Movie- featured review: Undead

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I must preface my review by saying I totally dig zombie movies. In all other respects, I hate horror movies. I don’t like seeing people getting eaten by giant sharks or swamp monsters. I don’t like watching chainsaw-wielding maniacs run around beheading people. But a good old fashion zombie stomp? I am sooo there. If I had to guess, I’d say my predilection for such films harks back to college, wherein I took a film class — and wrote an analysis of the symbolism found in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.

Thus began my love affair with zombies. Well, you know, not literally. Because that would be gross. Imagine all the parts that could fall off when things started getting heated, not to mention the inconvenience of having your lover obsessed with trying to eat your brain. Just…not cool, man.

Anyway, onto the movie. Undead is a totally original gem out of Australia. It combines all the best qualities of Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead and the Resident Evil movies. I know that sounds like a tall order for one quirky little indie film, but trust me, Undead is up to the task. The special effects are astonishingly well-done, and the acting is top-notch. In fact, after watching this, I’ve now decided that I would love to have Felicity Mason (the lead in Undead) play Jax. She’s that good.

Writer/directors Michael and Peter Spierig are ones to watch, mark my words. They’ve written a surprisingly tight story where there’s foreshadowing, clues given, deft touches of bizarre humor, and everything wraps up in a way that was quite astonishingly skillful. Undead is pure ass-kicking fun, all the way.

I give this film two thumbs waaaaaaaay up. But don’t take my word for it:

Wacky, inventive, and outrageously gory, Undead is a reason to believe that low-budget horror can still knock it out of the ballpark every once in a while. More than just echoing the visual style and humor of Sam Raimi and early Peter Jackson, the Spierig brothers have crafted a film that will undoubtedly deliver to midnight movie lovers around the globe who are looking for a laugh-out-loud, bloody time every now and then. Exceptional low-level effects are handled far better than you’d think, while the performances by a mostly unknown cast never come off stilted, but at points, downright inspired. There’s a manic energy to the movie that only tends to come out of gifted filmmakers at the beginning of their game… ~ Jeremy Wheeler, All Movie Guide

Or how about this from

Springing from the imaginations of twin brothers Peter and Michael Spierig, Undead is an ambitious low-budget endeavour that succeeds on every level. With the zombie genre, there is no way to avoid certain obvious references and the Spierig brothers bow their heads in respect not only to George Romero, the Zombie King himself, but to the Princes of the domain, Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson – and even to the Court Jester of gunplay, John Woo. Undead is more splat-stick comedy than pure horror, with zombie fish, an insecure cop who spews the most inventive curses ever and re-animated torsos galore.

If you can get a hold of this movie, check it out. It is made of awesome…with sprinkles!

Parental advisory

I got curious and ran this blog through a rating site:

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* sex (6x)
* bitches (5x)
* crack (4x)
* shit (3x)
* gun (2x)
* porn (1x)

I guess I shouldn’t have written that article entitled, “Bitches Who Love Crack, Sex, Guns, Porn and Other Shit.” When will I learn?

For added interest, I ran some popular blogs through this rate-o-meter:

It’s Not Chick Porn = PG
Karen Scott = NC-17
Dear Author = PG
The Smart Bitches? “We were unable to fetch and rate the URL you entered.” Like damn and whoa.

Dear Readers

I got an email last night from Nalini Singh, congratulating me. To say I was puzzled… is an understatement. I immediately wrote back, begging for clarification. What did I do? Was it good?!

As it turns out, Grimspace made the Locus Bestseller list. Look at Grimspace, riding the paperback list at number four. What does this mean? Well, I can go around calling myself a National Bestselling Author, if I want to. More to the point, it means you guys are awesome. If you hadn’t read it and talked about it, recommended it to each other and spread the word, this wouldn’t have happened. Readers are the true rockstars, and I am grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

But wait, there’s more. Today has been a hell of a good day. I heard from my editor, Anne Sowards, who has sent my urban fantasy novel to a number of authors in hopes of acquiring blurbs. Check out what this author said about Blue Diablo.

Advance Praise
“Ann Aguirre proves herself yet again in this gritty, steamy and altogether wonderful urban fantasy. Outstanding and delicious. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.”
–NYT Bestselling author Patricia Briggs

Yeah, you read that right. I got a blurb from Patricia Briggs. I have now been blurbed by my two writing idols, Sharon Shinn and Patricia Briggs. You should have heard the squeeing.

But wait, there’s more!

I got invited to participate in WorldCon in Denver this summer, which means I get to meet Sharon Shinn. She has agreed that we should do lunch or drinks while we’re both there. (And I’m so thrilled I could bust.)

But wait, there’s more!

I got a new pen this weekend. Not just any pen. It combines the bold quality of a marker with the precision of a pen. They call it the Pilot Bravo! (With exclamation point on pen). That was how I knew it was special, not every pen gets an ! Lori T, I signed your ARC with it. I signed yours too, SmartBitch Sarah! I’m just fixing to leave to drop them in the mail.

There may be more exciting news to announce, but I must keep mum for now. Thanks for celebrating with me.

