Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Walking Dead S2E7 "Pretty Much Dead Already" (11/27/11)

The group of survivors is having breakfast out at their tent site.  Maggie catches Glen's eye from the farmhouse porch and shakes her head; Dale catches his eye and nods.  Glen speaks to the gang: "The barn's full of walkers."  Everyone but Dale: WTF?!!?  Then they all go out to the barn and peek in through the gaps in the barn siding.  Shane is like, it's easy - we make this right or we leave this place.  Carol protests, not wanting to leave until Sophia is found.  Darryl backs Carol up, saying he's sure they're close to finding the girl.  Everyone starts shouting while Rick says wait, let me talk to Herschel about this.  Dale says he already talked to Herschel  and it won't do much good.  Everyone starts shouting again and the noise and the live peoples' proximity get the barn zombies all riled up.

Later, Shane circles the barn, looking either for a way for him to get in or for the zombies to get out.  This riles the barn zombies up some more.  Glen tries to talk to Maggie but she's mad at him for bringing his group up to speed, because now her dad is totally going to kick them out.  Darryl goes out to the horse barn to saddle up another mount to continue the Sophia-search.  Carol follows him out there and tells him to not go until he's healed more: she doesn't think they'll find her daughter and she doesn't want to lose Darryl too.  Instead of making Darryl feel good that someone cares about him, he gets pissed that she's giving up, calls her a stupid bitch and stomps off.  He's obviously using finding Sophia as a means to assuage his guilt over losing Meryl.

Dale tries to talk to Andrea about her burgeoning relationship with Shane, whom he doesn't trust.  She asks him to stop trying to protect her but she's gentle about it.  After she leaves the RV, Dale starts fussing with the big bag of guns.  He looks troubled and like he's up to something.

Rick tries to talk to Herschel, but the old veterinarian doesn't want to talk about the "really sick people" he's got in his barn.  When Rick presses the issue, Herschel tells him that his group has to be gone by the end of the week.  Rick protests that if he kicks them out, it could mean death for many of his group - Herschel was never out in the new world, he only saw what was shown on t.v.  He begs Herschel to let them stay: "We can't go back out there!"

When Rick comes out of the farmhouse, Shane pounces, saying that they either kill all the barn zombies or they get the hell out of here.  Rick finally tells him that they can't leave because Lori is pregnant.  Shane pauses, then says okay, but we should be allowed to carry our guns here on the farm.  Rick agrees with him but doesn't want to anger Herschel during their "negotiations."  Inside, Maggie is mad at her father, quoting some relevant scripture when he protests that Rick's people are not his responsibility.  They are interrupted when Jimmy runs in to tell Herschel that "it's happened again."  Herschel heads outside and asks Rick if he will help him.

OMIGOD WILL THESE PEOPLE EVER STOP TALKING?  I read an article about this show calling it "The Talking Dead" and jeezum, that's about right.  Shane goes to find Lori and basically tries to convince her that he's a better man for this world than Rick is, Rick isn't tough enough and can't make the hard decisions, Shane has saved Lori's life more than Rick has ... and he knows that she's pregnant and he thinks the baby is his.  Lori's like, no, it's not yours, it's never going to be your and even if it is yours, it isn't yours, and nothing you can do will change that.  Shane: "I don't need to."  Ooh, that was vaguely threatening. He stomps off to the RV, looking for his big bag of guns.  But Dale has taken them.

You have got to be kidding me: what Herschel needs help with is rescuing two walkers who have gotten themselves stuck in some quicksand-like mud.  He tells Rick that if he's going to stay on the farm, he's going to have to get used to treating walkers like very sick people.  Then he hands Rick a long pole with a noose on the end - like you'd use for an aggressive dog - and they haul the zombies out of the mud, leading them back towards the barn.

Darryl takes Carol out to a creek where he's found more of those Cherokee roses.  He apologizes for his behavior earlier - he just wants to find Sophia.  Shane has tracked Dale down out in a swamp and demands the guns back.  Dale tells him no, and he'll shoot him if he has too.  Shane calls his bluff and of course Dale doesn't shoot him.  He gives the guns back to Shane, saying that this shitty new world is exactly where Shane belongs.  Maggie and Glen make up and smooch.  That probably means she'll get killed off soon.  Which would be sad but seriously?  Someone needs to die because this is all b  o  r  i  n  g.  The stakes need to be raised a bit.

