wednes: (Elephant on Trampoline)
What is an album?

The dictionary gives two definitions, both of which make sense to me.

1. A blank book for the insertion (giggity!) of photos, stamps, coins, etc.
2. A collection of recordings released in a single medium--a compact disc, cassette, etc.

I was saying the other day that Rob Zombie's new album kicked ass. That's mainly because Rob Zombie's new album kicks ass. Yeah, it sounds a lot like every other Rob Zombie album. But see, when you like what Rob Zombie albums sound like, it's nice to get more that sound roughly like that. But I digress...

Someone corrected me, several someones in fact, that it's not an "album." It's a CD, or a digital file. First of all, the new Rob Zombie album is actually available on vinyl. So even if you believe that a vinyl release is necessary for something to correctly be called an "album" (it isn't), that still wouldn't apply here. Whether it's on vinyl or a cassette, 8-track, a wax cylinder, or a fucking reel-to-reel, it's still an album--by definition.

Maybe I just hate being corrected...

In other news, Bates Motel S4E9 was friggin' incredible. If you've been watching for four seasons waiting for a certain thing to happen, that's the one!
wednes: (Zombie B&W)

Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday: Joshua Hoffine.

Hoffine has a Kickstarter going on RIGHT NOW that can land you some sweet new art.


Joshua Hoffine is a Kansas-born artist with a degree in English Literature. He worked as a professional wedding photographer before moving on to do work for Hallmark, and has been commissioned for publicity photos for various rap artists including Tech N9ne. His current works often utilize themes of children in peril, and quintessential human fears like spiders, clowns, and monsters lurking just outside your field of vision. His own four daughters are the perfect subjects, natural and photogenic girls whom you don't doubt for an instant are truly terrified.

Artists who work in the medium of horror have a hard time of it. Unlike web comics that get passed around with gleeful abandon, horrific art is something that comes on you slow. You have to really look at it, think about it. And it's unlikely to wind up taped to your cubicle or hung from your fridge with a decorative magnet. Still, there are some truly exceptional artists with a passion for examining mankind's most pervasive fears. Luckily for us, one of those geniuses has consented to answer some questions just for us.

WLF/ZZN: Let's get this out of the way: Of all the emotions an artist can choose to evoke, you've chosen fear. Is that because you secretly loathe humanity?

I do not harbor a secret hatred for humanity. I find Horror to be a compelling genre. Horror is psychological, existential, and inherently metaphorical.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us a bit about your relationship with the undead. When did you first become aware of zombies?

I saw NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD when I was 12 years old. Upon reflection, I'm very grateful that this was the first zombie movie I ever saw. When my daughters asked to watch SHAUN OF THE DEAD, I insisted that they watch NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD first. (WLF Note: Yay!)

WLF/ZZN: I think it's awesome that you terrify children for the sake of art. That alone is delightfully horrific. Can you reassure your fans that no children were harmed in the creation of your amazing work?

The children featured in the photographs are my own daughters. Other family members play the monsters. The girls are never frightened. For them it's like a big game of dress-up.

WLF/ZZN: Your work is often a single frame that evokes a story. How are you able to say so much in one still photo?

I choose a moment that will offer the possibility of suspense, and then I will often try to suggest a specific sub textual meaning through my production design. Michelangelo Antonioni called this 'symbolic mise-en-scene'.

WLF/ZZN: Many, if not most zombie stories feature undead kids. What do you think it is about zombified tots that is so damn scary?

On some level, they represent the ultimate unruly child, beyond control or discipline, bent on violent and destructive behavior.

There is also the tragedy inherent in child mortality.

Distorting traditional icons of innocence and life, and rendering them as lifeless (and soul-less) - pushes a deep button in most people.

And for some reason, people respond to diminutive sources of threat - spiders, rats, parasites, the dwarf monsters in PHANTASM, and children. Small can be scary.

WLF/ZZN: Your work features varied monsters, both real and fictional. What inspires you to choose a subject?

I look for universal ideas, or cultural iconography, that we can all relate to.

WLF/ZZN: Many horror artists assert that the horror genre still doesn't command the respect it deserves. Do you agree with this? If so, what can be done about it?

I do agree. I am on the very fringes of the art world, and my choice of subject matter is the primary cause. I hope to continue to illustrate and discuss the potential depth of the genre. Films like PAN'S LABYRINTH and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN shine as exemplars of what the genre is capable of.

WLF/ZZN: Who in the wide world of horror inspires you the most?

It's a tie between Mario Bava and Walt Disney.

WLF/ZZN: You've spoken about your emphasis on the psychology of fear. I'm guessing that you're a Jungian. Am I right?

Yes I am. I believe that Horror functions as a projection of the repressed and forgotten fears lurking in the Unconscious mind. I study Jungian psychology partly to better inform my ability to explore and exploit this psychological process in my work.

WLF/ZZN: Your work clearly illustrates some of our most primal fears. What do you see as the value in confronting people with the things they are most frightened of?

Part of my motivation is to show how we are all afraid of the same things.

I also believe that Horror provides a sanctified space for the expression of repressed feelings, such as terror and rage - which is beneficial and necessary - for both the individual as well as society.

WLF/ZZN: How do you think your intimate relationship with monsters and fear will improve your chances of surviving a zombie uprising?

Absolutely. Horror films remind you that life is dangerous - they keep you on your toes. Horror films teach you what not to do in a crisis situation. For instance, you know from countless slasher films that you never go out into the dark woods alone to investigate a weird noise or search for a missing friend. That's just an obvious way to get yourself killed.

WLF/ZZN: After zombies, clowns are probably next on my list of creepy things. As such, "Balloons" is freakin' terrifying. What is it about clowns that frightens us so?

According to child development psychology, young children are easily frightened by distortions of the human form or human face. Clowns fit this bill perfectly. If you see your first clown at a very young age, you are likely to remember them as frightening.

WLF/ZZN: "Pickman's Masterpiece" differs from much of your work in that there are five frames instead of one. It is also based on a Lovecraft story. Can you talk about the process of creating this awesome piece?

Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine asked me if I would be interested in creating 5 images to illustrate an H.P. Lovecraft story called PICKMAN'S MODEL. I read the story and fell in love with the character of Pickman, a brilliant but ostracized Horror artist. With only 3 weeks and $300 to work with, I chose to focus on the moment in the story when Pickman reveals his masterpiece to a visitor in his underground studio. I found and re-dressed 2 different basement locations to serve as my backdrop. I talked Chad Michael Ward into donating some of his photographs to double as Pickman's artwork. I borrowed everything I needed, including easels and painting supplies, and talked my friends into helping me.

I enjoyed spreading a scene over 5 images. I may do more.

WLF/ZZN: What are you working on next?

Either a child-eating plant or a horde of spiders coming in through the window.

WLF/ZZN: How can fans contact you and buy your work?

All of my work is available for purchase on my website at http://www.joshuahoffine.com/ using PayPal. Signed original prints start at only $25.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Anything you'd like to say to the fans?

Thanks!

(WLF note: Pics used in this interview are NOT complete versions of Mr. Hoffine's various works. They cropped and altered for space and so as not to give away the goods. The best way to see Mr. Hoffine's amazing work is to head over to his website and order some for your very own.)

Zombies

Mar. 29th, 2015 07:26 am
wednes: (Growlers)
I'm finally getting it together to put some short stories for sale at Amazon. Now that I'm better at formatting for Kindle, it's a no brainer that I should be releasing as much as I can for sale. I have to say who the publisher is when I put new stories up on KDP. So I've decided to be WednesFri Scares. Because I'm me, and I scare.

With that in mind, The Growlers is back in print. Borrow it for free, or buy it for 99 cents. H made a sweet new cover, which you can see at the link. The icon for this post is the old graphic that I used when the podcast ep was released. Cool, eh?

Once I get new covers, I'm gonna be putting up a few more shorts to see how they do. I'm also gonna be publishing another author I'm not ready to release details about yet. Pretty sure I'll release Trabajando Alegre, Raja, and maybe Whitman, I Ain't. Might be nice if I could get pro-gun and anti-gun people arguing over that one. I should also release An Occurrence Among Stoners at Owl Creek Bridge because why the hell not? #Popularity


Now...The Walking Dead Season Five finale is tonight. After getting spoiled on Helix more than once this season, I'm not going back on the Internet from the time it airs until I actually see it. A lot of people are saying Daryl is going to die.

Initially, I dismissed this without much thought--sort of like I did with the "Snape Kills Dumbledore" spoiler that turned out to be true. It seems unlikely that TWD would kill Daryl, since he's a clear fan fave. AMC has made it pretty clear that they care more about profits than art, and they won't risk driving away the teenage fan base. Today I found out that Norman Reedus is selling his house, which could mean that he's moving on to bigger things. I will be bummed if Daryl dies, but I don't think that's what will happen. TWD is so large with diversions from the comic, but I think this time they're gonna adhere. If he does die though, he should totally turn up as a zombie on the spinoff. Yeah, I know it's a prequel. There are also undead cannibals, so suspending our disbelief shouldn't be too hard.

My prediction is that Rick will be exiled, and Glenn & Maggie will immediately elect to go with him, as will Carl. But then, Alexandria is the safest place for Judith, who would need Carl to take care of her. Abraham and Rosita, Father Gabriel Asshat, and Michonne will stay. But as soon as the gates open, that's probably when the Wolves will come. The lead in has been way too heavy to not have them show up. We've been promised tears, so I imagine that's when it will happen. I won't spoil it for anyone who doesn't know--but I will miss this person a LOT if that's who dies.
wednes: (Zombie Cart)
This is a reprint from 2011. Enjoy!

Top Ten Non-Weapons that YOU need for Home Zombie Defense.

