If I am not me, then who the hell am I?

A moment to remember screenwriting legend Dan O’Bannon, who left us yesterday:

Dan O’Bannon, one of the scriptwriters behind such seminal SF flicks as Alien and Total Recall, has passed away in Los Angeles following a bout of ill-health, at the age of 63.

O’Bannon was a lifelong SF enthusiast, and got his first experience of filmmaking when he worked as writer, editor and special effects producer on John Carpenter’s brilliant, cynical debut Dark Star. O’Bannon and Carpenter had studied together at USC prior to the film’s 1974 release.

He went on to do special effects work on the first Star Wars film and was involved in the early stages of comic writer Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unsuccessful attempt to bring Dune to the big screen in the mid-‘70s. But it was when he began to concentrate on writing over production and effects that his career really took off. O’Bannon is credited with writing the original screenplay for Alien (alongside Ronald Shusett), and his influence on that film extended to bringing into the fold a certain Swiss artist called H.R. Geiger, who had also been involved in the failed Dune project.

O’Bannon’s other hits included the gloriously OTT Schwarzenegger vehicle Total Recall, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by the O’Bannon-Shusett partnership. He was also involved in a number of cult classics, including Lifeforce, Heavy Metal, and Screamers, while his Moebius-illustrated comic The Long Tomorrow was the inspiration for the art style of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

O’Bannon changed the face of science-fiction (and horror, inventing ‘fast’ zombies in his 1986 directorial debut Return Of The Living Dead), and I’ve been hoping for years that he’d make a return to the big screen (possibly with the perpetually-delayed Silvaticus 3015) to show all these modern ‘sci-fi’ writers what’s what.

A public memorial for Mr. O’Bannon will be held sometime in the next few weeks at my apartment in the form of a movie marathon. Interested parties please reply within.

Things I have been enjoying lately: Second in a series.

Left 4 Dead.

This just might be the best co-op game I’ve ever played. 4 players versus insane zombies, running from building to building, fucking shit up proper. From the Shacknews Review:

It’s actually very easy to quantify just how replayable Left 4 Dead is, in the same way that one can identify an infectious disease.

Because that’s what playing Left 4 Dead for the first time feels like–the beginning of a terrible affliction. We played the game for two straight days at Valve, only occasionally surfacing for a gasp of fresh snacks. We played so much Left 4 Dead that it made us all physically ill. We came home thoroughly infected, bed-ridden and moaning like the undead.

And the most common phrase going around our chat channel? “I wish I could play more right now.”

L4D Grafitti

It really is that much fun.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be on Xbox Live.

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George Romero has been working to get money for his next Zombie film, ‘Dead Reckoning’ (AKA Twilight of the Dead) forever. Literally, forever. Anchor Bay were supposed to be working on getting the money for it together, but Romero has been pretty vocal about their lack of effort. It seems, however, that an 11th-hour deal might have come through, allowing Romero to make a full-on NC-17 gorefest with an 8-figure budget.

But Jairus, you say, this stinks of bullshit! Who would put up so much money for a zombie movie?

To the skeptics: DeadReckoningMovie.com.

This is gonna be good.

(In other news, Roger Avary is doing a commentary track for the next Day of the Dead DVD release, and William Gibson got a weblog!)