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Issue 5 – Fall 2003

FICTION

POETRY

NONFICTION
POETRY

I made love with a multiple personality by Marie Kazalia

the one-(of him)-in-control

sat on the edge of my bed

explaining the many aspects of 10

oops forgot to count himself–

eleven selves

I asked if each one inside him had a name

“I haven’t gotten that clever yet” he said

Who’s the one that giggles when he kisses me?

he glances a flash of eyes from the side

under a dark hat brim–

“oh, that’s just the silly one,”

“are you going to miss him?” he asked

yes, I said simply

“I’ll tell him” he said

So I asked if he talked to them all

and they to each other

he said “yes” pressing things forward

making it time to leave

“but the truth is”

“there’s nothing there between us–

you and me,” he told me

I knew it was true of this one

the one-in-control

but I definitely had something going

with the one that giggled

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EINSTEIN’S GIFT SHOP by Christopher Hivner

I find no waiting

at the end of the universe.

Plenty of parking,

no endless lines,

no chatty clerks.

The hallucinations

caused by the warping of time and space

can be a problem.

I don’t normally buy

my own head

in a stoneware bowl

and give it as a gift a thousand times

at a thousand different weddings

in a thousand different galaxies.

And yet I haven’t received a single thank-you card.

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PINS by Aurelio Rico Lopez III

The hurt you’ve caused,

The lies you’ve said,

The pain you’ve dealt,

The poison you’ve spread–

All pins on a rag doll

bearing your likeness

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THE HAUNTING by Christina Sng

There’s a rattling and a dull clank

From the ceiling again. I wonder

If the murdered child is still haunting

Its parents. Just yesterday I saw

The mother, dark and hollow-eyed,

Tears matted all over her face,

And the father, pale as a ghost

And half his weight, shuffling

Like shadows down the stairs

With a small black cloud tagging

Along just a few paces behind.

It’ll be another sleepless night

For the three of us, an irony,

When only one of us is the murderer,

And only one without care nor conscience.

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MAD SCIENTIST’S LAMENT by Jon Hodges

Despite your reports,

we really couldn’t have known

ants would grow so big.

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THE LONGEST CAR RIDE by Jonathan Brandt

Rocket borne ashtrays:

Roddenberry and Leary

Count bottles of beer

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REVIEWS

ATTIC SPACE

28 Days Later…

by Bill Braun

Too little, too late…or right on time?

What exactly can be said about this movie? More importantly, what should be said about this movie? I could start by explaining that it’s a new release. It’s quite obviously a low budget movie without all the hype. The story is pretty straightforward, predictable and without the prerequisite twists and turns. The actors are relatively unknown. The director can lay claim to such features as Trainspotting and The Beach; which were entertaining, but not much more than that. The screenwriter is most certainly influenced by the great George A. Romero. And the theater was practically empty upon my initial viewing. So why then would I waste my time, and yours, discussing what to this point may be considered a real dog of a movie?

Primarily, because when faced with a summers worth of “blockbusters” this movie can drink them all under the table! And lets be frank, one Jerry Bruckheimer movie is bad enough, but when he starts getting greedy and releases multiple movies in the same summer, things just start to get ugly.

I loved 28 Days Later and am determined to get the word out so that a great many other people (most of which I will probably never meet in my lifetime) can also come to love it just as much.

Then again, they may just think it’s a piece of shit. One never can tell and we’re all entitled to our opinions. And that’s exactly what this “review” is all about; my opinion, and mine alone.

So let’s break it down. What exactly is 28 Days Later all about? First and foremost, if you are at all interested in seeing this movie I suggest that you stop reading now, stay away from the multitude of 28 Days Later websites and do what I did; go into the movie blind. Try not to learn anything about this movie. But understand that it could be classified as a horror movie with emotion and feeling. Some who have seen this movie already may not necessarily agree with this rather vague description. But keep in mind that when I first set foot into the smallest of the multiplex screens at my local theater all I had to go on was a poster that had been placed inside the theater’s entrance. The poster displayed nothing more than the movies title over a fairly recognizable biohazard symbol.