If you're anything like me, you've had a zombie preparedness plan in place for some time. You know where you're going to go, who and what you're going to take—and who you're going to leave behind. You may even have a bag packed, or a small stock of food and weaponry. It's okay…I won't tell. And you shouldn't either—or you're just asking to be looted.
As the zombie genre and its fans mature, the need for increased zombie preparedness grows. Unlimited food, weaponry, and toilet paper just aren't enough any more. Thanks to the proliferation of zombie culture—many of your neighbors are now also planning to hold up in the bowling alley, the local jail, military base, or super Wal*mart. To survive and thrive, you've GOT to stay ahead of the zombies, and more importantly, ahead of anyone in the same predicament as you. Hint: that's pretty much everyone.
The best thing may just be to hold up in your own home for as long as you can. If you decide to do that, there are some necessary items that you should have on hand, ten, in fact. These are not necessarily listed in order of importance. You really do need all ten.

#10 Water Purification Tablets. Sure, you'll probably have what you think is plenty of stored water in your basement. You'll be amazed how fast it goes. The average person needs at least 8 glasses of water a day. Even cutting that in half, a family of four will need over 100 litres of water for just one month. Since you have NO IDEA how long you might be staying inside, you will need to be able to purify the water from your tap. If you have city water, it will be undrinkable within 12 hours of the electrical grid going down—unless you are armed with purification tabs. Get a bunch, they last forever.

#9 Dehydrated Food. This is kind of a no-brainer. You will likely have plenty of canned and non-perishables around your house. But again, you don't know how long you might be there. Ideally, you'll want at least one year's worth of food for your entire group. Be sure to include astronaut ice cream and tactical bacon, both available from the good people at ThinkGeek.com.

#8 First-Aid. Again, this is sort of a no-brainer in that you probably already have some kind of emergency medical kit in your home or vehicle. To withstand zombies and the collapse of society, you'll want to be well stocked. Be sure to have a large and plentiful assortment of bandages, cotton, splints and gauze. You'll need rubbing alcohol, peroxide, and a few different kinds of pain killers, germ fighters, bismuth, hot and cold packs, and smelling salts. Think in terms of a severely injured person that you've got to either make travel-ready—or leave behind. You cannot be too prepared. Bonus points for sedatives and alertness pills. Do NOT use caffeine in an apocalyptic situation.

#7 Vitamins. Even if you have a good supply of food and hydration, you will almost certainly need a boost. D vitamins in case you can't go outside, C in case there's no fruit left, B's to keep you peppy and alert, and A because carrots taste disgusting. Note: many vits have more of everything than you actually need. Read the label, but it's often perfectly fine to cut them in half.

#6 Fire. At some point, you will need to make a fire. Lighters will last a while, matches will last longer. Flints and accelerants are also good to have. If there's any sunlight at all, a magnifying glass is your best renewable source of fire—if you can refrain from breaking it Burgess Meredith style.

#5 Fire Extinguisher. If you're making fire, you will also need plenty of ways to put out said fire if it becomes unruly. Water should never be used for grease, electrical, or chemical fires. Instead, have on hand a blanket, some dry flour, salt/sand, and one or more of each grade of commercial extinguisher. This is another way in which your hidey hole cannot be too well outfitted. Nothing ruins a perfectly good shelter like an uncontrolled blaze.

#4 Eternal flashlight. Do I even need to explain this one? It will sometimes be dark. You will need to see. You may or may not have batteries. Thirty seconds of shaking will give you ten minutes of light. Repeat as necessary.

#3 Wind-up Radio. Not only will this keep you somewhat informed, but it may also keep you from going completely insane and murdering whoever is holding up with you. AM/FM is good. AM/FM/CB is much better. Just be very, VERY careful about giving away your position.

#2 Aloe Plant. This may not save your life, but it will make you a whole lot more comfortable if you experience a burn, a rash, or find yourself without a toothbrush for more than say, two days. Aloe is a miracle healing plant with so many marvelous properties that you should probably avail yourself of them even if you aren't expecting zombies any time soon.

#1 Love. Yes, that's corny. But you know what? The most likely thing to keep you from committing suicide (actively or passively) is a good, solid reason to live. A solitary life is no kind of life at all. If there's no one you like enough to repopulate the Earth with—why not try meeting a few new people while you're out stockpiling triple-ply TP and Pringles that you hope will last as long as Twinkies. After all, the only thing that makes us human is our humanity.
wednes: (Elephant on Trampoline)
This interview is from 2011, and was the first interview I did for Zombie Zone News that left me a little starstruck. C'mon, it's Craig Spector--who co-edited those awesome Book of the Dead zombie anthos, in addition to being a kickass writer in his own *ahem* write. ;-)

So, cut for length, here is my interview with Craig Spector )
wednes: (Ho1KC)
 Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday:  Craig DiLouie
Reprint of 2011 Interview originally posted at Zombie Zone News.

 

Tonight we continue 7 authors in 7 days with Craig DiLouie, wherein we feature authors from Permuted Press and Zombiefest at Audible.com.  He writes fiction and non-fiction, stories, articles, and a badass horror blog.  I was thrilled to see that he is also a passionate horror fan, and all-around nice guy.  After the interview, a sample from DiLouie's amazing and bloody new book.  I know, right?

 

WLF/ZZN:  Hi, Craig.  Thanks for taking the time to answer these Q's.  You are a zombie writer in Canada.  Pardon my ignorance, but do they even have zombies in Canada?

Thank you for asking me for this interview! I’m excited to talk to you. As you pointed out, I currently live in western Canada. I moved here from New York City about eight years ago. Canada’s definitely safer in terms of zombies; the endless winters tend to keep the zombies out.

 

WLF/ZZN:  Please tell us the story of your introduction to the zombie genre?

I’ve always been fascinated with stories about the end of the world. Plague, natural disasters, asteroids, aliens, you name it. But zombies have always been my favorite form of apocalypse. During a zombie apocalypse, the familiar becomes unfamiliar, everybody you know and love suddenly turns against you and is hunting you, and you must interact with and suddenly trust total strangers to stay alive. The potential for storytelling is almost limitless.

When I was younger, there was a bit of wish fulfillment in the end of the world, plus excitement that everything in society that you rely on to support you would no longer be there. Back then, the apocalypse was a challenge, a place where people shoot zombies in the head and have thrilling adventures, something a tiny (and insane) part of me longed for on some level. Now that I’m middle aged with a family, there is added the parental/middle class paranoia that everything you have might be taken away from you. Now I regard the apocalypse as a dark place of suffering and loss—not something to secretly long for, but to experience, through storytelling, a fantasy of one’s worst fears come true.

Suddenly, I discovered emerging zombie fiction authors such as David Moody and Joe McKinney and pioneering small presses such as Permuted Press, and the genre opened up to me as both a reader and a writer. So I started writing a novel I always wanted to read: Tooth and Nail, a story about the end of the world told from the perspective of the soldiers who fought to save it. The novel was so successful—more than 11,000 copies sold to date—that I decided to write The Infection, a story about five ordinary people who must pay the price of survival at the end of the world—more of the classic formula of survivors searching for sanctuary, but with some interesting twists. So far, The Infection has been extremely successful as well, and I’m currently in the homestretch for the sequel, tentatively titled The Killing Floor, which Permuted Press will release sometime in late 2011 or early 2012.

 

WLF/ZZN:  Can you describe these books in more detail for our readers who may not be familiar with you and your work?

Tooth and Nail (Salvo Press, 2010, www.infectedwar.com) tells the story of a military unit deployed in New York City during the zombie apocalypse. As the military begins to lose control, it retrenches in the south, leaving behind Charlie Company on a mission to escort an important scientist to a rendezvous point. For the boys of Charlie Company, the zombie apocalypse will give new meaning to the proverb, “War is hell.” The novel has been described as incredibly realistic, gritty, violent—Blackhawk Down meets 28 Days Later—a novel where you feel like you are embedded with the unit, experiencing the danger of a nighttime operation, the thrill of a bayonet charge, the heroic futility of a last stand.

My second zombie novel, The Infection (Permuted Press, 2011, www.infectednation.com) begins a new story in a new universe. This novel focuses on five people trying to find sanctuary in a dying world and is much more character-driven story. The people who inhabit The Infection are damaged people, reeling from the shock of the familiar suddenly becoming a dangerous and violent. The shock at seeing the people you love turn against you. The shock of losing everything. The apocalypse is a horrible place in The Infection, which has been described as The Road meets 28 Days Later and The Mist. It’s a story about what people have to do to survive, and how that changes you because survival has a price. The zombies are the living dead, but the survivors, in many ways, become the dead living.

 

WLF/ZZN:  What led you to choose a viral infection as the source of the Zeds? 

I love the classic zombie formula of people banding together to search for sanctuary and survive while the world meets a bloody end. That being said, I’m not a purist about the genre. For example, I define the term “zombie” rather broadly to include any ordinary people turned into mindless (and usually violent and infectious) automatons. So I consider the haters in David Moody’s Hater and the crazies in Romero’s The Crazies to be zombies.  (WLF note: **thumbs up**)

The zombies in my stories are alive—infected by a virus that compels them to violently infect others—and as such, they are “fast”—that is, they can run like ordinary people. I prefer this type of zombie in my stories because they are simply more realistic—a mutated, easily infectious rabies virus could actually happen, even if the odds of it happening are miniscule—while also being much scarier to me. A pack of zombies running towards me is much more terrifying than a pack of shamblers, which I could avoid by simply walking away quickly. I’m also partial to stories set during the collapse of society, not after, as there are simply so many more things going on above and beyond the basic nomadic existence of a post-apocalyptic world.

So far, I answered this question by stating my preferences as a writer. As a reader, my tastes are much broader. I enjoy any zombie story—alive or undead, fast or shambling, apocalypse or post apocalypse, story told from the point of view of humans or the zombies themselves—as long as it’s a good story featuring people I care about, people who react realistically to what is happening to them, to their post-apocalyptic environment, to the zombies themselves.

 

WLF/ZZN:  As a Left 4 Dead player, I'm a fan of mutated zombies.  Looking through your book, it appears that you are as well.  Comment?

I love the game Left 4 Dead. Like the game, The Infection features monsters that appear alongside the Infected and raise the stakes for both the characters and the survival of the human race as a whole. I have always been fascinated with the idea of an alien ecology being transplanted onto ours, creating competition. The monsters are not evil; they don’t enjoy human suffering. They just need to eat and expand their population. And humans are no longer at the top of the food chain. We are something’s lunch.

