Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: The Complete History of 'The Return of the Living Dead'

Christian Sellers & Gary Smart, 2010, Plexus Publishing

Welcome to the franchise that won't stay dead...

For fans of that other famous zombie movie series - the one that gave zombies their own catch-cry ('Braiiiiiiiins!') - The Complete History holds a wealth of fascinating information on the conception, creation and release of all five Return movies to date. The behind-the-scenes story is presented chiefly through interviews with the cast and crew, with each individual step of production reflected upon in turn; a brilliant way in which to format such a book, as it not only gives the reader a real sense of the dynamics involved in making these movies, but also provides an engrossing (and often painfully honest) insight into the emotional investment of those involved.

Whether you love or hate the Return of the Living Dead movies (and I'm personally not a big fan), The Complete History is certainly one of the best behind-the-scenes tie-ins - for any movie - I've ever read. Definitely worth adding to the collection.

Review: Xombies: Apocalypso

Walter Greatshell, 2011, Ace Books

The Agent X plague infected women first, turning them into mindless killers intent on spreading their disease. Now, Lulu Pangloss and the Xombified crew of the USS No-Name are wandering the seas on a 'mission of mercy' - converting every mortal human they can find into an immortal Xombie...the better to survive the coming Apocalypse. But now a group of women immune to Agent X is being gathered, and - if they can be kept safe - the secret of their immunity may provide a cure. If Lulu doesn't find them first, that is...

Xombies: Apocalypso is the third in the acclaimed Xombies trilogy (beginning with Apocalypse Blues and Apocalypticon), and certainly rounds off the series with one hell of a bang. Frankly, there's no easy way to describe this tale: if Apocalypse Blues leaned mainly towards horror, and Apocalypticon towards post-Apocalyptic science-fiction, then Apocalypso is a macabre, gonzo blend of both, with a plot that hits the ground running from the very first page and doesn't slow down for a second. With rich lashings of deliciously bizarre humour, and obvious nods to such classics as John Carpenter's The Thing, 28 Days Later, and Greg Bear's Blood Music, Apocalypso is a novel to delight the discerning zomfan. And if you thought that Romero's Bub and Big Daddy represented the pinnacle of 'zombie evolution', well, you ain't seen nothing yet!

The entire Xombies trilogy is one that no true zomfan should overlook, being a collective classic of the genre. If you've not yet discovered Walter Greatshell, be sure to pick up this series right away. Or we'll send the Shamblers 'round...