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 Monday Mayhem

What Scares You?

Somehow, whenever October rolls around, I feel a definite shift in people’s attitudes. I think a lot of it has to do with Halloween coming at the end of the month. I also think the time change at the beginning of November has people thinking of the darker evenings. For some, it brings SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and for others, the shorter days can prove a great motivator to flee for warmer climes.

The Exorcist
The Exorcist

However, for today’s Monday Mayhem, I’d like to concentrate on one thing: Horror movies.

For some, Horror movies can be a sensitive subject. Depending on the story, the film can act as a portal for demon possession. Don’t ask me where I read that. I just did. I can’t blame anyone for thinking that. If you’ve seen The Exorcist, you would think there is more to that film than the simple possession of a little girl on screen. I saw it when I was ten years old. I couldn’t sleep for a week. Years later I read somewhere that two main characters connected with the film died unexpectedly shortly either before or after the premier. Reports surfaced that during the film’s run, certain members in the audience passed out in the aisles while watching the film. Stationed outside movie theaters were ambulances waiting for more and more victims. A few of the cast members once said they believed the set was haunted.

The Sixth Sense had a similar effect on audiences, but in a different way. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched that movie. I would consider the flick a perfect case study for writers who want to learn about plot, pacing, character development and escalating action. The film also sports an ending that few, if any, could have guessed. I know I didn’t have a clue.

The Sixth Sense
The Sixth Sense

I consider The Sixth Sense a Horror movie, but not in the way that others might consider it Horror. The escalating images of dead people with its eerie musical cues and scenes written in the Hitchcock style, makes this film more than an ordinary Horror film. It’s scary, not because of what you see, but because of what you don’t see.

The whole Horror genre nowadays has changed. More and more filmmakers attempt to outdo each other with graphic scenes of gore that would even make a serial killer take notice. As the audience desensitizes to yesterday’s splatter count, they also want more. Gone are the days when a filmmaker could get away with not showing the murder. In fact, if I may be so bold in saying, today crime films can fit into a category all on its own for being a cross between the Detective and Horror genres. Throw in a couple of demon possessions and there you’d have the perfect genre.

Nevertheless, knowing all this, I have a question for everyone—and I’m genuinely curious about your thoughts about this subject.

What scares you?

What I mean is, what really scares you?


What scares you?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Crossing a Zombie with a Vampire

I’ve always wondered if a zombie were to ever crossbreed with a vampire, what exactly would you have? It wouldn’t be a zombie, that I know. That would mean the resulting monster, for lack of a better term, would have not only an appetite for human, but also the appetite to drain it of its blood. By the same argument, it wouldn’t be a vampire as that would mean it wouldn’t hunt in packs, much like zombies do in popular movies today.

Zombie Rising
Zombie Rising

I thought for my Monday Mayhem series of articles dedicated to zombies, today I would explore this awful but lethal combination of crossing a zombie with a vampire. If birds can do it, why not the undead?

Looking at it logically, I wouldn’t discount the possibility that such a breed could exist. After all, zombies and vampires have a lot in common. They both are undead. They enjoy human as their choice of nourishment. And if they had their way, they’d have a run at taking over the whole world with their species. What’s to say they wouldn’t succeed?

How about the differences? These are easy. Although they don’t plan coordinated attacks, zombies hunt in groups. Even more so, when a zombie attacks, it lets loose grunts, shrieks or shrills that alert other zombies of a potential feeding frenzy. This is not on purpose, yet they have that capability to unleash devastating damage to an unsuspecting populace simply by their overt cries of hunger. Additionally, zombies do not give up easily. That’s not to say vampires do, but it is to say zombies will keep coming after a victim until its dead. Vampires can’t do that since as soon as the sun makes an appearance vampires have to flee. I’m not talking about the sparkling ones either.

Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead

What about vampires? Vampires have an innate sense of communication zombies lack. In fact, vampires talk. Zombies do not. Other than R in the movie Warm Bodies, who I would classify as an exception to the rule, zombies typically have a one-syllable vocabulary bordering on animal. A series of groans could mean they’re hungry. In a vampire’s case, however, there’s no denying they possess articulate speech, enunciated words and eloquent vocal patterns. Vampires can talk their way out of anything.

Which brings me to the what if scenario. What if zombies were to crossbreed with vampires? Would Horror fans call them vampbies or zombires? Would they melt in the sun or would they survive in any lighting condition? What about their hunger? Would they crave human meat or human blood?

The list goes on. How about their hunting patterns? Would they form packs and hunt in coordinated attack patterns or go off alone hoping what they come across would keep them alive for another day?

My opinion? I would like to see a crossbreed of pack-hunter able to change forms and go after humans not just for their blood. I would like to see a creature eloquent in speech but deadly in battle that neither a wooden stake or a bullet to the head could stop. I would like to see the ultimate Horror creature give humans a run for their lives in a city setting where strength and cunning would rule the genre.

But then I would have a problem. What would I call such a creature?


What do you think about crossing a zombie and a vampire?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Problems

I wouldn’t want to be a zombie. Although some may not agree, a zombie life seems much too complicated a life to live. What’s complicated about it? Okay, I’ll agree that roaming about seeking of whom they may devour sounds simple. It’s not. There are elements that zombies have to take into consideration when doing the roaming about.

World War Z
World War Z

For Monday Mayhem, let’s have a look at what those elements are.

  1. Predators—As strange as it may seem, zombies have a natural predator. The hunted is the hunter. Humans do not take kindly when the undead mess around with their turf. Even if zombies can tear human’s apart, humans can pose a great risk to zombies. Humans can band together to destroy zombies permanently.
  2. Water—As much as zombies could rule the earth, toss them into water, they’re useless. They might float but more than likely they will sink to the bottom. If anything, they will walk the depths until they find a place to climb out of their watery grave.
  3. Walls—Zombies don’t do well with walls. Unless they’re like ants, as depicted in World War Z, they can’t climb. They might do well with ladders, but they’d have to figure out how a ladder works.
  4. Guns—Nothing scares a zombie more than a shotgun pointed at its face. That is to say, if a zombie had any fear whatsoever. Most of the time, it’s charging and not worried about the huge hole it will have in its head if a human were to pull the trigger. Guns and zombies do not make for a good combination to the undead.
  5. Knives—Equally as devastating as a gun is the knife. One good thrust in the undead’s temple and it’s lights out Mr. Chewer. The positive side in the knife battle issue for zombies is that humans have to get close to inflict damage. By then however, one bite is all they need to make it a fair game for everyone.
  6. Planes, Trains and Automobiles—Zombies would have a hard time defending themselves against a semi-truck headed in their direction. The impact alone would kill them, let alone the mess it would make all over the highway. Any transportation device really would count as a weapon against the undead.
  7. Tight Alleys—You either get or don’t get this. With a horde of zombies trampling their way through a city, a group would surely get stuck in an alley somewhere because of them piling in there all at the same time. Shoulder to shoulder, crunched in a small space, can anyone deny their stupidity for having done such a silly thing?
  8. Fire—If life teaches humans anything, it’s that fire is a great equalizer. Nations use it to subdue other nations, why not human use it to subdue zombies?
  9. Winter—Canadian winters are brutal animals. They drag from the Arctic, cover the cities and freeze everything in their wake. A zombie would do well moving to Florida when a Canadian winter hits.
  10. A Samurai Sword—Given the Samurai sword has made debuts in feature films and TV shows as a weapon of choice for zombie slayers, no doubt the undead would feel the threat of its cold steel gleaming in the sunlight. The undead would do well running as fast and as far away as they can.


What other problems do zombies have to face when chasing their dinner through an alley or a library?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Who Would Win?