Most of the gang regroups on the farmhouse porch.  Shane storms up and starts handing out guns.  He's decided that it's time to clean out the barn since Rick won't do it.  Then they all see Rick, Herschel and Jimmy bringing the two muddy walkers out of the woods.  Oh hell no, screams Shane, furious.  They all run over to the dooryard of the barn, circling Herschel, Rick and the leashed walkers.  Shane starts ranting about how these aren't living people, because living people couldn't take this: he shoots a bunch of bullets into one of the walker's torsos.  Then he puts one in her skull, dropping her.  Herschel falls to his knees, shocked, horrified, powerless.

Shane runs to the barn and busts open the doors.  Rick shrieks at Herschel to take the leash of his walker so he can stop Shane but Herschel just mutters and stares.  The barn zombies pour out of the barn.  Shane, Andrea, Darryl and T-Dog line up and start shooting.  Glen looks at Maggie and she gives him a terrified, tearful nod and he joins the firing squad.  It's a slaughter.  It's long overdue, in my opinion, but it's like shooting fish in a barrel.  Our survivors are grim and scared, Herschel's people are simply overwhelmed and cringing.

Then, just when you think all the barn zombies have been killed, Zombie Sophia lurches out of the barn.  Carol screams and tries to run to her but Darryl tackles her and holds on tight.  Andrea sobs; Carl and Lori sob.  No one can shoot her, not even big-talker Shane - all they can do is watch her stagger closer.  Until Rick, the guy everyone thought couldn't make the hard decisions, steps up and puts poor little Sophia down.  Who's weak now, Shane?

Okay, the last five minutes was super-cool but it was a long time coming.  Pluswhich the emotional payoff is meh: I just don't care that much about Sophia because we didn't really get to know her and she was disappeared for too long.  They need to kill off someone we've connected with.  But not Darryl - I kinda lurve Darryl.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mini movie review: Black Swan

Is there really anything left to say about Black Swan?  I mean, everyone - EVERYONE - was talking about it last year when it came out, and Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her role as the delicate ballerina slowly quickly driven mad by her quest for perfection as the White Swan/Black Swan lead in Swan Lake.  Since I knew I wouldn't see the movie until it came out on DVD, and then I knew I wouldn't see the movie until we got a decent television, I ended up reading far too many reviews and critiques beforehand, although I suppose it's not like I really got spoiled for anything.  And as I was watching the film, I felt distracted, mostly by what I'd read about real ballerinas critiquing the film: Portman's poor arm movement, the fact that no company director would act like Vincent Cassell did.

But after the movie was over, the more I thought about it, the more I liked it.  It was beautiful, not overwhelming in terms of plot but not boring.  Portman was fantastic and so was Mila Kunis, who was dead sexy.  I did get a not-what-the-director-planned chuckle when Cassell's character asked the character played by Benjamin Millipied, the lead male dancer, if he would ever sleep with Portman's character Nina (no, was the answer) - when in real life Portman and Millipied are having/have had a baby together.  But far and away the scariest part of this movie, far more disturbing than Portman's descent into madness, real or hallucinated, was Barbara Hershey's character, Nina's mother, herself a failed ballerina who had to leave dance to raise her daughter as a single mom.  Hershey was twisted and intense, scarily abusing her poor tender waif of a daughter both physically and emotionally, all in the name of love.  Scary stuff, that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Walking Dead S2E6 "Secrets" (11/20/11)

It's morning at Herschel's farm and the routine poultry chores are being done: tossing grain out for the hens, gathering eggs, feeding the barn-zombies with crippled chickens.  You know, regular farm stuff.

Glen can't stop staring at the barn.  Maggie asks him to please keep quiet even though he tells her that he sucks at keeping secrets.  Then he goes and pleads with Lori to take better care of herself, now that she's with child and all, and for God's sake, tell Rick what's going on.  She too tells him to please keep quiet.  Andrea stops by Darryl's tent and apologizes for the umpteenth time for shooting him in the head.  He says it's okay, she was just protecting the group, but next time she shoots him she better actually kill him.  Rick and Shane muse over the maps, planning out the next Sophia-search - perhaps north, in a housing development.  Carl is acting out a little bit - taking a gun from Dale's RV and asking Shane to teach him to shoot.  Lori doesn't like it but Rick thinks it wouldn't be a terrible idea and she finally relents.  Most of the group heads off to the fields for a shooting lesson, including several of Herschel's people.  Since Otis was the only one handy with a gun, the patriarch realizes that his people need to know how to protect themselves.  After a few rounds, Andrea is proving a crack shot.

