ABC Family, Adaption, Cassandra Clare, christinesrant, Entertainment, Fantasy, Freeform, Literature, Paranormal Fantasy, paranormal romance, Rant, Review, Shadowhunters, Television, The Mortal Instruments, TV, TV-series, urban fantasy, USA, YA, Young Adult

Shadowhunters. Unfinished Business.

Shadowhunters is the brand new TV adaption of YA author Cassandra Clare’s bestselling series The Mortal Instruments (paranormal romance/urban fantasy).

In the US it airs on ABC Family, now named Freeform (Netflix for the rest of us), which sadly is the only interesting thing about the show.

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First off, I have read the books. They are okay. Perhaps a tad cliché for my taste but then again, I am no young adult anymore.

I have even seen the movie from 2013.  It was bearable. Mostly because of the casting.

Now somebody has been unfortunate enough to be responsible for Shadowhunters the TV show. So please, whoever is in charge, put an end to this travesty.

It is not imperfect. It is total GARBAGE.

I am actually not that concerned of the changes in the cast. Like so many fans.

I like Lily Collins but not a fan of her as Clary Fray in the movie. Therefore, I welcomed Katherin McNamara, except for the fact that she sucks at acting.

I do not even care that Luke is black. Tokenism or not.

Jamie Campbell Bower was never Jace to me. I always pictured him like Alex Pettyfer, when he still had is golden locks.

I can even tolerate the new high tech X-men base that is the no-longer gothic Institute.

The only one that actually can act is Alan Van Sprang. I am certain he can give the oomph that is Valentin Morgenstern. I loved him as Sir Francis Bryan in The Tudors and as King Henry II in Reign, but the writers do not bother explaining or give time to the antagonistic Circle or Valentin. Hell, they do not even bother about Shadowhunters that much.

What they do care about is showing of model perfect, beautiful people.

Mannequins.

Locked in selfie mode.

Look at the official teaser (all the way down, at the end of the rant).

If you think it looks weird, low budget and unfinished, this is also how the rest of the show looks like.

I am talking plastic swords with LED- lighting and ill-fitted supermarket cat eye contacts.

Hey, it is cheaper than CGI!

You know what will save even more money? Let’s not actually show the fight scenes! Just hint at it. Cheaper than paying a fight choreographer.

In my research for this rant (yes I actually do work at it) I found what creator Clare herself says about the show.

Clare states on her homepage (and seriously, it is really all her, high lights and all): “Please understand that I have nothing to do with the decision to make a television show instead of more movies. I have nothing to do with any casting or recasting decisions. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WRITING OF THE SHOW OR ITS PLOT. […]“.

I rest my case.

Christine

 

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Adaption, christinesrant, Entertainment, Review, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, space opera, Syfy, Television, The Expanse, TV, TV-series

The Expanse. Expanding in the Right Direction.

OMFG!

I am having trouble finding words to describe exactly how excited I am about The Expanse!

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here I am. All fired up!

Alert French Bulldog running forwards

This space opera could be the next big thing since Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)!

It seems to be the answer to all my prayers. If I prayed. Which I do not. But if I did, I would pray for something like this.

I am a huge scifi fan and there has been a serious lack in the space-opera-on-TV since BG.

I love TV shows like Star Trek (any of them), Farscape (1994-2004), and Babylon 5 (1994—1998) etc. Although not space operas per se, not even these scifi shows have worthy successors.

I have been mildly interested in the deteriorating Falling Skies (2011-2015) and the more bearable Defiance (2013-2015).

I even tried Dark Matter (2015-), but it did not hook me. DM is scheduled for a season two, so I might pick it up again, but it is not likely to happen anytime soon.

I gave Killjoys (2015-) a try. A choice I do not regret. If you are into fun-loving, high-tech, guns blazing, and adventurous scifi, you will not regret watching it! Season two is already scheduled.

Now I crave something more complex with depth.

The Expanse is a serious contestant in winning me over, as the scifi slut I am.  Four episodes in, it promises a lot and I am certainly intrigued. Belly up and all.

