Friday, February 27, 2009

House of the Dead: Overkill

If your looking for monsters in modern horror well then you've likely noticed that zombies are all the rage (ok even 4SJ would have choked on that pun). Zombies are really the predominant monster in modern horror although I would recon Vampires are still a close second. Damn good thing that can I enjoy a good (or often a bad) living dead film as a lot of other modern sub genres really do nothing for me.

So amid the commercial outpouring of Zombie fare I landed myself a copy of the video game "House of the Dead: Overkill" for the Wii. Let it be known I'm not a gamer and own and play very few titles so this isn't a review for that crowd, rather one coming from a horror film fan who happens to own a Wii.

The visual appearance of the game is satisfactory, although admidetly less refined than games on other console systems, but compared to the Wii's usual 8 bit looking 3D stick people the game looks fantastic for the platform. Appearance of a zombie game is pretty damned important in my books.
The game play is a bit primative. The game simply walks you through the story and offers little more than a carnival style point and shoot. Hell we saw that with the original Nintendo Entertainment System and liht gun og the '80s, and other more primative systems have offered more indepth zombie games such as Resident Evil and even the Nintend DS title Touch the Dead is more interactive. So I'm not sure the gamers out there will be lining up for this one (on the upside if it should likley be hitting previously enjoyed shevlves not long from now for those who may be looking to buy it) . But alas the NES lightgun is long dead and hasn't been revived by anyother system, meaning first person shooter games are at best with te didgital representaion of a gun barel being controled by a pair of joysticks. The hands on gun-in-hand aspect of the Wiireally brngs the enjoyment level of thsi game up a knotch and is a welcomed addition to the first person shooter games.

As a Movie fan there are some aspects that make the game well worth my financial investment. Although the game is rather linear and the system has other titles that are more interactive first-person-shooters I'm not holding that against the game, after all I bought this for one reason and one reason alone, blowing away the hordes of living dead, and that it delivers in spades. Second is the Grind House theme. The whole game is done up like a nasty 70's grind house feature with all that implies (well ok, not ALL that implies as the game lacks the nudity.)

Light entertainment, virtual gore and a bazillion brain munching living corpse to scag and a toy gun, what more could one want?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Time Machine of the Macabre

Greetings and condolences fellow (time)travelers. Hey Check it out!!!! Uncle Forry would get a kick out of this one! I have just now realized that a promise I made in December has not been fulfilled, and for that I am ashamed. But today I look to make amends and honour that commitment by going back in time to February the 26th to uphold my promise. Upon the passing of Uncle Forry I committed that I would honour his memory with a post bimonthly in the tradition he set forth with a likewise commitment to the memory of Lon Chaney Sr. Seeing that the records show that Forry himself slipped up on said promise, I trust his ephemeral hereafter will smile warmly and forgive my transgression. (or was there one at all?????) Cheers to you Forrest J.

Hey check out this piece of 4E flotsam of fiction. A nice compilation of short stories assembled by the Ackermonster.

Compiled by
Forrest J Ackerman (Dr. Acula)
Edited by Lynne Rock
284 pages, 6"x 9", illustrated
Trade Paper: ISBN 0-918736-30-7

Available for online order at Rock Publishing

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

OTR Tuesday:

Greetings once again fellow travelers. What brings you to my fireside this dark cold evening? Perhaps it was the warm glow of the small fire, or perhaps the scratchy, droning voices emanating from this old radio, carrying through the thin night air. Well gather closer friend have a mug of hot tea and listen with me to today's offerings form the golden age of radio. This from the NBC series Sleep No More. A lesser know series than Suspense, Inner Sanctum or even the Witches Tale, host Nelson Olmsted hosts this series straight up much like Arch Obler did with Lights Out!. The most noticeable departure is that the story is orrated to the audience as one would read book to a child, and not presented as a scripted play the way we are most familliar.

Sleep No More: The Woman in Grey

Monday, February 23, 2009

100 things to do with a corpse

So you've still got a few dead bodies about just taking up space?, well here's another home and garden tip...

