Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie What Ifs VII

Today’s Monday Mayhem is all about fun! That’s right. It’s that time again, folks. It’s time to put your thinking caps on and help me escape the zombies. Are you ready to indulge in some serious undead running? It ain’t gonna be pretty. Not today.

Canadian zombie hunting license.
Canadian zombie hunting license.

How it works: I present a scenario filled with zombies, and your job is to figure out a way to escape. Of course I’ll give you my answer telling you what I’d do, but it doesn’t mean that’s what you would do. That’s up for you to decide. And if you missed them, here are the first six parts: I, II, III, IV, V, VI.

Are you ready? All right then. Let’s go!

Scenario #1: You’re in the middle of a corn field. You see the stocks behind you wafting back and forth and you know that’s not a good sign. Thirty feet ahead, past the logs and trees, is a lake. If you don’t get a move on, you’ll end up as zombie meat. The only way out will be to head for the lake. When you get there, you realize something is swimming in the water. Schools of fish. You think nothing of it until you place one foot in the water. Piranha. Your choice? You either fight your way through a zombie horde or swim to the other side of the lake, hoping the piranha don’t get you first. What do you do?

My Answer: I don’t know about you, but I’d rather fight through a crowd of the undead. Piranha are much too dangerous for my taste.

Do not feed the zombies.
Do not feed the zombies.

Scenario #2: Twenty-three. You’ve counted them twice. Twenty-three. That’s how many of the undead have you surrounded on the roof of your neighbor’s garage. After seeing them on the right, on the left and in the driveway, your only chance would be to make a run across the backyard to the fence on the other side. There’s a catch, though. The jump alone will kill you. If you decide to hang by the roof and drop graciously, you may survive the fall, but by the time you get down there, you may also have zombies on your tail. Will you take a chance and make a run for it? Or will you die a miserable death while thinking of last year’s chocolate cake?

My Answer: I’m not going to starve to death. Every roof has debris in their eavestroughs. I’ll distract them, tossing the debris in the front, then I’ll make a break for it in the back.

Scenario #3: You venture into a general store that contains plenty of goods left to raid. You fill your backpack. When you’ve loaded it to the point you can’t carry anymore, you hear a ring in the front of the store and a shuffle on the floor. You drop the backpack and duck behind the deli counter. Five zombies head your way. You don’t know if you’ve attracted them when you dropped your backpack, but what you do know is you have to get out of there. With only one way out, through the front, your chances of surviving are small. Do you risk your life, make a run for the front door, perhaps leaving your backpack behind? Or will you sit tight, hoping they’d all go away?

My Answer: For this one, I thought of sitting tight. But then I thought every deli has a set of steak knives. I can do a lot of damage with a set of steak knives.

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

What would you do?

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.

Underworld
Underworld

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.

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

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

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

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, SolarWorksArt.com]
Toronto Zombie Walk 2014 [Photo credit: Igor Baranov, SolarWorksArt.com]
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 JackFlacco.com the use of your 2014 Toronto Zombie Walk photography for this article.]

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

Why do you love zombies?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Nightmare

The other night I had a nightmare. I don’t blame myself for having it, considering I write about zombies, and I’d gone through a Walking Dead marathon recently. But yes, I had a full-blown nightmare waking up in a cold sweat and trying to catch my breath. I fell short of screaming–thank goodness for that. Then again, what would I consider scream-worthy?

Spider nest
Spider nest

For today’s Monday Mayhem, let me tell you about this nightmare.

Some of my friends have asked me pointblank where do I get my ideas. In all honesty, because I write every day, I figured it had to do with the writing habit. But more and more I’m finding I draw much of my inspiration through my dreams, and yes, nightmares. I have yet to experience night terrors, such as those few unlucky people I’ve met in my lifetime, however my dreams are so vivid at times that when I wake up I’m confused as to what is real and what is not.

Knowing this, let’s get back to my nightmare.