For those of you not quite sold on a poster alone, I don’t blame you. Especially when the price of seeing a movie continues to rise in slightly more than mediocre increments. To put it bluntly, the price of a movie these days is absolutely ridiculous. End of rant!

As I mentioned earlier, 28 Days Later does have a slightly predictable and reminiscent feel to it. The director, Danny Boyle, wasn’t trying to break ground with a new take on the zombie horror genre. What it does have is faith. Faith in the viewer appreciating the movie for what it is; approximately an hour and a half worth of good entertainment. Well worth the money.

The premise involves an outbreak of “the rage” (lame, I know) that descends upon the major population of modern day London. This outbreak washes over the land after a group of animal rights extremists attempt the release of a group of primate captives undergoing forced viewings of some of the more violent scenes captured on film and television; in other words, your everyday news casts from around the world. In the process of freeing their Darwinian brothers and sisters the animal rights activists are set upon in a most violent manner, only to become overrun and act as the host for a new beginning of life in mother London. The rage virus spreads via the blood and saliva. It infects and takes over human life in a matter of seconds. The end result being insanity, with a simple desire to feed on the living. This all takes place during the opening minutes of the film. Sound familiar? Kinda sorta? Remember, the writer and director did not set out on this project to reinvent the genre.

Cut to 28 days later (hence, the title) and meet the main character, Jim, buck ass naked and strapped to a hospital bed. By following Jim during his wanderings the audience comes to understand that he hasn’t awoken after 28 days to just an empty hospital. All the streets of London are empty. Cars are abandoned, garbage is strewn about and a strong sense of foreboding begins to emanate from the screen. The complete silence is louder than the loudest rock concert. Then, just when you begin to think that this is the best that Danny Boyle has to offer, all hell breaks lose. Quite literally.

With the creeping onset of night come the remaining living inhabitants of London. They walk kinda funny. They make goofy hissing noises. They have a hungry look in their red-tinged eyes. And boy, are they pissed.

After a short jaunt through the streets of London, followed closely behind by a large number of the movies newest stars, Jim is saved (of course, just in the nick of time) by 2 survivors who have had to endure the hardships of the last 28 days. These new characters become the source of information that you as a viewer have been waiting for. In a matter of minutes everything is laid on the line, all is said and done and the future looks bleak.

Now, it just becomes a game of survival with the odds being stacked incredibly against you. Your outnumbered, running for your lives and just plain old scared shitless. Again, sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?

As a viewer who has probably read far too many scary stories and spent enough money over the years on horror movies to feed a small army, most, if not all of the progression of 28 Days Later becomes more than a little familiar.

At one point I realized, during a rather well done dark and foreboding highway tunnel scene, that what I was watching was taken (accidentally or intentionally?) directly from a little well-known story called The Stand. Some of you reading this article may recognize this title from the endless bibliography that is Stephen King. To be more specific, chapter 35, page 315 of Doubleday’s complete and uncut version could have easily been transposed onto the screen at about the halfway point towards the movie’s inevitable conclusion.

It was much blacker inside than he imagined it would be. At first the opening behind him cast dim white light ahead and he could see yet more cars, jammed in bumper to bumper (it must have been bad, dying in here, he thought, as claustrophobia wrapped its stealthy banana fingers lovingly around his head and began to first caress and then to squeeze his temples, it must have been really bad, it must have been fucking horrible), and the greenish-white tiles that dressed the upward curving walls.
In my opinion, quite possibly the most well written story of Stephen King’s expansive career, I was first upset that a director could be so blatantly obvious when presenting a transitional piece of the movie. But then I began to understand that the entertainment business has simply run out of fresh new ideas at least 10 years ago. I was happy, to say the least, that Danny Boyle, had he knowingly used this scene from The Stand, did it solely with the intention of adding to the movie’s already tense chain of events.