When the gang has gone, Glen can't stand it any longer and spills his guts (not literally) to Dale.  A little later, Dale approaches Herschel and tells him that he heard the moans coming from the barn when he was out taking a walk.  Herschel seems to think the zombies are still people - his wife and stepson are in that barn - and doesn't want to kill them.  He tells Dale that the barn is plenty secure and asks him to please keep this to himself - some of the other folks in Dale's group might not exercise such restraint.

Lori finds Herschel out mending fences (literally) and thanks him again for saving Carl's life.  When she says that her group can earn their keep, Herschel is like, yeah, well, I imagine now that Carl's better you'll be moving on - Fort Benning, wasn't it?  She stares at him for a moment and then stalks off to find Rick.  She's very upset at the thought of having to leave this sanctuary with its shelter and water and medical supplies - and Rick promises that he's trying to get Herschel to reconsider.

Andrea and Shane stay late for advanced shooting practice.  He yells at her, goading her, trying to get her to keep her focus while under stress.  But he goes too far ("Imagine that's the walker that killed Amy!") and she  stomps off.  He chases after her and apologizes, then asks her to come with him as back-up when he goes out Sophia-searching.  Andrea is slightly appeased and agrees to go.

Dale is cooking burgers and musing about the barn-walkers, but is not too preoccupied to notice Lori getting nauseated by the smell of the cooking meat.  She ends up pouring her heart out to him, trying to explain why she hooked up with Shane when she thought Rick was dead, and how scared she is to bring a baby into this horrible new world.  Dale doesn't judge, just lets her let it out.  I like Dale.  Lori then goes to Glen and apologizes for putting him in that uncomfortable situation.  He says it's okay, and can he bring her anything from town?  Yes, yes he can.

Maggie rides into town with him, still pissed about him telling Dale about the barn-zombies.  He tells her that she's been isolated and if she'd seen Atlanta, she wouldn't be okay with keeping the walkers in the barn.  When they get to the pharmacy, she goes into the back for Lori's medications.  The camera is tight on her face so I know it's coming, but I still jump when the zombie grabs her arm.  She screams and Glen runs to the back.  He whacks the zombie in the head with a shelf, which breaks the thing's neck but doesn't kill it, so he has to smash its skull in.  Miraculously, he gets no blood on himself at all.  Which is good because Maggie is a freaking mess, grabbing him and sobbing.

When they return to the farm, Maggie gets in Lori's face, barking that they are not her errand boys and throwing her supplies in her face: "Here are your abortion pills!"  Glen goggles at Lori then runs after Maggie.  She's still so freaked out and tells him that she likes him, he's smart and brave and a leader, but his friends just use him as walker bait and she can't take losing him like that after she's lost so many other people.

Shane and Andrea go to the housing development and start to search each house, calling out for Sophia and/or survivors.  They find nothing but carnage and corpses ... and a bunch of lively zombies.  At first Andrea is not such a crack shot with moving, moaning, drooling targets.  Then she focuses and starts dropping them one after another.  Shane has to beg her to get back into the car.  On the drive back to the farm,  Andrea is still all het up and she reaches across and grabs ahold of Shane's crotch, rubbing and squeezing gently.  He grins at her, she smirks at him and he stops the car in the middle of the road.  "Come on then," he says.

Glen goes back to talk to Lori.  He tells her that yes, it was a close call at the pharmacy but they're okay.  He asks if the morning-after pills will work and she replies that she doesn't even know if she wants them too.  He hands her another bottle of pills that he picked up for her in case her decision goes the other way: prenatal vitamins.  He also tells her that she shouldn't be trying to make this decision alone.  Later, Lori is crying in her tent.  She takes the morning-after pills, washing them down with water, then runs out into the woods and sticks her finger down her throat, horking up the pills.  Guess she just made her choice.

When Shane and Andrea get back to the farm, Dale immediately picks up on the post-sex vibes and gets protective.  He tells Shane that maybe he should leave the group: he doesn't trust him, he's not convinced of his Otis story, and he remembers that time Shane thought about shooting Rick.  Shane is pissed and tells Dale that if he thinks Shane's the kind of man who would shoot his BFF, maybe he should worry about what he might do to a guy he doesn't even like.  Dale looks a little shaken after this discussion.

