It is super rare for critics to agree on anything. It is absolutely unheard of for every critic I’ve seen thus far to gush over a foreign-made zombie/comedy flick with a ton of found-footage style camerawork tacked onto the beginning.
What is this miracle film bringing the masses together despite the chaos in the world?
One Cut of the Dead is a 2017 Japanese zombedy from writer/director/editor Shinichiro Ueda. Somehow the film lurked under everyone’s noses until it started the film festival circuit. Since then, it’s everywhere. Folks who generally snub the genre can’t stop praising the fun they had during their screening. Honestly, it feels somewhat like a dream the last few months as more and more information drops about OCotD. This can’t be real. The masses do not just rave about a low budget zombie film on this level. There has to be a catch, right? Not one that I can find. Currently the film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb users give it 8/10 stars, and the Google users rating is 91%. It’s not just critics hyping the piece anymore. Everyone’s onboard to ride the fun train to zombie slaughter town.
The key here is that the movie hooks viewers from the beginning. Opening with a single-take scene, it drops right into the middle of a harried director’s attempt to make a low budget zombie film. There’s problems everywhere, including a leading lady who can’t manage a single decent take of one particular scene. Bad acting quickly drops to their least important problem as real zombies invade the set and they’re forced to fight them off. Yes, this sounds impossible to produce as an uncut scene, yet there it is. If the footage from the trailer is any indication, the camerawork and editing during this opening sequence is some of the best from the genre in years.
Possible spoilers below!
What keeps viewers engaged is when Udea flips the plot on its head, taking the timeline back to show how the film crew got to that impressive zombie sequence. It’s a solid look at how filmmaking can be a comedy of errors at every turn, yet still provide a way for a person to reach above their station in the world to create something life-altering. Some critics call the non-zombie sections charming and heartwarming, again proving that this film is breaking all the rules of the genre.
Unfortunately, there’s no US distributor yet, so the only way to catch One Cut of the Dead is via a film festival. I highly doubt it’ll go long without landing on a streaming platform, though. We’ll totally be back with that news when it drops.
Wan to Produce Train to Busan Remake by R.C. Murphy
One would think the rumors of a sequel would be all we heard about the Korean zombie film Train to Busan for quite some time. It’s a great film, but US genre fans didn’t flock to it like overseas fans and that almost always kills a franchise’s momentum. The film grossed $85 million overseas, yet just $2 million in the US. Turns out the American market might not be as powerful as it once was, though, and this franchise is just beginning to sprint toward becoming the next big thing for horror fans to gush about.
On September 25th, Deadline dropped the news that James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring) has been shopping around the rights for an American version of Train to Busan. Gary Dauberman (It, The Nun) is Wan’s partner in crime this time around, riding high on the success of his last few scripts. French studio Gaumont, who announced they had obtained the English remake rights a couple years back, will partner with Wan’s Atomic Monster Productions for this project.
Currently several major studios are in a bidding war for the rights package. New Line seems to be the most aggressive suitor for the property, but Paramount, Lionsgate, and Screen Gems are still vying for the chance to bring the remake to life. Universal was in the room where it happens, but backed out early. Likely because New Line’s history with Dauberman gives them better leverage for negotiations.
There’s no director tapped for the production just yet, but with the talent already onboard, it makes sense for one of them to handle it. We’ll bring you that news when it’s available.
About the original Train to Busan:
Parenting is rough. Parenting during an unknown viral outbreak is impossible. Seok-woo just wants his daughter to have a good birthday, despite their strained relationship. To cheer her up, they head to Busan to visit her mother. Before they leave the station, a sick woman boards the train. Her death and rebirth as a flesh-eating ghoul is only the tip of the iceberg—the entire Korean peninsula is in the grips of the undead. Seok-woo does his best to keep Su-an alive as the train blindly hurdles down the track to an unknown future in Busan. It isn’t easy when the dead inside the train quickly outnumber the living and the few living left refuse to trust each other.
Walking Dead Stars to Visit PaleyFest NY by R. C. Murphy
With the TWD premiere fast approaching, the cast and production team is in full promotional mode. The icing on the cake before this year’s season 9 premiere on Sunday, October 7th on AMC has to be TWD’s place amongst the handful of shows chosen to feature in this year’s two week celebration of the television format at PaleyFest NY.
On October 6th at 3 PM, The Walking Dead will hit the festival stage with stars Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and showrunner Angela Kang. Other guests may still be added to the lineup for the panel portion of the festivities. The panel will be moderated by EW‘s Dalton Ross. Fans in attendance will also be treated to an early premiere of the first episode from season 9.