Use # 83: Use them in your out door planter boxes.
They're fun conversation pieces and lend that easy-going, peaceful, relaxed feeling to your garden space. Plus they provide great nutrients to the soil when they begin to decompose.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Post Mortem: The Mist


Greetings and condolences once again. I think it time we get back on track here with some of the regular features I have instituted in the past here on the Blogue. Before we begin, I'll just introduce this segment for the new travelers who have stumbled across my camp on the banks of the Styx. At the onset of the Blogue Macabre I decided there were enough Horror blogs reviewing movies, and while I may occasionally sound off on one from time to time, being a review site didn't appeal to me. So I decided that I would cut to the juicy bits and review the death scenes from various films instead. Now you're up to speed lets get to the task at hand.

As the lead states I'm going to dive into an analysis of the final sequence of THE MIST. If you haven't seen it yet (I'll have to assume you died before 2007 and have just got out of purgatory) I will offer the courtesy of telling you that this Post Mortem is a pretty big spoiler. That said I equally feel that this is one of the crappiest endings in horror movie history and knowing it before actually viewing the movie might make the experience more palpable. As a matter of fact the reason I chose this scene for this segment is because I dislike it so much, but thought I should give it the benefit of a proper post mortem. A fair trial before condemnation I suppose.

Manner of Death: Murder/Suicide. Yes, that is correct, the remaining cast decided to skag themselves in the face of despair and hopelessness. This scene is quite simply there to provide the shock factor and gain media attention hoping to parlay that into bigger box office bucks. Don't get me wrong, blowing your and/or your loved ones gray matter all over the wall is fair game. But there's a time and place for everything, and here just wasn't it. All Hell coming down on you and you drop that match in the pool of gasoline as a final act of defiance, choosing your terms for death and taking scores of evil minions with you, is a good time and place. You and /or your loved one has been bitten by a Zombie, and preserve your/their eternal dignity when the inevitable comes is a good time and place. Sacrificing your life so that your high school sweetheart can survive, even if it means she's likely to knock boots with your room mate after your passing is acceptable too. But because you've run out of gas and don't know what's going to happen next and your afraid that you MIGHT be killed and eaten by a pan-dimensional insect is not a good reason. Hell if it were I'd probably have popped myself a few times by now I figure.

So OK, that said how am I going to score this? Well here is the parameters I have set up for this category way back when...Manner of Death: How did the Character Die? Was it interesting? Creative? Well suited to the story? Otherwise satisfying or disturbing to the audience? . Was it interesting? I have to say no. Creative? I see no real creativity here, so NO again. Well suited to the story? Hmmm, since the Characters spend the previous 123 minutes doing everything imaginable to stay alive including committing cold blooded murder, only to kill them selves 4 to 6 hours later. Yeah they flee the supermarket and drive off into the mist until they run out of gas. I don't know about you, but even with a full tank my car can't run for much longer than 6-7 hours tops. So a HUGE NO here. Otherwise disturbing/satisfying? Well yes I guess they got the desired shock factor so I'll give them two skulls for that. Why two, well because I'm trying to be fair.

Effect on Story: Again here are the parameters... Did the character's death forward the plot of the film in any significant or meaningful way? Did it provide tension, character motivation, a sense of impending doom or vulnerability to the other characters? This is the only Category that will be ranked on it's relation to the rest of the film and not it's individual merits.
That said I truly feel the film would have been better served by leaving this on the cutting room floor. Mind you it does provide definite conclusion to the film and while I feel the story would be better without, I admit I might be writing that without conclusion the film would seem that it was only half completed. While the murder/suicides didn't forward the plot of the film whatsoever, it did alter the audience's perception of the film greatly, it did provide a moment of dread and tension (some of us dreaded the character's impending actions, others of us dreaded the director's choice to cop out on a very solid classic style monster flick up to that point). The sense of impending doom was the point of the scene, but it wasn't there. As I had stated previously, the film makers do not provide enough substance to make it convincing that the characters would choose to act in a manner contradictory to how they had established themselves in the previous two hours of screen time. How it motivated the characters?, well I suppose it would have made the character of David Drayton, the father even more bound and determined to commit suicide, but we didn't get that morsel. But because I have clearly stated that it is the intent of this category to rate it with it's relation to the rest of the movie, in which it fails miserably, I will on the reverse side give back one kadahm to honour the fact that it was apparently the film makers wishes to sacrifice their film for the sake of a shocking conclusion and that it did.