When Rick stops by his and Lori's tent, he sees the empty morning-after pill packets.  He finds his wife out in one of the fields and asks her if she's got something to tell him.  "We can't leave because I'm pregnant."  Rick is wild that not only was she making the decision about the baby without him, she wouldn't even tell him she was pregnant in the first place.  "I can't live like this - is there anything else I don't know?"  Lori totally mans up and says, "Shane and I ..." but Rick cuts her off, "I know, of course I know.  You thought I was dead.  The world went to shit and you thought I was dead, right?"  Lori can only nod, tears streaking her face.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Friday, November 18, 2011

Joe vs. The Walking Dead, part 2

More Facebook conversations between Joe and me:

Joe: How the hell do you keep a barnfull of walkers under wraps for that long?

FM: Exactly!  Like none of Rick's group noticed that the barn was locked up?  (Of course, Rick's gang is a pretty stupid group of individuals - Herschel was correct in that it's a miracle they have for survived for so long.)  And I'm thinking a herd of trapped walkers makes noises - moaning, groaning, what have you - that would be heard out in the quiet country nighttime.  But why do you think he's got them locked up?  Are they family members/loved ones whom he can't bear to kill?  Or are they for some other nefarious purpose?

Joe:  It was mentioned that Herschel wanted to deal with the walkers, presumably because he had some issues with violence [Ed.: like not letting his people carry guns].  He probably isn't working on a cure - maybe it's some kind of zombie dog-fighting ring.

FM: *crosses fingers*

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Walking Dead S2E5 "Chupacabra" (11/13/11)

Dream sequence: the traffic jam, with our survivors plus many of their lost loved ones, plus oodles and oodles of other people.  Helicopters fly overhead and Lori is there with Shane - Rick died in the hospital.  Shane and Lori are worried because the Refugee Center, to which all these folks are headed, has suddenly stopped broadcasting on the radio.  They hear gunfire in the distance and are horrified to see the helicopters dropping napalm on the center.  Lori cries and clutches Shane.  Come on - this show moves slowly enough that we don't need extended dream/alternative reality sequences to bulk it up.

It was a dream since Lori wakes up at Herschel's farm.  Whatshername Sophia's mom suggests that maybe the survivors could make dinner for Herschel's family as a thank you for their hospitality.  Rick comes out with new search grids for everyone.  One of Herschel's group, some kid I don't recall seeing before, wants to help even though he doesn't know how to shoot a gun.  Darryl thinks he'll borrow one of the farm's horses in order to cover more ground.  Up on the farmhouse porch, Glen tells Maggie that they've got another eleven condoms left.  Maggie: "I don't even know if I like you."  Glen: "But you're thinking about it, right?"

Out in the woods on their search, Rick manages to get a morose Shane talking, teasing him about all the girls he done slept with in high school.  They banter and laugh a bit until Shane gets melancholy about all those folks, that time, lost forever.  They walk and talk, walk and talk.  Shane thinks they should cut their losses and give up the search for Sophia: they're putting themselves in danger, looking for a girl who's likely already dead.  "If we'd just moved on, we'd be halfway to Ft. Bend by now, Carl wouldn't have got shot.  Otis would still be alive."  Rick insists that he's not giving up.

Darryl rides Herschel's horse, shootin' squirrels with his crossbow.  He sees Sophia's doll down by the creek and goes to investigate.  I wish he wasn't out here by himself.  He calls for Sophia but gets no answer, so remounts the horse and rides on.  The dang horse shies at a snake, tossing Darryl.  The horse bolts into the woods and Darryl falls down a big cliff back into the creek, somehow managing to impale himself with one of his arrows.

He climbs out of the creek and secures the arrow by tying a strip of his shirt around his chest.  God, he's got lovely strong arms.  He hears some noises in the bushes and has to search for his crossbow, sunk in the creek.  The quiver seems to be lost.  He drags himself up the banking to the ridge, admonishing himself not to be a pussy.  Then he slips and falls back down again.

