Zombies Impossible

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Ever since George Romero popularized flesh-eating zombies in his masterpiece Night Of The Living Dead, the creatures’ popularity have grown. Undoubtedly, zombies are the most popular monsters today, beating out the ubiquitous vampires.

The thought of a deceased loved one, reanimating into a decaying ghoul that only wants to consume you is a terrifying idea. It cuts down to our primal fears of being eaten alive by predators. Zombies have also come to symbolizes the supposed coming apocalyptic breakdown of civilization. As dreadful as all that sounds, we have to ask ourselves how likely is it that the dead will rise up and eat us?

From a scientific standpoint, there isn’t any way that will happen. Let’s think about the concept and go into the logistics.

When a person dies, all their bodily functions cease to function. No blood is being pumped, the brain doesn’t send any signals via nerves to tell the body what to do and so on. Now when zombies are reanimated in these films and other media, a point is made that the zombies are immune to bodily harm. Shoot them, stab them,more brains they keep on coming. Remember that scene in Day Of The Dead when that loony scientist was reporting that the organs in a zombie weren’t working, yet the creatures were animated and hungry. Along the way in these stories, it’s stated that something in the brain is keeping the dead body going, which is why you have to shoot or bludgeon the undead in the head. This was seen in The Walking Dead episode “TS-19” where CDC scientist Dr. Edwin Jenner reported this fact to the show’s main characters.

On the surface it makes sense. Something, a virus, radiation, chemicals, nanobots, and or something else have taken over a dead person’s brain and are sending signals to the body to move and consume flesh. Cut off or destroy the brain and the problem is solved.

The problem is that taking over the brain isn’t enough. The mind needs a system to send out messages, hence the nervous system. A zombie’s brain has to be able to send signals throughout the body, via the spinal cord. Once a message is received, the body still needs energy and the means to move. That is where muscles and blood come in. The heart is the organ that pumps blood throughout the body and the blood transports nutrients and oxygen to mobilize the muscles enabling movement. So a zombie needs a functioning circulatory and nervous system. Therefore, humans should be able to shoot zombies in the heart and elsewhere to kill them.

28 weeks laterA more realistic look at zombies are the creatures seen in films like I Am Legend and 28 Days Later. Deadly viruses are to blame for people being transformed into deadly killers, yet they never actually die, but instead mutate. And they can be killed through normal means. That would explain why the infected are able to run after their victims, unlike the lumbering undead in Night Of The Living Dead. In fact, in 28 Weeks Later (the sequel to 28 Days Later) humanity just waited for the infected humans in Great Britain to starve to death before attempting to resettle the decimated country.

But one thing that doesn’t ring true in those films is how fast the virus mutates a person. Anyone who was infected in 28 Days Later would transform in seconds. This was also seen to varying degree with the walkers in The Walking Dead, the film version of World War Z and other zombie stories. Viruses can’t work that fast. It takes time for the invading viruses to replicate, travel throughout the body and infect the brain. Depending on where a victim was bitten, that person would have a few hours before transforming into a monster.

bicycle-woman[1]Now let’s look at their diets. Why would a zombie eat? To get energy that is needed by the body. This suggests that a zombie would need a working digestive system to break down and process the meat. We go back to the zombie’s body needing circulating blood to help in the process. Yet in these stories, people point out that the zombies aren’t processing the consumed flesh. If that is so, where does the flesh go? If they’re not processed the meat would just collect in the stomach until that organ would burst. We never see any zombies with bloated bellies, do we?

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Of course, the conclusion is that zombies are something that belong strictly in the fantasy/horror realm. George Romero’s films and other works like Dark Horse Comics’ Zombie World speculate or flat out state that the dead are reanimating due to supernatural means. In other words,  magic spells, curses, demonic possessions, pick your poison. Based on how our reality works, zombies can’t exist except in the fervent imaginations of creators and fans. So anyone watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead or playing Resident Evil can relax…for now.

Lewis T. Grove

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Golden Age Comic Book Exhibit

SAMSUNGNew to the Young At Art Museum is an exhibit devoted to Golden Age comic books. Called Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950, this is a traveling exhibit from the William Bremen Museum in Atlanta. It’s located in The Knight Gallery and greeting visitors at the exhibit’s entrance is an arresting statue of Superman bursting through a wall.

