Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Pranks

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 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC (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, to say the least. But, as he once said, place a bomb under that chair, 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 their eyes and hunger in their 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.

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

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

Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Walking Dead

My Monday Mayhem series provides me with the opportunity to ramble on about zombies, the zombie apocalypse and the undead. Today’s no different. Because today, I want to ramble on about The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead

I’ve wanted to write about The Walking Dead for a while now, but never really had any idea of how to approach it. I could talk about all the gnarly special effects with the guns blowing away the zombies or I can go into the incredible makeup each zombie actor in the show wears. However, I didn’t feel I’d provide anything new a reader couldn’t get anywhere else. And that’s what made me start this post, put it away and start it again. A few times in fact.

I decided to try something different instead.

For those who haven’t watched the show, AMC’s The Walking Dead is about a group of apocalypse survivors who search for a safe haven from evil. The evil being zombies. Although no one ever utters the word zombie in first season, labels such as Roamers, Walkers, Lamebrains, and Geeks make for good replacements.

Characters
Characters

Also to the credit of the show, the cast varies. Sheriff Rick Grimes, who’s smart, has moral integrity, a father, husband and a good friend, leads the group. He walks around flawed though, seeing things black and white causing him to make decisions that although ethically correct, causes more problems in the end. He is a protector and will do anything to keep the others safe.

Close to him is Deputy Shane Walsh, Rick’s best friend since high school. Living under Rick’s shadow, bitter resentment causes hatred, which ultimately results in Shane’s breakdown of conscience. This leads Shane to becoming a threat to the other survivors, including Rick’s son, Carl.

Lori Grimes is Rick’s wife and the center of the survivors’ emotional stability. She is loyal to Rick. This leads Shane to covet that which is Rick’s.

The Walking Dead is more than a typical zombie show. I wouldn’t consider it a zombie show at all if it weren’t for all the zombies popping up occasionally.

No, the show is about friendship. Every episode tries each friendship further and further in a refining fire. The audience watches this in awe, wondering how much can the characters take. No way can they survive this. Impossible! Yet, the friendships do survive. Through the yelling, screaming, betrayals and hatred, the survivors carry on, stronger, more determined to accomplish their goal of finding safety away from the Walkers.

The Walking Dead is a testament to what Hollywood can accomplish when the right people come together in an effort to create something exceptional. The show’s grounding comes from producers who know how the human condition works.

Have you seen The Walking Dead? What do you like about the show? Is there something in the show you’d like to see?