As of this moment, the main theater for this TWD event is sold out. Don’t despair if you’re still planning to attend. PaleyFest does offer a significantly cheaper ticket to watch panels in an overflow theater with a video feed of the event.
This year’s PaleyFest NY lineup includes: Outlander, Drunk History, David Tennant, Documentary Now!, Sunday Morning, Murphy Brown, Shark Tank, The Good Fight, The Conners, and Top Chef. There is also a four-hour workshop on October 13th for festival attendees who wish to learn more and want to eventually work in television.
Named for William S. Paley, founder of CBS and The Paley Center for Media, PaleyFest is a must-see pop cultural event produced by the Paley Center that brings fans together with the stars and creators of their favorite shows for panel discussions with audience Q&A. PaleyFest takes place both in LA & NY. The next PaleyFest LA takes place spring 2019.
PaleyFest NY 2018 runs from October 5th through the 18th.
Ash vs Evil Dead Gets a Complete Series Blu-ray Set by R.C. Murphy
Seems like our Ghost Beater friends aren’t willing to drop into cancelled TV oblivion just yet. On the heels of the huge news that there’s a unspecified type of game in the works featuring the characters from Ash vs Evil Dead, Starz/Anchor Bay announced that they’ve created a Blu-ray set for the complete series. Guess we know what some of you will be doing for Halloween this year. Make sure to take a few stretch breaks and stay properly hydrated during your marathon, okay?
The set is scheduled to drop this October 16th. If you’re impatient, it is available for preorder from several retailers including Amazon and Best Buy. For just under $50, you can bring Ash, Kelly, Pablo, and Ruby home to make sure their blood-spattered legacy lives on.
Each season in the Blu-ray set comes with its own features including audio commentaries, trailers, and quite a few behind-the-scenes featurettes. Here’s a full list:
Season 1 Special Features:
“Inside the World of Ash” Featurette
“How to Kill a Deadite” Featurette
“Best of Ash” Featurette
Season 2 Special Features:
“Season 2 First Look” Featurette
“Inside the World of Ash vs Evil Dead” Featurette
“Up Your Ash” Featurette
“Women Who Kick Ash” Featurette
“Puppets Are Cute” Featurette
“Dawn of the Spawn” Featurette
“Bringing Henrietta Back” Featurette
“The Delta” Featurette
“How to Kill a Deadite” Featurette
“Fatality Mash-Up” Featurette
Season 3 Special Features:
“Season Overview” Featurette
“Inside the World of Ash vs Evil Dead” Featurette
About Ash vs Evil Dead:
30 years after a horrific accident leading to the supernatural deaths of his friends, girlfriend, and sister, Ash Williams hasn’t learned much from his stint saving the world from deadites. Thinking he’s hung up his boom stick for good, Ash one day finds himself scrambling to escape not only his monotonous life as a retail clerk, but also the evil that’s come back to finish what it started all those years before. This time around, Ash can’t do it alone. Coworkers Pablo and Kelly bond with Ash during the bloodiest, worst moments in their lives and vow to help. The trio venture forth, Necronomicon in hand, determined to stop the deadites and the great evil leading them.
Thanks to the stinger at the end of TWD’s season eight, fans knew going into season nine that there would be quite a bit of drama around how, exactly, this newfound peace will be lead and nurtured to last into future generations. In order to make it work, they brought Maggie to the forefront to take over as leader for Hillside. It’s the perfect arrangement, putting the farmer’s daughter in charge of the farming community, and Maggie has the backbone to see that her people not only pull their own weight, but are showed the respect they deserve. “But we’ll see that Maggie is just, you know, she’s not gonna just fall in line with everything Rick’s doing because she has to take care of her own people now. She’s got her own agendas and she’s gonna follow them,” showrunner Angela Kang explained during The Walking Dead Season Nine Preview Special.
Too bad Rick disregarded that respect when he alone made the decision to keep Negan imprisoned in Alexandria.
As seen in a recent teaser, Negan doesn’t plan to sit quietly in a corner to rot under Rick’s watchful eyes. His monologue is manifestation of the fear eating at Maggie since the second Rick gave Negan the role as prisoner of war. The guy will never lay down and stop plotting to save himself. Matter of fact, Rick, Maggie, and their folks built the exact thing Negan strived for—a cooperating network of communities with a constantly flowing supply chain. The main difference is, there’s no preferential treatment in this new society. No room to grow into a management position and lord over everyone. For Negan, that’s a flaw he’ll gladly fix once he finds a way out of Rick’s little prison.