Appearance and/or Visual Direction
: You know, I can't fault Frank Darabont for his keen eye and skills behind the camera. In a scene that takes place primarily in the cab of a vehicle surrounded by impenetrable fog the scene looks good (especially in the B&W version, which if you haven't seen, the previous 2 hours in this format is worth the cost of purchasing this film on DVD). His choice to cut to the vehicles exterior while he shoots the trucks occupants and we simply see the muzzle flash illuminate the interior at each retort works really well.

: OK, before I come across as hypocritical here this category is again scene specific, and not scored in relation the the film in it's entirety. Assessing the mood of this scene completely on its own merits apart from the rest of the story...

: OK the players did their part, and the acting of Thomas Jane was better than average.

Tally time. A scene I have clearly established my dislike for, but how does it hold up to the rack? Well final score is 14.5/25 58% or D+.

Gary Macabre

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Moment of Horror #4

Again from the silent dawn of Horror Cinema, another great moment. From one of my all time favourite films, the 1925 version of Phantom of the Opera, the unmasking of Eric. The mysterious figure first shown to the audience in shadow, and later as a masked phantom is finally revealed to not only Christine, but is filmed specifically that the impact of his grotesque features are right out front for the theatre audience's shock and horror.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bad Ads: Sea Monkeys

You know some how this one slipped through the gaps in my brain...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Well folks it time for horror Fans to get off their duffs and vote for the best works in the Horror/Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre for 2008. It's Rondo Award Time!

And amongst it all both Blogue Macabre and The Many Faces of the Frankenstein Monster (or simply have been given the great honour of being nominated!!!! And of course a hearty congratulations to my fellow LOTTD members and everyone who was nominated this year.

Here is the all important link to the Rondo ballot, so get out there and vote (even if it's not for me)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Guest Blogger Professor Anton Griffin

TODAY is his Birthday.

Greetings Night Creatures! Prof. Griffin here.

I am very excited!
Tonight, I return to Camp Crystal Lake. Yes, tonight, at Midnight, I will visit an old friend.

Once again, I think it’s important to try and remember that all of this started with an 11 year old boy who really just wanted to swim.
Remember that physically deficient child (a sweet boy according to his mother) who needed special care and attention, but instead was left to drown in the cold, cold waters of Crystal Lake?

Remember how that tragedy became a nightmare of loss?
Remember how that loss exploded in bloody fury beginning with a mother’s wrath, thunder and lightning, and continuing in the deep dark forest at night for many years?

The slaughter continued with numerous sharp weapons, screams, vicious attacks, axes, a hockey mask, and a killer so violent, so brutal, that he could almost be classified as a force of nature.

My beloved Friday the 13th series has covered it all… revenge and anger, lust and fear, supernatural power and the living dead…

It spawned countless imitators and was often referenced in mass media. Most of the references were jokes of course, and mainstream media responded to the series with countless insults. Mockery by critics and condemnation by morality groups were common but the filmmakers had laughed all the way to the bank. The original Friday the 13th was made for just under $500,000 and made $37 Million!!! Recent figures place the profit for the entire series to be in the vicinity of $250 Million dollars.

And it all started with that boy- Jason Voorhees.

And tonight (for me and other Night Owls) he returns.

Since I first heard of the RE-IMAGINING of the Friday the 13th series, I’ve been skeptical and have feared the worse.
It was filmed right here in my town of Austin and Derek Mears (the new Jason Voorhees) has been spotted all over town. I even know crew members who’ve worked on the film…I’ve honestly never been this close to a Friday the 13th film in its history.

However, since the disappointing Rob Zombie Halloween, my wiser, older- self begrudgingly has accepted that half-hearted remakes of my old slasher favorites are a fact of Hollywood and that nothing I can write and rant about can change that.

I really tried to watch Zombie’s remake of Michael Myers homecoming night with an open mind but ended up getting angry and missing Carpenter’s sublime and creepy almost bloodless masterpiece.
Recently, My Bloody Valentine brought Harry Warden back with a great hook…3-D!!! And the pissed off miner with a mean pickaxe arm was given a nice national spread and was marketed like he has never been before. I enjoyed that but I didn’t get too excited.
I guess I was amused...yes that's accurate.

