Thursday, October 08, 2015
Illustrations: Raulo Caceres
First Published: 2014
The Blurb: Max Brooks, author of World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide, brings a new vision of stark terror to comics!
Across the globe the alpha subdead vampire race has identified the battle lines. With their prey dwindling beneath the weight of zombie apocalypse, the bloodsuckers must decimate the ranks of the walking dead to ensure their survival. But the rolling plague hordes are like a tidal wave of destruction, wiping clean the earth beneath them and swelling their ranks to legion. Will even the superhuman ferocity of the vampire race be able to bring mankind back from the brink for the own nefarious purposes? This is how a species dies.
The review: Zombies versus vampires… you have to love the concept and when it is explored by Max Brooks – whose World War Z I believe is very good (and I will get around to reading it when I get a break in the vampire novels, honest) – then it should be something special. But don’t trust the blurb.
The battle lines it talks about appear late in this volume, which contains issues #1-5. The comic actually consists mostly of background, letting us get to know our undead – not specifically the two Malaysian vampires, Laila and Vrauwe, who are the primary characters but more the general attitude of all the vampires as reflected through their eyes and musings.
This is the genius, though they call themselves predators – and Brooks makes a lovely distinction between V and Z by suggesting, “We hunt humans. They consume humanity!” – they are really parasites. Not only living off our blood but also our culture and advances. They do not muse and philosophise but live in a hedonistic now. They even have familiars (the girls' familiar, Willem, comes from a line of helpers, whilst in the West vampires are tricking familiars into serving them and finding their own replacements) who they treat appallingly.
They are aware of the subdead – as they call zombies – and the fact that pockets of infection have risen in solbreeder (or human) society throughout history but have always been put down. They ignore the rise in incidents and from the head of the comic up to the blurb's drawing of battle lines four years pass in which the vampires, in their arrogance, fail to comprehend the danger the outbreaks represent. They fail to realise that the geographic linkage in the modern world, along with the emotional disconnect of a post-social media society, would let the zombies spread too much. Its only one vampire, a rare thinker called Nguyen, who realises that humanity may be lost but even he does nothing. It is Vrauwe who actually finally acts, inspiring the other vampires.
Being from their point of view, and being drawn so wonderfully arrogant, we hear little of their weaknesses. We know they are hardy, strong and fast – foot travel is quicker than a car for instance. We discover that the subdeads’ fluids are poisonous to a vampire but a living person’s blood strengthens their immune system to the negative effects of the fluids. From the beginning of the story we are aware that the subdead do not register the vampires, that they may as well be invisible to them.
Being a fairly recent V vs Z comic series there are obvious parallels to be drawn with Romero’s Empire of the Dead but they are different beasts. This is at outbreak, whilst Empire is much later; this draws the vampires as the main focus, whilst Empire balances our focus between zombie, vampire and human. I liked the artwork in this, it was a very graphic style that suited the series. 8 out of 10.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
This was a film directed by Chia Yung Liu under the name Lau Kar Wing and was released in 1980 (according to IMDb, elsewhere listed as 1984). It was (primarily) a comedy set during the Japanese occupation of China with the comedic aspect drawn from the interactions between the main character, a Buddhist monk (Gordon Liu, Shaolin Vs Vampire, the Shadow Boxing, Shaolin Vs the Evil Dead & Shaoline Vs Evil Dead: Ultimate Power), and his two reluctant guides.
|corpse shepherd with kyonsi|
A really weird inclusion – as there is nothing supernatural included in the rest of the film. The edition I watched was really badly dubbed. The imdb page is here.
Sunday, October 04, 2015
Artists: Marco Turini & Alan Robinson
First Published: 2015
The blurb: Big Dog and V-8 are the top gunslingers in the escalating battle with vampire terrorists. But the hunt for a new and intensely brutal species of bloodsucker puts them in the crosshairs of the world's most dangerous special operative: Joe Ledger. And, the members of V-8 are tasked to hunt down and obtain plans for a stolen vampire gene screener. Collects issues #6-11
The review: After reading V-Wars volume 1 I was left with a sense that I really liked the graphic but it didn’t quite meet the level of the prose. However, with this volume I felt the game lifted, it fell into its own pattern comfortably. The first half of the graphic follows the special unit V-8 as they hunt a nelapsi - but all is not what it seems and they fall into the murky world of black ops and meet Joe Ledger (crossing over from Maberry’s popular Ledger series). The second part sees two members of V-8 following technology into Paris, but the two soldiers have some very real inner demons to battle, meanwhile folklorist Luther Swann makes a stand (helped by George Clooney) and tries to publically broker a peace between beats and bloods.
The stories worked well, the art complemented it and the real world character appearances were welcome as they offered an interesting undercurrent. The focus was much more on the shadowy governmental underbelly – with Agencies on all sides trying to get their hands on rare vampire types and technology. Blind obedience to a cause is questioned within the narrative.
All in all great stuff and the more I see of V-Wars the more I’m convinced it would make either great TV or even films. 8 out of 10.
Friday, October 02, 2015
Release date: 2002
“What are you doing Taliesin?” I can see the questioning eyebrows raise but it’s very simple. The crossover between vampire and mummy is obvious, they are both undead and the desiccated look of the average mummy is reminiscent of the un-romantic vampire. Sure the mummy might have a bit more magic in its pedigree at times but the big difference between the two would seem to be the fact that the mummy seems violent but not a creature that feeds on the living.
Not so in this case, the mummy in Bubba Ho-Tep is a soul sucker, an eater of vital essence… in short an energy vampire. Of course the mummy cross-over happens and, indeed, is nothing new. Go back to 1898 and the short story the Story of Baelbrow and we get the unique combination of a vampiric ghost that is able to achieve corporeality by possessing a mummy.
|Bruce Campbell as Elvis|
|the soul sucker|
|Kennedy and Presley|
|the mummy appears|
The imdb page is here.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Director: Zack Chapman
Release date: 2013
At a shade under 19 minutes Vamp succeeds due to script and performances, with a great performance by principle lead Adam Budron as Ren, a slacker. The film also throws names around like confetti so we get a news report, as the opening, that talks about the “Suburban Succubus” a (thought to be female) serial killer who has killed 8 victims thus far – all of whom displayed punctures of their main arteries.
|Ren and Jon|
The imdb page is here.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
First released: 2012
Originally entitled Empress Vampire, this film had been on my radar for quite some time – having stumbled some years back onto the film’s homepage. It has been a long old wait but it has now been released under the title Aleta: Vampire Mistress, but was the wait worth it?
In some respects no, not at all, and yet the film certainly has redeeming qualities as we will see as the review progresses. Unfortunately it does suffer through a lack of budget (IMDb estimates it at $250000) and that is reflected in the filming quality, which seems over-exposed throughout. This makes it easy to see in dark scenes but overall is unpleasing and very cheap looking.
|caught on camera|
|Ange Maya as Aleta|
|a vampire is staked|
The imdb page is here.
Friday, September 25, 2015
|a vampire creating pill|
The imdb page is here.