Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Pranks Revisited

I tend to ask silly questions, questions people avoid asking because it either may prompt a negative reaction or actually provoke discussion. Now you’re wondering what the question is.

Zombie Experiment NYC - Boy (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Boy (Photo credit: AMC)

What will it take to horrify people?

In my Monday Mayhem series, I’ve always included something to stir an emotional response. Given I’m writing horror in the context of terror, I wonder many times what horrifies a person.

Alfred Hitchcock was a master of suspense. He once explained how a person simply sitting in a chair could turn into a scene filled with anxiety and breathless moments. Of course, it’s not very suspenseful when someone sits in a chair. It’s actually quite boring. But, as he once said, place a bomb under that chair, and all of a sudden the scene becomes interesting, suspenseful and replete with horror. Will the person remain calm? Will they run? Will they try to defuse the bomb? What will run through their mind during the last seconds of their life? How did it get there? Who put it there? Why did this person have to be the one sitting there?

Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock

Once again, I ask, what will it take to horrify people?

I’m an avid YouTube watcher. I have several set-top devices that can stream video directly to my TV or display device. Most of my viewing, though, happens on my computer. I enjoy searching for fascinating videos I feel no one else has seen before.

The other day, I came across a genre of videos I first found funny but under later analysis found equally shocking. They are zombie pranks. You can search for it yourself and you will see a multitude of content specifically geared toward humor.

The very first video I saw Zombie Experiment NYC deals with zombies roaming the streets of New York City. If you’re thinking actors in zombie suits and makeup, you must’ve seen it before. The video quality and presentation is top-notch. I later found AMC produced it as their answer to Dish Network’s removal of its network.

Zombie Experiment NYC - Mailman (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Mailman (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Girl 1 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Girl 1 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Girl 2 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Girl 2 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Girl 3 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Girl 3 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Bench 1 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Bench 1 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Bench 2 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Bench 2 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Walker (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Walker (Photo credit: AMC)

What I find utterly fascinating is the reaction of people on the streets to these zombies. Some are dressed in city worker clothes, much of their costumes authentic, dripping in blood, skin in pieces, yet some folk do not react at all to the zombie invasion. Seriously—I write about zombies, and if one of these actors approaches me with death in its eyes and hunger in its jaw, I’d run for the hills!

Another video I found is London Zombie Prank. It’s one guy in London dressed as one of the undead, blood and all, horrifying the British in their parks, streets and historical sites. Funny stuff. But, again, what if the guy was real? I saw folks laughing at the thing. One fellow ran after the zombie. No fear.

The last video, which I will not link to, had a guy in a zombie outfit crawling into the middle of dimly lit road from a cemetery. You read that right. Cars passed, yet no one hit him. He should be thankful.

I’m not sure what to make of the reactions of the people in the videos. Perhaps laughter is the body’s mechanism to cope with shock and disbelief. Perhaps standing around doing nothing in a horrifying situation is the mind’s way of shutting down to other gruesome acts. Not sure. Or is it we’ve become so desensitized that we recognize truth from fiction? Your guess is as good as mine.

Get the Ranger Martin trilogy now!

What will it take to horrify people? Have you ever played a prank on someone?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Daryl Dixon

Last week I wrote about Rick Grimes, the leader of the survivors of AMC’s The Walking Dead. This week, I thought I’d add to my Wednesday Warriors series by talking about Daryl, the pragmatist of the group. Not only does he have a way of making things work by taking the simple approach, but he’s also the character no one would want to lose if things in the series should end up going south.

Daryl Dixon
Daryl Dixon

There’s a running joke on the internet, more of a meme. It goes something like this:

“Everyone makes fun of the redneck until the zombie apocalypse.”

It may seem funny, and yes, I must admit that it does strike me as humorous. But it also contains an element of truth others would rather ignore. That truth being, rednecks know a lot more about survival than the rest of us could ever imagine knowing in our entire lifetime.

Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) draws the audience in with his quick use of his bow and the easy way about him as he hunts for squirrel. What would make most of us sick; Daryl will eat without a second thought. If a group goes into an abandoned house looking for food in the cupboards, he’d be the guy who’d scavenge in the basement in the hope of finding a mouse he could skewer for his evening meal.

