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 Freedom Friday

Bully

Growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Toronto does something to a kid. It made me never give up on my dreams, and it dared me to go beyond what I believed I could do. For Freedom Friday let me tell you about my experience with an epidemic plaguing the schools in today’s enlightened age.

Bullying in our schools.
Bullying in our schools.

If you learn anything from this post, learn one thing—kids don’t change. As we grow older, we think kids are getting worse when in fact we’re the ones noticing their behavior. Once we have kids of our own, our awareness of the evil surrounding us multiplies astronomically.

Kids don’t change. We change.

Someone may ask, why the surge of bullying in the schools? Bullying has existed long before you and I were born. Anyone remember Nazi Germany? But we hear more of it. Well, there are more people on this planet. Also, the internet makes bullying an instant news item with kids recording this stuff on their cell phones and posting it on YouTube.

It’s not the kids.

Bullying in the schoolyard.
Bullying in the schoolyard.

When I went to school in the 1970s, I had my own dilemma of sorts. At eight years old, a group of kids had determined in their little minds that I would suffice as their daily punching bag. Every afternoon I’d attempt to avoid the pack, escaping school by the side exit or waiting until everyone was gone so I could run home. Sometimes I’d make it. But sometimes, I’d get home covered in bruises.

I was afraid to tell my parents because I didn’t want to get in trouble. Most of the times I’d cover my injuries with long sleeves or pants. Once in a while I’d get home and my mother would notice. I’d lie and tell her I fell or something ridiculous like I ran into a baseball during gym class.

They were none the wiser for a long time.

That is, until I came home one day with the biggest shiner this side of the school district. Boy, oh boy, was my dad ever upset. He wanted to know the names of the culprits. He wanted to go down there and beat the crap out of them himself. My mom was calling the school to set up a meeting with the principal. In the meantime, all I wanted was for the whole thing to go away. I’m telling you, folks, my parents were proactive people.

Bullying on the playground.
Bullying on the playground.

I begged them not to get involved. I promised I’d handle it on my own. Well, my dad, being the practical man he was, gave me a piece of advice I’ve remembered to this day.

He said, “Hit back.”

I said, “I can’t.”

“They won’t expect it. If you don’t, they’ll keep hounding you.”

“I can’t.”

“Hit back and they’ll leave you alone. I promise.”

Somehow, those words, “I promise” made all the difference.

The next day after school, they came for me. I ran and they caught me on the sidewalk, surrounding me like the little zombies they were. Pushing and shoving. All I remember is decking the biggest guy square on the jaw. I don’t think I drew blood, but like my dad said, they left me, never to bother me again.

Would I recommend the same solution for today’s bullied? No, I’d recommend for those bullied to go to their parents. If not the parents, the guardians. Should that prove to be difficult, the school guidance counselor or principal. Failing that, the police. Whoever it is, they have to reach out to someone to get help. This is not a struggle for kids to go through alone.

There is no room for bullies in the schools or anywhere else.

Below is a list of helplines for your region:

USA: StopBullying.gov
Canada: Stop a Bully
UK: National Bullying Helpline

Have you had to deal with bullying? What would be your solution in today’s world?

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?