Urban Dead and Other AV Club Love
A couple of pieces popped up over at the AV Club today that are worthy of some attention. The most pertinent to horror fans is an excellent essay on They Live written by Scott Tobias as part of his ongoing "New Cult Canon" series. Tobias addresses a lot of the issues that swirl throughout that film. It's certainly Carpenter's most overtly subversive film, filleting Reagen-era America with almost comic levels of paranoia. The film plays on pretty standard anxieties about class divisions and the role that the dominant ideology plays in exacerbating those rifts. These themes are usually more common in sci-fi, which one could argue They Live is, but Carpenter makes a pretty conscious decision to ramp up the action and horror elements. Of course, Roddy Piper's inclusion didn't hurt that effort.
The other piece worth checking out is a review of the text based MMO Urban Dead. As one of the commenters on that thread mentions, the review is outrageously late, as the game has been around for years now, but it nevertheless draws attention to the interesting if not entirely successful zombie-based video game. Apparently, the developers have been doing some cross promotional stuff with the British release of Romero's Diary of the Dead, so that could explain the tardiness.
I played Urban Dead pretty hardcore for a little while back in the day when I was working for a poorly run internet start-up. I had nothing to do, so would sit around reading the incredibly deep Urban Dead message boards and wiki. Therein lies the problem though. As a text based game, the Urban Dead experience can be hampered when players want to play a lot at once. With only 50 moves to make, and with moves only reloading at 1 every 30 minutes, if you try to do too much in one sitting you can get frustrated. It's definitely an interesting concept though, and for folks looking for a low impact way to waste some time on the web, you could do a lot worse.
I had let my characters lapse a while back, but after reading this review, decided to check in. I'm playing as Lyle McGovern Jr, currently located in the Thompson Mall. Lyle McGovern Sr is around somewhere too, but he was zombified a while back so I don't check in with him that often. Look me up if you ever make it to Malton.