Rick and Shane return to the farm, both in a snit.  Lori asks what's wrong and Rick tells her that Shane thinks he's weak for endangering them with this search for Sophia.  She tells him that he's making the best decisions he can with the information he has - nothing weak about that.  Herschel then wants a word with him: Darryl took that horse without asking and Jimmy, that kid who joined the search, did not have Herschel's permission to do so.  Rick says they'll need to work on communicating with each other.  Herschel snaps that they should each work on controlling their own groups.

Darryl, having hit his head, is hallucinating his big brother Meryl looming over him.  Meryl says he's going to die out here and it'd serve him right, having left his own kin behind.  He accuses Darryl of being Rick's bitch - "they're laughing at you behind your back, you know that, dontcha?  They're not your kin.  If you had any nuts in that sack of yours, you'd go back there and shoot your pal Rick in the face for me."  Darryl rouses from his hallucination in time to catch a zombie trying to gnaw through his boot.  He beats its face in with a stick, then pulls the arrow out of his midsection, loading it into the crossbow just in time to shoot a second zombie lurching out of the woods at him.  Damn, I hope that first zombie didn't get a tooth into him.

After the commercials, Darryl bandages his wound as best he can.  "That sumbitch was right," he mutters before cutting into his dead squirrel and eating it raw, blood smearing over his chin.  Then he cuts the ears of the zombies and strings them around his neck.  Ick.  He struggles to climb back up the banking and Meryl reappears to taunt him some more, goading him enough to reach the top.

Herschel looks into the kitchen and is pissed that Maggie said the survivors could make dinner for everyone.  "We need to set some boundaries with these people," he tells her, "Don't get close to them - they're not going to be around forever."

From her perch atop the RV, Andrea spots someone lurching out of the woods across the field.  She shouts "Walker!" and wants to shoot it, but Rick, Shane and T-Dog sprint across the field with machetes to meet the zombie face to face.  It's Darryl - and he looks awful, bloody and staggering.  They can't tell if he's been turned until he snarls, "It's about time you pointed that damn [gun] at my head."  Relieved, they stand down ... but Andrea can't tell what's going on at that distance and she shoots.  Darryl goes down, hard.  Rick screams, "No!"

She didn't hit him straight, however, only grazed him.  Herschel comes out, pissed at the ruckus everyone is making.  Rick quickly pulls the string of ears off Darryl's neck before their host can see it.  T-Dog holds up the doll Darryl found, recognizing it as Sophia's.  Back in the farmhouse, Herschel grudgingly patches Darryl up, bitching about his lost horse and how fast they're going through antibiotics.  "It's a wonder you people have survived this long."

Once again, Shane thinks they need to stop searching: Darryl nearly died for a doll - and Rick stomps off.  Shane looks at Lori, saying that he's sorry but someone needs to make the hard decisions in the group.  She gently tells him that the easy thing to do would be to cut their losses - the really hard decision is to stay and help other people.  Outside, Andrea frets about having shot Darryl.  "Don't be too hard on yourself," says Dale, "We've all wanted to shoot Darryl at one time or another."

Dinner with the group is a strained affair, Herschel clearly disapproving.  Sophia's mom takes a plate up to the recuperating Darryl.  She gives him a kiss on the forehead, saying that he did more for Sophia today than her own daddy ever did his whole life.  Maggie and Glen pass notes to each other under the table, planning an assignation for later.  But Maggie doesn't read the rendezvous location until later and is frightened when she reads Glen's suggestion that they do it in the hayloft.  She sprints to the barn.  Glen has gotten there ahead of her and is horrified to see that Herschel has imprisoned a bunch of live zombies in the locked barn. "You weren't supposed to see this," gasps Maggie.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I've watched some stuff lately, none of which has compelled me enough to write a full post about but I thought I'd just throw something up here for the hell of it.

Bridesmaids - Since Mr. Mouse was long-suffering all through October with my horror movies, Bridesmaids was my first conciliatory attempt at a movie we both might like.  Meh.  Neither of us found it as funny as we  had been led to believe, although I think giving yellow Lab puppies as bridal shower party favors is an excellent idea.

Dinner for Schmucks - This was my second attempt and, well, strike two.  We both like Paul Rudd a lot and think Zach Galifikianwhatsisname was the best part of The Hangover (and I keep meaning to watch Between Two Ferns because he's supposed to be great in that), and Mr. Mouse is a big U.S. Office fan, plus it was nice to see some Flight of the Conchords folks getting some work.  We chuckled aloud several times but mostly I thought it was pretty dumb.  Also, Ron Livingston has all of a sudden gotten old.

