Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Night Of The Living Martians!

I picked up The War of the Worlds, Plus  Blood, Guts and  Zombies on a lark when I found it discounted for almost no money at some store I forget now. It seemed a harmless prank of a comic and maybe I'd give it a chance some time. That time has come.

The story mirrors the original novel, in fact is identical to it through large sections. Eventually after the Martians land radiation from their bullet-like capsule triggers a change in people which results in their rising from the dead, even when they've been roasted by the infamous heat ray.

That a zombie plague is unleashed by radiation from space is reminiscent of the off hand explanation which is proffered in the George Romero classic Night of the Living Dead. There the suspected culprit was an irradiated satellite, but that is not conclusive in any way. Here the trigger is clearly the coming of the Martians, though the zombies are not agents of the invaders.

So this story is unlike Ed Wood's notorious Plan 9 From Outer Space (originally titled Grave Robbers from Outer Space) in which outer space aliens reanimated the dead as part of a larger world-conquering scheme. The evident fact that the plan is ridiculous and doom to utter failure aside, the three animated corpses do constitute at least a meager threat, at least to humans too stupid to get out of their way.

In this novel the zombies seem to rise in the shadow of the invasion and create a separate but still dangerous threat to the humans who are besieged seemingly on all sides. The story sadly though is all too familiar and anyone having read the original will quickly notice that the zombies are mostly a sideshow who pop up now and again to menace people, but don't really offer a formidable threat on their own. They seem to get forgotten for long sections of the story.

Sadly this book is a missed opportunity with little imagination displayed aside from the original conceit of adding zombies to the invasion story. I expected more variety and more twists, but quickly became bored with the proceedings. There are a couple of supposed shocks, but they are too few and much too far between to keep it zesty.

It's an oddball book which I cannot really recommend. It's just rather dull.

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  1. Back in the '80s (or maybe early '90s) British TV's Channel 4 broadcast a season of terrible films that were "so bad they're good" and 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' was one of them - it was amusing at first but the novelty soon wore off as the films were just appalling. But re-animating the dead as a plan for world conquest - that was the plot of the recent Doctor Who finale !!

    1. I get in the mood for some Ed Wood from time to time. Plan 9 is far from the worst movie ever made, it's not even the worst movie Wood ever made -- That would be "Night of the Ghouls", a movie so cheaply and clumsily made that it makes Plan 9 look like a slick Hollywood production. Stupid fun.

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