But the Sultan of Slaughter is different for me.
I’ve seen them all...(Friday the 13th through Freddy vs. Jason)numerous times, but for me, my affection for the series and the character goes beyond more than being a fan of the films.
I have models, toys, figures, posters, props, autographs and books on the series...I have the original promo release Alice Cooper song, ‘He’s Back’ 45 from ‘Jason Lives’ and the 3-D glasses from Part 3.
I even researched and wrote a series of exhaustive love letters/essays to the series entitled ‘Unlucky Days’ that can be read compiled in my book, Midnight Shadow Show Professor Griffin Journals (still available on Amazon! Shameless I know...LOL)

But beyond all my geeky ultra-fandom…the series means so much more to me.
It all came back to me recently. This much maligned, popcorn death filled series of films... made me young.

I’m 39 years old. 40 looms before me like a specter and while I do not fear getting old and I laugh at my obvious signs of aging (my poor memory, strange sudden limitations on what I can eat, and how late I am capable of staying up, how little I can drink alcohol before getting sleepy and going to bed, and I rarely...RARELY smoke a cigar anymore), I miss being excited about a good old fashioned slasher film. I miss doodling images of a hockey-masked wearing killer on my school notebooks, and recounting the most vicious on-screen slaughter. I miss the thrill of a packed auditorium screaming and laughing and cheering and talking to the screen as lightning flashes and blood flows.

I miss Friday the 13th.

The last time I felt like this was in 2002.
April 2002, to be exact. I remember...I was watching television when suddenly the New Line symbol appeared in red and the trailer for Jason X played before my eyes accompanied by a heavy metal thrash hit.

“Let the Bodies Hit the Floor! Let the Bodies hit the Floor! Let the Bodies hit the Floor!”
-‘Bodies’ by Drowning Pool.

I couldn’t believe it. There he was before my eyes...Jason, back again after a long hiatus. I hadn’t seen him since the misfire of Jason Goes to Hell! Moving, hacking, swinging, punching, attacking…all set to Drowning Pool’s hit song, Bodies. What a perfect song for a slasher trailer! What a perfect song for The Sultan of Slaughter! At that time, my heart raced, and I felt it.
I felt a surge, a thrill, a rush of excitement, the kind I hadn’t felt since the good old days. The television trailer thrilled me and for the first time in a long time I said to myself...”Oh I’ve got to see that opening night!!!”

And by God, I did. It was a memorable night.

Even 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason (as fun as it was) didn’t give me the thrill of being a gore-hound horror fan. Maybe it was because I was so close to the premiere with all stars in attendance and involved with New Line directly with my local Freddy and Jason primer show... maybe it’s because Freddy vs. Jason seemed like WORK to me (planning out our show, our appearance, the promos etc)...maybe in the end, it wasn’t a Friday the 13th movie, but a ‘What If’ style of a mish-mash of two horror universes. It was a thrilling bloody good time, to be sure, but it did not give me the classic Friday the 13th thrill.

It’s been 6 years now...and the woods have been seemingly safe. But midnight, all that will change.

This seems to be a classic Friday the 13th Movie. It has all the elements right, (according to the trailers) fun-loving beautiful and handsome teens, drinking, partying, smoking, (and apparently in one memorable shot topless water-skiing!!!), dire warnings from the locals about the dangers of the woods (Crazy Ralph-style), a tragedy and a mother driven to bloody rage and madness and a maniacally strong angry human-beast in a hockey mask in the woods with sharp weapons.

The bodies will hit the floor tonight, and for the first time in YEARS...I’ll be in attendance at a Midnight Premiere Show. Oh my 39-year old self will hate it in the morning...but I CANNOT and WILL NOT miss this.
For the first time in many years, since 1986’s part VI: Jason Lives, I think we’ll be treated to a SERIOUS Friday the 13th horror film that might go for the scares and the serious kills.

(Apologies to my friend John Carl Buechler who’s Part VII: the New Blood sincerely attempted to bring Jason back to his frightening roots with amazing effects and gore…most of which ended on the cutting room floor).

Think about it. It won’t be Freddy vs. Jason and it won’t be the self-referential Jason X ...heck it’s won’t even be A New beginning or (thank God) Jason Takes Manhattan.
I have a really good feeling about this. I think we’re all about to be treated to a return to the CLASSIC Jason Voorhees.

Remember the guy who pinned Crispin Glover’s hand to the counter with a corkscrew and planted a meat cleaver in his face in the short time before it took him to make a single sound? Remember the guy who ripped morgue attendant Axel's neck with a hacksaw and violently twisted his head 160 degrees around? Remember the guy who chopped Andy in half as he walked on his hands in part 3?