It is bas1484233348223075652ed on a series of novels called The Expanse by James S. A. Corey. There is actually a duo hiding behind the pen name, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. The first one in the series is Leviathan Wakes from 2011, so it is relative new. They have released five novels and counting.

More delightful, the Syfy channel is responsible for this bowl of goodness.

It is about time that the channel sheds its lame, low production escapist B-movie status. The channel did give us cheesy movies like Sharktopus (2010) and Sharknado (2013). And, yet again give us pompous space opera dramas like they did with BG.

Honestly, the trailer is kinda meh. After watching the first four episodes (of 10 total), I do not feel it represents the show fairly. So I beg you, see episode one instead.

The first episodes paints a big picture with broad strokes, introducing a well of characters and plotlines with little information to go on. Characters die at a rapid rate and I am guessing blindly who will be the remaining main cast.

Three characters stands out though.

Police detective Joe Miller, played by Thomas Jane (Punisher from the movie with the same name and Ray Drecker from Hung) is on a missing woman assignment while his home world Ceres erupts into chaos.

Chrisjen Avasarala, a United Nations executive played by Shohreh Agdashloo (Stefania Vaduva Popescu from Grimm) is trying to prevent war between Earth and Mars.

Ship Officer Jim Holden, played by Steven Strait (D’Leh from 10,000 BC and the forever hunky Warren Peace in Sky High) quickly finds himself and crew sole survivors of an attack, with failing air supply and the enemy close by.

Action, drama, survival, terrorists, space travel, technobabble, mystery, political thrills, secrets, military strategies, culture clashes, tech noir, explosions, conspiracies, you name it!

A 13- episode second season is already scheduled to air early 2017.

I cannot wait!

 

Christine

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And Then There Were None. Above and Beyond.

We have just left Christmas celebrations behind us. A holiday full of jolly nostalgia and hard core glitter use.

I must admit, I am not that into Christmas traditions. Christmas will be upon us anyway, I say.

So without seeming too grinchy or scroogey I really do not see the appeal of watching the movie Love Actually (2003)  more than once. The rest of the TV schedule (at least in Norway) is full of crap B-, C-, and D-movies not worth your while, and the A-listers keeps running and running, staling for every channel you switch on to.

But the holidays is a perfect time to catch up on movies, TV series and shows!

I especially like to indulge in mini-series because they often fit perfectly into my holiday schedule. Short and effective stories with high production value and the best part, you do not have to wait a year for the next season!

So while everyone else was watching and talking about Making a Murderer (2015) (I was saving it for the new year’s celebrations), I was thrilled when I found the new TV adaption of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery And Then There Were None (2015). Perhaps more known as Ten Little Indians.

First class British crime and costume drama from BBC One.

Oh, Holy Night.
Jackpot!

First published in 1939, the novel is recognized as Christie’s masterwork, and has been adapted many times on screen, TV and the stage.

The story is as simple as it is meticulous.

MV5BMzRlMzU0MTgtOGYyMC00MjExLTgwN2QtNWU2M2EwOWM4Y2M0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTExNDQ2MTI@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_It is Saw set in 1939 without traps and all the gore. And without the possibility of making it out alive.

The mysterious Mr and Mrs Owen invites eight strangers to a secluded Soldier Island. Greeted by the butler and cook when arriving, it is quickly revealed neither they nor any of the guests have actually met the Owens, and that their hosts are nowhere to be seen.

Completely alone on the island, they are interrupted after eating dinner by a recording that reveals that all ten of them have been complicit in the deaths of others but has managed to escape notice and/or prosecution.

Ten artfully crafted table pieces and an American children’s rhyme (Ten little Indians) are also important pieces in the continuing story where the characters are killed off one by one. Until there are none left.

I was thrilled!

The cast is excellent with many familiar faces such as: Toby Stephens (Captain Flint from Black Sails), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper from Torchwood and Major Hewlett from TURN), Noah Taylor (as some of you may know as Locke from Game of Thrones, but who cares about GoT right?).

Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter), Anna Maxwell Martin (Elizabeth Darcy from Death Comes to Pemberley  and Mary Shelley from the new and very promising TV series The Frankenstein Chronicles).

Aiden Turner (mostly known as Kili from The Hobbit-trilogy, but for me he will always be Mitchell from Being Human (UK)).

Douglas Booth (Pip from Great Expectations and as Mr. Bingley from the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and (at least for me) the more unknown Maeve Dermody.

And, to top this smorgasbord of, the ever-so cool Charles Dance and Sam Neill, with too much goodness on their filmographies to single out just a few.

It is beautifully crafted TV. And when I got over the cucumber castle in the intro, this three-part series is a total delight!

A must see for crime and costume fans!

Did I just birth a new term?

I can live with that.

Christine

 

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Adaptation, christinesrant, Entertainment, Fantasy, Feminism, sexism, TV, TV-series, Werewolf, Women empowerment

Bitten. A Showdog Through and Through.

Bitten is a crap show. I am surprised by the news of a second season, starting January 2015.

The werewolf setup is simple.

Elena is bitten by a big dog when visiting her fiancé Clayton Danvers (her former boss at the University) at his home estate. Alas, it was not a dog.

Against all odds (!), she survives which means she is the only female werewolf in the world. ‘Cause girly were-pooches cannot handle the change. They die.

They (writers and production) try hard to make her the hero. Molested as a child, she has this whole rape-revenge thing going on. Unfortunately, she is an uninteresting character played by Laura Vandervoort, a non-awe-inspiring actress.

Sure, she is a surviving bitch who does her own fighting and demands a lot of sex but she does not come out of it empowered. The rest of the time, she just comes off as lame. Very sexual, but still lame.

To no-ones’ surprise, werewolves are either born or bitten. Organized in one Pack with a Pack Master and a set of rules spread around the world. Secrecy the number one rule.

Individual wolves (Mutts) live outside the Pack either by choice, lack of knowledge or by Packs decision, and are therefore the sworn enemy of the Pack.

Born werewolves (males only) always has a pooch for a father and a human mother. They usually grow into their hairiness during early puberty. However, if bitten the change is immediately.

When a baby boy is born, Fido is supposed to kidnap the baby and raise it within the pack, which means raising it among men only. Now, this I find refreshing!

The pack members’ masculinity is quite, eh, feminine. They really are just soft cuddly puppies really.

And stereotypical.
Strong, muscular, healthy, protective and brutal when necessary.

Men of integrity.

There is a lot of hugs, kisses and different displays of physical affection, even love, between them. They ugly-cry when Antonio dies, snot and all.

They are comfortable with their own, and each other’s nudity.

They always gather around the kitchen table for huge meals. A table also used when members are wounded/dying, so it is constantly covered with either food or blood.

Clayton is the irrational one. Acting out every emotions whether it is love, happiness, anger or destruction in a pair of jeans and flannels. He is their best fighter (with a mean streak), introverted, moody, scruffy, pushy and protective. He craves Elena. Going against everything, just because he wants her. Willing to sacrifice himself. A typical male hero, that is. But he is smart too. He is a professor at the Department of Anthropology.

Clayton tears up on multiple occasions, after interrupted moments with Elena, when begging Elena to come back and save him from his rampaging. And, ultimately when Elena puts their former engagement ring back on his finger comforting him that there will be no more sacrifices.

Jeremy is the conflicted father figure. His own father threw him in a lake as a puppy with a rock around his neck. He is the law, love and soul of the pack. He has saved/adopted/taken responsibility for everyone in the Pack at one point. He is artistic too. His paintings displayed around the house.

Antonio and Nick, actual father and son (i.e. kidnapper and victim) are business types dressed in suits. They have a loving relationship. Nick is comfortable with both sexes in bed, sometimes together. He is Elena’s favorite shopping stand-in and generally a metrosexual man.