Hell on Wheels - We watched the pilot last week and while it certainly isn't breaking any new ground, we liked it enough to keep it in the queue.  It sure did remind us of how much we miss Deadwood, however.

Skins - I'm up to series 4 of the U.K. version on Hulu and am still enjoying the hell out of it.  The first two seasons/series were in general stronger than 3 and 4, I think - less sensational (I wasn't really buying the whole Effie hit Katie upside the head with a rock and left her to die in the woods bit) - but I'm finally warming up to the new characters, even Cook, who makes poor doomed Chris from 1 and 2 look like a choir boy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Girl panic!

I am a longtime Duran Duran fan, from way back in the earliest of the '80s and I am super-thrilled to see the boys back in very fine form in this long-form music video for their song, "Girl Panic."  The sound recalls their glory days and the video stars supermodels, of course - with Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen playing Simon, John and Roger.  For the record, Cindy is smokin' hot here and Naomi doesn't look to have aged a day in the last couple of decades.  Watch it - enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Walking Dead S2E4 "Cherokee Rose" (11/6/11)

Everyone finally reconvenes at Herschel's farmhouse: Darryl, Dale and Carol drive up in the gang's vehicles; Carl wakes up, asking if Sophia is okay.  They do a memorial service for Otis, piling up a big cairn of rocks.  Herschel asks Shane to say a few words, seeing how he was with Otis when he died.  Shane doesn't want to because, you know, he's the one who killed Otis, but he does, lying about how Otis gave him his backpack and told him to run ahead while he (Otis) covered Shane's back.  Everyone seems to buy the story, except maybe Dale who possibly looks disbelieving but may in fact just be shocked at the tale of Otis's self sacrifice.

Afterwards, the gang wants to grid the area using Herschel's maps and do a proper search for Sophia, but Herschel tells Rick and Shane that they're not to go hiking around in the heat what with their respective being down three units of blood and having a sprained ankle.  Darryl is feeling fidgety and goes off to search on his own.  The farmhouse is running short on antibiotics and other medical supplies, so Maggie says she'll do a run to a nearby pharmacy and Rick volunteers Glen to go with her.  In the meantime, Herschel says that he's not comfortable with the gang packing heat all over his property and Rick says his group will lay aside their weapons for the duration.  Andrea is not at all happy about this, so Shane distracts her by showing her how to clean her gun.  Herschel takes Rick aside and tells him that once Carl is fit to travel, he expects Rick to take his people and leave the farm.  Rick looks gobsmacked.

Dale and T-Dog go to one of the farm's five wells to fill some water jugs and they find a swollen, waterlogged zombie splashing around down in the well.  It is a particularly loathesome specimen.  They don't want to shoot it because its blood and/or brains could contaminate the well, so they try to lure it into a noose using a canned ham on a string.  The zombie isn't interested in the canned ham - because as T-Dog points out, canned hams don't kick and scream - and Andrea mutters that they'll need to use live bait.  Everyone looks at Glen.  They tie him to a rope and lower him down so he can try to get the noose over the zombie, who perks up considerably with real food dangling overhead.  The rope slips and Glen drops, screaming.  They catch hold of the rope (they being Shane, Lori, Dale, T-Dog, Andrea and Maggie, and maybe Carol too) and pull poor Glen out before he gets bitten.  "Back to the drawing board," groans Dale but Glen tells him to speak for himself and hands him the other rope.  The lassoed zombie thrashes around on the other end.  They pull the zombie up out of the well, slowly, because it is really fat.  It gets caught at the lip of the well though and when they pull harder, they wind up ripping the damn thing right in half. TOTALLY GROSS.  Blood and guts pour out and the bottom half of the zombie ends up falling back down into the well.  Oops.  T-Dog beats the half-zombie's head in, causing Maggie to turn away in disgust since she's never seen one killed so close before - but the rest of the gang just watches dispassionately.  Dale muses that they should probably just seal up this well so no one drinks from it.