Well. I think THAT guy is back. And me? Well that Gore-Hound, who stayed up late and watched splatter films rented from a local mom and pop store, walked to my local one-screen grindhouse-style neighborhood theatre to watch late-night double features and hung Fangoria Posters of carnage and death on his wall? Well, I guess he’s back too.

Jason will never die.

As long as fans of the series are around, and there’s money to be made, Jason Voorhees will stalk us in the darkest corners of our fears. Beware! Deep in the woods there lurks a monster, an enraged beast that kills. Stay out of the woods and you MAY be safe, but remember, as Alice Cooper sang, “he knows your house!”

Ki Ki Ki Ma Ma Ma!!.

The thunder rumbles through the sky and the lightning flashes illuminate the world. The rain pours down keeping a steady rhythmic beat on the room of your cabin in the woods. Inside you are safe and warm, the fireplace is casting a soft warm glow. The object of your affections is pressed up next to you, warm and comforting.
SUDDENLY the door to the cabin blows open filling your love nest with rain and wind…as you look up a huge figure is silhouetted against the lightning flashes. His hulking form fills the doorway. The figure is bald, and wears a hockey mask. Clutched in his hand, dripping with rain, is a long handled axe. The smell of rot fills the room and your heart is racing. The figure studies you for a moment, apparently remembering some ancient past sin committed against it (he just wanted to swim) then purposefully stalks forward.

You have just enough time to scream.

Welcome back Jason.
Look out!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A modern Icon returns

Horror Cinema is a magical thing. Action films spawn heroes which, like the effects in the films from which they are born, burn bright and hot, yet fade quickly and are as quickly forgotten as the next star explodes onto the scene. Dramas spawn heart throbs and leading ladies which wither with age, manically trying to cling to popularity with tiring typecast rolls. The Westerns have given us legendary persona's. But only Horror films have given us true icons. Images burned into the public consciousness not as actors, nor even as characters, but distilled to something more eternal in the mind's eye, as vibrant and intense images.

Oh, you don't believe me? Well I challenge you then. Ask five people under the age of 25 who the following 10 people/characters are: Jean Claude VanDam, Chuck Norris, Julia Roberts, Faye Dunaway, Brad Pitt, Ingrid Bergman, Harry Callaghan, Scarlett O'Hara, Hondo Lane, Sam Spade.

Now ask the same people if they could identify the Frankenstein Monster, Dracula, the Wolf Man, Freddy Kruger and of Course Jason from Friday the 13th, and I bet the results will contrast quite considerably. As much as I hate to admit it, Boris Karloff, Bella Lugosi, Peter Lorre and Lon Chaney (Jr. and Sr.), legends of horror suffer the same fate, but the characters they portrayed are eternal. How many different faces played Dracula or the Frankenstein monster? But their images are as recognizable in our society as those of Jesus of Nazareth and Abraham Lincoln.

Indeed there were better written screen plays, more intriguing characters, and scarier tales than Friday the 13th, but as much as I personally prefer the Halloween films, I cannot deny that Jason Voorhees is the face of horror through the 80's an iconic image just as prevalent and recognizable as Dracula.

In an era that redefined the horror genre with blood fests and Slasher flicks the Friday the13th franchise defined them all and has placed the goalie masked visage of Jason into our cultural identity.

Dismiss the Friday the 13th films as tired and out dated, or even lame and childish if you like, but remember that they have achieved what historic films like Bridge on the River Kwai, Citizen Cane, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ben Hur, and even Gone with the Wind never could.

Here's to hoping that this newest installment hearkens back to those early years of the franchise while in its prime.

G. Macabre

Monday, February 9, 2009

A further guide to zombie Planning: Firearms pt.2

Now we've taken a short trip through the overall types of firearms, we have to get a little deeper if we're going to do this right. So in part two we'll cover a bit on actions and ammunition because there's a lot more to a boom stick than a barrel, a trigger and some magical force that makes things go splat.

The action is the mechanism that places the round in the chamber and by pulling the trigger releases the firing pin, which strikes the primer of cartridge, thus igniting the powder which forces the bullet out the barrel. OK got that, simple enough right. So lets do this in the same format as part one.

Also this is a bit of a generalization, as some makes and models may have features that do not completely coincide with the norms I state here, for example the model 1885 Winchester lever action which is a top loading box magazine rifle which shoots various full caliber center fire rifle cartridges does not fit with every +or- I have listed with lever action rifles.