Logan is the outsider in the pack. Raised by his mother he had a painful upbringing. So much that he became a psychologist. Or, is it that he is the only African-American member in the pack? Complete with an African-American girlfriend. Now an expectant father, he decides to run and hide his family from the Pack.

Clayton is not the only one craving Elena. He is getting competition from the Mutts, now organized.

Since she is the only bitch that can give them beautiful and true puppies, her status is skyrocketing.

The Mutts worship her as The Mother/The Goddess/The Bitch. An archaic patriarchal enjoyment of women. As a baby making machine.

The Pack equally needs Elena but recognized as Clayton’s (somewhat unwilling) partner, it is a non-issue.

It is however clear that Packmaster Jeremy is weak (as a man and as a leader) because he is not using her full potential when he chooses not to rape her.

Am I going to watch season two?

Nope.

Christine

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True Blood. Dead Through.

It is not long before True Blood season 7 fires up its engines and takes off. We are talking DAYS.

It is in this celebratory moment, I ask myself:
What the fudge happened to True Blood season 6?
Fudge yeah, I am using a grandma Stackhouse proofed swear word!

Is it the production? The writers?

Is it me?

The acting, lighting, sets, make up, plotlines, sex, they all sucked.
BIG TIME.

And not in that oversized hunky, sweaty, sexy, southern sucky way we all have learned to love as TB.

Praise Charlaine Harris, I loved the Southern Vampire Mysteries novels. I became a fan girl from the very first page. Although, I never did get the Bill hang up.

Anywho, I have read the novels. Some multiple times with the same result. It only makes me love them more.

I have read the ending. I know who stays alive, dies, and lives dead forever. However, I thought Harris hurried the love story in the end. Ultimately, I can only say that I am as satisfied as far as a junkie can be, now that it is over.

Moreover, I love TB. I love the fact that TB created its own storyline.  It is, or more was, surprisingly good and hot blooded on its own.

I love that they did not kill Lafayette. The one thing I actually miss in the books.

However, I am not any closer to finding out what happened to TB season 6.

TB storyline has changed so much from the novels; I cannot say where they should have taken it. However, the season 6 story is not crap. It is poorly executed.

It is the first time I am not looking forward to next season. Which is also the last one.

Do I dread it? Yes.
Will I watch it? Yes.

By the way, did I mention earlier on that Alan Ball left the show after season 5?

Christine

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Tolkien did not invent fantasy but he may have ruined it.

I heard somewhere that Tolkien is to epic fantasy what Jimi Hendrix is to rock music. Now, I love rock music and I call myself a Hendrix fan.

I like fantasy but strangely enough, I am not that into Tolkien.

It might be me.
Seriously, I can be at fault here.

Epic Fantasy (also known as High Fantasy) has become commercially successful. It is recycled endlessly; movies, TV-series, novels, games. You cannot escape it.

Ultimately, you cannot escape Tolkien.

Tolkien did not invent elves, goblins and dwarves. However, his vision of them has almost replaced their origin.

It has also left a curse behind. The curse of staying true to the traditions of epic fantasy, unwilling to bring something new to it.

Why does nobody accuse Tolkien of stealing material?
Not that I want to go into a discussion on Originality.
I am just saying.

At the same time, modern fantasy (after Tolkien) and its complexities and moral ambivalence has more in common with the grittier and darker fantasy genre (Low Fantasy) than that of Tolkien. He is much more a ‘black and white – and nothing in between’ type.

He is also a bit of a prude.

Modern fantasy is therefore more in the traditions of the pulpy weird fantasy from the US, beginning in the 1920s and 30s with its amorality, nudity, violence and gore. I.e. novelists such as Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and Fritz Leiber (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser) at the front.

Where am I at fault?

Is it a highbrow issue? I usually go for the underdog.
Is it a popular notion? I like what I like. Going against the flow as a default setting.

Does it simply come down to what I like?

In that case, I like my fantasy personal, dark, dirty and naked.

Christine

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SPOILERS. The New Disease.