As its title suggests, the exhibit features many super rare comic books from the late ’30s through the early ’50s. Several of the titles star early DC and Timely (the company that eventually became Marvel) stalwarts like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America and Sub-Mariner. What was surprising about the comic books in the glass displays was how well preserved they were. One can only imagine their value based on their near mint condition. Any self-respecting comic book fan will enjoy examining them at his or her leisure.

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Accompanying the comic books are large black and white blowups of pages showcasing the artists’ expertise, as well as information about pop-culture in that era and creators like Jack Kirby. There are also opened trade paperbacks mounted on podiums that allow fans to read the stories in them.

SAMSUNGBut this isn’t just a dry exhibit with old comic books in display cases. The exhibit also has memorabilia and superhero-related displays including a hunk of kryptonite encased in a glass case, and an old-style phone booth that must’ve been a convenient place for superheroes to change out of their civies. There is also a mini-theater that plays old Superman and Captain America serials and a drawing studio for tomorrow’s comic book artists.

Another interesting feature about the exhibit is the mockup of a newstand that has–what else?–actual comic books. SAMSUNGThese are the modern-day ones given away during Free Comic Book Day. But a nice touch were the mockup newspapers with blaring headlines about superheroes and their feats that added a sense of realism and transported visitors back to that time period. It’s not a large exhibition, but serious fans should enjoy it and can spend up to an hour there just examining the displays and comic books.

The exhibit is running at the Young At Art Museum (a children’s art museum) in Davie, Florida until January 5. There isn’t any word if an exhibit about Silver Age comic books is being planned. Maybe it’s something to be considered by curators.

*Please check out our Facebook page for more photos of this exhibit.

Article and Photos by Waldermann Rivera

Season Three Of The Walking Dead Concludes, Part II

Editor’s Note: For those of you who haven’t visited our other site Deadloggers, here’s a brief recap of the second half of the third season of The Walking Dead

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The Summit

Episode Thirteen: In the pre-credits scene of The Walking Dead’s thirteenth third season episode, “Arrow at the Doorpost”, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), and Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) pull up to a deserted farm complex. While Hershel stays in the car as a lookout, readying his weapons, the other two jump out. Moving stealthily through the weeds, they sneak around the silos and storage towers until they come to an abandoned feed store. Rick enters, pistol drawn, looking around carefully until he sees the reason for his visit. It’s a pre-arranged summit with the Governor (David Morrissey)…

Post-credits, the Governor removes his gun belt an act of goodwill, and sits at a table, discreetly verifying a concealed hidden pistol; Rick remains standing, refusing to holster his pistol. Before any discussions begin, Andrea (Laurie Holden) arrives with Martinez (José Pablo Cantillo) and a grumpy-looking Milton (Dallas Roberts), and barges in to the meeting.  Playing the role of peacemaker, she explains why she initiated the summit:

“Too many people have died for no reason. Let’s end this. Save the bullets for the real threat. We can solve this. That’s why I asked you to come here.”

drinksRick ignores Andrea and takes the offensive, explaining to the Governor that he is aware of the severed walker heads, the raids, and the incident with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in episode seven, “When the Dead Come Knocking”. The Governor deftly brushes it aside, blaming Merle (Michael Rooker), and proclaims his desire to “move forward”. The two adversaries get to the issues. Showing the Governor a map, Andrea and Rick announce a demarcation line, of which each party will not cross. The Governor laughs and tosses the map aside, announcing that he is attending the meeting for one purpose: for Rick’s surrender. Demanding that Andrea step outside – she obeys, leaving in a huff–the two continue the battle of wills. The Governor
remains calm and relaxed against the edgier Rick, and comes up with superbly manipulative answers for all Rick’s accusations.

Rick fires back with insults, accusing the Governor of being the “town drunk”, not a leader, for his lack of control over Merle. The Governor immediately takes the negotiation to a darker level, chipping away at Rick’s weak spot by raising the issue of his baby daughter. Rick is hit hard and begins to lose focus…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Thirteen.

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The Stalking Game

Episode Fourteen: The pre-credits scene of the episode, “Prey”, opens with Michonne (Danina Gurai) and Andrea on the road in a pre-Woodbury flashback. Resting for the night, they hunker down by the campfire, eating. The gurgling of Michonne’s pet walkers – chained to a nearby tree – piques Andrea’s curiosity about where the creatures came from. Asking Michonne if they attacked her, or if she knew them, Michonne replies – hissing her answer – that they deserve what they got and weren’t human to begin with. Cut to the present as the Governor labors, in a grisly inner dungeon, at testing chains. Like a man possessed, he grits his teeth, pulling and straining as he checks their might. Finally satisfied, he stops to catch his breath. It’s clear these chains are for people…

In Woodbury, a massive arms preparation is underway as Martinez loads a jeep with assault rifles, ammo, and the .50 caliber machine gun. Learning that a huge militia force is going out to confront the survivors, Milton and Andrea stare, puzzled at what they see, but Milton downplays it as “just a precaution, a show of force”. Andrea remains unconvinced.