So I’m writing a scene early in The Infection in which two characters shoot down a mob of zombies in a hospital, and I thought, where do I go from here? Is this it—they’re constantly going to shoot zombies for the rest of the novel? I felt that I needed to raise the stakes. By introducing monsters into the story, the tension skyrockets throughout the rest of the book because you never know what is going to come at you next. The characters, meanwhile, are even more terrified at what is happening to them. I knew it was a risk of offending the purists, but decided to go with it, as I enjoyed the result that the story became unpredictable.

 

WLF/ZZN:  Why should zombie fans check out the Audible.com versions of Tooth And Nail and The Infection?

Audiobooks are an entirely new way of experiencing fiction. When I listen to my stories being narrated by a professional reader, I feel like I’m experiencing them for the first time again. You really fall into the story; your mind goes somewhere else. Naturally, they are best suited to people who like to experience books on the go—while jogging, driving a long commute, and so on.

 

WLF/ZZN:  What other ZombieFest selection would you recommend to listeners?

They are all great books and I’m proud to see The Infection stand alongside them. I would happily recommend almost any of Permuted’s titles. For some reason, Tooth and Nail is not included in the ZombieFest promotion, but is also available from Audible here: http://www.audible.com/search/ref=sr_lftbox_1_1.

 

WLF/ZZN:  The violence in your books is routinely described as intense.  Honestly man, what should I be prepared for in terms of general human suffering?

Readers of horror fiction want to be scared. Readers of zombie fiction further want to be titillated by the generalities of the apocalypse and the specifics of violent gore. My zombie fiction serves up plenty of both to continuously punctuate an atmosphere of steadily growing tension. I don’t like filler in books; I believe, as an author, that I have a responsibility to try to provide something on every page that moves the story forward, escalates the tension, and keeps the reader gripped. I also don’t believe in guns that run out of bullets at bad times, in people who trip and drop guns, in zombies that sneak up behind people and bite them, in people suddenly become brilliant at scoring headshots. Everything in my stories must make sense to me, with no lazy shortcuts that will interrupt my reader’s willing suspension of disbelief, and the combat scenes—from military radio protocols to the weaponry of a Bradley fighting vehicle to the sound an M4 carbine makes—must be as richly detailed and realistic as possible. That being said, I don’t believe in violence that is overtly gratuitous. There is nothing sadistic about my stories. There are no evil guys who threaten our protagonists just to have a convenient human villain. Again, everything has to make sense. And while the apocalypse is a sad place, a place of suffering, I like to inject a bit of hope into my stories. There is a sense that if the characters can persevere just a little longer, everything will turn out all right for them.

 

WLF/ZZN:  What's the most interesting bit of zombie media you've encountered recently?

Some good zombie books I’ve read recently include Handling The Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Dust by Joan Frances Turner, One by Conrad Williams, On The Third Day by Rhys Thomas, Flu by Wayne Simmons, Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney, Rise Again by Ben Tripp and Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield. Right now I’m reading Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.

 

WLF/ZZN:  You also write a regular horror blog.  Would you say horror is a big part of your life?  Why or why not?

I am a very lucky man blessed with a wonderful wife, two fantastic children, good friends, a great home, a thriving business and a successful fiction writing career. The only horror in my world is confronting my mortality, and the idea that one day something bad might happen to those I love.

That being said, horror dominates my creative life. I spend a lot of my day envisioning or writing stories involving terror, despair and violence. As a writer, I also read everything I can get my hands on in the genre to stay current on what other people are reading and writing. Every single time I read a book, horror or outside the genre, I learn something about the craft. I am also always on the lookout for quality apocalyptic film. The blog  at www.craigdilouie.com is sort of an expression of that labor, and a way for me to engage fans and promote my work beyond simply pushing my books at people.

 

WLF/ZZN:  What would you say to someone who asks why you can't write something happy for a change?

The main reason why is that nobody would read it. [laughs] They say sex and violence sells products, but what sells a good story is conflict. Whether it’s inner conflict, conflict between people, or conflict between people and threats in their environment, conflict is needed to propel a story forward and hold reader interest. Of course, happiness can happen anytime, even in the most unexpected places, even during the zombie apocalypse. At the end of the world, amidst so much suffering, people will be snatching bits of love and happiness anywhere they can get it. Even more important than happiness is hope. My stories are dark, gritty and violent, but they usually end on a note of hope. Many have suffered and died, and many more will before it is all over, but there is hope that it will end, and that humanity will get a second chance.

 

WLF/ZZN:  Thanks so much for the interview, Craig.  Before we close, is there anything you'd like to say to your readers?

Thank you for inviting me to this interview, Wednesday; I enjoyed it. As for my readers, I would like to say simply that the commercial and literary success of Tooth and Nail and The Infection—particularly the positive mail I’ve received—have been amazing and humbling. Thank you for reading my work. I will keep writing as long as you keep reading.

wednes: (Zombie B&W)


Livin' with Steve. Zombie-based humor is huge these days, which is to say, there's a lot of it. I enjoy a good Zomcom as much as the next guy—with emphasis on good. You gotta have a solid script, some genuine laughs, an enthusiastic cast, and some compelling scenes of undead carnage. The Australian web series Livin' with Steve provides just that. Livin' with Steve is seven animated episodes of yuk-worthy chomping sitcom action.

The premise is simple: Buddies Nate (a living human) and Steve (not so much) hang out, have fun, and try to make the rent before they get booted out of their home. Nate doesn't seem to notice that his roommate is smellier and cannibalistic than most—leading the audience to wonder who the smart one actually is. Levi George wears many hats on this project: Writer, Animator, Director, and Producer. He holds a degree in Multimedia Studies, and an advanced degree in 3D animation. I found him possessed of an enchanting combination of wit, passion, and badass horror cred. It was great to be able to ask him a few questions on behalf of ZZN.

WLF/ZZN: Hey Levi, thanks for taking the time to answer our Q's. Let's start with an easy one. Why zombies?

No problem! Zombies are slow, emotionally numb, flip into violent rages and are completely detached from reality. It kind of mirrors parts of my university years. The idea for Livin' with Steve came from that thought.

WLF/ZZN: Livin' with Steve is pretty funny. Are you trying to use humor lull living people into a false sense of security in re: the zombie invasion?

Believe me, the impending zombie invasion is nothing to be laughed about and if we appear to be making light of it with Livin' with Steve then I sincerely apologize. Having said that, I have seen countless zombie films that show the zombie apocalypse in the same bleak way. We thought it would be fun to show a zombie apocalypse from the perspective of an oblivious teenager who is too caught up in his own issues to notice the horror unfolding around him.

WLF/ZZN: Steve is undead and ravenous when we meet him. Will we ever learn anything about his life as a living person?

We have our own unofficial back story of how Nate and Steve became friends and what Steve was like before he became a zombie. For some reason I think it's funnier if we never really explain it though. We have a few very small clues hidden in the season that suggest Nate and Steve's past. Maybe we will explore it in the second season.

WLF/ZZN: Nate's obliviousness kind of reminds me of Jon from Garfield. When you remember that cats don’t talk, Jon looks totally batsh*t. Can we assume then, that Nate is totally batsh*t as well?

Absolutely. Nate is a completely deluded individual who desperately clings onto the fantasy that his best friend is a wise cracking and loyal person, not a blood-thirsty corpse. We go into how crazy Nate can be in episode 6 when he replaces his zombie best friend Steve with a sock puppet.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us about the animation process.

Animation is a lengthy process. Most episodes took around 2 weeks to digitally animate. We would basically split the shots between 4 animators and we would work ourselves into the ground getting them done. It takes around 1 day to complete a few seconds of animation. They whole production, from writing it to the final edit took from July to December of 2011.

WLF/ZZN: The theme song is short and to the point. Who's the singer?

The singer is a very talented friend of ours called Cam Blokland (Who was also the voice of Steve). He was actually my guitar teacher for a few years when I was in high school.

WLF/ZZN: Are you concerned at all about the sanitation issues that might arise if zombies are permitted to work in food service, as in Episode 2?

The consequences of zombies working in food catering is well established in our series. That was the main reason we wanted to make Livin' with Steve. We have been a little subtle with the message so let me be very clear:
Fast Food Managers--I know it's tempting to hire zombies instead of people to work for your restaurant (as we show in Episode 5) but ultimately they will just spread the virus to customers. Unless your restaurant/pie stall serves human flesh (as we show in episode 2) this will, in the long term, lead to; people having their eyes gouged with hammers, (Episode 1), their faces torn off (Episode 3), their pets being zombified (Episode 4), and your face being shoved in a deep fryer (Episode 5).

WLF/ZZN: Episode 3 (Bitelight) cracked me up—but I'm puzzled. Do you think people actually ARE judged by the company they keep?

If you're a snooty actor, probably. Although I think if you are friends with Nate it would probably reflect badly on anyone.

WLF/ZZN: How has your work on Livin' with Steve impacted your own zombie survival plan?

Livin' with Steve is a great guide for exactly what NOT to do in a zombie outbreak. Nate lives with a zombie. He wanders the streets alone. He unwittingly feeds pies infected with the zombie virus to people's pets.

WLF/ZZN: Ep 3 also contains a spectacular REC reference. Should we be looking for other homages to well-known zombie media?

Livin' with Steve is packed full of references to zombie and horror movies. See if you can spot references to; Re-Animator, Night, Dawn, Day, The Ring, Left 4 Dead, The Exorcist, The Walking Dead, Friday the 13th and plenty more. If you spot a reference to something then leave a comment on the episode. Think of it like a very nerdy Where's Wally (or Where's Waldo as I am told it is called in the USA).

WLF/ZZN: Is your cast made up of professional actors? Please tell us about them.

For a long time we were considering Tom Cruise for the part of Nate. Ultimately he decided to do Mission Impossible 4, which we tried to tell him was a mistake. I bet he regrets it now. The cast is made up of local actors from Adelaide. They are Buddy Dawson who plays Nate. Cam Blokland (who also composed the music) as Steve and Chad Molynex, who was also one of the animators as various other roles. We got Australian Actor/Journalist/Comedian John Safran to voice the radio announcer in episode 6, which was a huge thrill for us.

