Episode 292: Oh Yeah…

Photo of author



Zombie Cliche Lookout: The Callback

When a story starts getting more complicated by interweaving multiple, semi-independent plots, the audience has a tendency to get stuck within a particular arc. The answer? throwing in some simple callbacks. It doesn’t have to be much, or even very direct. A character can mention something from the other story arc, or perhaps there can be something in the background that recalls what else is going on. Perhaps something that was left behind by another character? Or maybe a few really recognizable zombies.

About this Episode:

LEGO® minifigs are a lot of fun to use to make comics, but there are a number of drawbacks. You don’t get a lot of expression, they tend to naturally look amusing, and then there’s the fact that the lack of articulation can make posing quite difficult at times.

Discussion Question: Scariest Movie

So we’ve been dancing around this one quite a bit already, so let’s just cut to the chase. What movie do you consider the scariest, and why? How does it avoid the pitfalls we talked about earlier? And how does it use those frightening techniques? I’ve got two examples: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Alien.

The first is an absolute masterpiece of creating an unsettling atmosphere. It stuck with me ages after I watched the film. One of things that I really, really liked about the movie is that most of the victims aren’t terribly likable, especially the brother in a wheelchair. It’s like the film is almost daring you to root for him to die. The villains are also extraordinarily creepy. The film (and terrible sequels and prequels) are known for Leatherface, but the rest of his family is even creepier.

Alien, on the other hand, relied on incredible lighting, set construction, and shot framing to do a lot of the fear building. While the titular monster was indeed scary, seeing only parts of it at a time added to the tension in incredible ways. You were never quite sure where it was, what it wanted, or what its capabilities could be.

38 thoughts on “Episode 292: Oh Yeah…”

  1. Of course, callbacks can backfire on you. What happens when too much time has passed for both parties (or is that both groups?) involved? Let’s say by the time they rescue Sam, he’s nice and comfortable in his new group, and doesn’t want to leave. What will they do then?

    Murphy, being an officer of the law, has probably seen the whole gamut of tantrums, and their likely effects on those having them. But how will the rest of the group react to Sam’s new situation? Of course, I’m jumping ahead here, but again, I’m thinking long term and I’m thinking by the time they do get Sam back, assuming he wants to come back, that things will have changed significantly.

    Ultimately they may have to be prepared to lose Sam and not to zombies, either, which could make a much more gripping storyline than if he had simply become zombie chow! 😀

    • Very good points. Those churchie folks are trying to win Sam over to their side, and if they play their cards right, things could get weird.

  2. please don’t kill off anymore female characters….

    • I know; there are only four women in this damn comic.

      • You could so easily fix that – but how would you do it without annoying the wife? 😀

  3. Well, I put my list on the previous comic already. Of those 15 I listed, yeah, Alien probably wins, for reasons you already stated.

    Also, when it first came out, Sigourney Weaver didn’t have top billing, and there were better-known stars. That added to the “anyone can die” sense of it, and built the tension.

    • “Also, when it first came out, Sigourney Weaver didn’t have top billing, and there were better-known stars. That added to the “anyone can die” sense of it, and built the tension.”

      Excellent point, here. In fact, Alien was her first film.

    • I’m sure everyone knows at this point, but her character was originally written as a man.

      • Interestingly; the writers tried to write every character to be interchangeable by the casting director. They could cast a man or a woman and it wouldn’t make any nevermind. But they never expected them to do that with Ripley, since she’s the protagonist.

        • I see that. I thought it was hilarious that the one freaking out goes from the chic in the first movie to the not-so bad ass marine in the second. lol

        • Hudson (the not-so badass marine) is one of my favorite characters.

  4. OK so this is long… sorry!

    “Event Horizon” scared the crap out of me. I actually walked out because I was so scared.

    If you haven’t seen it, it is about a space ship named Event Horizon that, while testing a system to create wormholes for fast travel through space, disappears just outside of Jupiter. I reappears several years later without its crew. A new team then sent to the ship to determine where it has been and what happened to the crew. This movie has several scenes where the new crew watch video of what happened to the old crew but the audience only gets snippets of what they see.

    OK so what scared me so much? The not really knowing what they were seeing!! The bits and pieces that you see are gruesome and totally looks like what I think Hell will be like. My imagination took over and I ran out.

    I guess for me less is more. I’d rather hear the banging, creaking and breathing and freak myself out than let the director do it for me. lol

    • It’s really funny you mentioned Event Horizon. I’ve been on a huge space-horror kick lately, and just watched that yesterday. I hadn’t watched it since it came out on DVD years and years ago, but had fond memories of it.