Norman Reedus is Daryl Dixon
Norman Reedus is Daryl Dixon

I’m just getting started. His crossbow is his weapon of choice. Not only does he hunt with it, he also kills walkers with it efficiently. In some instances, he utilizes the arrow only and spikes walkers through the top of the head. Then, of course, he also can use the butt of the bow to ram it into a biter’s head, delivering an equally brutal blow as a means of silencing the undead.

He may act mean, and can sometimes go off on people, as if he were about to slap them silly, but he knows when they need his help. He’s had run-ins with folks who have wanted to kill him only for them to find later that he was willing to forgive and help. He has a conscience, and that’s a good thing. None of the survivors can dispute his loyalty. He’s always willing to help, and he is always willing to push the extreme to get things done.

Daryl Dixon may be a fictional character, yet his personality is recognizable as one who everyone knows. He may not be approachable, and he may seem aloof, but make no mistake, when things get out of hand he is there to rescue everyone in distress.

You can be sure of that.

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

If you’ve watched The Walking Dead, what do you think of the character Daryl Dixon?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Rick Grimes

He awakens from a coma to find the world overrun by walkers. Once a small town sheriff’s deputy, now he’s a leader to a group of survivors who he fights for so that others can live. His entire life becomes a life serving others. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes

For today’s Wednesday Warriors let’s have a look at The Walking Dead’s strongest character, Rick Grimes, and what makes him who he is. Be warned, spoilers lie therein.

Played by Andrew Lincoln, Rick begins his journey into real life horror by taking the job no one wants. That job is that of leader to a band of people who have no clue what has caused walkers to take over the world. All he knows is what propels him forward each day—the hope for a new beginning, the hope to survive another day—hope. Perhaps a place out there exists that will save his group from the ravages of the roamers. Perhaps that place is closer than anyone thinks. Wherever it is, he’ll be damned if anyone or anything will stop him from finding the peace he so richly deserves.

Andrew Lincoln is Rick Grimes
Andrew Lincoln is Rick Grimes

Every season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, Rick gets that much closer to losing his mind. But isn’t that what being a leader is all about—walking a thin line between making the best decision to becoming an utter failure? In that sense, he succeeds admirably. He’ll have his good days, where everyone will love him for getting them out of the worst of messes, to his bad days, where everyone will question his sanity for him wanting to rid a prison filled with walkers. If that isn’t enough, he has to fend against insubordination at every turn, and that’s not including those outside the group who want to see him dead.

Adding to his troubles, Rick has to deal with the ever-increasing threat of walkers to the group. His life has become nothing more than a game of shells. No matter what he does, he’ll always meet with opposition, and if he so happens to do good, there’s isn’t enough time to relish the moment because the undead is ready to pounce on him and those he loves.

Of all The Walking Dead characters, Rick is the one who goes through the most noticeable transformation. From an everyman to someone bent on survival, he pushes the limit of what it means to be human, all in an effort to keeping the group together and his sanity in check. If anyone needs a reason not to live another day, it’s Rick. Yet, despite all the obstacles, he makes it through each day with a new resolve that never betrays his strong convictions—even if it looks otherwise.

Rick Grimes, Wednesday Warriors’ rock, and a walker’s ultimate nightmare.

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

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, what do you like about Rick? What excites you the most about the show?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Walking Dead Revisited

I’ve been binge watching. Is that an addiction? I’m certain one day I will be part of a support group for binge watchers everywhere. Until then, I’ll admit my fault, and say I’ve been binge watching The Walking Dead. It doesn’t sound so bad when I put it into that context. Doesn’t it? Well, binge watching is this: take a television series and watch it one episode after another until you’ve consumed every single one in a relatively short span. Who needs to wait for the next episode when you’re binge watching? Not me.

The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead

Anyway, for today’s Monday Mayhem, I have an observation for you Walking Dead fans.

Let’s talk about Season Three. Now, if you’ve never seen The Walking Dead, I suggest you skip to the last paragraph to see what I have to say about the series because I will certainly spoil it for you by revealing key elements of the plot.

Back to Season Three—I know The Walking Dead is a Drama/Horror show. I know that. AMC has established that by the story and plotlines. And I love that about the show. But what I’d like to see more of is humor. Inject a few bits of humor here and there, and I’ll love you even more. It’s not a criticism. Not at all. I just find after long stretches of binge watching, as a viewer, some levity would bring me back to focus on the stories.