I’ve written a huge amount of material dedicated to zombies. Yeah, no kiddin’. I’ve also written several articles featuring vampires. Each monster has its advantages and disadvantages of being who they are. But picking a fight, who would win? I thought for today’s Monday Mayhem I’d write about zombies vs. vampires and have some fun speculating who would come out victorious in a full-tilt battle between these two creatures of Horror.

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene in The Walking Dead
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene in The Walking Dead

What do we know?

Depending on who you talk to, zombies can either drag their limbs to their victim or dash in a fit of rage. Either way, you’re dead. No matter if you have a slow or fast zombie on your tail, you’ll soon have to stop for a breath. Or you can climb a tree and stay there until you fall to your ultimate demise. Zombies also come in packs. Therefore, even if you encounter slow zombies lurching about, more than likely you’ll have a horde after you. The awful thought about the whole genre is that they act as one unit. When one of them hears a noise the rest follow. They have have no sense of stopping once they’ve placed a marker on a victim.

Vampires function on another level. They’re cunning, choosing to lure and trap their victims with their wily use of stealth. If they mark a victim, they’ll follow until they’re sure no one could interfere with their nefarious plan. Once alone with their victim, they’ll hypnotize and lull them to do their bidding. Eventually, the victim will surrender their neck to the demon of darkness in a life-draining session.


Knowing what we know about zombies and vampires, who do you think would win a war between them?

I’ll play both sides of the battle for now.

Zombies are a powerful foe when fighting as part of a crowd. As individual creatures, not so much. A quick knife to the head; they’re gone. They’re not very smart either. When attacking their victims, they huddle around them in a frenzy in an attempt to get as much as they can from the meal, even kneeling with their backs turned while pillaging their spoil. Any opposing foe can quickly put these monsters out of their misery. But if the undead are united and see their goal, they’re unstoppable. Other than bullets and vehicles, zombies can rip through an army fairly quickly without much trouble.

Vampire strength, on the other hand, relies on the individual. The smarter a vampire, the more likelihood it would win against single zombies. The problem I see though, is vampires win by the spilling of their victim’s blood, an element zombies don’t need to stay alive. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Vampires are also very good with steering humans to do their will, something a braindead zombie would have a hard time doing, considering they don’t even know they’re dead.

So there you have it, a few points to keep in mind in this speculative argument. Verdict?

Don’t be mad at me, but I think zombies would win an all-out war against vampires. Two reasons: First, sheer numbers. If the whole of the human race turns zombie then vampires would have a tough time recruiting new candidates into their armies. Zombie viruses spread quicker than vampire replication. Second, zombies tear apart their victims. If vampires fall prey to zombies, there wouldn’t be anything left of them. Zombies can still survive without a body. World War Z attests to that. And if I were to add a third reason, I also would say if a war broke out during the day, vampires would burn up in the sun while the zombies sit and stare at their charred remains.

Of course, the age-old question is this: If a vampire bites a zombie will the zombie become a vampire? Or if the zombie bites the vampire will the vampire become a zombie?

These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.


Who do you think would win in a battle of zombie vs. vampire?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Why I Love Zombies

It’s spring break here in Canada, so I thought I’d give you a treat today. Rather than a laborious tome of sorts you have to work through, I’m going to give you something different to chew on (‘scuse the pun).

Toronto Zombie Walk 2014 [Photo credit: Igor Baranov,]
Toronto Zombie Walk 2014 [Photo credit: Igor Baranov,]
For today’s Monday Mayhem article, I’m going to scrawl a list of reasons why I think zombies are cool. A single list. No elaborate references. No major theories—although that would be cool, too.