WLF/ZZN: Are Steve and Nate inspired by anyone in particular?

Steve isn't really based on anyone, he doesn't really have a personality being a zombie and all. I always thought Nate is probably all the worst parts of my teenage self rolled into one. He treats his life like he is in a TV show and is completely uninterested in the world around him.

WLF/ZZN: Who are your favorite contemporary purveyors of zombie culture?

I absolutely love Edgar Wright, the director of Shaun of the Dead. I'm very fond of Paco Plaza who was one of the brains behind the REC series. Robert Kirkman (the creator of The Walking Dead) and Max Brooks (The Zombie Survival Guide) are also brilliant.

WLF/ZZN: Before we close, do you have any advice you'd like to share with young animators?

Find a group of people to work with and keep animating. Also get used to avoiding the outdoors, girls, and money.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much, Levi!
wednes: (Zombie Film)
Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday: Jeremy Gardner


J Gardner's debut picture, The Battery looks to be one of those amazing zombie films that does a whole lot with a few dollars and some really dedicated performers. After the interview, you'll find a short clip that I predict will make you as stoked as I am to see this flick. Mr Gardner has a lot of erudite things to say about filmmaking, Romero, and day-jobs.

WLF/ZZN: Hey Jeremy! I so appreciate you taking the time to answer Q's for Zombie Zone News. Your movie The Battery was made for around $6,000. With such a small budget to work with, why choose something as makeup and FX oriented as a zombie movie?
Hey, not at all, thanks for having me. And to answer your question: Because I’m an idiot. Honestly. It just never came up. The story sort of evolved, first out of an audition tape I made for another horror movie, and then out of the concept of doing a post-apocalyptic movie, but staying in the woods. Zombies tend to hang around where people are, and there aren’t as many people in a dense forest on a mountain as there are in the town at the bottom. So that idea made sense from both a story, and a micro-budget filmmaking perspective. It was going to be expensive, and difficult to shut down roads and businesses, and it would be dangerous for our characters to go there anyway. So… stay in the woods. It’s kind of the opposite of the old horror trope “Don’t Go Into The Woods.” It seemed like an incredibly inexpensive idea for a movie. No one ever really brought up zombie effects until late in the process, and by then we were just going to do it anyway.

WLF/ZZN: Having watched the trailer for The Battery it a few times, I can say without hyperbole that it kicks ass. Did you edit it?
Thank you so much. I did not edit it, as a matter of fact, my brilliant d.p./renaissance man Christian Stella, cut the trailer. And really only cut it together to give our friends and family a little taste of what we’d been doing out in the woods for those two weeks. We never intended for it to get the kind of response it has–which has been really amazing—but is also why it has been slagged a little for being too long. Because it was supposed to be more of a showcase, than a traditional trailer.

WLF/ZZN: The intense, dancing around with a gun, bearded guy—is that you?
That is me.

WLF/ZZN: The song in the trailer is amazing; the lyrics are evocative and creepy. I want to download it immediately. How do I go about that?
That song is called Fire at the Pageant by the Felice Brothers, an absolutely incredible band from upstate New York. Run, run I say, as fast as you can across the interwebs to www.felicebrothers.com and blow all your milk money on all of their music. That track is on their latest album Celebration, Florida. But all of their albums are fantastic. I’m sure you can get them on iTunes as well.

WLF/ZZN: You've spoken about the zombies in this movie being almost incidental to the real plot. What do you mean by that?
What that means is, the zombies are a stand-in, for any disaster that might have put our characters in the position they are in. Romero has spoken about this numerous times, so I can’t take credit–nor all of the blame–for it. But the idea is to f*ck up the order of things and then watch how the people react to it. There are some mighty big themes tackled in some of the classic zombie flicks, but I was really interested in watching it on a very personal, intimate level. Seeing how two conflicting personalities deal with the situation when they are forced to rely on one another. One of the characters has taken a real liking to the nomadic, hunter/gatherer, skull-crushing lifestyle that they have been thrust into; while the other, clings to any shred of society and order and comfort he can find. So in that way, in just really concentrating on how those two people butt heads, it kind of makes the reason they are where they are beside the point.

WLF/ZZN: I understand that it rained during the very tight shooting schedule. How much impact did all that rain have on the final film?
It only rained two days, but they were consecutive, and it was a f*cking deluge. And all throughout the shoot, I kept saying, “If it rains, we shoot. It’s production value.” But it happened to hit, and hit hard, on the one day we had actors in from out of town. And it was a real drag. We were on a mountain, it was freezing cold, and these incredibly professional actors stuck it out. I mean, to the bone soaked. I’m a burly guy, I look like a thing born of woods and rain and winter, but after about six hours of it, my teeth were chattering and my hands were shaking. It was rough. We had a couple days built in to the schedule in case of rain, but unfortunately, there was no rescheduling those two actors, so we just had to get the scene as best we could under pretty terrible conditions.

WLF/ZZN: You've been quoted as saying: I’d rather watch a romantic comedy with fascinating characters and a great story than a horror film that aims only to hit a certain gore quota.—Surely you're not implying that it's possible for a romantic comedy to have fascinating characters?
Sure it’s possible. Even probable. Not that I can cite any recent examples unless you consider 500 Days of Summer a romantic comedy. I was simply stating that genre is like an ornate, hand-carved box. And story, is the hundred year old heirloom locket with the only surviving photo of your great grandmother’s secret Confederate soldier lover, that you keep inside the box. Yes, the box is f*cking cool, but it’s only real function is to serve the locket.

WLF/ZZN: Did you find Connecticut to be a zombie-friendly place to shoot?
Connecticut–more specifically North Western Connecticut and the town of Kent–was an incredibly zombie friendly place to shoot. It was very laid-back. Business owners would bend over backward to accommodate us, and literally asked for nothing in return. We worked with the town selectman to shut down a stretch of road, and the residents were very patient with us. A bunch of locals came out to be extras, stood around in zombie makeup for hours on end and never complained. A few of them even went to the local Fireman’s Festival in full makeup and attracted so much attention that a local reporter came out to set and did a little story on the shoot. It was very cool, a full color picture with the slugline: WEEKEND OF THE DEAD. There is a southern sort of hospitality to that area, that the stretch of Connecticut I live in–along the I-95 vein–is moving too fast to entertain.

WLF/ZZN: How did making The Battery impact your personal zombie defense plan?
Perhaps surprisingly, I haven’t thought too much about my own zombie defense plan, but I imagine it would be similar to what I wrote here. Get into the woods. Don’t trap yourself. Live off the land. Do recon missions into towns for specific supplies only when it is completely necessary. Or when you run out of Tennessee Sippin’ Whisky.

WLF/ZZN: What do you do when you aren't surrounding yourself with zombies?
I work. I’m a waiter. That old cliché. I write. I watch movies. I lose far too much sleep over the Atlanta Braves. I’m a huge baseball fan, as might have been gathered from the characters in the movie, and even the title itself, The Battery, refers to the tandem of a pitcher and a catcher on a baseball team.

WLF/ZZN: You've said that you wanted to make a classic zombie movie that would make George Romero proud. What do you think George would like best about The Battery?
I hope Mr. Romero would most appreciate the focus on character over carnage. I just ripped a page out of the book he wrote and tried to make a zombie movie that wasn’t really about zombies. I also think he would appreciate that our zombies are not rage-infected speed monsters. They’re dead, they are in a constant state of rot. They can’t run.

WLF/ZZN: When are fans gonna be able to get their mitts on a copy?
Well, we’re still very early on in the editing process. Hopefully we’ll have a rough cut some time in November. We’re hoping to make a few festival deadlines. And then the final cut should be done around the first of the year. So, fans–or people even remotely interested– should follow our Tumblr page, and our Twitter feed, for updates on screenings and the overall progress of the process.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much, Jeremy. Before we close, do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers who want to make an awesome small budget film?
Sh*t, I’m so new at this, I’m not sure I should be giving advice. But, f*ck it here goes:
Shot list everything. Even though you want to wing it and be spontaneous, you WILL get into the editing room and realize you don’t have enough coverage, or the eye-lines are off and there will be nothing you can do about it. When you’re working with such a low budget, on such a tight schedule, never underestimate the importance of planning. I’m sh*t at planning, I just want to go do it, and it cost us a few times.
Sound. People watch movies on their phones, they make movies with their phones. They will forgive a sh*t image. But if they can’t hear it, they’ll check out. I turned a movie off just last night because the sound was bad. Get a good, hungry, dependable sound guy.
And finally: Just go do it. Don’t sit around telling people you want to make a movie. Tell them you are making a movie. Then, get a good cheap camera and some loyal friends, strap on your sh*t-kickers and go kick the sh*t out of it.
Thanks, Jeremy!
wednes: (Default)

 Zombie Zone News is delighted to be privy to the thoughts of Thomas Newman, director of the instant zombie-stoner classic, Bong of the Dead.  Billed as a $5,000 Zombie movie, Bong of the Dead had a presence at the Cannes Film Festival, and was lauded by such authorities as Tommy Chong and Rue Morgue Magazine. 

 

WLF/ZZN:  Hey there!  We're so excited you could answer our Q's.   I'm sure some of our readers are wondering, what exactly is a Bong?

Well…a BONG is basically a pipe or device that one can use in order to smoke marijuana.  Some people who are serious pot smokers actually take pride in their bong collections. Some Bongs are hand blown glass with intricate hand painted colors and chambers that make the whole social pot smoking activity more fun. I used to collect Bongs and had over 150 different bongs from all over the world!  (WLF note: Kids, don't try this at home!)

WLF/ZZN:  Do you feel there's some kind of cosmic correlation between zombies and fans of marijuana?

I think three’s an even bigger correlation between fans of entertainment in general and pot. Lets face it anything you do straight just feels much better on pot! When we go to concerts to movies or anything else that’s supposed to be fun to begin with, we (those who smoke pot) usually enjoy it even more with pot!  (WLF note: See previous note.)

