Monday, November 22, 2010
I'm slowly cranking Too Many Zombies back up.
What I'm going to be doing for a while is indulging some little zombie whims. First up, zombies inspired by Tinchy Stryder's Game Over video. From there, well, I have a few ideas! But, if you have any requests, by all means let me know.
That first series, I really did for myself. And some enjoyed them, which is fantastic. From here, I'd love more people to see these. So if you could let zombie fans know that Too Many Zombies is back up and running with some brand new members of the zombie horder and an archive of over 300 zombies already here, I'd really appreciate it. Spread the word!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Fixed now though.
I'm at #360 now but I won't be finishing in five days. The last individual to be featured will likely be #375 as I have a few more to get out of my system. Hope you enjoy the last fifteen days!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Of course. You probably had figured that out. Like it was a rhetorical question or something.
Never Sleep Again is a four-hour documentary on the Nightmare On Elm Street series. Yes, four hours. When was the last time you saw a four-hour documentary on a romantic comedy series? See, there is a lot to say about horror movies and a lot of people with a serious amount of passion for them, not least those making them.
In that four hours, the documentary covers eight films - from the original through Freddy's Dead, then New Nightmare and, finally, Freddy vs Jason. Almost everyone involved in those movies is interviewed, with some big name exceptions like Johnny Depp, Patricia Arquette and Lawrence (or Larry as he was called then) Fishburne. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think Fishburne even got a mention and yet they were all talking about how great Arquette was... I wonder why..?
While four hours may seem ridiculous, when split between that many movies, I couldn't help finding myself wishing for more. For example, the make-up change that came with Elm Street 5 is mentioned in a throwaway comment but I would love to have heard more about that. And I'm sure there was much, much more to say about the original film. Some things seemed missed entirely, like Fishburne...
Nevertheless, it was great to see all the movies get covered. Aside from pre-release articles in the likes of Fangoria, there was never a huge amount said about some of those later films. Certainly very few insights from the people involved. And there was loads to talk about. It was especially fun hearing everyones take on Elm Street 2, the gayest horror film ever made (I'm sure it's not - I think there is a gay horror sub-genre out there but, in terms of mainstream horror, Freddy's Revenge takes the very gay cake).
Loads of insights and stories from those movies and what's great about the documentary is that I really felt I got to know some of those people. Englund himself, of course, but others too, like Renny Harlin for example or Wes Craven himself. It was especially interesting getting Craven's view on individual sequels.
And as if four hours wasn't enough, a second DVD includes loads more interviews from the same people covering even more topics. Including their thoughts on the recent remake.
If there is one area I felt it fell down a little it's in plain honesty. So they can all laugh about Freddy's Revenge and Wes Craven doesn't hold back (nor does some guy with a beard - not sure who he was), but when I hear cast and crew talking about how cool the 3D in Freddy's Dead was (it wasn't) or how great the cameos were (they weren't), I begin to question their honesty. Freddy's Dead was one of the worst films ever made as a result of some of those things people are telling me were cool. And the director, Rachel Talalay, was so involved in production of the other films (let's be honest, not all of them great), that it seems people were reluctant to come straight out and explain why that movie was as shit as it was.
And, when it comes to any movie, documentary or not, we're looking for drama. I certainly wanted the dirt dished on the shit films. Who thought what was a great idea and who knew they were working on something ridiculously shit? That honesty would have added so much more to the documentary.
As it is, it's a love letter to the Elm Street series for better or worse. Mostly for better. Certainly loads here for any Elm Street fan and a worthy tribute to a (sometimes) great series.
Monday, May 10, 2010
"It is a cute little site. If you are in the need of an undead pick-me-up, give it a lookover"
One of the best horror blogs out there, Freddy In Space, featured Too Many Zombies as part of their 31 Days 31 Links series. The brothers behind the excellent Dead Meat novel project submitted it and said -
"Using the styles he knows, he brings us some great fucking artwork. His use of color and blending is fantastic and fits the style perfectly."
Thanks Chris and Patrick! That reminds me, I wanted to do an illustration for Deat Meat - I'll get to that.
Just iPhone Art also featured one of my zombies. They said -
"Who knew they could be so lovably cute?!"
Lastly, my favourite of the bunch. Rue Morgue magazine is, as any horror fan would know, the absolute best horror magazine out there. To get featured as part of their Roadkill section in issue 96 is a really big deal for me. Thanks Rue Morgue!
Monday, April 12, 2010
And, mostly, the getting the backgrounds done is simply a case of doing them rather than specific methods. But here are the basics.
Just the basics.
Monday, April 5, 2010
As crappy as that.
2) The line.
Then, I make a layer above that and draw the outline. I tend to do the main lines with a very thick brush because I like how they look when shown quite small. They could go much smaller, like making an avatar out of them or something, and still be pretty clear.
The brush I use for the outline is this one:
I usually use a very dark brown. Not as harsh as black but does the same job. At the beginning, I varied the line colour a lot but it led to a real inconsistency in the look.
So I draw the line -
3) The basic colour.
At this point, I delete that rough sketch and put a new transparent layer under my line layer for my colour. Using just a basic round brush, I get the main flat colours.