Here we go:

  • There are fast zombies for some of us and there are slow zombies for some of us.
  • They’re Horror’s biological Terminators.
  • Once they see something they want, they never surrender pursuing it.
  • The genre is always changing.
  • A virus that can turn people into the undead is a pretty scary thing.
  • A shotgun is the weapon of choice for many zombie slayers.
  • Zombies make great crash test dummies.
  • Zombies can’t swim.
  • Zombies can’t fly either, unless you throw them off a cliff. But even then…
  • A Louisville Slugger, popcorn and a horde of zombies make for a fun evening staying in.
  • A lot of thought goes into pulling off a memorable zombie kill.
  • A narrow alley, a truck and a crowd of undead proves you don’t need a shotgun to kill them.
  • Sharks and zombies share many similarities.
  • Throwing a zombie from a plane still doesn’t prove they can fly.
  • Zombies vs. Skunks. I still say skunks would win.
  • They’ll keep pounding on the door no matter how many chairs you put in front of it.
  • They don’t take no for an answer.
  • Running up a tree doesn’t guarantee your safety. You’ll eventually have to come down.
  • If the undead is slow, you can outrun them in a field. Inside a building, you are dead.
  • A chain-linked fence provides a great deterrent against the undead.
  • A woman with a samurai sword rocks.
  • A woman with a shotgun rocks even harder.
  • A zombie bite does not make you a vampire.
  • Zombies never have to use a restroom.
  • They aren’t very smart even though they know how to open a door.
  • Much like wolves, the undead hunt in packs.
  • They have an acute sense of hearing.
  • Zombies don’t eat hamburger. Seriously, they don’t!

That’s all there is to it. These are the reasons I love zombies. Now it’s your turn.

[Thank you Igor Baranov for granting the use of your 2014 Toronto Zombie Walk photography for this article.]


Why do you love zombies?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Zombies and My Beliefs

My wife recently received an appointment as Children’s Ministry Coordinator for our church. Her enthusiasm for the scriptures has given her an opportunity to serve in a way she didn’t expect. She’s currently aiding with the program’s Sunday curriculum and presentations. I have to say, I’m extremely proud of all that she’s accomplished in the short time she has served in the kid’s ministry.

Writing about zombies
Writing about zombies

With that on my mind, I’ll make today’s Freedom Friday post a short one. I’d like to talk about my beliefs and how I reconcile the fact that I write about zombies.

Before I go on, let me get something out of the way first. I’m writing this post with the intention of not offending anyone. I’m sure I will, but I don’t mean to. I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, I shouldn’t say whatever’s on my mind. But because you’re my fans, I’d like to provide an added dimension to who I am–not only as a writer, but as a person.

Right. Moving along.

I get this question a lot. When I say a lot, I mean über-times. The question I receive is this: How can I write about zombies if I believe in a higher power? More specifically–how can I write about horror if I believe in God?

My answer is always the same. I write about sin. Rather, I write about the effects of sin in a godless society. This is where you as the reader either stop reading, or continue reading with the goal of trying to understand what I just said. I’m sure whatever you decide to do, I will know by the response I receive at the end of this post.

I write about zombies as a type of sin that has spread throughout society. Given sin is the breaking of God’s law, lawlessness left unchecked will produce a society where sin corrupts and kills the good. Similarly, zombies as typified sin, spread their corruption, in this case their undead state, to others by means of close contact. Without salvation, all of humanity will die. Hence, the only thing to redeem humanity from sin is the shedding of blood.

My definition of a zombie apocalypse is not about how gory the story can become, but about good versus evil. In other words, how far has sin progressed in the story that the hero–the savior–can appear and redeem the remaining few who have chosen not to allow sin to enter into their lives?

To me, zombies also represent people dead in sin. I’m talking about those folks who roam about shackled to a life of bitter slavery. They have no concept of an existence beyond themselves, and their idea of living is waking up every morning to continue a life better left unchallenged. Eventually, zombies will rot until there’s nothing left and sin will have prevailed over their souls.

Do you see now how I don’t feel guilty writing about zombies?


If you’re a writer, do you allow your belief system to inspire you? If so, how far do you allow it to take you?