Rick & Daryl
Rick & Daryl

For instance, when Rick and the other survivors take over the prison, they encounter the remnant of the prison population who haven’t turned. That to me is a great story. Even better is when the survivors try to explain to the former prisoners how to kill the walkers. They specifically instruct them how to aim for the head. Get rid of the brain. Get rid of the problem. Well, what happens? As soon as the group meets with walkers, the former prisoners hit prison riot mode and they assault the walkers in a flurry of body blows, which, by the way, has no effect on the undead other than to prove they can withstand stabbings and mutilations to the torso. In some respect, it’s a funny scene due to how it all went down. None of the former prisoners listened to any of the instructions, but instead did their own thing.

The other funny moment in Season Three, is when one of the former prisoners is hanging out with Beth as she coddles Lori’s baby in a prison cell. A known felon, he asks her how old she is. She says sixteen (I think that’s how it goes—I can’t remember). He then says, “Interesting.” All of a sudden, I roll my eyes thinking the worst. Fast forward to a minute later when Carol and the former prisoner have an off-the-cuff conversation away from the rest. He had convinced himself that she wasn’t interested in men. Guess what he says when he discovers otherwise. Yep. He says, “Interesting.” Of course, she says something that totally shoots him down. And there lies the humor.

I wish for more humor in subsequent seasons, not only for us binge watchers, but also for the new viewers.

What do you think?

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

What do you like about The Walking Dead? Do you have a favorite season?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Walking Dead: Opinion

I’m dedicating this Monday Mayhem post to all the fans of The Walking Dead. There really is no two ways about it—the show is one of the best series on TV today. This is what I like about it.

AMC's The Walking Dead
AMC’s The Walking Dead

As many of you are familiar already, the show delves into the heart of humans, giving an often-frightening glimpse into the darkness that lays beneath the otherwise innocent exterior projected to others. The depths of depravity to which humans can reduce themselves to appears each week as one survivor offs another in a matter-of-fact way. This is not a show for juniors. There is a message there that we should soon not forget. If, and when, an apocalypse truly does hit the world, as foreseen by the prophets of old, humanity would benefit being prepared. Neighbor against neighbor will be the norm.

This is realistic, and as depicted in episode after episode, people will be ready to take others down if it guarantees their own survival.

Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa
Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa

I also appreciate the show’s intense value for resources. If someone comes upon a rare find—a satchel perhaps, a box or a jar—which by today’s standards means nothing, it’s as if the rare find is treasure. Money, jewels, precious ore mean nothing in the world of the apocalypse. For in that world, money, jewels and precious ore will not feed survivors. Neither will they clothe, bathe or shelter them. The value in today’s riches will mean nothing in the future end times. The Walking Dead does an incredible job demonstrating how futile a chase it is when money, jewels and precious ore makes an appearance into a story.

The absolute best part about The Walking Dead is the zombies. What will the world be like when friend turns against friend all because of a virus? What will it be like when that friend will not only turn away, but also deliver the fatal blow that will destroy what they perceive as the enemy? Remember now, zombies were once human who fell to the infection. What’s that to say about the human compulsion to destroy one another? There isn’t a doubt it exists, and the zombies attest to that. Every time a zombie appears in the show, a lesson speaks to the audience—no one is safe. The show’s zombies have a purpose, and with that purpose, it enlightens the viewer to a world that could be, a world filled with pain, and a world crippled by the destruction of morality.

I ask this—isn’t the show The Walking Dead fun?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What do you like about The Walking Dead? Is there someone who you can’t do without in the series?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Walking Dead Returns

Another year, another season of The Walking Dead returns to AMC. Am I excited? You’re kidding, right? Of course, I’m excited! What other show on TV features survivors of a post-apocalyptic nightmare battling zombies—oops, sorry, walkers—in an all-out quest for world supremacy? No, I’m not talking about Breaking Bad, although that’s a cool show, too. I wish it were still on.

The Walking Dead Cast
The Walking Dead Cast

For today’s Monday Mayhem, allow me the liberty to provide you with a synopsis of the past four seasons, spoiler-free. That’s right, spoiler-free. It’s the least I can do, considering how I enjoy talking about movies and TV shows, asking questions to my friends like, “Did you see the part where (name the scene)—oh, yeah, that was awesome. Its brains sprayed everywhere!”