 WLF/ZZN:  Novelist Christopher Moore has asserted in his novel The Stupidest Angel that zombies have no interest in eating the brains of potheads.  Seriously, how relieved were you to hear that?

I have not read Christopher’s book but did hear that they are currently working on a movie for this concept. I think its bullshit to say that zombies are not interested in the brains of those who smoke pot! I know a lot of people who smoke pot including myself who are a lot smarter than those who don’t smoke pot. Besides a zombies hunger is driven by the smell of the living. They have no way of distinguishing whether a person smokes pot or not. At the end of the day we are ALL just meat! 

WLF/ZZN:  The Bong of the Dead trailer seems to suggest that there will be benefits to be had in the event of a zombpocalypse.  Isn't that dangerous thinking?

I’m the type of individual that likes to try and find the positive in any situation. Just because the world ends and zombies have taken over does not mean that has to be it. I like people who can take a bad situation and make the most of it. This is the reason why I wrote the Edwin character as a high functioning creative pot smoker. I guess I wrote myself into that character just to flesh him out even more.

WLF/ZZN:  What are the advantages of featuring stoners as the main protagonists?

The definite advantage of that in a comedy film is the fact that it allows you to write whacky scenes and dialogue that is genuinely funny and acceptable. BOTD is supposed to be a fun movie with unique characters that allows you to escape without being bored to death with too much seriousness. I believe having Edwin and Tommy as our stoner leads helped keep a good balance of that. Especially when they meet up with our more serious character, Leah Kroaker. 

WLF/ZZN:  The trailer features a tough, sexy chick who knows how to shoot and does not appear to be getting anyone a sandwich.  Can we assume then, that this story is fiction? 

LOL I really enjoyed writing Leah’s Character as this inventive, tough no bullshit type of girl. She is a more modern girl of the 21st century who has no time for being vulnerable. I think it’s nice to see a woman take the power roll in a situation where us men usually are expected to step up. It’s also nice to get a break as a man and have your woman do some ass kicking for you for a change! 

WLF/ZZN:  Your film played at the Cannes Film Festival.  Was that as wicked awesome as it sounds?

Well I had my sales agent go to Cannes to represent the movie since I was staying back to do the Vancouver showing. Because of BOTD’s appearance at Cannes I was able to secure a sale for Australia! That means my movie is now going to be released in The Netherlands, Benelux, Luxemburg and Australia. I’m expecting a big marketing push and release for October of this year. 

WLF/ZZN:  What was the reception like? 

People genuinely loved it and distributors as well as other festival representatives from all over the world also liked it enough to ask for DVD screeners from my agent for their up and coming festivals.

 WLF/ZZN:  Does marijuana come into play in your own zombie defense strategy?  Do you consider it to be part of any well-stocked hidey-hole?

If zombies ever took over the world I would definitely grow fields of marijuana and find ways to get the zombies to work my fields for me! What better substance to have for future medicine as well as leisure escape?

WLF/ZZN:  Please tell us about the casting process.  What impressed you most about the actors cast as Tommy and Edwin.

The thing that really impressed me about ALL my cast and crew was the fact that they understood the commitment I was asking of all of them and they gave it! It was a tough 15-day shoot where I would soak them from head to toe with blood at 8AM each day then we would shoot until 10 PM that night. The whole time I would have to soak them again and again to make sure my continuity was perfect. They were devoted to the project 100%!

WLF/ZZN:  Simone Bailly has mad Sci-Fi cred, and is one hot tomato.  I don't really have a question there, just pointing it out.  Wouldn't you agree?

The reason I cast Simone was because of her eyes before anything else. I met her on the set of Stan Helsing a film that was EPK Producer on and she was a stand in. The second I saw her and it was not even up close but rather form a distance I immediately thought to myself that she was Leah! I wanted someone with sexy cat like eyes that would pull you in the second you saw her. Simon Bailly is a true professional who brought so much to the film with her talents and her vibrant beautiful screen presence.

WLF/ZZN:  Is Canada considered to be a zombie-friendly country?  I would guess the brisk weather would make zombies stay fresher longer. 

Canada is definitely great for zombies because of the constant cold and rainy weather we have, especially in BC! Also if there was ever a mass zombie attack here, we would not be short on weed let me tell ya.

WLF/ZZN:  I understand that there are marijuana loving bears in British Columbia.  Do you think these ursine creatures would operate in concert with zombies, or against them?  (this is what I refer to here: http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/05/canadian_marijuana_bears_wake_up_with_the_munchies.php )

If the bears were high on weed then it could go two ways. On one hand they would be really sluggish and therefore easy to get eaten by a horde of zombies. On the other hand they would have a bad case of the munchies themselves in which case the zombie would be the ones in trouble. It could go either way.

WLF/ZZN: What have you enjoyed most about promoting Bong of the Dead?

What I have enjoyed the most about promoting my movie is the fact that the world has accepted it! It’s a tough thing to pour almost 4 years of your life into something, sacrificing it all then exposing yourself to the world. Lets face it audiences are spoiled today with all the dazzling multi million dollar effects that they get to see in so many films. You do a film for only $5000 and you’re going against major studios its nerve-wracking! I’m just happy that fans and critics all are loving my movie!

 WLF/ZZN:  Where can fans go to see this film?  Is there a DVD release forthcoming? 

Currently Vancouver fans or anyone close to Vancouver BC can see it again at the Rio theatre in Vancouver on August 19th then maybe again on October 9th! I'm trying to 4 wall my movie so if any other regions want to see the film then I would love to hear about it because I will bring it to a theatre near you! Also it will be available in Europe on DVD in October. I'm still awaiting domestic distribution which means it will soon be available in the US and Canada.

wednes: (Zombie B&W)
 

10 Fictional Characters YOU want on your offensive zombie team:

It's no secret that more people than ever are planning for the zombie apocalypse.  I know plenty of people who spend more time developing a zombie defense plan than planning for college, retirement, or what they'd do if they won a million dollars. You've probably thought about which of your favorite fictional characters from TV and films you'd want fighting off the undead with you.  I don't just mean fighting with Ash or Alice or the guys from Shaun of the Dead.  I mean how characters who have never even seen a zombie before would handle them—surely you've thought about it? 

What?  You haven't?  Well, that's just weird.  Luckily, I took the time to make a list just for you, in no particular order:

--Ellen Ripley: It is well established that Ellen Ripley knows how to stay calm and kick ass during a crisis.  Better still, Ripley actually follows the regulations designed to keep catastrophes from happening.  With minimal training and equipment, she fights her way through three fantastic Alien films…and then another one.  She exhibits proficiency with weapons, strategic defense skills, loader driving (believe me, it's more useful than you think), and a general ability to keep her wits about her.  Ripley is a must-have for zombie situations.  Best of all, she has a strong moral center that will keep her from murdering you, no matter how egregiously you screw her over. 

--General Maximus Decimus Meridius: (Gladiator, to his enemies) This guy is a fighter.  Close combat man, he's got it covered.  Sword work will prove invaluable during a zompocalypse, and nobody is better trained than an old-school pre-gunpowder sword swinging gladiator.  Equally valuable to the sword, a properly wielded shield can make all the difference.  As a soldier, Maximus is acclimated to going for long periods without food or water.  Anybody who can fast for days and still beat up a tiger is someone I want on my team—even if he is husband to a zombified wife and son.

 --Legolas:  If you're going to incorporate an archer into your team, and Green Arrow is otherwise engaged, you can't do much better than the Elf known as Legolas.  He is, as they say, peerless.  If it happens that you need to kill a specific zombie from very far away—Legolas can oblige.  So look out, zombie-Jay-Leno and undead-Rosie-O'Donnell, or the elf guy will um…arrow you.  As you can see in this pic, Legolas takes zombie fighting pretty seriously. 

--Yu Shu Lien:  Perhaps you don't remember her name, but when I mention Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, she is the first thing that comes to mind.  An amazing fighter, fiercely loyal, she will make a fine addition to any zombie fighting force. When you're forming your zombie attack team, consider that these may end up being the people who survive to repopulate the earth.  We can't have all of humanity descend into a seething pool of homliness.  For every funny-looking Legolas, you're going to need someone attractive to balance him out.  With that in mind, Yu Shu Lien is a big WIN.

--The Bride:  A roaring rampage of revenge is nothing to mess with, especially when it comes in the form of one of the deadliest women on earth.  While any of the Five Deadly Vipers would be handy in a battle with the undead, only The Bride can be trusted not to stab you in the back…or shoot you in the head.  Anyone who's seen her battle with the Crazy 88's knows that Beatrix Kiddo is more than ready to take on the horde. 

--Jason Bourne:  Hero of books and films alike, Jason Bourne is an unstoppable fighting machine.  Well-versed in multiple kinds of combat, skilled in breaking in and out of places, hotwiring and driving any number of conveyances, Bourne has it all.  So what if he doesn't always know who he is, who he was working for, or why so many people are trying to kill him?  What he lacks in cohesion, he more than makes up for in hunkiliciousness.

--Sayid Jarrah:  Speaking of attractive and deadly fellas, Sayid Jarrah is definitely welcome on my team.  While it seems that nearly every character on LOST was an awesome shot and knew how to knock someone out with one blow (without killing them—amazing!), Sayid had so much more.  The guns, the training, the electronics, mechanics, breaking that guy's neck with both hands tied behind his back—is there anything Sayid can't do?  **sigh**  He can't find happiness, but that doesn't make him any less valuable in a zombie infestation situation.

--Mace Windu: Despite succumbing to the most infuriating death in all of Star Wars, Mace Windu is a total badass—even compared to other Jedi Knights.  One of the last Jedi Council members to support the Galactic Republic, Mace Windu's fight scenes are as legendary as his mastery of The Force.  If there's a better weapon to fight hordes of undead than a light saber ™ this will be the first I've heard of it.  And if you have your choice of Jedi Knights, there's no reason not to choose the Master of the Order.

