What happens on the fourth day?

What happens on the fourth day?

  • DC vs. Marvel

    We recently learned what DC’s (current) plan for their movies between now and 2020.  Including 2013’s Man of Steel, they’ll have a total of 13 movies in their shared cinematic universe (assuming they follow through with the standalone Superman and Batman movies).  Marvel, meanwhile, announced a plan yesterday to expand their slate of movies to 21, not counting whatever they have planned for 2020 itself.  For effectively being eight years behind, DC is certainly doing a good job of “catching up”, as some think their sole objective is.  Personally, that’s a little too cynical even for me.


    JusticeLeagueVsAvengers (image credit -


    So, let’s just talk for a bit about the movies announced for Marvel’s “Phase 3″.  It’s slightly different from the schedule that came out over the summer, but that’s to be expected.  And, it’s just loose enough so Marvel and DC can play in the same sandbox in alternate months (mostly); no more head-to-heads like when we almost had “Batman vs. Superman vs. Iron Man vs. Captain America”.  Now, it’ll just be plain old DC vs. Marvel (vs. all the other blockbuster franchises that’ll come out by the end of the decade).


  • Zombie Month: World War Z

    SubtextThis October is Zombie Month at Fourth-day Universe.  Over the past four weeks, we’ve brought you Magic Zombies, Virus Zombies, Alien Zombies, and Zombie Revenants.  For these last few days, we’re bringing you full-blown zombie apocalypses, whatever their source.  Today’s example is Max Brooks’ seminal novel, World War Z.


    While the 2013 Brad Pitt adaptation may have won an award or two at this year’s Unis, no one can deny it varied wildly from the source material.  Maybe Hollywood couldn’t stomach the idea of making a zombie apocalypse movie that wasn’t all action and clichés; I dunno.  The book itself is pure satire and social commentary, as you’d expect any great zombie story to be.  While I find the politics of the characters involved to be naïve, personally, and don’t agree at all with the zombie virus or the “perfect storm” of an outbreak that Brooks created, none of that is the point of the book.  A reporter in a post-apocalypse world is interviewing survivors, government and military officials, and other important figures from the zombie war, weaving a narrative of the destruction for the reader.  The entire book is told from the perspective of interviewer and interviewee, and it’s very well-written.


    Solanum, the zombie virus Brooks created for the novel, was actually originally created for his book The Zombie Survival Guide, which goes into great detail about the virus’ effects and how to protect yourself (of course).  When his “survival guide” became so popular, Brooks wrote World War Z, and later, a few short stories set in the same continuity.  As much as I disagree with the particulars and the politics, like I said, I enjoyed the novel, and wish they had adhered to it much more closely for the movie.


    Stephen Monteith doesn’t like to discuss politics on this site, so that’s about as close as you’ll see it get.  You can read his original fiction at

  • Zombie Month: Zombi 2


    Two questions:

    1) Do you love Zombie movies?

    2) Have you seen Lucio Fulci’s 1979 film Zombi 2?

    If your answer to the first question was yes, then you should definitely have had the same answer for the second.  Along with launching the long and extremely influential genre of the Italian zombie film and being one of the best zombie films ever made, Zombi 2 is also one of the best horror films ever made.


  • Zombie Month: Jason

    FT13-Logo (image credit - October is Zombie Month at Fourth-day Universe.  Each day, we’ll bring you a new example of these mostly creepy, sometimes charming creatures.  The fourth week is Revenants, the dead who return for revenge, whether for themselves or for someone else.  The final entry on our list of Revenants is the ultimate mama’s boy; though, you shouldn’t call him that unless you want a machete in the face, or worse.  From the Friday the 13th franchise, we present Jason Voorhees.