Season 1—The end-of-days madness begins with Deputy Sheriff Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) awakening from a wound sustained in the line of duty to a world infested with walkers. In a quest to find out what happened, Grimes and a group of mismatched survivors travel to Atlanta, Georgia on a rumor the CDC has set up a safe zone for anyone looking for refuge.

Glenn
Glenn

Season 2—After their daring escape from the CDC, the survivors head to Fort Benning as their next stop. On their way, they meet walkers bent on killing anything resembling human, survivors with similar malevolent intentions, and a farm. The farm not only becomes their sanctuary away from the rotting world, but also a place where a semblance of society begins to spring forth. In the midst of the silent fields, a dark secret awaits the brave.

Season 3—From a farm to a prison, the survivors make a home out of a jail. But with their newest safe haven also comes the neighboring town of Woodbury, fully fortified and fully prepared to defend its territory at all costs. The survivors are not welcomed, and a battle of wills ensues. A new enemy appears—The Governor (David Morrissey). Who will win the final war?

Beth
Beth

Season 4—When Rick Grimes relinquishes his leadership role to the survivors, a council emerges dedicated to the well-being of the many. Fighting through an influenza outbreak, another attempt at a prison overthrow, and a division among the ranks, the survivors hear of Terminus, a sanctuary devoted to helping everyone. But not all is what it seems and Rick ends the season by saying, “They’re going to feel pretty stupid when they find out—they’re screwing with the wrong people.”

Now, with Season 5 in full swing and the seeds planted for Season 6, yes, the survivors will be back next season, who knows what awaits Rick and the gang. One thing’s for sure, whatever it is, I know I’ll be tuning in every week.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What did you think of last night’s episode?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Walking Dead: Zombie Names

Doesn’t it feel good to know there’s a comfortable place to relax when all hell breaks loose? Now that The Walking Dead is back on the air serving pleasant meals of Horror with a side dish of dark humor, wouldn’t it be nice to know what those names for those zombies actually mean?

The Walking Dead Season 4
The Walking Dead Season 4

Monday Mayhem is my series where I delve into all things zombie in order to gain a better understanding of the undead’s wicked ways. If this is your first time here, enjoy my back catalogue of zombie posts tailored specifically for the genre. If you want to see something in the future, drop me a line. I do take requests.

Okay, let’s have some fun!

One of the coolest aspects of AMC’s The Walking Dead is the show’s ability to entertain their audience with trivial things. In this case, names the writers choose to describe zombies. They could have gone and called them zombies, but you’ll never hear that. In fact, here’s a challenge: Find an instance in the show where any of the survivors refer to a zombie as a zombie. You won’t find it. What you will find, though, is a list of euphemisms to describe a zombie’s principal attribute.

The Walking Dead Cast
The Walking Dead Cast

What are they? I thought you’d never ask.

Walkers—These are the garden-variety zombies most often seen in the show. The virus transformed them from productive humans to deceased corpses with no other intent other than eat other humans. In a zombie horde, walkers make up the bulk of the frenzied mass.

Lurkers—A common name for zombies that have sustained a massive injury that prevents them from walking. These are the most dangerous because upon approach they seem dead yet can pounce at any time. They tend to grab hold of the victim and munch on a limb thereby spreading the virus, making the victim one of them.

Meat Puppets—The name given to zombies whose intelligence is so low that survivors consider them nothing more than mindless puppets of meat.

Floaters—Of all the zombies, these are the ones most pollutant to the environment. We can find them in the water either stuck somewhere or floating. Should survivors attempt to steer these beasts away, a mighty explosion may occur that’d dismember the floater and spill its entrails. Not fun when survivors need to travel the waterway corridor to get to the other side.

Roamers—They do nothing other than hunt for humans to devour. Much of the roamers’ days transpire with nothing more than lurching back and forth between feeding grounds. They’re main attribute is an insatiable appetite.

The list goes on: Biters, creepers, dead ones, empties, deadies, geeks, monsters, ghouls, goons, lame-brains, psychos, swimmers, and wanderers. I’m sure you can find more.

Nevertheless, what I’ve described are the dominant ones in the show. If you do know of any more, don’t hesitate to comment. I’m sure the folks looking for a thorough compendium to the show’s creativity would appreciate it.

Do you enjoy watching The Walking Dead? What is your favorite part of the show? Did you know about all the names the survivors have for the zombies?