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Meanwhile, in his dungeon, the Governor spreads out a frightening array of surgical and dental tools. Milton arrives, aghast at what the Governor calls his “workshop”, and asks how it fits into the new start that Woodbury was supposed to be for the sake of people and community. The Governor – whom Milton refers to as “Philip” – answers that it is revenge for his daughter Penny (Kylie Szymanski). Milton immediately finds Andrea, and relays the terrible news: there is no deal and the Governor plans a massacre of the prison population. Andrea knows that she must stop this but is stumped as to how. They visit the dungeon, secretly peeking through the balcony. The Governor continues arranging his torture instruments, whistling Bye Baby Bunting (the song he sang to his daughter), unaware of the two visitors. Andrea, mortified at the spectacle, knows she must assassinate him. She readies her pistol, lining up a shot…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Fourteen. Continue reading

Season Three Of The Walking Dead Concludes, Part I

Editor’s Note: For those of you who haven’t visited our other site Deadloggers, here’s a brief recap of the second half of the third season of The Walking Dead

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Brothers In Arms

Episode Nine: The pre-credits scene of episode nine of The Walking Dead, “The Suicide King”, opens in the fights arena as the bandaged Governor (David Morrisey) leaves Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) and his captured brother Daryl (Norman Reedus) to slug it out to the death. The crowd, hungry for action, spurs them on. The Governor’s thugs hover around the arena with harnessed walkers –part of the sport – as Merle pulverizes his younger brother, calling out his declarations of loyalty to Woodbury. Unbeknownst to the crowd, Merle instructs Daryl to follow his lead in escaping as the two turn on the surrounding walkers. Suddenly, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the rescue team raid the arena, throwing smoke bombs and firing shots as they enable Daryl and Merle to slip out …

governorPost-credits, Merle leads the rescue team out of Woodbury, curiously leaving an open hole in the fence. They meet up with Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and Michonne (Danai Gurira) on the outskirts. Both Michonne and Glenn are incensed that Merle has joined them and both need to be restrained due to their anger. Merle, however, seizes the opportunity to jibe Michonne, sneering a variety of politically incorrect taunts until Rick knocks him unconscious. Heading back to the prison, an argument ensues. Daryl vehemently wants his brother in the group – claiming they need the muscle against the Governor  – but is against Michonne’s presence.  Glenn – his face still red and bruised from Merle’s beating – is opposed to Merle but wants Michonne to stay. Rick, meanwhile opposes the presence of both. Daryl understands Rick’s thinking, and declares that Merle and him will leave the group and fend for themselves. Grabbing his gear, he joins his brother – now awake – and they disappear into the forest. Rick, meanwhile, snaps at Michonne, warning her that the moment she is patched up she is on her own…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Nine.

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Increasing Tensions

Episode Ten: In the pre-credits scene of the episode “Home”, former sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes takes a break from manning the prison barricades in order to scope the perimeter. Using his binoculars, he spots a few stray walkers, but then discovers an odd sight: his dead wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), her back turned, standing over hers and T-Dog’s graves in the prison yard. Dressed in white, she stands erect, radiating a spectral, ethereal beauty. Rick grabs his rifle and feverishly heads out to confront her only to find her gone, having re-appeared outside the prison gates. Drenched in sweat and consumed with longing, he finally reaches her. Lori strokes his cheek as they gaze at one another, face-to-face. Michonne, alerted to this curiosity, closes the gate behind him and watches, shocked, as she realizes Rick is deep inside a powerful hallucination…

Post-credits, Andrea (Laurie Holden) visits the Governor in his Woodbury apartment and finds him apologetic and insecure over his eroding leadership skills. Complimenting her over her impromptu speech to the citizens (in the previous episode, “Made to Suffer”), he declares his plans to abdicate and offers to make her his successor. Andrea, stunned at the revelation, is speechless…