Long Arms, Carbine rifles and Shotguns: Antique and specialty arms aside there are five basic actions: Bolt, Lever, Pump, Semi-automatic/automatic and Break actions. Now there are variations within each category, but we're talking about zombies here, not instructing a full firearms course and even then that's getting a bit too involved, so lets just stick with those for now.

Bolt Action: This is the simplest type of action there is, a round is placed in the receiver/body of the gun either manually or through the magazine, the bolt containing the firing pin is then closed manually cocking the firearm and pushing the cartridge into the chamber to be fired. The bolt is manually opened extracting the spent casing. Now the important stuff, how does this affect your zombie plan?

+ Simplicity: Fewer moving mechanical parts means less room for error and malfunction. With a horde of zombies within the gates, it is not a good time for a gun to pack it in.

+ Tear Down and Maintenance: Hand in hand with simplicity, bolt actions are very simple to take apart and clean or perform other necessary maintenance. Remember a clean firearm is a working firearm. Lets face it society has collapsed, and it could be a long time to get replacement parts.

+ Single shot capability: Ammunition can be manually loaded individually directly into the chamber. This may not seem like a big plus, but say you've used all the rounds loaded into your gun and only have a loose pocket or box of them and there's that next zombie coming at you. Not having to manually load a magazine and then chamber a round may be more significant than you might first think.

+ Accuracy: Largely because of their simplicity and fewest moving parts and locking bolt, bolt action rifles are generally considered the most accurate rifles.

- Full Recoil: With the bolt locked in place the full recoil of the rifle firing is coming back at you. If you've got a lot of zombies to shoot that can become quite tiring after a while. Fatigue will affect your shooting accuracy and more misses means more precious ammo wasted.

- Slower rate of fire: Typically bolt actions rifles will be significantly slower to get that next round chambered. A lower rate of fire means the advancing zombies might get through that door or window and into the room and then things start looking grim. I will point out the obvious exception here is the legendary speed of the Lee Enfield action where, German forces advancing during the early days of WWI thought the British had machine guns because of the rate of fire. Standard training requirements were that a British soldier had to be able to fire off a minimum of 15 aimed shots and hit a 200yd target in one minute. With practice one could easily exceed this.

- Left hand awkward: Only commercial sporting arms are manufactured for left hand use. While I know left handed shooters how have gotten quite proficient with right hand bolts, cycling the action manually with each shot to repel a zombie attack would still be limiting. Not an issue if you're right handed obviously.

Lever Action: The classic cowboy rifle, the Winchester lever action is legendary. The first rifle to be manufactured for today's smokeless powders, the Winchester model 1894, or simply 94 (also practically synonymous with the term 30-30 which was created for this gun)has been in production from 1894 to 2006 and the basic design is still in production from other notable manufacturers.

+ Ease of Operation: With a simple downward flick of the wrists another round is chambered and you're ready to knock down another corpse. By utilizing only one simple motion to eject and re-chamber another round and by utilizing gross motor coordination rather than fine motor skills, these are quite possibly the finest choices of manually operated actions.

+ Great ergonomics: Short, light and magnificently well balanced these guns are a dream to shoulder and shoot. Less time thinking and aiming is good when you turn a corner and find yourself face to face with a half dozen living dead.

+ Rapid rate of fire: By the ease of operation, rapid rate of fire is a given, and the less time between shots means less time for the Zombies to advance.

+ Easy reload: the classic loading trap on the side of the receiver works so well it is simple enough to load ammunition into the tube magazine in complete darkness.

+ Left hand friendly: If you're a lefty these are equally easy to shoot and operate, although they typically load on the right.

+\- Interchangeable ammunition: Many lever action rifles are made to use the same ammunition that you would use in a hand gun, which works great for interchangeability, especially between a rifle and a hand gun! Almost an ideal situation if out in no-man's land (at the expense of range and power of course). However the .30-30 and .45-70 ammunition is almost exclusive to these guns without much cross over with many other firearms.

+\- Recoil: While the lever action rifles do have full recoil which can beat on a person especially if using the grand 'ol .45-70 big bores, the classic .30-30 and pistol rounds are quite reasonable with far less felt recoil than the usual center fire bolt action rifles.

-slow reload: simple or not one round must be pushed in manually one behind the other and this is a time consuming process.