Darryl finds an old abandoned house and checks it out.  He doesn't find anyone inside, but he does find a recently eaten sardine tin and what looks like a little nest of blankets in a cupboard.  He goes outside, calling for Sophia, only pausing when he sees a wild white rose at the edge of the yard.  Meanwhile, Shane, Carol and Andrea go back to the highway to see if Sophia has picked up any of the supplies they left for her (she hasn't - is this lost little girl storyline almost done?) and then go off for some target practice.  Shane ends up talking a little too much and it looks as though Andrea is able to read between the lines and figure out that Otis's death maybe wasn't so much a self-sacrifice as just a sacrifice.

Maggie and Glen ride the farm's horses to the pharmacy.  While she heads into the back, looking for antibiotics, he goes to the feminine hygiene section and picks up a pregnancy test which Lori asked him to get for her - discreetly.  Maggie surprises him and he grabs a package of condoms to cover for why he's in that aisle.  She teases him, saying that he's pretty confident, and he stammers and stutters, totally out of his depth, until she tells him that she'll have sex with him - she's lonely too.  They take off their clothes and do it.

Back at the farm, Rick asks Herschel to reconsider asking them to leave - he doesn't know how horrible it is out there.  Herschel tells him that there are aspects of the situation that he can't and won't discuss (??) but if Rick's people agree to live by his rules, he'll consider letting them stay.

When Darryl returns, he finds Carol in the RV.  He gives her the flower - a "Cherokee rose," so named because the fable goes that it sprung up along the Trail of Tears when the Cherokee women cried for their lost children.  He says he figures no flower is blooming for his brother Meryl, but maybe this one's for Sophia.  You know, they're making Darryl into a very sympathetic character.  They better not kill him off!

That night, Lori sneaks off into a field and pees on her pregnancy test.  It comes up positive, of course, and she bows her head and cries.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mini book review: Zombies Vs. Unicorns

This book attempts to answer that age-old question - which is better, zombies or unicorns? - via short stories.  Compiled by Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie, author of How to Ditch your Fairy, among other books) and Holly Black (Team Unicorn, author of the Spiderwick Chronicle series plus more), Zombies Vs. Unicorns contains twelve short stories by different authors, six zombie stories/six unicorn tales, and leaves it up to the reader to decide.
  • "The Highest Justice" by Garth Nix - the most fairytale-ish of the lot and which actually has a zombie in it, despite being a unicorn story
  • "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Alaya Dawn Johnson - which asks if really good New Wave music is enough to sustain the love between the dead and the living
  • "Purity Test" by Naomi Novik - in which a unicorn and a not-virgin have to rescue kidnapped baby unicorns from a nasty wizard in NYC
  • "Bougainvillea" by Carrie Ryan - you think you're safe from the inevitable zombie apocalypse by living on an island, but then you have to deal with pirates as well as the lurchers
  • "A Thousand Flowers" by Margo Lanagan - an odd story where the first person narrator keeps switching without warning.  Plus bestiality.
  • "The Children of the Revolution" by Maureen Johnson - I always knew there was something off about Angelina Jolie
  • "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn" by Diana Peterfreund - unicorns in this story's universe are vicious, poisonous, man-eating creatures, although the baby ones are still adorable
  • "Inoculata" by Scott Westerfeld - and a little child shall lead them, especially if that little child does not entirely succumb to a zombie bite
  • "Princess Prettypants" by Meg Cabot - the titular unicorn does indeed glitter and sparkle and fart honeysucked-scented rainbows but you still shouldn't piss her off
  • "Cold Hands" by Cassandra Clare - just because one of you is dead doesn't mean you have to break up
  • "The Third Virgin" by Kathleen Duey - a grim tale about a very twisted unicorn
  • "Prom Night" by Libba Bray - with all the adults gone, it's up to the surviving kids to police themselves
The stories in Zombies Vs. Unicorns are uniformly decent, some better than others, none of them awful, each of them just long enough to read at breakfast before work.  I was on Team Zombie before I started reading, and I'm still on Team Zombie now that I'm done with the book, but the unicorn stories hold their own.  Plus I now have a listing of a whole bunch of new fantasy/urban fantasy authors to explore!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Some Walking Dead thoughts

My old friend Joe and I had a recent, brief email chat about The Walking Dead where Joe brought up some very good points and I told him I was going to steal his points and put them up here.  So here's me doing that, with my further thoughts included.  Joe is in green.

How many brand new RVs are sitting in lots at dealerships?  Why would you risk running around in a broke ass Winnebago?

Is penicillin that hard to find?  Really?