What is up with the fear of spoilers? Spoilerphobia, as it is known as.

I can no longer talk to friends about all the cool things I have watched lately, of fear of spoiling. Actually, that is not true. I cannot tell others about it, because they stop me mid-sentence shouting: SPOILERALERT!

How am I ever to convince people to watch my favorite shows without telling them something about it? Or even change my facebook status or tweet when there is something cool happening on TV?

It is as if spoilers somehow diminishes the quality.
People are robbed of the full experience.
An outrage!

I have watched and read both spoiled and unspoiled plots. I find that spoiling does not necessary lesser the value. I still enjoy it. While knowing.

Then again, I do not necessary live by the shock value of plots. Dialogues and characters drive me more.

By the way, who still gets shocked anyway? Usually, it has been done before so it is no longer WHAT that interests me, but HOW.

My point is, people compare the spoiled moment with the unspoiled one, which frankly cannot be done. You do not know how you would have enjoyed it unspoiled, if it already is spoiled. However, I bet you stubbornly would conclude that an unspoiled moment always is better.

I start to feel a little nosophobic myself.

Christine

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Black Sails. In Rough Waters.

I am following up my last post “The Musketeers. All for one and I am all for it”, with a rant on Black Sails, a pirate TV-series from Starz.

You have been warned.

Black Sails is a dramatic adventure TV-series intended as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island (1881).

Although fictional, the novel is blamed for most of popular and wrong perceptions of pirates. It does indeed contain references to historical pirates such as William Kidd and Blackbeard, but because of the high level of fiction, it is recognized as an adventure novel, not as historical.

Back to BS (a very fitting abbreviation).
My question to you: How could they ruin it?

Where is the swashbuckling? Where is the sass?
Actually, where is the adventure?

BS tries very hard to be historical realistic but it comes out in the other end as sappy drama. I have been more entertained by watching paint dry.

I mean, it took them five episodes to get on the fucking water!

They conflict pretense of realism with adventure making it a pretentious work of shit.

They do know it is fiction, right?
Why do they fuck with fantasy, making it look like reality when reality is fucked up enough?

I do not think I will bother with a season two, and will instead hopefully optimistic wait for Crossbones with John Malkovich.

As they say, smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.

Christine

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The Musketeers. One for all and I am all for it.

Visual representation of historical settings, characters and events mixed with a pinch of fiction, makes a troublesome yet delightful storytelling. Just look at shows like Vikings and Black Sails.

The Musketeers is a historical-action TV-drama based on the characters from Alexandre Dumas’s historical novel The Three Musketeers (1844).

Fun fact 1: The Musketeers of the Guard were indeed a military branch (created mid-1600 and disbanded early 1700) by King Louis XIII of France. They were light cavalry equipped with muskets, which was a “new” combination. Shooting from horseback became an important military strategy for many reasons. However, the Musketeers were not as portrayed in Dumas’s novel, the royal family’s personal bodyguard.

Fun fact 2: The Musketeers was open to lower classes of French nobility. Their prominent fighting spirit is considered real since excelling their task, was the only way for social advancement. Interestingly enough, they are known as musketeers rightfully because of the muskets, but they are more famous for their sword fighting, i.e. swashbuckling.

Fun fact 3: Cardinal Richelieu (yep, real too but perhaps not as sinister but then again he could have been worse) did indeed create his own unit of bodyguards and the bitter rivalry between the two units are in fact true.

Dumas based his novel on Memoirs of Mister d’Artagnan (originally a much longer and french’ier title) from 1700. D’Artagnan is a historical person but Dumas’s version of him is more famous.

The Musketeers is much less an adaptation of the novel as it is a tribute to every swashbuckling movie ever made. A celebration of lovers and drunkards!

Successfully, I may add.

 Christine

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Entertainment, Literature, Movies, TV-series

When fantasy is fantasy, and not science fiction. (Or, why I am a Trekker first, and a Star Wars fan second.)

Rejoyce! The Star Wars VII cast has been announced!