You know, I’m so happy that I think I’m gonna make this a contest. I feel like sharing the love. Just post a comment and then I’ll draw a random winner next week on June 9th. I’ll buy and send any book as long as it doesn’t cost more than $25. Let’s dance!

bonus post: i’m gonna make you bitches cry

In the US, we don’t prize our elderly. We don’t respect their wisdom. We hide them away in homes because they become unsightly and forgetful and querulous. Why? Because they remind us we’re heading there ourselves. They make us think about death, so we try to shove them under the proverbial rug.

That isn’t the case in Mexico. There aren’t really any old folks homes here. They stay with their families until they die, end of story. I suspect it’s like that in other countries as well.

Well, not all seniors are ready to be put out to pasture. Read this article. Seriously. Do it. Now!

That just charmed the shit out of me. These folks rock for real. And now, I’m gonna work your soft spot like you wouldn’t believe. Watch this: [youtube=] Not a dry eye in the house, right? Our music, when taken by another generation, gains a whole new meaning, like when Johnny Cash sang Hurt. I salute you, [email protected], and I’m buying your CD, Rockin’ at Heaven’s Door, when it comes out.

hot guys for the hell of it

It’s Sunday, sunny and 78 degrees. The noche buena tree outside my office is in lush red bloom, likewise the pink and purple bougainvillea growing on the terracotta courtyard wall. On the other side of the garden, the roses are struggling a bit because it’s been dry, but the mandarin orange tree is thriving. So is the palm tree and the aloe vera plant. The hydrangea looks lovely as well. This is one of the things I love about Mexico. Flowers bloom here pretty much all the time.

Since it’s such a pretty day here, I’m gonna give ya’ll something pretty to admire. Without further ado, I give you: hot guys for the hell of it.

These are beautiful men from all ethnicities. I hope you see some old favorites and some new faces that make you go, “Daaaaaaaaaamn, he’s fine.” You’re so welcome.

’scuse me while I squee

Once in a while, I run across an author who makes everything I slog through as a reviewer worthwhile. Such authors are squee-worthy, and as soon as I develop a powerful new author crush, I immediately run off to my blog because I want to tell the world about it. I’ll write a formal review of The Devil’s Candy for RRT, but I want to gush a bit before I get down to business.

Meet my latest eighth wonder of the world, Lauren Sharman. Not since I stumbled on the Delaney books, written by Iris Johansen, have I had such a giddy feeling of incredulous delight. Ms. Sharman is writing a series of linked single-title books about a clan of rough and tumble men who live in Maryland. With names like Rebel and Blackie, these men embody the Old West style of men who are ready to throw down but also eager to make sweet, sweet love to their women. Imagine being the heroine, formerly alone in the world, suddenly surrounded by a close-knit group of men who love you and will protect you to their last breath. Sound delicious? It really, truly is. I’ve never been to Maryland, but her setting intrigues me so much that I want to vacation there now.

Ms. Sharman has almost reinvented the contemporary genre because she doesn’t write about the rich and the beautiful. These are downhome people, blue collar romances. The heroines fix their own cars and shoot guns like pros. Her heroes have been to prison a time or two and maybe ran with a biker gang back in the day. Her writing style is captivating. I’m so excited by her book, The Devil’s Candy, that I’m running out to buy the prequel right now. I’m sort of anal in that I hate reading books out of order, but she managed to make this book totally stand on its own, so I didn’t feel like I was clueless about all the action that had come before in No Worries. I’m getting it, though. I need to read Rebel and Gypsy’s story now. (How can you not love an author who can make names like this work? They’re part and parcel with her setting, evoking wilderness and the Wild West right there in Maryland). Ms. Sharman’s style reminds me a little of Sharon Sala, if that helps any. She wrote a fabulous book called Jackson Rule, which had an ex-con hero like these McCasseys.

Blackie was so good. Who doesn’t love a big, tough man who is gentle as a lamb with the woman he loves? He could kill a man with one blow, and he has killed before, but he’d never lay a hand on his woman. For her part, Angel is a killer too; she’s mean as snake, but I adore her. She’s Blackie’s match from the jump. I love this bit:

“If you’re going to continue to do that,” she said, “then you’d better kill me. I may be a woman and I may be small, but I’m evil, and as dangerous as any of you with a gun. Wasting your sorry ass would make my day, Prince. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve killed a man, either. And I don’t have the conscience my brother did, so if you think I’d get cold feet just before pulling the trigger, you’re dead wrong.”

These McCassey men are rough and rugged with dark hair and deep blue eyes. When they’re young, they terrorize Washington County with their wild ways, but once they’re tamed by a woman’s love, they become the ultimate family men, willing to lay down their lives for their ladies. If you’ve read Iris Johansen’s Delaney books or Nora Roberts’s Chesapeake Bay saga, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You mess with one McCassey, you fight them all. Ms. Sharman evokes this feeling of devotion and family that’s tearfully joyous in its warmth.

I feel like I’m not expressing just how cool her writing is. Best I can do is recommend you check her out for yourself. I could read tons of books about these McCasseys. I hope she never gets tired of writing them.