It won’t be an easy fight if Negan does get out. Probably. Maybe. In a clip from one trailer, there’s a call for help from the Saviors, with a reply echoing the group’s standard response when asked who they were. So obviously someone out there is still feeling loyal. But are they enough to upset the applecart this far down the road thanks to the time jump? Hilltop looks pretty secure in the few glances we’ve gotten from the various trailers/teasers. If Alexandria got the same sort of treatment, it might be enough to hold Negan in and his still loyal followers out. But none of that matters if Negan works his magic from the inside, playing with people’s heads. Not to mention, Negan has the added bonus of looking for gaps in everyone’s armor while they deal with the Whisperers.
A little quick casting news, since we’re here discussing Hilltop anyway. The production team announced the addition of two new characters straight from the comics (with a few changes to fit the story). Joining the bustling community for season nine is Brett Butler as Tammy Rose, and John Finn has been cast as Earl, Hilltop’s blacksmith.
Well, Syfy did it again. They withheld information about the starting date for Z Nation until a month before the premiere. Which is a tad annoying, given how supportive the fanbase has been since day one. You’d think they would be eager to share the good news with us, like in the past when the schedule was usually sorted around July. However, over the last few years, there’s been less and less press for the show from any official sources which aren’t the producers’ Twitter pages or behind-the-scenes selfies from the cast. Matter of fact, so few outlets have snagged this news, the only way to verify beyond social media that Z Nation does indeed return on October 5th was to find the little note on the show’s website banner.
The same frustration about the late announcement for the premiere date stretches over to the fact that there’s still no full trailer online, despite there being one floating around in the ether that was shown at SDCC in July. The best we have since then is a teaser attached to the announcement for the season five premiere. It is only available on Twitter from an official source, so that’s the link you get. At least it’s something to get us ready for next month, right?
In the teaser we’re given a glimpse at the latest generation of zombie, Talkers. There’s also a good look at a couple new characters. For most of the teaser, Katy O’Brian, as George St. Clair, gives Operation Bitemark the lowdown on the Talkers. In other clips, a man in a black hat and Warren face off with a zombie, and Murphy and 10k have their first encounter with a Talker. Bet Murphy’s surprised he’s not the only supernatural creature capable of holding a conversation anymore.
We’ll be back with news about Roberta and the gang soon. A. Zombie will bring you reviews for Z Nation after season five begins on October 5th at 9 PM.
On the back of what some critics call a misstep with his latest Cloverfield film, J.J. Abrams took a leap in a vastly different direction for his newest project, Overlord. Joining Abrams at the helm is director Julius Avery (Son of a Gun). The rated-R horror film is not connected to the Cloverfield franchise, according to Abrams in an interview from April. He went on to add that this new film is “bat shit crazy.” Which, honestly, I’ve got to agree after watching the trailer.
Overlord takes place during the brutally violent Battle of Normandy. American paratroopers drop behind enemy lines and make their move on a Nazi-occupied village. As they infiltrate the military operation, the paratroopers realize there’s something far more dangerous than Nazis waiting for them. “A thousand-year army needs thousand-year soldiers,” they’re told. Does their training cover fighting zombies?
One of the most striking things about the trailer, aside from that insane air battle, is the violence of the zombie transformation and movements. We’re seeing yet another variation of this creature, and it’s quite startling. The danger in the way they’re using computer graphics to enhance the actor’s performance and makeup is going too far, making the creature almost cartoony. It’s a fine line to walk. Many films who’ve gone this route have been dragged about the heavy-handed CG. No one is fooled by digital blood. Ever. Going off of what we’ve seen in the trailer and still photos, this team may have actually found a way to pull it off, though.
The only way to know for sure is to watch the film when it’s released. Overlord will have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest, which runs September 20-27th in Austin, Texas. Julius Avery will be in attendance, along with the film’s stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbaek, John Magaro, and Mathilde Ollivier. Overlord will then hit theaters nationwide on November 9th.
A couple years ago director Yeon Sang-ho made a name for himself within the horror genre with his unexpected hit Train to Busan (2016). It’s a well-earned spot. Busan had the potential to be just another locked “house” style zombie film. Instead it took the genre and gave it a fantastic, brutal twist. This is the kind of film you watch alone first to get the shouting out of your system, then show it to friends while watching their reaction. Despite how odd it feels to call a movie with so much blood refreshing, Busan is so different from the zombie media released in the last few years, it really does put a little pep in my step just knowing there’s still new ways to tell the age-old apocalypse story.