On that note, is Star Wars science fiction or fantasy?

Science fiction deals with imaginative content. So does fantasy.
Science fiction depicts other worlds, past, parallel,
present, future or alternative. So does fantasy.
Science fiction explores literary themes like morality and social structure. So does fantasy.

The difference between them is (or is it?) that the imaginary elements within sci fi are possible within science, although they still are pure speculation. There is however, a pretense of realism.

So no magic, no good or evil. No wizards, vampires, ruby slippers, shapeshifting or Middle Earth.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) is recognized as one of the first works of science fiction. It also spurred the weird fiction genre, or what we now recognize as horror.

However, what happens when vampires are explained through science, i.e. medical mumbo-jumbo? Like in I am Legend from 2007. Vampires per se are creatures of fantasy.

In I, Frankenstein from 2014, Frankenstein (a creature of science) must involuntarily fight with Angels poorly dressed as Gargoyles against hordes of Demons in a crazy mash up of science and magic.

None the wiser?

I seem to prefer sci fi, although Harry Potter is much better as a wizard than he would be as a lab-assistant.

Conclusively, Star Trek is sci fi and Star Wars is fantasy.

It is simply a Force thing.

Christine

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Feminism, Literature

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Feminists

I am a sucker for romance.

According to some feminists, romantic fiction brainwashes women into submission. Gratefully I am a feminist in the year 2014. Also known as a postmodern feminist. I enjoy romantic fiction for exactly what they are. Fiction.

Disappointed by Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë, 1847) it was with low expectations that I opened my paperback edition of the classical Pride and Prejudice (P&P) by Jane Austen (1813).

The romantic plot in P&P is simple and classical. I am guessing you are like me, not reading romantic novels for ‘do they get each other in the end?’ part. *SPOILERALERT*

The story in P&P is okay. No surprises. No wow factor.

I always pictured Lizzy to be cheekier but Hollywood has perhaps misled me. I love Mr. Bennet. A patriarch and a feminist! I off course loath Mrs. Bennet and Lydia. Mr. Darcy does not rattle my bones. (Team Wickham, anyone?) To sway me in Darcy’s direction he should have been even more proud, more obnoxious, more hero. He should have simply been more.

We know Austen’s stories was (and still is) social commentaries highlighting the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Lizzy fights for her right to marry out of love and not out of politics. I get the biting social commentaries. Thank the Goddess, her true love is filthy rich and able to not only secure her socially and economically, but improving her standing altogether!

Alas we come to the matter that is important (almost lost focus there for a moment), namely Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ) (Seth Grahame-Smith, 2009).

Is PPZ more feministic than the original, which now seems outdated? What has Grahame-Smith actually done with Austen’s story?

PPZ opens with the sentence: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” Preaching to the choir, as it were. Zombies always want more. Never satisfied.

The original P&P says: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” How easy it would be for me to turn with my sisters and point out the true meaning of the swap of ‘man’ with ‘zombie’, ‘fortune’ with ‘brains’ and ‘more brains’ with ‘wife’. However, I will not succumb!

Other changes in PPZ explains the difference in social status between Mr. Darcy and Lizzy. It is because of their combat training. His family train in Japan while Lizzy and her sisters train in China. Karate vs Kung Fu, anyone?

Conclusively, the Bennet sisters are the same in both stories. They just have one more problem to deal with. Zombies. Fortunately, they are a highly trained militia, kicking ass. Lizzy does not need a man to protect her. She fights her own battles. Feminists rejoice!

I am not saying PPZ is a feminist masterpiece. With the use of zombies, the story becomes science fiction as well as romance (perhaps even more so). Science fiction is a perfect fictional tool to pose questions about social issues such as gender issues.

Austen was undoubtedly a (modern) feminist writer but the romantic wrapping is not up to date with present feminism. So conclusively, Grahame-Smith has written a postmodern feminist work not because Lizzy does her own fighting but because he throws zombies at her!

Sisters unite! For there is always more zombies to slay!

Christine

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