- Not single shot friendly: A round must be inserted into the magazine before it can be properly chambered. Although it is possible to top load into the chamber on some models, you will likely face extraction issues.

- Mechanically Complex: While they have been around for over a century and have a record for reliability, there is still a lot more that can go wrong than in a bolt action. Tear down and reassembly in the field is not much of an option here. Not a rifle you want to drop in the sewer.

- Tactical reloads difficult: While I understand it's not so problematic for pistol caliber leverguns, it's near impossible to "top up" the .30-30 or larger caliber rifles as the next round to feed into the chamber blocks the loading trap, thus the rifle must be completely emptied before it can be reloaded.

- short range: Typically Lever action rifles are carbine length and considered brush guns with an effective range not typically exceeding 150 yards.

Pump Action: Typical for the shotgun, but also available for centre fire rifles.

+ Ease of operation: Again a simple hand/arm movement and your ready for the next zombie.

+ left hand friendly: The mechanics work equally well with either hand. (In fact that is the reason this was my first rifle, as I naturally draw to my left)

+\- reload speed: While some models now use removable magazines, many (especially shotguns) must be loaded in a tube magazine one round at a time which can be time consuming.

- Full recoil: Again the full force of the boom is coming back at you. Be careful here as ammunition that is loaded with extra powder can and will cause failures that a bolt action can absorb.

- Mechanically complex: While not as complex as the lever action, they are likely the most prone to experiencing feed problems. Care and cleaning is also more difficult.

- Loss of accuracy: While some will argue with me here it's pretty much commonly accepted that they are less accurate than bolt or lever action rifles at range. Some of that is in the mechanics of the action, some of that is the exaggerated arm movement required to chamber the next round and get the second shot off quickly unsettles the shooter. But the CLACK-CLACK-BOOM sure looks and feels cool.

Break Action: Major limitations here, but some good points I suppose.

+ Accuracy: Break action single shot rifles are likely the most accurate rifles out there, but are few and far between and I don't think I'd want on as my primary firearm in a zombie holocaust.

+ Simplicity: Really it doesn't get any simpler than this does it. Again care and cleaning is simple.

+Single shot capable: Well this is a no brainer (hmm, interesting pun choice...), but the poor reload rate really kind of negates this advantage.

- Reload rate: Many older break actions require the spent shell or cartridge to be removed manually slowing things up even more.

- Reduced capacity: One or two shots tops is not a good thing no matter how you cut it.

- OK really those two negatives really outweigh the previous positives by a pretty wide margin.

Automatic/semi-automatic: let's face it given the choice this is the one that the majority of gun junkies are going to grab. Whether or not that's a good thing remains to be seen, but the concept has proven itself time and again the world over in every major military conflict since the second world war. I have lumped auto and semi-auto together because they are basically the same concept just a minor variation in function.

+ Ease of operation: Load that clip or magazine, chamber the first round and away she goes until it's time to reload. All you have to do is squeeze the trigger and zombies drop.

+ Reduced recoil: The design of the Automatic/semi firearm utilizes gas pressure and recoil to cycle the firearm and in effect reduces the amount of felt recoil. Making it easier for the shooter to regain his sights on the next target quicker, and at the same time be less punishing on the shooter.

+ Reload speed: All semi/auto firearms are fed with a clip or removable magazine making reloading quick and simple.

+\- Rate of fire: Rate of fire in an automatic rifle is frankly a double edged sword. Spray and pray may work well for living opponents, but against the zombie horde, it's a waste of precious ammunition. While the semi-automatic is an infinitely better choice, and truly maxes out zombie plugging potential with rate of fire, the operator must exercise discipline because it too is almost too damn easy just to let fly with a five round burst wasting ammo and achieving nothing but making you reload all that much sooner.

- Complex design: Again a lot more to go wrong here mechanically and harder to maintain in the field. Semi-automatic rifles require a better cleaning regime to ensure they work properly. That said some designs have an uncanny history of working in the most appalling conditions with a mind boggling record, (can you say Kalashnikov).

- no single shot capability: Not as big down fall here as with other designs because of the quick reload.

