of a voodoo witch doctor but recently deceased people who rose from their graves to eat human flesh and can only be killed by destroying their brains. The rest is history. Romero himself has made six films in this series but zombies have become so popular there is no end to the media they have invaded. Later this year we will even see a classic story invaded by zombies when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies hits theaters.

I love this film because it is so groundbreaking. Not only in its creation of modern day zombies but because it was so aggressive. This movie was graphic in a way people were unaccustomed to in 1968 in more ways than one. It was violent, bloody, and it starred a black man for crying out loud. Yes this movie, if I’m not mistaken, was the first to star an African American in the lead. Granted he doesn’t survive in an end that must have blown people’s minds in 1968, but he is the star of the film. He opened the doors for many actors to walk through and that can’t be taken for granted. This movie also opened the doors for the industry in general by raising the bar of what was deemed acceptable.

Let me take this opportunity: Thank you George A. Romero! As a fan of more graphic content, when it is necessary, in media I appreciate this movie all the more for what it did for films. It was so bold and inventive. Even today when I watch this movie I am shocked by its graphic nature, but that is what impresses me. Here I am, nearly 50 years later and it still has the potential to surprise me. That’s amazing and that’s exactly what makes this movie so significant. One of my favorite movies of all time is Romero’s sequel to this one, Dawn of the DeadHowever, it would have never been possible without this, and this was pretty damn good in its own right.

This movie is the only reason that we have read Empire of the Dead by Romero. A couple of years ago Amber got me half of the available volumes of The Walking Dead comics for Christmas. I think I was dancing around the door when the Barnes & Nobles finally opened following the holiday. I had already burned through something like 8 volumes immediately, unable to stop or put them down. Once I bought every other volume up until 17 I was going mad at the possibility of waiting six months for the continuation of the story. Suddenly one day I realized if I went to an actual comic book store I could probable get a couple issues of what had come out before the next volume was available. A volume is six issues of the comic. Typically an issue comes out once a month, so you can consider each volume usually six months of compiled material. I love the series and even though it is maddening to wait for the next issue now on a monthly basis it never fails to surprise me with where it goes.

Once we started visiting the comic book store once a month we naturally got interested in more that was available. We now read several comics on a regular basis as issues are released and George A. Romero’s Empire of the Dead is one of them. I was not initially interested in reading another comic about zombies as I was already so aggressively invested in The Walking Dead. Yet when Amber brought home the debut issue one day I found myself reading it that evening. Despite my lack of enthusiasm it was the fact that it was rooted in this movie that got me to keep reading it as it came out. In the story of Empire of the Dead people have been living with the dead for a long time and have rebuilt a different sort of society set in New York City. They catch and train qualified zombies for pit games, the zombies have a low level of thought and organization, the Government is actually run by vampires so on and so forth. One of the main characters in the comic is the daughter of Barbara from this film. She believes zombies are capable of higher thought because her mother was not actually killed by the zombie brother that pulled her through the window in the film but saved by it. It’s neither here nor there but this story has kept me invested specifically because it is rooted in this film.

This movie really doesn’t need any input from me, it speaks for itself. It is an incredible movie that will never be forgotten and it is simply the beginning of an ongoing story that that is still going strong 46 years later. If you have seen this movie then it is never a bad idea to check it out again when Halloween rolls around. If you haven’t seen it then what are you waiting for? You have missed out on something that is awesome.