    Camp Crystal Lake is cursed, or so they say.  At the very least, people who spend a lot of time around the lake, whether it be at the camp, in a lake house, or on a boat headed for Manhattan, do tend to die bloody.  We have Jason to thank for that; mostly, anyway.  In the first movie (spoiler alert), the killer was actually his mother, Mrs. Pamela Voorhees, who wanted to punish the camp counselors who let her son drown in the lake because they were having sex.  Hence, we have the trope of people becoming targets in horror movies if they have sex.  While Mrs. Voorhees was trying to avenge her son, her death at the end prompts Jason to avenge his mother; for, like, a dozen movies.


    It might seem strange including him in a series on zombies, since it turns out he wasn’t really dead, just very hard to kill.  In the past, we’ve included Jason in the category of “unkillable monsters”.  Well, not all zombies can be killed, either, and for about half the movie franchise, Jason is officially “undead”.  His “revenance” begins in the sixth movie, Jason Lives, when he is risen from the dead in an effort to erase his evil forever.


    Ironic?  Yeah, let's go with ironic.

    Ironic? Yeah, let’s go with ironic.


    Stephen Monteith prefers good old-fashioned slasher films to modern trends like found-footage, and Friday the 13th helped cement the slasher genre.  You can read his original fiction at

  • Zombie Month: High Plains Drifter

    Clint Eastwood High Plains Drifter (image credit - October is Zombie Month at Fourth-day Universe.  Each day, we’ll bring you a new example of these mostly creepy, sometimes charming creatures.  The fourth week is Revenants, the dead who return to the land of the living for as long as it takes to get revenge.  If you haven’t seen High Plains Drifter, the 1973 Clint Eastwood film, then I guess I just spoiled the whole movie for you.


    High Plains Drifter tells the tale of a “mysterious stranger”, played by Clint Eastwood, who arrives in a small frontier town indebted to a gang of gunfighters.  Since the stranger singlehandedly guns down the three men who were supposed to protect the town, they turn to him for help.  At night, he’s plagued by nightmares of a man being brutally whipped.  During the day, he’s helping the townsfolk prepare for when the gunfighters will come seeking payback.  At least, he says he is.  That’s all I’ll say for now, in case you still want to retain some mystery.


    High Plains Drifter is a classic western influenced by the works of Sergio Leone and Don Siegel and directed by Eastwood himself.  It’s also a rare example of a sci-fi western done really well.  40 years after its release, it’s still as popular as ever.  The (non-)twist at the end explains the way Eastwood’s character acts towards the townsfolk (even if it doesn’t excuse it), and presents a classic example of the type of undead we’re spotlighting this week.


    Stephen Monteith thinks Clint Eastwood would have been a perfect choice for Jonah Hex…40 years ago.  You can read his original fiction at

  • Jodorowsky’s Dune


    I have to admit that I’m always a little bit cynical whenever I hear various film fans bemoaning films that were never made.  These are the films that were nearly made but ended up being abandoned because the production company ran out of money or maybe a lead actor died or maybe the studio refused to release it or else they released it in a heavily edited form.  There’s a certain tendency among hipsters to decide that any movie that they will never be able to see would automatically have been the greatest film ever.  It’s rare that anyone ever suggests that maybe it’s for the best that Stanley Kubrick never made his version of Napoleon or that maybe Ridley Scott’s version of I Am Legend would have been just as bad as the version that starred Will Smith or even that the footage that we have of Orson Welles’s unfinished The Other Side of The Wind doesn’t look that impressive.

    In fact, some day, I want to see a documentary about an abandoned film where everyone says, “Oh my God, I’m glad that movie never got made.  It would have sucked!”

    However, that documentary is never going to be made.  The great thing about praising a film that was never made was that you don’t have to worry about anyone watching the film and then going, “You have no idea what you’re talking about!”