- Ammunition related failures: Because this design utilizes the gas pressures of a discharging cartridge to cycle the action, another factor of ammunition tolerances becomes an issue not found in other manually operated actions. While this may not be an issue with plenty of good ammo and reloading supplies available on the market, come Z day that may change. Poor quality or "dirty" ammo will foul the rifle much quicker rendering the rifle useless if gas ports are clogged. Particularly poor quality ammo has been known to cause this to happen within the first dozen rounds fired. A gun that doesn't fire is a club at best, and it's hard to club yourself to death if that's what it comes down to.

Handguns: Again antique and specialty arms aside there are two basic actions, the revolver and the automatic pistol (automatic here does not mean continuous fire, simply auto loading).

Revolvers: Revolvers come in two styles, the single action revolver and the double action revolver. Single actions are quite primitive antique or antique clone guns which require the hammer be cocked manually (simultaneously rotating the cylinder) and the trigger simply releases the hammer. Great for Westerns and cowboy action shooting, but a bit ponderous with the walking dead coming at you at close range. With the double action revolver squeezing the trigger performs both actions in order.

+ Simplicity: Again fewer parts mean potentially fewer problems. Also cleaning and maintenance is simple.

- Slow reload rate: While some makes had design components that made reloading quicker and easier, it is still a relatively slow process, and when zombies are within handgun range, every second counts.

- low capacity: While 8 round revolvers aren't uncommon, most anything in a calibre most suitable such as the .45 are going to be the classic six shooter. And reloading often with a slow reload rate, well lets just say you should remember to count how many shots you've fired, because you'll likely be wanting to save one for yourself.

Automatic pistols: Not new technology, the automatic pistol was widely in uses as early as 1911 and operates much the same as the self loading rifles. Again available in single and double action, however as function goes it's not as big a deal. A single action automatic pistols performs just like the self loading rifles, load, cock and blast away until empty. Double action automatic hand guns do not require an initial cocking action.

+ Rate of fire: Double action revolvers, eliminating that first step in cocking speeds things up a bit. Typically if entering a dangerous situation with a single action however, one would likely have the weapon cocked and ready anyway. With both actions the ability to get that second shot off in a hurry is of major importance at this close range.

+ Large magazine capacity: An automatic pistol with a 9-15 round magazine is the norm, and the more shots in the gun means a better chance of getting out of there unscathed.

+ Quick reload rate. Automatic pistols are quickest of all firearms to reload. This is a huge plus.

- Complex design: More maintenance is required to keep them working properly and cleaning is more labour intensive. But with smaller pistol rounds the good news is they're less likely to be as dramatically affected by dirty ammo than a rifle.

Quickly on ammunition
, as really there a a whole multitude of ammunition choices available. The bigger is not always better. I mean come on you're taking out rotting corpses not Wildebeast. A well placed .22 will likely do the trick, but it's best if you give yourself a bit of wiggle room, utterly destroying the Zombies brain is a better plan than simply putting a hole through it, so select calibers that will do that whenever possible. Hand guns I would recommend no smaller than .38 or a 9mm if you cannot handle the recoil and your accuracy suffers, but a .40 or .45 would be more effective if you can shoot it well. For rifle rounds I would recommend anything that is legal for big game hunting (specifically deer or other thin skinned game). .30cal is a great choice as there are more .30cal variations available than any other, which means lost of available reloading supplies regardless of what specific round you choose.
Some military rounds are better choices than others. The current NATO 7.62X51 round is great if you have access to active military supplies, but there's not much of it on the civilian surplus market anymore. The British .303 has effectively gone extinct as far as surplus ammunition goes (and that which is out there is crap to my understanding), but is readily available as a commercial sporting round. Russian 7.62x39 surplus on the other hand is quite plentiful and inexpensive if you're stocking up. But keep in mind it will not be as easy to find while scavenging as commercial hunting ammunition.
Shotguns are popular Zombie busting fare, but as I had mentioned previously shot size is far more than gauge. Stick with buck shot of at least #4 and avoid small game loads as they will do nothing to stop all but the mushiest brain muncher.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Jackalope

This was posted on one of the forums I frequent. This hideous piece of folk art I truly find to be nightmarish enough to include here. carved on the butt stock of a rifle this thing has the makings of a horror story all of it's own. I mean it looks like it was skinned and is now really pissed off. And the claws on the thing are nuts. We're talking Jersey Devil,Chupacabras and the Goat Man levels here. Imagine this this thing stalking the wood of your home state or province dripping blood and wielding a fire axe. Supernatural slasher classic here for the amateur film maker I must say.