Salt Lake City Comicon 2014: The World Premiere of SyFy’s “Z Nation”


Z Nation LogoLast week, during Salt Lake City’s 2nd annual comicon, one of the last panels of the show premiered SyFy’s newest television show, “Z Nation.”  One of the presenter’s had been featured in numerous SyFy feature length films and as she put it, “I’ve been killed, and often.”  The second presenter, Michael Welch, is actually apart of the ensemble cast and hosted the ‘Q&A’ format after the credits had rolled on the pilot episode of “Z Nation.”

For those of you that don’t know “Z Nation” is set in upstate New York (at least on the onset of the pilot), but was primarily shot right here in good ol’ Spokane, WA.  Even though, they never call attention to the fact that it isn’t Spokane, native Spokanites can spot the thicket of pines, sleepy city locales, and myriad of lakes that make this region famous and unique to the rest of the country.

“Z Nation” is an interesting beast though.  It harkens back to old school zombies flicks like any of Romera’s cannon and it does so with gusto.  It doesn’t pull the punches in that quirky, dark sense of humor kind of a way.  It shouts “campy” at you, but for an old school zombie lover like myself…I loved it.  It was catchy and effectively paid homage to the genre.  Not every moment has to be gritty and realistic, sometimes you can let go and have fun with it like filmmakers used to, back in the day.

MILD SPOILER

In particular, there is a great scene involving the group cast, the discovery of an alive, intact baby, and the decision making and consequences that ensue.  To be warned, it is not for the faint of heart.

END OF SPOILER

Z NationHowever, like a well-worn and bloodied coin, “Z Nation” does a hold a flame to AMC’s famed “The Walking Dead”—  And, it does so quite cleverly.  It takes the situations that the characters are dealt and the consequences of a zombie invasion and pits them in a real world context, much like “The Walking Dead.”  How the characters’ behave, proceed, and deal with one another is fairly realistic considering the circumstances.

The pilot does an excellent job introducing the main cast, the time frame, setting, and overall goal.  As an audience member, you could see the logical line of progression and how several seasons worth of episodes could be produced without breaking away from the plot line (e.g. think Star Trek’s “The Voyager”).

Ultimately, I think “Z Nation” has good odds of striking a dent in “The Walking Dead” market share.  “Z Nation” does a little bit of both—  It’s campy like the old shuffle and blood zombie flicks and it tackles supernatural problems with real world engagement.

I recommend at least checking out the pilot for the deciding vote.  At the very least, I see a strong cult following for this television show, and as for me I’ll be buckled in for the native Spokane scenery and strong allure of the zombie.

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Tell Me What’s Worth Fighting For?


Tell me what’s worth fighting for?

Inky blackness, wet with regret?

We stand alone in a crowd

We stand huddled in the masses

 

Being herded towards a cosmic cliff

Diving to the rainbow rocks below

Shades of brown becoming shades of red

My endurance meant nothing at the end

 

I’m not allowed to say certain things

I live listless nights portraying

a confidant, a friend, a mentor

All for nothing, all for nothing

All for nothing, all for nothing

 

Dew droplets rush past

Such a waste is the past

We reflect in torment the lives we changed

But we cry the most for our own

 

Drenched in sweat…we survive the fall

Born from the ashes of ourselves and battle

I converse in solace to two souls willing to prattle

We hit the bottom.

 

I jolt— Awake, confused and lost

I am among the land of the dead.

I shuffle with my brethren to the bread lines

Remembering my falling dream…my fallen dreams.

My crayon colored canyons filled with blood

Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep” Cover Revealed!


%22Doctor Sleep%22The hotly anticipated “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King is the sequel to his immensely popular and famous novel, “The Shining.” The idea has apparently been toying around the horror master’s brain for several years now, but was not confirmed till the audiobook of “The Wind Through the Keyhole’ was released and a prologue to “Doctor Sleep” was included as a bonus. For those interested in a text version of the aforementioned “Doctor Sleep” prologue check out Stephen King and Joe Hill’s joint eBook endeavor, “In The Tall Grass” found on Amazon.com.

“Doctor Sleep” is set to release September of 2013, and until now the cover has been a closely guarded secret amongst the folks at Scribner. However, the cover has finally been released!  While you are gandering at the beautiful cover image up top, check out Cemetery Dance Publications special slipcase edition of “Doctor Sleep” by visiting their homepage and ordering now.

Although, “Doctor Sleep” is being published by Scribner, Cemetery Dance Publications has produced custom-made slipcovers for the past several King novels and has decided to included “Doctor Sleep” within this catalogue. These slipcovers add to an already great product by creating a wonderful talking point amongst friends, family, and bibliophiles.

Here is a synopsis of “Doctor Sleep”:

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood winter, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

(SOURCE: Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep Cover Revealed!)

“Fright Night”


Fright Night” with Anton Yelchin, Collin Farrell, David Tenant, and Dave Franco (2011)

(3.13.2012)

The newest incarnation of “Fright Night” is a remake of a 1985 film of the same name (hence my use of ‘incarnation’).  The film follows Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) as he deals with the typical teenage dealings: girlfriend, friends, parents, and creepy vampire neighbor.  His childhood best friend, who revels in hardcore nerdiness, pulls the newly popularized Charlie back into the ghouls and goblins scene once more after one of their mutual friends disappears from school.  The story then unfolds as Charlie’s old friend disappears (just like the last!) and the evidence begins to stack up leading to the conclusion that his new neighbor, Jerry Danridge (Collin Farrell), is in fact a vampire!  In a desperate attempt to figure it all out and stop Jerry the Vampire Charlie takes a chance and asks for the aid of commercialized vampire aficionado and hunter, Peter Vincent (David Tenant).  Tenant essentially plays a Chris Angel-like individual who holds nightly Vegas shows to wow and dazzle his audiences with mysticism and Goth motifs.

I enjoyed the film; it was fun.  It made me realize that the teen movie genre has all but died at the foot of modernism.  Teen movies used to be a staple during the 70’s and 80’s, but as the 90’s and 00’s further horned in on the genre it mutated and has become something else all-together leaving classic teen horror films left out in the cold.  They may be corny and predictable, but sometimes it is nice to have a mindless, fun romp about growing up and things that go bump in the night.

If you want to watch a fun movie, to sit and eat popcorn by, that provides great laughs and a bit of supernatural flare then check out 2011’s “Fright Night” remake.

“Jack and the Lilac Butcher” and “The Well”


“Jack and the Lilac Butcher” is a novel that I have been slowly working on for the past several months.  It follows two Pinkertons in 1920’s Seattle/Spokane as they hunt for a serial killer that has been dubbed the ‘Lilac Butcher’ by the locals.  Thus far my published previews have been quite popular and I am hopeful that this will be the transcendental ‘one’ once completed.

You can check “Jack and the Lilac Butcher” out in the “Samples and Previews” page, on this very blog, or you can watch as it progresses over at Wattpad (dot) com.  On Wattpad the interaction is more fluid and transparent, so if you’re curious about the Pinkertons journey head over there to give it a thumbs up, a share, or even a comment/suggestion.  Thanks again for the support and the read!

“The Well” is a short story that I composed on a whim after work one evening and serves to amalgamize various points in my childhood, while simultaneously experimenting with point-of-view and style.  I published “The Well” as an eBook over at Smashwords (dot) com and it is available for FREE! as a download for almost any eReader imaginable including the popular Kindle, Nook, and Sony eReader.  So, check it out, and don’t forget to provide some feedback!  A review would much be appreciated.

 

Cheers,

A.R. Schultz