--Sarah Connor:  As everyone knows from the first Terminator movie, there were a couple of Sarah Connors.  I refer here to the one who lived long enough to bring John Connor into the future with the help of the Governor of California.   The one who became the fightingest single mom in American history.  Sarah Connor is highly trained, in top physical condition, and it completely unafraid to die.  She may not live forever, but you can bet she's gonna take down a crapload of zombies before she goes out.  She's in!

--Professor John Frink:  As a Simpsons fan, I wanted to bring at least one Springfieldian along for the zombie-infested ride.  But who?  Surely none of the actual Simpsons.  Only Lisa wouldn't be a seriously liability, and the zombie apocalypse is no place for an 8-year-old girl.  Snake is untrustworthy, Flanders won't want to shoot anything, Wiggum is a joke.  No…Springfield's only hope against undead invaders is Professor Frink.  Only he will be able to invent something fantastically clever enough to defeat them all in a single episode.  There's no telling what kind of undead shenanegans might necessitate a frog exaggerator, hamburger ear muffs, a sarcasm detector, or flubber—but with Frink on your side, your team will be ready.

Hon Mention: Galactus.  I'm not exactly sure how one gets Galactus on your side.  But if you can manage it, he would be, if nothing else, a solid Plan B in your zombie contingency plan.  

wednes: (Zombie Film)
 

Scott Kenemore  is a zombie author who needs no introduction.  That's why I'm not going to bother telling you that he has written satirical zombie tomes on such divergent topics as Buddhism, Corporate Living, Pirates, Nazi's, and the myriad ways in which human wars can take a cue from the undead.  He is a zombie satirist, novelist, commentator, and go-to-guy; and belongs to both the Zombie Research Society, and the Horror Writers Association. 

Luckily for us, he is also a fascinating cat!  

 

WLF/ZZN:  Hi!  Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  You've been called an emerging authority in the field of zombies.  What's that like?

Hi Zombie Zombie News, and thank you for interviewing me.  I don’t know if I’m an authority exactly, but it is fun to be a zombie-writer and it’s a pleasure to get to meet other people who are enthusiastic about zombie culture!  I enjoy talking to folks about their favorite zombie movies and books, and aspects of the undead they find interesting.

 

WLF/ZZN:  Now that the CDC has admitted a zombie outbreak is inevitable, are you now on their speed-dial?  Do you encourage the CDC to network with the Zombie Research Society?

Sometimes life imitates art, dude.  The CDC and the ZRS might actually have something brewing.  I’ll let Matt Mogk (President of the ZRS) tell you more when he’s ready to make an announcement. .

 

WLF/ZZN:  You write poetry as well as prose.  Care to share a filthy limerick or undead Haiku with us?

I can seldom resist a request for an extempore limerick.  Here you go:

 

There once was a writer named Kenemore,

(Much less famous than Cooper, James Fenimore).

He wrote about zombies,

And once wore Abercrombie,

But he doesn’t shop at the mall anymore.

 

Ta-da.

 

WLF/ZZN:  I’d love to hear about your introduction to zombie culture.  When was it?  Were your parents complicit, or did you do it on the sly?

I really got into zombies in college.  I had some friends who introduced me to Romero films, and I was hooked.  I remember Day of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead making big impressions on me.  I also liked a lot of the older black and white zombie films, like the stuff Mantan Moreland did.  And Return of the Living Dead by Dan O’Bannon was and is my all-time favorite zombie film.  (WLF note: Talking zombies?!?  You're killing me here, Kenemore! **Snerk**)

 

WLF/ZZN:  Your book, The Art of Zombie Warfare is chock-full of ways to use zombies to your advantage.  Isn't there an inherent danger to making zombie proliferation seem desirable?

Ha!  Danger to whom?  Seriously though, I think there are a lot humans can learn from zombies, and this is definitely true when it comes to warfare.  Zombies are inveterate, fearless soldiers who kill without compunction.  They can adapt to any landscape, and never retreat or surrender.

 

WLF/ZZN:  As a writer with a day-job, I was particularly moved by Z.E.O.: A Zombie's Guide to Getting (A)Head in Business.  When did you first realize the connection between the walking undead and being a faceless corporate slug?

The idea of zombie employees gets used in a lot of horror media, but it is usually a one-off.  For example, there are zombie sugar cane workers in White Zombie and zombie construction workers in Cast a Deadly Spell, but in neither instance are the ins-and-outs of a zombie labor force explored in any depth.  One of the things I wanted to do in Z.E.O. was to take a closer look at the undead/employee connection.

 

WLF/ZZN:  You are also a drummer in a band where all the members appear to be alive.  Seems an odd choice for someone like yourself.  Please tell us about your musical goings on.

Alas, undead bandmates are not always available.  When this troubling situation presents itself, I am forced to make do with the living. 

I’ve played the drums since I was ten years old, and I now I play in a Chicago-based rock band called The Blissters.  I am also working on a zombie novel that has drummer in it. 

 

WLF/ZZN:  The word “imponderable” is the best thing ever.  I presume you are doing your best to bring it back into the vernacular.  How’s that going?

Imponderable is a pretty cool word, no doubt.  I got it from cosmic-horror writers like H.P. Lovecraft and Kelly Link.

 

WLF/ZZN:  You’ve compared the zombie mentality to an ingenious plan by Alexander Hamilton.  Does this make Aaron Burr the greatest zombie hunter in history?

Aaron Burr: Zombie Hunter  is Seth Grahame-Smith’s next book, I think.

 

WLF/ZZN:  Your books often speak highly of the zombie mindset, and of zombies in general.  You’ve even asserted that zombies are misunderstood.  This leads me to ask, with all due respect, who’s side are you on?

The side of the zombies.  (WLF note: <i>F*CK!</i>)

 

WLF/ZZN:  You’ve said that Zombies are the opposite of Vampires.  With that in mind, what it your opinion on a milieu like ‘Salem’s Lot, where the vampires are extremely zombie-like?

That’s a good question, actually.  There are quite a few monsters on page and film (and video games) that conflate aspects of zombies and vampires.  I’m all for experimentation personally.  There are a lot of bad versions, sure, but novels like ‘Salem’s Lot show just how effective experimentation can be.  Personally, I like the zombie/vampire variations in the Left 4 Dead videogame series.  They are scary and fun.

 

WLF/ZZN:  George Romero theorizes that zombies on the whole will evolve (or would it be devolve) and become more human.  Agree or disagree?

Romero is to zombies what Stoker is to vampires.  If anybody has a case for zombies evolving, it’s him.  I’m inclined to agree with the master.

 

WLF/ZZN:  You've asserted that human survival during a zombie apocalypse is impossible.  Does this mean that you don't have a zombie survival plan?

I have a plan, it’s just not a survival plan.  It’s a plan for fun.

 

WLF/ZZN: What exactly is your plan?

It would be fun to see how long I could hold out, and how many zombies I could set on fire at once.  My plan is to take a bunch of Molotov cocktails to the roof of my building, and throw them down on the masses of zombies below.  Awesome.

 

WLF/ZZN:  I love that you've progressed from how-to books to narratives.  Do you prefer novels to satire books? 

I like them both, and I like works that combine the two.  Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite living writers, and he has been a tremendous model for me when it comes to satirical fiction.  (Pratchett also writes some great zombie characters in his Discworld novels.)

 

WLF/ZZN:  Your novel Zombie, Ohio suggests that zombies can sometimes overcome their desire to consume human flesh.  Is this normal, or something that would typically get the Professor's ass kicked by his undead peers?

What I wanted to explore with that aspect of Zombie, Ohio was not the experience of being a typical zombie, but of being an atypical zombie.  I’d been reading how one out of every 100,000 people can display immunity to a virus, and I wanted to extend that to a zombie virus.  How would that apply to the walking dead?  What if a tiny fraction of one percent of people who become zombified experience it very slightly differently?

 

WLF/ZZN:  Would you say that Zombie Zone News is a vital resource for zombie aficionados? 

Zombie Zone News is a kickass website and a true pillar of the zombie community.

 

WLF/ZZN:  Where will your passion for zombies be taking you next?

I have a few projects in the works.  Among them is a new zombie novel set in Chicago.

 

WLF/ZZN:  Anything you'd like to say to your oodles of fans?

I’m surprised that I have oodles of fans!

 

wednes: (Default)
 

Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday: Chuck Hodi
Interview from 2011

Face it, to many people horror means movies.  This is even more true of Zombies.  The movie remains the dominant milieu for undead entertainment.  Sure, there are some great zombie lit being written, and some sweet zombie shooter games around.  Every now and again, we hear an awesome song or discover a thrilling, scary zombie graphic novel.  Rarer still is the visual artist who brings you evocative, horrific, and undead genius in a single still. 

I'm speaking here of visual artist Chuck Hodi.  Chuck's work can be found in the homes of many savvy horror connoisseurs, myself included.  He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us, and share some of his whimsically undead work.

 

WLF/ZZN: Okay, let's start with an easy one.  Horror.  Why? 

Hehe! Sounds like something my mom would ask me, “Son, why do you draw things like that?” Kidding! I’m going to be completely honest with you: it's because horror puts a smile on my face!

WLF/ZZN: Many so-called serious critics disavow the validity of horror as an art form.  As someone who creates horrific art, how would you respond to that? 

I think it’s just a matter of preference, horror isn’t for everyone. If everyone liked Horror and Dark Art, then what would be the point? I feel that getting a reaction whether it’s good or bad is better than nothing! Through out the years, I’ve had people ask why I draw such dark imagery. Now my portfolio is huge and I’ve gained a larger fan base that has proved to square people that I am hopeless! Haha!
 

WLF/ZZN: You work largely in black and white.  Do you think this is more effective than color when depicting horror?  Why or why not?

Far as Horror goes, I feel that black and white is more eerie and serious, which sometimes just works better than sloppy blood and gore. 

WLF/ZZN: What role does art play in your overall zombie survival plan? 

Since of my specialties as an artist is zombifying people, paradoxically speaking the only survivors would be Zombies!

WLF/ZZN: Which art supplies do you think will be most effective as anti-zombie weapons? 

Exacto knife! Seems to be the most dangerous and fun!