In the beginning of August, several reports appeared stating that Sang-ho has begun early pre-production for a sequel to his zombie masterpiece. When I say early, I mean really early. Contracts are still being drafted. There is a script, and the vague filming date of sometime early in 2019. Oh, and a name: Bando (Peninsula).
Sang-ho has clarified a few things about the upcoming film. Keep in mind, this is a second-hand translation, so some details may be off. “It is an extension of Train to Busan, after the virus has spread throughout Korea, but the characters are not the same. It shares the same world view and is a zombie action film that deals with the aftermath on the peninsula of what happened in Train To Busan.”
Fans of the original knew that the old cast probably wouldn’t make a return, but hope springs eternal for some reporters, it seems. Hopefully whoever they do bring onboard to star in Bando has a similar magnetic energy as Busan‘s Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok, and Jung Yu-mi.
We’ll keep you updated if this movie does indeed begin production next year. Want to watch Train to Busan? It is currently available to stream via Netflix.
A Sons of Anarchy Star is the Newest Addition to TWD by R. C. Murphy
Casting news from the Walking Dead camp comes at a whirlwind pace nowadays. Over the last month or so, we’ve learned that season nine will introduce yet another survivor group, the Whisperers. This crew is straight from the comics, with their reign as Grimes’ adversary coming after All Out War wrapped, just as it is planned on the show currently. What makes the Whisperers different from other foes Rick’s group has faced is their heavy-handed use of undead skins to blend in with the creatures. The show has already announced actors for the Whisperers’ leader Alpha and her daughter Lydia—Samantha Morton and Cassady McClinty.
At the end of August, they announced that another Whisperer has come onboard. Beta, Alpha’s second-in-command, will be brought to life by Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anarchy, Bates Motel). It’s not hard at all to imagine Hurst filling that all-too memorable walker skin mask. Matter of fact, just a day after the announcement, Hurst found himself in the makeup chair with his head covered in goop so the makeup magicians for the show can create said mask.
Fellow cast members wasted no time welcoming Hurst to the fold via social media. Some joked around a bit, possibly alluding to a gruesome plot line from the comics which may or may not happen; it depends on how much tweaking they have to do in order to not only make up for Carl’s absence, but also writing off two community leaders this season. However the Whisperers story line plays out, it’s bound to be incredible based on the casting news alone. There’s no way they’d squander this much talent.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on October 7th. Catch up on previous seasons via your favorite streaming service, or keep an eye out for one of the many mini-marathons AMC hosts at random.
Horror fans took a rather hefty blow earlier in 2018 when Starz announced that it would not pick up Ash vs Evil Dead for a fourth season. Which, quite frankly, sucks. The show finally found its stride. The addition of Brandy grounded Ash in a way no other plot device managed to ever before. For the first time, Ash found wider appeal within the fandom because he had some depth behind the knee-jerk decisions he made in the name of saving humanity. Not only that, but the new characters introduced within the series are just as interesting and engaging as the main character. There’s been a deadite-sized hole in our hearts the last few months and it hurts.
But maybe we don’t have to live without Ash and the gang for much longer.
In August, the show’s star Bruce Campbell sat down with Bloody Disgusting for an interview. During their talk, Campbell disclosed that he’s still got one more contracted project requiring him to step back into Ash’s brain for a while. It’s not a new show or film, though. Given the Evil Dead franchise’s past, it should be no surprise that there’s another video game in the works. Thankfully, games seem to be the sole exemption to Campbell’s retirement from portraying Ash. “Oh no, no. That’s different,” Campbell said when asked about his retirement affecting the game. “I have previous obligations I have to fulfill. They are doing a video game. A whole immersive kind of dealio. I’ll be Ash for that, because I wouldn’t want someone else’s voice hamming it up.”
There’s no other details for the game itself just yet, only that it’s been contracted and seems to be playing off the TV series, not the films. Confirmation for a show-oriented games comes from a Dread Central interview with Ray Santiago, who played Pablo on AvED. While discussing what future Santiago sees for Pablo, the interview hit on the video game and whether or not the other stars would be involved. “I would say that we stick together in everything that we do. We’re the Ghost Beaters, so I would say yeah! We’re all going to be part of this,” Santiago said. He was mum on further information, falling back on the Hot or Cold game to answer the interviewer’s follow-up question about the AvED game being VR. The answer was really, really warm, folks.
In case anyone worries that the game will get off-track, Santiago went on to add, “Whatever it is, just know that the three of us, or basically everybody on the show, has to approve whatever sort of character they come up with, so it’s gonna be legit!”