Posted in Monday Mayhem

I Hated Zombies, Too

I’ve related several times on this site that as a kid I never really liked zombies. In fact, if anything, I hated them. I thought they were slow, easy to beat and in some way, a comedy waiting to happen. How could I have loved them? They just weren’t cool. But once I saw 28 Days Later, that all changed. I couldn’t get enough of them. They were fast. Frightening. And unbeatable. One bite and you’re one of them.

Zombies everywhere [Photo Credit: el-grimlock]
Zombies everywhere [Photo Credit: el-grimlock]
For today’s Monday Mayhem, I would like to talk a bit about my experience with zombies, what I like about them and their appeal to my sense of adventure.

Through cartoons is how I remember zombies. I didn’t take them seriously since they were slow and not very bright. I remember how the heroes could outrun and outfox them at every turn. I even remember how with one wallop zombies fell to the floor without much trouble.

Early this decade I had my first zombie encounter with 28 Days Later. The scene with the lone survivor walking the streets of London instantly captured my imagination. I could relate to him. Who couldn’t? Imagine waking up and finding your world turned into a massive garbage dump complete with a built-in threat that you’re not sure how it got that way. The movie introduced me to fast zombies and a genre teeming with films I once had ignored in the video store.

28 Days Later poster
28 Days Later poster

After binge watching 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later back to back, I couldn’t get enough of the undead. To me, they were like roaches. The more you killed the more they infested every facet of your life. I quickly watched Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead in one sitting. Dawn of the Dead especially left me wanting to watch it again. And I did. The story was not altogether unique, but the delivery of the plot came as a surprise. The rooftop scene brought me to tears from the laughter. It surprised me and shocked me.

During this time, The Walking Dead caught my attention.

Whatever I’ve learned from the other zombie movies came full circle with The Walking Dead. I had gone from not liking slow zombies to loving fast zombies to appreciating slow zombies. The Walking Dead featured slow zombies called walkers. Not only were they lethal, as in one bite will kill you lethal, but whenever they attacked, they attacked as a massive horde. I grew to love the walkers. They are what zombies should have been when I was growing up.

Then, with the movie World War Z, the crowd of zombies burned tread marks on the highway. They looked like vampires amped up on speed. The film raised my imagination and kept me busy consuming any and all stories in the zombie genre.

How far has my love for the undead gone? Today, I write about zombies.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What initially sparked your interest in zombies? What do you find the most appealing thing about them?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

I Hated Zombies

There once was a boy name Jack, and he hated zombies without lack. Crazy, isn’t it? That boy was me. I disliked zombies because I thought they were the stupid, malignant, dregs of Horror that amounted to nothing better than cheap laughs and gruesome kills.

Dead Rising 3
Dead Rising 3

Now that I have your attention, I’m dedicating this Monday Mayhem post to the skeptics. To all those folks who hate zombies and don’t know why. Ahem, because they think zombies are of the devil—or something so insanely ridiculous as such. This post goes out to you dislikers of the undead. Prove your hatred.

It wasn’t long ago when I, too, freely admit to have been one of the zombie naysayers. I’d thought vampires were cool and werewolves were powerful. But zombies? What did they have? I couldn’t get past their weak countenance. They wore torn clothes, for crying out loud. Even I could have punched one of them in the face to have it topple over like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

Ah, but you see, that’s where I went wrong. I thought of a zombie as a single unit. That’s not where a zombie’s strength lies. Zombies don’t work that way. Separate a zombie from the crowd and yes, it’s time to say good-bye to another of the undead. However, as part of the horde, it’s as good as dug itself in like an Alabama tick. As a whole, they’re impenetrable; functioning as a single-minded mass with only one thing on their mind—eat.

Someone's in Trouble
Someone’s in Trouble

When did I change my view on zombies? I saw 28 Days Later late one night while my family slept, and I needed some solid entertainment. I didn’t know what the movie was at the time, having caught it a few minutes after the credits, but I watched it anyway. Hard not to watch someone waking up in hospital garb to what looks like a world gone crazy. Then have the movie tease me to a slow reveal. That’s what started it all for me. I saw the zombies. They weren’t weak but strong brutes able to turn other humans into zombies. And the humans were afraid of them. I thought, what is this? Shivers trailed my arms to my spine leading up my neck. The movie captivated me. I wanted more.