    For instance, I recently watched an excellent documentary called Jodorowsky’s Dune.  This film tells the story of how the iconoclastic director Alejandro Jodorowsky attempted to make a film out of the science fiction novel Dune in the mid-70s.  During the documentary, Jodorowsky explains that his version of the story would, in many ways, be different from the book.  Since I’ve never read the book nor have I seen any of the various adaptations that actually were eventually produced, I can’t say whether Jodorowsky’s changes would have been an improvement.  For that matter, I can’t say whether or not Jodorowsky’s film would have been great or if it would have been a legendary misfire.  I’ve seen El Topo and The Holy Mountain so I’m pretty sure that his version of Dune would have been uniquely his own.  But there’s no way for me — or anyone else for that matter — to say whether or not the film would have been any good because, after assembling an intriguing cast (Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and David Carradine) and recruiting several talented artists and technicians (H.R. Giger, Dan O’Bannon, Chris Foss, and Moebius), Jodorowsky was never able to make his film. The Hollywood studios took one look at Jodorowsky’s vision and said, “There’s no way were paying for that.”

    However, the documentary goes on to make a very intriguing argument that Jodorowsky’sDune may be the most influential film never made.  Many of the people who collaborated with Jodorowsky would go on to work on other science fiction films and, when they did, they brought with them many of the ideas and concepts that were originally developed for Dune.  The documentary not only suggests that this might be true but also offers up some pretty compelling evidence, showing us how everything from Raiders of the Lost Ark to Prometheus has featured scenes that originally appeared in Jodorowsky’s Dune storyboards.

    I may not be totally convinced that Jodorowsky’s Dune would have been the greatest film ever made but I love this documentary.  The majority of it is spent just listening as Jodorowsky, alternating between English and Spanish, tells us the story of what he hoped to do with Dune and how, ultimately, he could not do it.  Jordorowsky’s love of film and art is obvious with each word that he says.  Whether he’s talking about meeting Salvador Dali or passionately advocating for creativity and imagination, Alejandro Jodorowsky is never less than charming and inspiring.

    If you love movies, you’ll love Jodorowsky’s Dune.  If you don’t love movies, Jodorowsky’s Dune will change your mind.

  • Dawn of Justice Trailer Leaked! (Or maybe not.)


    "We're Bringing Grimdark Back!"

    Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice




    “Damn. Marvel’s YouTube views have gone and leaped all the way out to the Andromeda galaxy! The early leak of the Age of Ultron teaser is the best thing to happen to them since they paired up a raccoon with a tree!”

    “Do you realize what you just said?”

    “Never mind that! We need to ‘accidentally’ leak the Dawn of Justice trailer! Don’t we own the other half of the world’s super-heroes? Superman, Batman, that boy in the tights, Xena, green guy, and Mister Fish?”

    “…..listen, the footage for that is still really, really raw, and I th-”

    “Cut a trailer. NOW.”


    Lois Lane: “Superman! You just fried the Toyman’s eyeballs out of their sockets!”

    Superman: “Yes, yes I did. And being properly traumatized by it, I now can vow to never do it again in a realistic, grounded way, just like how breaking Zod’s neck was something I had to actually DO before realizing it’s wrong.”

    Lois: “….”

    Superman: “Welp, off to save others!” (flies through a building, leaving a massive, gaping fissure)

    Lois: “That does it. I’m lighting up the Bat Signal.”


    Batman: “Hmmmm. This Superman. This Super…MAN. I’ll bet I can take him.”

    Alfred: “How, Master Bruce?”

    Batman: “By randomly exposing him to shiny rocks in the hopes that one will make him sick.”

    Alfred: “….brilliant, Sir.”

    Batman: “That’s why -I’m- the Dark Knight Detective.”


    Cyborg: “Hey, Diana! Welcome to the party! Wanna hit the limbo line?”

    Wonder Woman: “Actually, I’m pretty damn SICK of limbo.”

    Aquaman: “You said it.”


    “So, what did you think? Eh? EH?”


    “What? Does it need more grimdark? We’ll make sure Superman rends Mister Mxyzptlk in the next one, to teach him the realistic, grounded lesson that it’s wrong.”

