Tag Archives: TV Show Reviews

Warm Bodies In the Flesh

Isaac Marion’s debut novel, Warm Bodies, was a breakthrough in 2011, a beautifully written genre-bending horror romance about an undead named “R” who falls in love with a living girl, Julie, after he eats her boyfriend’s brain. He even saves her from being devoured by his friends. So sweet and considerate, right? I was intrigued by the premise and bought a copy on Kindle, expecting a fluffy, easy read. Instead, I found a complex love story from a very unconventional point of view. What impressed me immediately was Marion’s prose and the fluid skill he used to give R a voice that many, dead or undead, could sympathize with.

The move adaptation last year opened to an 80% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. After loving the book so completely I went into the theater with a bowl of popcorn and a cup of skepticism, expecting watered down emotions and overblown special effects. The trailer looked good, but don’t the trailers always look good? I was pleasantly surprised that Jonathan Levine stayed true to the novel, with help from Marion, and preserved the innocent, Edward Scissorhands-like persona of R and his journey to connect with Julie and become human again.

This past month, advertisements began running every fifteen minutes for a new BBC America miniseries, In the Flesh, from debut creator and writer Dominic Mitchell. The first episode premieres tonight, June 6th, which happens to be two days after the DVD release of Warm Bodies. Some have said that BBC is attempting to imitate Marion’s romantic tale of undead meets girl, but from the clips I’ve been able to watch, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although, without it’s predecessor, I doubt a zombie drama could have been greenlit. What the BBC has done, like Marion, is use an overdone horror trope with a fresh twist to tell a meaningful story with new perspective.

The trailers and sneak-peaks from BBC reveal a much starker zombie apocalypse than Warm Bodies, although both divert attention from the traditional monsters and create villains from apathy, prejudice and ignorance. The stories don’t focus on humanity surviving among monsters, but instead take the more complex approach of humanizing the traditional villain and exploring the darker side of the human condition. In these stories, the “rotter” can be the good guy. Although zombies in both periodically eat their neighbors, they feel conflicted about it, and doesn’t that count for something?

The undead of In the Flesh, called PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) sufferers, could be a metaphor for the mentally ill or any other group with societal stigma that are feared and alienated. Two characters, Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry) and Rick Macy (David Walmsley), are not only dealing with PDS prejudice from their community, but are exploring their connection to one another and struggling with the possibility of additional rejection from their parents and friends. They’re “partially deceased” and coming to terms with their own sexuality, a dual conflict which will make for multi-layered storytelling. Without going into each one, most of the characters of In the Flesh, both human and PDS sufferer, are equally as complex and compelling.

Although Isaac Marion has said he is not a horror writer and will not return to the genre, if the BBC series becomes even a moderate success, the market for similar zombie fiction can only grow exponentially, especially coupled with ratings boon The Walking Dead. However, I’m burnt out on the traditional zombie tale offered by Frank Darabont and company, and will be supporting In the Flesh by watching it tonight, June 6th, on BBC America at 10PM EST/9PM CST.

If you don’t have cable and can’t join, go pick up a copy of Warm Bodies, out on DVD as of June 4th.

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American Horror Story: The Drinking Game

Let’s play a drinking game! Yay!

Now here’s the plan: I’m gonna put in the first episode of American Horror Story. Every time we see a horror movie cliché, take a shot. Here’s some vodka I stole from my dad.

COMMENCE!

Foreboding house like in The Haunting. Take a shot.

Creepy twins like in The Shining. Take a shot.

Handicapped child with mystical connection to the paranormal like in The Stand. Take a shot.

Kids being assholes, like THOSE ASSHOLE KIDS ACROSS THE STREET. Take a shot.

Oh God. We haven’t even gotten to the OPENING CREDITS YET! This might be tough, guys.

Anyone else feel like playing Contra? What was the code for 99 lives again?

Oh yeah, TV show. Uh…family moves into foreboding house like in Amityville Horror. Take a shot.

Previous owners = murder/suicide, also like in Amityville Horror. Take a shot.

Crap. I’m hammered. You hammered? Cause I’m… Hey, your friend doesn’t look so good, are his eyes normally like that…

Dad in show = psychiatrist who wants to see his patients in his own home…where his teenage daughter lives? Take two shots ’cause that’s JUST STUPID.

Take another shot, cause this show is STILL ON and doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon.

Hold on. Hold on. Just keep swallowing and turn down the A/C. Not gonna puke. I’m a CHAMP. Why’s your buddy screaming over in the corner?

You hammered? ‘Cause I am HAMMERED!1

Uhhhh. Reviuwelz?>

TV SHOW! Take a shot, cause it’s a TV SHOW! On TV! Wish I was on TV—I got the looks, mom says so {} :D I AM DAPPER

Nothing cool or scary is happening, just like in The Happening. Take a shot.

Dylan McDermott’s bare ass…

…okay, guys. Here’s the part where we diverge. You stick to the vodka I gave you. I’m moving on to bleach to see if that helps. Wait, is that blood on your shirt? Oh, good. Not your blood? Good.


[ written and recorded after watching American Horror Story ]

All right, back to it. Dylan McDermott sees a hot chick, but she’s really all wrinkly and in disguise, just like in The Shining. Take a shot.

Oh, God. Bleach is different, guys. I don’t know what you’re drawing on my wall right now, but I’m telling you, this bleach? Not a party.

DO NOT DRINK BLEACH. I’m not feeling…

This cannot be. We are now watching Dylan McDermott whacking off. Bare-assed—again. Done, we are done. Take two more shots to retain your sanity and stop the video. Hey, someone has blue pixie sticks in the laundry room…gonna get me some, hold on, I’ll be back in a jiff.

OH BLEACH, YOU MAKE MY STOMACH FEEL NOT THERE. IN THE OLD TIMES OF NYARLATHOTEP, THE OLD ONES WAIT FOR WHAT ONCE WAS THEIRS AMONGST THE COSMIC DUST OF DESPAIR. WE HIDE WITHIN VESSELS TO INITIATE THE END TIMES FOR THE UNFORTUNATE CELESTIAL BYPRODUCTS OF BEINGS UNKNOWN AND FORGOTTEN IN KAATOOOLUUUUU’S NAME. DRINK BLEACH DRINK BLEACH NEVER DRINK BLEACH.

Author’s Note:

The somewhat embarrassing publication of this review stemmed from the unfortunate situation of having nothing else written, on account of a last minute and unexpected hospital stay in which my stomach was pumped, revealing a lethal combination of vodka, bleach, and five teaspoons of powdered laundry detergent. Upon returning to the mansion where I live (NOT my mom’s basement, as rumors would have you believe), I found (in addition to three eviscerated bodies and a green-glowing portal with a woman’s unending, desperate sobs emanating from the other side) this review of American Horror Story. I can only assume it was I myself who wrote it, in the midst of whatever horror had occurred around me.

That being said, I think it safest for all of us if we forget this terrible, cliché-ridden show ever existed and never, NEVER attempt to finish a complete episode, lest we risk our very souls.

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