One night I find myself running through a wheat field. I could hear the stalks breaking under my footsteps and I could feel the grain scratching my hands as I attempt to make my way to an exit of some sort. The night is cold. It feels more like the end of October, early November. I can see my breath. I remember wearing my jeans and sneakers, but that’s not important until later. And there’s very little light, although I can see ahead to what is coming next.

I then find myself at the mouth of a cave. At least it looks that way. The rock outside glistens in the moonlight. Now that I think about it, I wonder why everything looks brighter than the wheat field. I notice the rock appears wet to the touch. I can’t understand why it seems wet, yet I can’t see a source of water anywhere.

Inside the cave, I look around and notice that the walls are also wet to the touch, much like the outside. I move forward until I stop next to a crag where a small shaft of light appears. I find this weird, but I’m not afraid. Then the light disappears only I find the tunnel ahead contains a fire burning in the background. I can smell the charring wood and can feel the warmth from a few feet away.

I can’t move, though. I try to lift my feet, I try to pull my legs from where they stand, but something’s keeping me there. It’s funny, I feel as if I have lost my will to use my lower half.

When I peer at my feet, expecting I may have stepped into glue, I see things crawling on my sneakers. They are black. They have legs. Now, I’m afraid. Their legs bend as would a spider’s legs bend. It’s not a spider, though. The hand-sized bug has seven legs, three on two sides and one in the back. It crawls around and has now begun climbing my legs.

Having regained the use of my legs, I run. I scream. I shake. Yet I don’t go anywhere other than two feet from where those bugs had attacked me. I turn around and stare at them. I find I had stood frozen in place under their nest.

Then I hear a familiar growl. The undead. I’m sure of it.

That’s when I wake up.

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

Have you had any nightmares lately? What was the last one you remember?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie What Ifs VI

Since it’s the middle of winter here in Canada, I thought to warm things up we’d have fun with zombies. Hey, who doesn’t want to have fun with zombies? Can I have a show of hands? I didn’t think so. Today’s Monday Mayhem is all about fun!

Zombie Hunting License
Zombie Hunting License

That’s right. It’s that time again, folks. It’s time to put your thinking caps on and help me escape the zombies. Are you ready to indulge in some serious undead running? It ain’t gonna be pretty. Not today. How it works: I present a scenario filled with zombies, and your job is to figure out a way to escape. Of course I’ll give you my answer telling you what I’d do, but it doesn’t mean that’s what you would do. That’s up for you to decide. And if you missed them, here are the first five parts: I, II, III, IV, V.

Are you ready? All right then. Let’s go!

Scenario #1: In the middle of the street, 50 chewers have you surrounded. You have a knife, but how long do you think you’ll last before one of them takes a bite? Next to your feet, a manhole sits open. You think a construction crew must have been working in the sewers below when the change took place. You have a decision to make. Will you stand and fight, taking your chances that you might die trying. Or will you drop into the manhole, in raw sewage, not knowing what awaits you below?

My Answer: A group of 50 chewers seems a bit too much to fight all on my own. I’ll take my chances in the manhole.

Zombie Warning Sign
Zombie Warning Sign

Scenario #2: You’ve jammed a knife under a door preventing zombies from breaking into your basement bathroom. You climb the sink and can reach the window overhead, but it’s sealed shut. The only chance you have is to break the window and climb outside to ground level. You realize, though, a few things can happen. If you break the window, shards of glass may remain in the frame, therefore gutting you as you attempt to escape. Also, breaking the window can alert other undead to your location up above. The other option is to sit in the bathroom and wait—this may lead you to starving yourself to death. What do you do?

My Answer: I’d rather starve than gut myself trying to escape.

Scenario #3: You have a gun strapped to your waist and a knife hanging from your neck as you dangle on a rope several feet from a horde. With their arms stretched toward you, it will only be a matter of time before they grab you. Above is the hole in the warehouse’s ceiling from where you came. Another crowd of eaters is waiting for you there. What’s the solution? Go up, you die. Go down, you die.

My Answer: It’s a warehouse, I’m sure I can swing my way out of it.

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

What would you do?

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?