WLF/ZZN: Modest Mussorgsky has said that "Art is not an end in itself, but a means of addressing humanity."    Who are you addressing with your work, and how afraid should they be? 

With some of my art, I like to give off an eerie and depressed emotion filtered with a trapped aggression, kind of like you’re breathing your last breathe. Far as humanity is concerned, push ctrl-alt-delete! Like I said, this is with only some of my art. Ohhh, there’s nothing to be afraid of because in my eyes death is the end of pain! I’m pretty positive, aren’t I? 

WLF/ZZN: How many different ways has ZZN inspired you, your work, and your love of zombies? 
It’s quite simple, when I see a network dedicated to zombies, especially this one, I just get motivated. It’s like a contagious disease to me. This site rules!

WLF/ZZN:  Zombie fans differ on their definition of zombies.  Some insist that a zombie must be undead, while other accept rage or otherwise infected persons as zombies.  What is your stance on this highly divisive issue? 

If you’re a Zombie, you’re technically dead. If you’re infected, you’re still alive. That’s my stance on the issue.  (WLF note: Grrrrrr, I strenuously disagree—with all respect to Mr. Hodi)

WLF/ZZN: Is there another medium you'd like to try your hand at? 

Nope! I’ve tried painting and f*cking hate it! I’m just a drawer!

WLF/ZZN: Do you have a favorite zombie? 

You better believe it! Actually I have four favorite Zombies. My Zombie Golden Girls! You just can’t go wrong! Ridiculously WTF! The funny thing is that I drew these when they all were still alive!

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much for talking the time to talk with us, Chuck.  You rock! 

Chuck Hodi is findable at Etsy (and presumably NOT Regretsy), and at his professional website.  Contact Chuck at chuckhodi@yahoo.com.


Contact: http://chuckhodi.net
              http://www.etsy.com/shop/chuckhodi
             

 

 

 

wednes: (Zombie Cart)
This week's ZZN reprint is from Danish director Casper Haugegaard.  I loved this little film.  



Casper Haugegaard is the director of the newly released film, Opstandelsen (AKA The Ressurection) I found this to be an awesome little Danish chompfest, and I enjoyed it very much.
ZZN was fortunate to interview the film's lead actress, Marie Frohme-Vanglund last winter. She shed plenty of insight on the film, and on her character, Esther. As if that isn't awesome enough, now Casper Haugegaard relates some production stories, and we learn that it can be tricky scrubbing blood off a church floor.

But that's no surprise to ZZN readers, eh?

WLF/ZZN: Who are your favorites, and/or least favorite purveyors of zombie pop culture? I could name a few. There wasn't really any particular zombie films that inspired me to do Opstandelsen. I love horror and gore, and that's what I initially wanted to do with this film. Zombies just seemed to fit the story that I wanted to tell, perfectly.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us about something unexpected that happened during filming. A lot of unexpected stuff happened, and a lot had to do with our extensive use of film-blood, plus the fact that we film shot the film in a real church. The first couple of weeks of shooting were supposed to be in the church. But after doing a very chaotic and gory scene inside the church we accidently left a small stain on the floor, which got us banned from shooting there ever again. We still had at least a week worth of shooting to do there. That really made things difficult for us as we now needed to change a lot of things. We had to go on shooting the underground scenes without knowing if we would be able to finish up the project, which was pretty stressful. When all underground scenes were shot, we still hadn't done the ending in the church. Then all of a sudden after begging the church for ages we were allowed to come back and use the church for two nights to finish it up. But this was like a third of the time we needed to do the scripted ending, so we had to think fast and alter things to fit our timeframe. So the ending might seem a little off to some people, but I really love how it turned out!

WLF/ZZN: What scene turned out the best in your opinion? The ending for one. But I'm also quite fond of the sermon in the beginning of the film. It really gets you in horror mode before the film unleashes the zombies and gore. And Hans Maaløe is one evil g*ddamn preacherman. But also some of the more violent and gory scenes works really well I think. The gory gags are so fun to do and it's amazing to watch something done in the simplest and cheapest way, turn out great.

WLF/ZZN: The film has a wonderfully unique setting, the underground scenes in particular. Is there a story behind your choosing, and gaining permission, to shoot there? When I started scouting locations for the film I just began to check out every cellar around me. And I found some pretty rough and dirty locations in places where I didn’t really need to gain permission. We were a tight little crew on the film, consisting of two or three people besides the actors. With a little crew like that it's easy to go and shoot unnoticed. So we actually didn't always bother asking for permission as we were going to soak everything in blood.

WLF/ZZN: Some of the blood spatter—especially on the actor’s faces, looks painstakingly applied. Did you have a particular philosophy with regard to the make-up and special effects? I just wanted the blood-spatter on the actors to increase throughout the film. Most of the time I did the blood-spatter on the actors myself because it was so much fun to throw blood at them. Every single day of shooting I covered them in this sticky, smelly, homemade blood-mix and they really hated me for it. So later in the shoot when I had to do my zombie cameo, the actors couldn't wait to do the blood-spatter on me. In terms of the gore and special effects I really wanted to do everything as old school, down and dirty as possible. No CGI blood spatter or anything like that. Horror films these days tend to overuse that stuff and just doesn't look good, no matter how well it's done. Even on big-budget films gory CGI gags look like crap. So I'm glad we stayed clear of that and did everything the old fashion way.

WLF/ZZN: Kunzen, the German composer wrote a famous oratorio that shares a title with your film. Coincidence, or inspiration? ...flat out coincidence.

WLF/ZZN: George Romero is insistent that zombies are regular people reduced to base instinct. Agree or disagree? I'm not fond zombie films explaining to much about what zombies are, and Romero for one tend to do that too much. In the case of "Opstandelsen" I guess the take on zombies is more in a spiritual sense, and my zombies are maybe a bit more demonic then they are "humans reduced to base instinct". But there's really no explanation for the zombies in my film and you never really get to know that much about them. I think the zombie is interesting to use in telling a story and it's an amazing concept to use when doing a story about Christianity. But I only needed them to be there as a background terror throughout the film, I didn't want to do a film "about the zombie character" as I think that is a general mistake a lot of zombie-directors make.

WLF/ZZN: What are your feelings on having Opstandelsen dubbed into other languages for DVD release? Bring it on! I would love that. As long as the subtitled version is available I don't mind a dubbed version being out there as well. We'll see what happens, but for now people in the US will have to settle for a subtitled version on the Danish DVD release.

WLF/ZZN: Are you dedicated to the horror genre? Not really. As much as I love horror and gore, and as much as I really enjoyed making Opstandelsen, I also want to explore a lot of other things. To do another horror film like Opstandelsen isn't something that appeals that much to me right now. But some day I might get back to it.

WLF/ZZN: What is next for you? I'm doing music videos these days, toying around with a lot of different styles and trying to do some interesting stuff. And then I just started writing a feature film that people should be able to enjoy in a couple of years. Very exiting stuff! If folks are interested in what I'm up to they should join me on FB.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much, Casper. And thanks for the badass film.
wednes: (Default)
This week's Zombie Zone News reprint is my interview with Stefan Petrucha, who wrote a really good novel about an undead detective. Turns out, he's also a fascinating cat. This interview is from January of 2012.



If you're not familiar with American writer Stefan Petrucha, you should be. He's taking zombies in some groovy new directions--an innovator, pure and simple. And he knows his stuff. Petrucha writes adult and YA fiction on a variety of supernatural and speculative topics. And of course, he wrote the TimeTripper series. He has a plethora of books and graphic novels under his belt. I recently had the pleasure of reading Dead Mann Walking, A Hessius Mann Novel for review here at ZZN. In case you missed it, I liked it a lot. Happily, Stefan Petrucha was kind enough to consent to an interview—which is awesome, because I had a bunch of questions. Luckily for us, he's an interesting and articulate cat.

WLF/ZZN: Hey Stefan, thanks for taking the time to answer our Q's. Lets start with an easy one, was this book inspired more by your love of zombies, or your love of detective books?
Thanks for having me, and for the lovely review!
To answer your question; both and neither. I’ve been a fan of zombies and noir for ages, particularly George Romero, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. In the past, I’d done some noir work in graphic novels (Boston Blackie and the satirical Lance Barnes, Post Nuke Dick), as well as a Dawn of the Dead satire back in college called Afternoon of the Airheads – so the genres are always percolating somewhere in my fetid mind.
That said, I’d wanted to write a zombie novel for a while, but, not wanting to repeat the obvious, I was waiting for a good idea. Some great work has been done, and unless I had an intriguing concept, I didn’t think it would be worth the effort.
One day I was listening to an NPR show about the death penalty and one of the speakers said something like, “The reason the death penalty is so controversial is because you can’t take it back.”
I immediately thought, well, what if you could? Naturally, we wouldn’t be very good at it, making the results kinda horrific. At that moment, the basic concept of a detective wrongly accused of murder, then brought back, lodged in my brain with long, sharp talons that have yet to let go.

WLF/ZZN: Tell us a bit about Hessius Mann.
In some ways he’s the typical gruff noir detective – Chandler’s Phillip Marlow, or Hammett’s Sam Spade, the one man in a corrupt world trying to do some good. Marlow and Spade have their shortcomings, but Hess one-ups them in terms of flaws. He’s not only dead, his memory, which was photographic when he was alive, has been left more like something out of Christopher Nolan’s film, Memento.
There are also things he’d rather not remember, like whether or not he actually did kill his wife. He knows he’s got a short temper, so, despite evidence indicating his innocence, he’s not really sure what went down. He’s struggling not only against the bad guys and the corruption, he’s struggling with a failing body and a failing mind.

WLF/ZZN: The cover design is creepy and cool. Who was the artist? How much input did you have on the concept?
Glad you like it – I think it’s a great cover. It was designed by Ray Lundgren, whom I hope will be working on the next cover as well. .
I was asked at the onset to contribute ideas, but I’m not a great cover designer, so I was happy to have them ignored. I was then presented with the cover image pretty much as it stands. I thought it was great. I wanted to have a hat added, to lean a little more toward classic noir, but a stock photo had been used and couldn’t be changed. I did niggle the text a little, changing “First in a New Series” to “A Hessius Mann Novel” which sounded more like classic detective to me. I think Ray did a fantastic job – I’m very pleased with it.