    “That’ll work.”


    John Ellis is sure that the actual trailer and film will be a lot cooler.  At least, he hopes so.
    All characters, titles and images belong to DC Comics, used here for the purposes of parody and satire only.

  • Zombie Month: The Forsaken

    wow-logo2800 (image credit - October is Zombie Month at Fourth-day Universe.  Each day, we’ll bring you a new example of these mostly creepy, sometimes charming creatures.  The fourth week is Revenants, a type of magical zombie that doesn’t serve a master; only its own desires, mainly for revenge.  Today’s example is the Forsaken from the popular video game fantasy series Warcraft.


    Warcraft began as a video game franchise in the epic fantasy setting of Azeroth.  The objective of the real-time strategy game is to wage war with your armies against either the computerized foes or another player.  It eventually exploded into a series of novels, tabletop games, expansion packs for many of the main games, and a hugely-popular massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft.  There are many “factions” and races in the Warcraft universe, including an Alliance of humans, dwarves, gnomes, elves, and other creatures against the Horde, which is comprised of orcs, trolls, ogres, goblins, and an army of the undead called the Forsaken.


    ForsakenCrest (image credit - Forsaken were originally just undead soldiers risen by a Lich King under the direction of the Burning Legion, a faction of demons so terrible the Alliance and Horde eventually join forces to fight it.  The undead were risen to wear down the armies of the living to soften them up for the real invasion.  However, when the Lich King rebelled against the Legion and the Legion retaliated, a group of his undead warriors regained their free will and joined the Horde under the leadership of an undead elven general.  The Forsaken have no love for the living, but their main goal includes wiping out the remainder of the Lich King’s undead army, which makes their allegiance with the Horde, like the Horde’s with the Alliance, one of pure convenience.


    Stephen Monteith has never played World of Warcraft, but it’s on his considerable to-do list, after completing his series of short stories.  Read the current installments of his work on

  • Zombie Month: ParaNorman

    paranorman (image credit - October is Zombie Month at Fourth-day Universe.  Each day, we’ll bring you a new example of these mostly creepy, sometimes charming creatures.  The fourth week is Revenants, zombies who don’t need to be killed (again) so much as they need to be…set free.  Today’s zombies are from 2012’s fantastic stop motion feature film ParaNorman.


    ParaNorman is a story about Norman, a young boy who sees dead people, like a much more lighthearted version of The Sixth Sense.  Mostly, these ghosts just sort of hang around (no pun intended), doing whatever they did in life.  Norman talks to them, not scared in the slightest, especially since his grandmother is among them and visits often.  Not all of the undead in this movie, however, are ghosts, and certainly not all of them are harmless.


    I don’t want to give too much away, but basically, Norman’s uncle tries to get him to carry on a (sort of) family tradition where someone has to keep an ancient witch’s curse at bay.  Of course, believing in this curse has made the uncle an outcast (that and his…off-putting mannerisms), so even though Norman clearly believes in the supernatural, the rest of his family tries to keep him away from his uncle, which means the tradition can’t be fulfilled, the curse goes into full effect, and zombies start walking the Earth.  That’s all I’ll say for now, because you should really see the movie for yourself.  It’s smart, it’s funny, and it has a surprising amount of heart at the center for having such an obvious message to share.


    Stephen Monteith’s always had an affection for stop motion, from the California Raisins to Corpse Bride.  You can read his original fiction at

  • New Episodes – 10/25/2014 (After Hours, Monster Squad, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and More)

    With Halloween just around the corner, it’s not at all surprising that so many of our entries today feature monsters, from classic ones such as Dracula and the Wolf-Man to the latest terrifying cinematic demon:  a mirror.  One wonders how Dracula would fare against such a supernatural entity.  Anyway, there are, obviously, many scary scenes ahead, and not a few spoilers, so proceed with caution, Saturday morning viewers.  (Parents strongly cautioned.)


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