      Rewatching it, I absolutely hated the movie. I was thinking about doing a review of it here, but I wasn’t sure of the interest level since it contains no zombies.

      • I figure that if I watch it now, I’d think it was dumb and kick myself for being a chicken but this comes from the same woman who just watched The Exorcist for the first time last weekend. lol Too scared before.

        • Well The Exorcist is a different story. It’s very divisive and seems like it affects people very differently. For some, it’s the scariest movie ever. For others, it’s just stupid.

          I’m somewhere in the middle. It doesn’t scare me, per se, but it’s unsettling. Either way, it’s an extremely well crafted film.

        • I fell in the middle was well. Thought it was so well made and can see where it influnced other directors.

        • I think it tends to work better on religious folks, given the subject matter.

        • Turns out after Exorcist was released there was a spike in church attendance. Do you watch the spider walk in the Exorcist?
          I used to be afraid of Jaws and the original movie Piranha but I saw them when they came out and I lived off a large lake. Movies that crush you will to do what you want as for me swimming at night is what makes something truly scary.
          One movie that shook me was When A Stranger Calls (original) “Have you checked the children?”
          I grew up watching movies I shouldn’t have. Like Children of the Living Dead I saw before NotLD. Besides the movie are so different about their approach. Back in the day, Movies were story driven and not copied. My first slasher was a movie called The Burning. I could watch it but my mom wouldn’t dare. Step dad had me watch the Deer Hunter when I was 8. I’m so desensitized its sad.

        • Oh man, my parents wouldn’t let me watch any of that stuff. I think my first R movie was Tremors, and that scared the shit out of me (little me didn’t realize it was a comedy).

        • I grew up watching just about anything my parents would allow themselves to watch. So I had also watched quite a few disturbing things that helped desensitize me to scary things, but oddly enough the thing that got to me the most when I was a kid was zombies.

          But honestly the thing I had found the scariest was Cabin Fever. I don’t find it as disturbing or even close to as scary as I use to.

        • I saw that movie in the theater. Hated every minute of it.

    • … but something about something or someone eating the flesh off my skin gets my attention. I love you Zombies. Call me

  5. The shining or IT ( stephen king is a great horror writer)

    • I missed the boat on IT. I think I was too old when I finally watched it, and didn’t like it; let alone find it scary. The Shining is awesome. Not only is it scary, it’s an incredibly well made film.

      The Shining does a lot of interesting things that you probably don’t even notice. Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sUIxXCCFWw

    • Clowns are scary on thier own. Add those teeth and bloody mouth and you have the stuff of nightmares. Even the book scared me.

      • I think that’s one of the big reasons IT didn’t work for me. I don’t find clowns scary. I think they’re funny.

        I like mimes too.

  6. Poor Sam

  7. What’s happening to him, huh? Bet the wait is because Dave had to build the sets for the place he’s in.

    • Hey, calm down a little. I’m just as interested in what’s been happening to Murphy and the gang, and this setup arc we’re currently on looks like it could be headed somewhere.

      Dave already has some sets for the place Sam’s in, but I think perhaps he would be building some exterior views for it. Or more interiors. I guess it depends on how big that church they are in is, and whether Dave has the time to lay out the necessary scenery elements.

      If you just chill a little, relax a bit, and let Dave build the sets he needs, all will be well – if he feels rushed he’s probably either going to do a bad job or head into an entirely different arc, depending on what mood he’s in after reading your posts.

      So, please, relax and be kind to Dave, because the only reason he does this webcomic is because he wants to, not because you want him to get somewhere particular with it. 😀

      • We’ll get back to Sam soon, but for now, I want to concentrate on this story.

        I’m trying to do something that we don’t typically see in zombie stories: people sitting down like adults and coming up with a plan. I happens in quite a few books, but even then there’s usually one “leader” calling the shots.

        And as far as Sam goes, yes, I have a few sets that need to be built. I’ve got some interesting things planned for Sam.


    • What bothers you so much about profanity?

    • Chill Brickicide its no biggy Dave cussing it all happens to us like now THIS COMIC IF F***ING AWESOME!That was my example of cussing

  9. dave, I thought you just meant stories not movies but yeah I have not seen the movie adaptation (if there is one) for IT

  10. “What bothers you so much about profanity” is kind of an oxymoron. I just was raised not to swear. Could you at least bleep it?

    • I don’t see how it’s an oxymoron at all.

      As far as bleeping it goes, I’m not comfortable doing that. I try to keep things fairly PG13 around here, considering the medium. However, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with swearing. Done to excess, of course, it’s boring.

      If you’re offended by it, I’m sorry. I don’t think I swear excessively.

    • I was raised to speak my mind

  11. “oxymoron”

    I do not think it means, what you think it means.