Wednesday, April 05, 2006

April 5 2006

Blogging without photos or artwork for once. It's been a long time since I just sat in front of the computer and just wrote about what's in my mind that had nothing to do with comics. I've been waking up later and later nowadays, as I go to sleep later and later at night. I used to be able to say I normally wake up at 6 in the morning and people would be surprised. To be honest, I sometimes wake up even earlier. And that was just normal with me. Now it seems i can't wake up earlier than 8 in the morning. That's probably because I go to bed at around 3 am nowadays. I seem to be getting more and more comfortable working at night. ( I knew it, I knew I won't be able to help but talk about work.)

I'm working on this zombie drawing for a Night of the Living Dead book. I had watched the original 1968 movie, as well as the 1990 remake, so I can immerse myself in the mood and feel of what I need to draw. I ended up hopelessly addicted to zombie movies and I watched numerous living dead films, good and bad, in quick succession. I have watched, more or less in order:

Night of the Living Dead (1968) - Directed by George Romero. Very interesting drama about a group of various people trapped inside a house. Not really scary, at least for me. I used to be very scared of zombies as a kid, but now, I've yet to see a zombie film that can be as scary as The Exorcist. I find them funny mostly. But this movie-that-started-it-all is hardly funny. Very interesting for a serious drama, with a rather frustrating and unsatisfying ending.

Night of the Living Dead (1990) - Edgier remake of the original. And as indicative of the times, this movie has stronger women characters. More gruesome zombies, and a much less frustrating ending.

Dawn of the Dead (1978) - Direct sequel to the original, it postulates an interesting idea of zombies beginning to overrun the world. This time, a group of different characters hole up in a mall and try to survive.

Dawn of the Dead (2004) - Remake of the 1978 version. Lots more effects and explosions, and it seems that a lot more people survived this one. A hopeful ending, but as the credits roll, you realize it wasn't such a happy ending at all.

By this time, I started to realize all these zombie movies end badly for most of the characters involved, except the zombies. Very depressing.

Day of the Dead (1985) - Direct sequel to Dawn of the Dead, and it follows a group of soldiers and scientists trying to find a solution to the zombie problem while holed up underground. Same as previous movies, it has a lot of drama between characters, but it seems some of these characters are rather extreme. This movie memorable for "Bud", a zombie in a starring role that manages to get some sympathy from the viewers. ( I hear a remake is in the works.)

Land of the Dead (2005) - Fourth in George Romero's series of zombie movies. Featuring John Lequizamo (cool!) and Asia Argento (hot!). A whole city holes up against a world seemingly overrun by zombies. And zombies are getting more intelligent. And as usual, zombies get the upper hand at the end.

Return of the Living Dead (1985) - A solid favorite of mine half an hour into the movie. HILARIOUS. Very good actors playing hysterical roles. It's has a rather frustrating ending though, almost as frustrating as the original Night of the Living Dead.

Return of the Living Dead 2 (1988) - 2 of the actors in the previous movie return as different characters and try to work the magic they worked in the first movie. Didn't work. I didn't even finish it.

Shaun of the Dead (2005) - Hilarious Brit movie paying homage to George Romero's zombie movies. I'm an instant Simon Pegg fan. The "Don't Stop Me Now" sequence is classic. My only gripe is that it seems the story became a little "too"heavy and dramatic towards the end that seems out of place to the tone established for the first half of the movie. But at least, here's a zombie movie with a happy, hopeful ending.

Cemetery Man (Dellamorte Dellamore) (1994) - Featuring Rupert Everett kissing a lot of girls. And at least one zombie girl. A very VERY strange movie. I couldn't figure out if the writing is bad or if it's just too deep for me to get. But I've got to say that if a movie is bad (like Return of the Living Dead 2), I would not have finished it at at all. But this one had me engrossed right up to the end, wondering even up the last minute where in hell is this movie going. So it has to be good.

I've got a couple of movies still lined up: Stink of Flesh (2005) and Zombie Honeymoon (2004). I guess I better check out Resident Evil and 28 Days Later now. Any other zombie movies anybody would recommend?

I already saw Reanimators 1-3. The first one is a classic! I liked the 2nd one, and I sort of didn't like the third one. Still, Jeffrey Combs is terrific in all of these.

Sulu is Pinoy!

Over at the end of the spectrum, I found some interesting Star Trek bit in a book entitled "The Making of Star Trek" written by Gene Roddenbery and Stephen E. Whitfield back in 1968. Gene Roddenbery actually describes the George Takei character, Hikaru Sulu, as being part Filipino!

I quote:

"Although of mixed Oriental and Filipino background, Sulu's cultural heritage is mainly Japanese, and he finds himself drawn to the samurai concept as a philosophy."

And I suddenly realized.... is "SULU" even a Japanese name? Googling SULU, the highest result (omitting anything Star Trek related) yields the name of an Island Province here in the Philippines, located in Mindanao, the capital of which is Jolo. I've been to Jolo back in 1989 and although I saw the name "Sulu" lots of times before, during and after my trip, I never made the connection to Star Trek until now.

And just for reference, the province of Sulu is pronounced "sooloo", with the accent on the second syllable.