Guns have silencers, so why not get some or make one?  Ammo shouldn't be that hard to come by either - stop in at most hardware stores or a Cabela's.  There.  Enough to wipe out an entire zombie herd.

How long do zombies survive without food?  With no fresh humans, what are they eating besides the random deer?  They really aren't smart enough to hunt.

The fact that the survivors are so ill-prepared really doesn't make sense what with all the everything lying around for the taking everywhere.  I realize that at the outset of the zombie apocalypse people were maybe too shocked to stock up, but it's been long enough now that they should be getting their acts together.  I can believe that food is a real issue, what with spoilage and inability to grow anything fresh, but if they got themselves some decent vehicles (someone driving a tow truck would be a good idea, to help clear the wrecks from the road (I got that idea right from Stephen King's The Stand, btw)), they could carry enough clothing, equipment and weaponry to last a while.  And it seems like several survivors with automatic/semi-automatic guns could fell a whole herd - and you got 'em all, it wouldn't matter how noisy it was, and your spiffy new RV and tow truck could take you away before the next herd shows up.

I read a zombie novel this summer, My Life as a White Trash Zombie, about this girl who got zombified.  If she ate enough brains, she could maintain her human appearance and composure.  But three days without and her skin started to rot and crack off and she started to smell bad, and it just got worse from there.  If a zombie in that novel went for three weeks without brains, they basically turned into a dried-up, lurching skeleton with no higher function other than feeding.  I think the zombies in The Walking Dead should be somewhat similar with no food: they're never going to die of starvation since technically they're already dead, but they should shrivel and dry up and maybe move a little slower - but they'd still move, animated by their hunger.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Second Annual FMS Scarelicious October Movie Series - Movie #9: Piranha

So sad: this is the final movie in this year's Scarelicious October Movie Series!  I got off to a slow start, I'm afraid, and just didn't get to nearly as many horror flicks as I would have liked to (and Mr. Mouse is champing at the bit, saying it's high time I got a movie he wants to watch too and enough with this horror bullshit).  I'll get to Red State soon, but it'll definitely be in November so it doesn't count.  And yes, it is still October 31 out here in Utah whilst I post this, so even tho' Blogger's datestamp will say November 1st, Piranha was actually watched - and enjoyed - on Halloween.

So, Alexandre Aja's Piranha - what can be said about it?  Bountiful bouncy bare boobs and buckets of blood, and lots of ugly fishies with really nasty teeth, that's Piranha in a nutshell.  It's hilarious and, as I understand it, a callback to Aja's favorite creature features, winking but offering up enough true gore and scares to be a real horror flick in and of itself.  The plot is bare bones: "Lake Victoria," in Arizona, is the site of a rowdy spring break crowd.  The little town is bursting with 20,000 mostly naked college students, swimming, wake-boarding, drinking, etc.  The local sheriff's son, Jake, gets asked by the sleazy Girls Gone Wild-esque director (played with smarmy glee by Jerry O'Connell) to be their location scout for the porno-lite he's filming with two chickies.  Unbeknownst to everyone, a recent earthquake has opened a fissure underneath the lake, freeing thousands of prehistoric piranhas.  Shortly thereafter, mayhem ensues.

I can't decide what was my favorite part: the snickety-snickety noise the piranha teeth made; Jerry O'Connell's piscine penisectomy; Eli Roth's head getting smushed between a couple of boat hulls; Ving Rhames laying waste with an outboard motor; or simply the creative and exceedingly nasty ways Aja showed a person's stripped limbs post-piranha attack.  The cast was impressive too.  In addition to the previously mentioned folks, we've got Elisabeth Shue as the embattled sheriff, Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl) as Jake's crush, Christopher Lloyd as a pet shop owner, Adam Scott as a seismologist (so much fun to see Adam Scott get to be almost an action hero! at least for a little while) and, in a wonderful cameo shoutout to Jaws, Richard Dreyfuss as a hapless fisherman.  There's no great acting being done here but everyone committed to their roles and everyone looked like they were having a helluva a lot of fun.  Unless they were being systematically stripped of their flesh by those hideous fish.

Piranha was just fun.  Gruesome, gory, gratuitously nude fun - everything a B creature feature should be.  I've never seen Joe Dante's original 1978 cult classic Piranha (which is supposed to be a ripoff of Jaws), but now I don't think I need too.  Non CGI fish would be better, of course, but I'm pretty happy with what I just saw.