Unfortunately, this was not the only scene in the movie that carried distinct memories of what has been done in the past. To be blunt about it, the entire second half of the movie could have been nothing more than a remake of George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead (probably my favorite of the Romero trifecta).
For those fans of the Romero undead lets just say that the military/scientific fortitude wasn’t housed underground this time. The final destination of our little band of survivors takes place in what can only be described as a military enforced mansion. Of course, the end result is the same. Those evil, power hungry military monsters lose all control and eventually are the cause of their own hellish demise. It’s been years since Day of the Dead. Hasn’t the army been able to figure it out yet. You just can’t fight amongst yourselves when you’ve got hordes of the living dead trying to beat down your front door. I suppose it’s a just end to those men in camouflage. They were probably (although, never confirmed) the ones who got those poor English into this deadly situation in the first place; what with their chemical warfare and all.

Yet, the film begs to ask the question. Is George Romero openly weeping for the future of the horror movie? Has Stephen King gotten his attorney on the phone yet?

I think not.

For what my opinion is worth, I feel that this movie could easily be conceived as a tribute to those creative geniuses, George Romero and Stephen King. Danny Boyle and Alex Garland took an idea that has, without question, been done over and over again, and simply went to the next level with it. There were plenty of familiar scenes throughout their movie, yet unlike George Romero’s masterpieces, the mood of the film did not rely solely on the gruesome details that revolutionized special make-up effects. You didn’t find yourself patiently waiting for the next disemboweled victim to lay splattered across the screen (although, that’s always fun). In 28 Days Later, you actually began to care for those people that have been left behind. For those helpless men, women and children that have had to deal with the burden of knowing that their loved ones are dead and that they may very well be the last surviving members of the human race. Keep in mind that this outbreak of “the rage” takes place on an island, albeit a rather large one. For all we know, and for all the characters in the movie know, the entire world population may be in similar dire straights. And this is where Danny Boyle and Alex Garland break away from the typical gore infested horror movie. With one simple word, placed ingeniously into the movie’s procession, a sudden ray of hope is granted the characters and audience. Hope for the rest of the potentially infected world.

“Quarantine!”

“A state of enforced isolation,” per the 50th anniversary edition of The Merriam Webster Dictionary.

Suddenly this movie has taken on a whole new feel. Suddenly, what was once fictitious becomes an all too real possibility for the future that the world has to offer. Suddenly, news headlines begin to flash before your eyes. Headlines of Mad Cow Disease and more recently, SARS.

Is this what the writer and director were attempting to achieve? Have they placed the question to their audience? Could this happen?

Obviously they have taken it to the extreme, but are they really straying that far from the truth? What would, or could, the military and scientific communities do in order to contain an outbreak of epidemic proportions?

Now, all of a sudden I am no longer concerned with the plagiarized versions of the same old story. Now I begin thinking in terms of what real horror is all about. What would it have been like to be left behind? To have been shut off from the rest of the world, with no help from the outside? Left to die. Which story is more terrifying?

As luck may have it (though whose luck I still haven’t figured out) your average moviegoer isn’t satisfied unless there is somewhat of a happy ending. Now, that’s not to say that Danny Boyle took an entertainingly good scary movie and turned it into garbage during the remaining minutes of the movie. How many times has that been done just because some test group of viewers who wouldn’t know a good movie if it bit their head off complained that the ending was just not happy enough? God help us all!

What Danny Boyle and Alex Garland did do was get creative with the title, again. As I mentioned earlier, all hell broke lose at the beginning of the movie after the initial 28 days of infection. What the remaining minutes of the film interpret after the final conflict of the story is that the remaining survivors have continued living, 28 days longer. And it just so happens that it takes approximately 28 days for the rage infected to die of starvation. For whatever reason, they never fed on each other (I guess that would just be too weird) and their living human banquet had run dry. Therefore, the rage had run out of time, the evil military died horribly because they deserved to and the innocent few that have stared death in the eye and walked away are granted their wish from a shooting star that takes the form of an airplane, flying overhead. The nightmare has ended, life moves on and the worst is over.

Or is it?

Apparently, as this article is being completed, word has already gotten out to the general public that the movie to see this year is 28 Days Later. As I bring this article to its conclusion, I hear off in the background a commercial for 28 Days Later flash onto the television screen. And what’s this? The commercial wants me to go see the movie again because they are now playing two separate endings? The newest having more horrific intentions?

Damn those movie test subjects. Damn them all to hell!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.electricvelocipede.com/issues/issues-1-10/issue-5/

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