Outside the prison, the now-independent Merle and Daryl Dixon are hiking through the forest. Unsuccessful at finding food, there is growing tension and a general lack of agreement between the brothers. Daryl wants to return to the prison, although Merle assures him that the Governor has already annihilated the survivors, leaving Daryl in somewhat of a funk…

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Continuing on, sweaty and gasping for air in the thick humidity, Merle continues taking shots at Daryl, this time over what he perceives are his poor navigational skills. Alerted by noises that shatter the morning calm, Merle laughs it off as animals getting intimate although Daryl recognizes it as a baby crying. Hurrying in the noise’s direction, they spot a horrifying sight: a desperate Hispanic family is trapped on a bridge, surrounded by a herd of walkers moving in for the kill. Daryl races in to help, while Merle remains behind, mocking his brother’s valiant tendencies and yelling after him to “stay put”…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Ten. Continue reading

Gravity Won’t Let You Go

gpWhat Alfonso Cuarón, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney pull off with the film Gravity is nearly miraculous. It’s astonishingly accurate in its depiction of being in outer space, as we experience its dangerous but beautiful aspects.

Director Alfonso Cuarón triumphantly filmed this unforgettable movie experience starting with the very first shot. It’s one of his signature minutes-long takes that begins with the majestic vista of the Earth seen from orbit as a space shuttle slowly appears, seemingly out of nowhere. The spacecraft gradually fills the screen as we are introduced to Gravity’s main characters. Darting around the shuttle are Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a rookie astronaut, who is repairing the Hubble telescope that is docked to the shuttle’s main bay. Darting around her and the ship, almost playfully, is retiring veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who still can’t get enough of the space experience. Stone, on the other hand, seems unimpressed with the magnitude of where she is and is somewhat withdrawn. Later in the film, we learn why.

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Before Gravity can turn into another one of those pleasantly relaxing IMAX films about space travel, the astronauts are abruptly warned about an approaching debris field from a destroyed satellite. Then the chilling terror begins as metal debris showers the shuttle. The astronauts are thrown about like rag dolls and the shuttle is damaged beyond use. These pulse-pounding scenes create a sense of terror since we see early on how fragile our heroes are and realize the enormity of their life-and-death situation. Despite the turmoil, Kowalski stays cool and collected, while Stone, like most of us, is in panic mode and for good reason. Somehow, she has to fight her terror and find a way to safely return to Earth.

Bullock gives one of her very best performances in this film. Through minimal dialogue and tension-filled sequences we feel an empathy for her. Stone is a rather nuanced person; GRAVITYwhen we first meet her she is passive and gives in to her feelings of helplessness. She almost seems innocent, and the moments when she is floating in a space station curled up like an infant drive this point home. But by the end of the film, she undergoes a rebirth of sorts as an intense, spiritual metamorphosis takes place. Stone develops an inner, steely resolve. She becomes a fighter, not in the screaming warrior sense, but as someone who can think clearly during a crisis, while displaying a indomitable fighting spirit.

The director uses a minimalist approach to express these themes. There aren’t any great mysteries or philosophical questions to ponder. It’s a movie about survival and finding that inner strength that most of us have to fight against the odds. In this case, Stone has to find a way to return to Earth despite overwhelming odds and her tenuous circumstances. That’s what is so inspiring about Gravity.

GRAVITYAlfonso Cuarón demonstrates why he is a filmmaker to be revered. His work drew me into the film and made me feel like I was there. There are so many little touches that sell the impression that the characters are in space. Things like the lack of sound, except what is heard inside the spacesuits, and the cramped interiors of the I.S.S. with all the floating objects. It’s so realistically rendered that a part of me wondered at times how he filmed all those scenes of weightlessness. It seems like Cuarón took a camera up to the I.S.S. and filmed segments in zero gravity. It’s needless to say that the special effects and cinematography are beyond flawless.

Are there flaws with Gravity? Of course, there are. But so does Star Wars, Avatar, 2001: A Space Odyssey and other groundbreaking movies. Without going into details, let’s just say that a careful observer can spot when dramatic licenses were taken during pivotal moments. But that’s just nitpicking, and such instances don’t approach the level of inaccuracies and plot flaws seen in other recent blockbuster films. Without sounding too hyperbolic, Gravity is a game changer. We see the majestic wonder of observing the Earth from above, but are made too aware of how precarious life is outside of the world’s protective influence. However, its core message was about the resiliency of the human spirit and the fragile but beauteous nature of life. That along with breathtaking visuals, auteur direction and bravura performances, is why Gravity won’t let you go long after seeing it.

José Soto