From there I went on a zombie binge. Within a week, I had seen 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, and Zombieland.

The old Scooby-Doo paradigm I had carried for so long had all but disappeared, replaced by today’s zombie—a predator of vast proportions, able to seek and destroy those who’d dare get in the way. Their single-minded focus to rid the world of humans fascinates me. They act as Star Trek’s Borg, a collective bent on satiating eternal hunger pangs. How can I argue these zombies are weaklings?

To exacerbate the issue, I’d fallen in love with the notion zombies can reproduce. One bite is all it takes and a human is no longer with the living. In some respect, it might actually be an improvement since some folk are dead already.

Yae, naysayers, come and give pittance to your trite cause for slamming zombies wherefore you know nothing of. You hate the undead in ignorance. Let the beasts of the field show you the empty graves to those who will dismember the world.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

What do you like about zombies the most? Did you have an epic flip from hater to lover of the genre?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Movies II

In April, I featured a post for Monday Mayhem called Zombie Movies. Many of my readers enjoyed the films I had chosen, adding their own suggestions to the list of works I could highlight for a future post. Well, this is the future post. As part of this list, I’m including two new entries to the zombie genre. One film had released late last year to positive reviews and the other is still in theaters. Don’t worry I won’t give away any spoilers.

World War Z
World War Z

World War Z—For us zombie lovers, this movie, by far, is the movie of the year. Still playing in theaters, still making money and still thrilling audiences over, the story is the brainchild of Max Brooks, son to funnyman Mel Brooks who directed Young Frankenstein, another movie about a dead guy coming back to life, but in a more affable state (yes—that was one long sentence). Although the movie is nothing like the book, the film features something other zombie movies have only hinted, fast zombies. I’m talking about freaks of nature you’d dare not mess with. The movie itself is an instant classic benefiting from multiple viewings. There’s just too much to absorb in a single viewing.

28 Weeks Later
28 Weeks Later

28 Weeks Later—The Rage virus that ravaged London took its toll in 28 Days Later. Six months later, the U.S. army gets involved in the quarantine of the city and the rebuilding process. Little does anyone know a carrier of the virus enters the city limits and aids in the final decimation of the population. Believe me, if you’ve seen the first movie, this second one is much of the same. The enjoyment of this film is watching how good intentions cause the greatest misery.

Dawn of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead—In this original George A. Romero 1978 vehicle, the zombies had less intelligence and moved slower. One could duck and crawl to safety without worrying the zombies will catch their victim. The big thing about these zombies is their tenacity. Once one of them finds a human, you’d best be sure a crowd would soon follow. It’s also a joy seeing how the survivors manage to handle their situation in a closed and confined area, a mall. The funniest segment, though, has to be the precious scene where the survivors hunt zombies to the rhythm of circus music (merry-go-round music).

Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead—First of all, this movie is incredibly low budget. Mind you, this is not a bad thing. For the Sixties, there were many big budget bombs, and when this movie hit the scene, no one knew what to make of it. The general premise has the recently deceased rise due to satellite radiation. The dead attack a barn, rather, the people in the barn, as they attempt to get at the victims’ brains. Another George A. Romero film, which some consider started the zombie tales, myths and legends of old. Forty-five years later, no true zombie fan should miss this zombie classic.

Return of the Living Dead
Return of the Living Dead

Return of the Living Dead—The movie’s catch phrase should tell you the whole story, “They’re back from the grave and ready to party!” This is a movie for a Friday night with lots of friends, snacks and conversation. It’s worth watching for its B-movie entertainment value. This time, the zombies rise from a deadly gas accidentally released by a couple of bumbling medical supply warehouse employees.

Warm Bodies
Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies—Not wanting to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, this is the zombie genre’s answer to Twilight. Kind of like Romeo & Juliet, teenagers in love, having nothing but their whole life ahead of them. Can it be any sweeter? It could, if it weren’t for all the zombies getting in the way.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Can you think of other zombie movies I could have included in the list?