From there, everything else is just about getting the detail and texture.
4) The detail.
I move on to a different brush at this point. The speckled round brush. I find that gives me the best texture, almost dirty, like fingerprints.
With this brush (not as transparent as in that pic above) I use the colour select tool to select the areas of shading and then shift the colour a little darker, blending the changes in tone. I deliberately keep this a little rough, or else I'd lose the texture that brush gives. By adding little darker or lighter dots in places, it gives that slightly dead or sick look. And I add the details - blood, etc.
Really, this is just finishing it off. I usually stick fairly closely to the shading I did in the previous stage. And I end up with a character like this -
And there he is. My little Easter Bunny. The process doesn't really change no matter who I am doing and is always pretty quick. They don't stand up to close scrutiny but, at the size I post them and with the nature of the characters, the rough look works.
There isn't a huge amount to say about how I do the backgrounds but I'll do another post covering that end soon.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Many many years passed. And Romero's more recent output has been the subject of some debate. And much disappointment. Personally, I found Diary an embarrasment. Given what Romero has contributed to movies and horror, that's not an easy thing to say.
So Survival didn't exactly have much to live up to. Did I want to see one of my favourite film makers spiral even further down? And the trailers and clips, full of poor CG-composited shots, didn't fill me with hope. Well, the movie was released on Blu-Ray last weekend. The cover instantly drew me in. It's a classic horror painting that could have come from the 70s or 80s (a little like the image above). A good start and I couldn't resist buying it and giving it a watch.
Those poor shots in the trailers? They look just as bad in the movie itself.
But Romero is back.
Survival Of The Dead features Alan Van Sprang as a soldier with questionable morals, Athena Karkanis as a solider with questionable timing and Kenneth Welsh as an old Irish island-dweller with a questionable accent.
In an odd move, the absolute worst shots of the movie were in those trailers. What's around them, however, is a far more interesting movie. In tone, it felt classic. Only a laptop, the internet and an iPod Touch betray the year of origin. Those elements aside, this could have come just after Dawn. The setting is so different and yet there is something very similar in the tone.
In every one of his zombie movies, Romero attempts to make it about the people. The survivors. Getting this right is what made Dawn so absolutely special. Getting it wrong, well, that's complete failure. Watching Survival, I found myself invested in the characters. I wanted things to go well for them. I knew things would get worse and worse and I found myself rooting for them. The film is full of tense moments - not zombie scares, but moments where I simply wanted things to go well for the characters.
This movie made me care about the characters. Especially O'Flynn, which was a surprise - his godawful Oirish accent made him seem like a joke in the trailers but, in the context of the movie, I really got to like him. I cared about him. And that's where this movie really succeeded.
There's humour here too. Some nice character moments but, more than that, Romero milks the humour from the zombies themselves just as he did in Dawn. And, like Dawn, it's a humour tainted with sadness. It's nihilistic humour and this is something Romero understands and very few other people making zombie movies seem to get - especially anyone falling into the trap of thinking that making them run makes them scarier.
In Survival, Romero explores the human aspects of these dead even further. In most zombie movies, people get a kick out of the killing, and audiences get a kick out of watching. They're almost like seeing guilt-free slaughter. But it's not guilt-free. The zombies are all someones family. A mother, daughter, brother. That's something often touched on in zombie movies, but it's quickly discarded for some more carnage. It's not discarded here. Romero explores this, acknowledges that these are all people.
They're dead. All messed up.
But they're people.
That's actually something I was trying to get with my little zombie-a-day project so it's great to see Romero really explore that idea.
Of course, there are plenty of zombie moments and kills but you've seen most of the zombie 'gags' in the trailers and they aren't always successful. Certainly the poor CG-compositing kills many shots. He should really have steered clear of that completely and gone practical. The zombie moments aren't the strength of this movie. But they also aren't what the movie is about.
The pacing isn't always great. There was a point around 2/3 into the movie where I found myself drifting off. But it had me back by the end. And one character had me thinking about other things every time she opened her mouth. Not sure why but she was just dull.
Overall, though, this movie had me. It hooked me in in a way no Romero movie has done since Day. And it felt classic.
It took me by surprise and I really enjoyed it. Nice to be able to say great things about a new movie from the father of zombie movies.
Monday, March 1, 2010
The site has a list down the side of members and I've already found several fantastic blogs I simply wouldn't have known about otherwise. That's the thing about blogs I guess - there are several billion of them (probably) and actually finding the good ones isn't easy. The Horror Blogger Alliance doesn't vet the blogs who join (hence why Too Many Zombies managed to get in there) but what it does have is a collective interest in horror and enthusiasm.
I'm glad to have joined up and, if you stumble across this post, go over there and have a browse and you just might find some treats.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
I must be around half way through this undead journey now. Am I really going to be able to deliver the same again? I hope so but, some days, they don't come easy. But, when I need inspiration, I can always fall back on the classics.
So that's exactly where I'm going next - the good ol' undead rising from the graves trick. I'll see where that takes me.
Actually, if anyone's curious, when doodling these zombies, I find more often than not, for inspiration, I'm humming the score to Day Of The Dead.