WLF/ZZN: Many of the "Livebloods" in Dead Mann Walking are, to put it bluntly, complete asshats. Is this indicative of your own annoyance with humanity in general?
Ha! Partly, I suppose, but I’m also trying to turn the trope on its head. In the usual zombie story, the living are surrounded by the violent dead, so here, the dead are surrounded by the violent living. That’s the interesting thing about monsters – there’s really nothing they can do than humans haven’t already done.
My own attitude is that I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand.

WLF/ZZN: It is widely agreed that the sci-fi genre deals with themes on society, and the horror genre deals with the human condition. Where does that leave Dead Mann Walking?
Hm. I’m not sure that particular division is so widely agreed upon, at least not in film/TV. Romero’s first three Dead films all make some pretty heavy commentary on society, while something like the revamped Battlestar Galactica deals as much with the human condition as anything else. But the best work always crosses genre lines, and I prefer rules that ask you to test their limits.
With Dead Mann, Hess has a lot to say about both society and the human condition. I don’t think that makes it closer to science fiction, though. If anything, the science fiction elements are minimal, just enough to establish the existence of the zombies, and even there the “science” is intentionally vague. It’s not magic, but I didn’t want the man on the street to particularly understand how it works. How many people know how the pictures and sound come out of their TV?
I think both elements come partly out of Romero, but mostly out of classic noir, which always deals with (generally corrupt) society, so the proper category for Dead Mann would be something like noir/horror. Urban Fantasy always struck me as kind of a catch-all anyway – but the bookstores do need to shelve these things somewhere so folks can find them. Personally, I’d almost rather see Dead Mann in the mystery section, or next to something like Dexter – though this would involve me changing my last name for alphabetical reasons.

WLF/ZZN: The character Misty seems to denote an empathetic, yet hopeful attitude toward conquering addiction. Comment?
I love Misty. I’m very proud of the way her relationship with Hess plays. They’re both at the bottom of the heap, but rather than sink, they try to drag each other up. She’s certainly a sign of life and light, and to that end, works much in the same way as the standard detective secretary, smart, perky and worried about her boss. Her past life gives her something more, though – she’s earned whatever she’s got, in terms of optimism, the hard way.
That plays a key factor in the second book, Dead Mann Running, where things get a lot darker for Misty, leaving Hess, when he needs her most, to fumble through things on his own.

WLF/ZZN: Do you have a planned number of novels for the Hessius Mann series?
Nope. I plan to keep writing Hess novels as long as I live – afterwards, too, if possible.

WLF/ZZN: What kind of social services might improve the lives of the undead Chakz in Fort Hammer?
Bleach showers for one. Rot is a chakz worst enemy. Also, a roof over their decaying heads and a repair kit, complete with needle, thread and Krazy Glue, for reattaching lost limbs, sewing up gashes, and so on.
Speaking of social services,I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say that at the end of Dead Mann Walking, official chak camps are established. In the second book Hess visits a couple, witnessing some surprising results regarding how the campers fare.

WLF/ZZN: Hessius mentions that Night of the Living Dead scared the crap out of him. Can we assume that you feel similarly?
Absolutely. It was one of those magical things I first saw all alone at midnight on TV. The opening graveyard scene has yet to be topped. Fast zombies are great, too, but the slow, relentless attack by that corpse is amazing. There’s also a sequence where a child-zombie winds up chomping on her dad and killing her mom that still gives me chills.

WLF/ZZN: I know Hessius prefers to carry a tape recorder to an iPod. But if he had an iPod, what music would he have on it? Any podcasts you think he'd be a fan of?
Ha! For the podcasts, Wait! Wait! Don’t bury me! As for tunes, Hess’ actual taste would probably run toward mopey jazz and pop, but that’s no fun. I actually wrote a column featuring my favorite zombie songs, so let’s say he’d like those.
First and foremost would be Dead Mann Walking, the song actually written for the novel by the hard rocking creative madman behind Carnival Comics, Jazan Wild. It’s available as a free download at my website. As for the others, there’s Alice Cooper’s I Love the Dead, The Gonk, from Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, All the Men in My life Keep Getting Killed by Kandarian Demons, from Evil Dead, the Musical, Zombie Jamboree originally by Lord Invader (quoted at the beginning of the novel), and last, but definitely not least, Re: Your Brains by the amazing Jonathan Coulton.

WLF/ZZN: Zombies do not appear to be your only area of interest. You also write about ghosts, vampires, werewolves—would it be fair to say you’re a renaissance man in the world of horror?
Much as I like it, “Rennaissance” sounds kinda haughty. I see myself more as working down in the trenches. I’m an old Dark Shadows fan, and they really ran the gamut in terms of supernatural tropes, so it feels natural to move from one to the other.
Past that, my interests have always varied, including mysteries, historical fiction, literary fiction, and superheroes. My next book, a young adult thriller from Philomel called Ripper, takes place in New York City in 1895, and has a bit of a steam-punk feel. I like to describe it as being like Harry Potter, except without magic and with a serial killer.
At least I’ve never felt stuck in a rut, creatively!

WLF/ZZN: What do you do when you aren't taking horror icons into exciting new places?
Starting this month I’m teaching an online class through the University of Massachusetts called Writing for a Living. There’s also TV, time with the family and the occasional video game. I’ve been playing Settler 7, but I’ll have to drop that and get serious about the sequel to Ripper, which I’m currently working on.

WLF/ZZN: How has writing about Hessius Mann altered your personal zombie apocalypse plan?
I now sleep with two guns under my pillow instead of one.

WLF/ZZN: Do you have any advice for young writers who want to truly innovate within the genre as you have?
Thanks for the compliment!
My general advice to new writers is not to simply write what you love. First, develop great taste, then write what you love. As for innovation, I think that involves taking an abstract step back and figuring out what makes a genre work, and playing around with those basic concepts, and bringing it back to an emotional heart.
As a final word of advice, take my online, course Writing for a Living.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much, Stefan. Any parting words for your fans?
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your years of loyal support, but, really, you need to buy a lot more of my books – and force your friends to do the same.
wednes: (Zombie Cart)
I've been doing Wednesday Reprints of my old Zombie Zone News articles since they can no longer be seen on the site. Taking a break from interviews this week to reshare my article detailing why I hate The Evil Dead--especially when everyone assumes I must love it.



I hate The Evil Dead: Explained, because you asked for it.

As a life-long zombie fan from the great state of Michigan, I am met with varying degrees of surprise when new friends learn that I loathe The Evil Dead movies—and indeed, all of Sam Raimi's horror. "Even Army of Darkness?!?" they say in feigned hipster shock. Yes, 'fraid so. People have been asking me to explain (read: justify) this for at least 20 years now. I wanted to explain it, but I honestly didn't know—until now. This might end up being more about me than the film itself, but hey, you asked. See, I don't just "dislike" Evil Dead. I loathe it. I've reached a point where I'm pissed that people praise it so highly, love it so much—especially when the most gung-ho people aren't even zombie fans. "The Evil Dead" is kind of a silly title if you think about it—akin to The Mean Murderer or Bad Men We Don't Like.

Until my preparation for this article, I hadn’t seen the original Evil Dead in over 15 years. I remembered it as tritely scripted, horribly acted, rife with ridiculously bad dialogue, and generally shitty overall. It was also advertised as a zombie movie, which it really isn't. On the off chance that I asserted this, I would typically be met by—let’s say vigorous disapproval. Eventually I became perplexed, suspicious that there must be something I was missing. The disagreement was SO strong that I doubted the veracity of my hatred—even Stephen King has admitted liking The Evil Dead.

"But…it's terrible," I'd say, referring to the aspects of the films which are…you know…terrible. And here's the thing—no one disagrees that Evil Dead has horrible acting, is poorly written, has amateurish special effects and makeups that are lit far too brightly, and is generally stupid. Everyone concedes these points. "But, you don't understand--they had so little and did so much," they bray. What I gather from that is that I'm supposed to love the movie because they took the time to make it, and it was hard. It's probably hard for Uwe Boll to make movies, but the fact that he did so isn't enough to make me go. I'm not falling for THAT again. Now that YouTube exists, we now know that movie making is not some elusive skill that only Kubrick, Fincher, and Hitchcock were ever good at. Simply making a film with a small budget is not a good enough reason to like it.

Side note: I once paid to see Drag me to Hell in the hopes that there would be ONE Sam Raimi horror movie that I could enjoy. No dice. I love Spiderman, but all of Raimi’s horror watches like he’s enjoying a private joke that I just don’t get. The talking goat was enough to make me want to walk out in a huff; and I spotted the **spoiler alert** button switch from a mile away. Sad, because like Evil Dead, Drag me to Hell has a promising beginning.
It's even been suggested that I don't like Evil Dead because I'm a girl. And apparently, Girls don't know anything about zombies. Pish tosh, I say. If you don't think chicks know zombies, I'd implore you to check out Z Magazine, and its proprietess Eloise Knapp. Hell, you can read my own zombie book, The Finster Effect, which is a damn sight more interesting than any horror Raimi has ever directed. AND it's set in the great state of Michigan.

The Evil Dead starts out fine. There is some great footage of a swampy, wooded area (that isn't in Michigan, for some reason) where scary shit is no doubt brewing. These swooping opening shots are fun and visually appealing—setting us up to think the movie will have a certain artistry that just doesn’t develop. By the time Ashley et al have a near-miss car collision, it’s clear to the viewer that not a single one of them can act. An abundance of 20/20 hindsight tells us that only one of these people went on to do any actual acting—if indeed, Old Spice commercials and Bubba Ho Tep can be counted as "acting." ;-)

Because this film is so well-known among fans, I'm not going to do a play by play of character or plot. If you're reading this article, chances are you don't need the information. That said, I do feel compelled to mention the following:
--How am I supposed to like a character who thinks it's funny to point a loaded gun at his buddy? Unless the setup is "they're a bunch of douchebags and you shouldn't care if they die," I don't see the point.
--Some of the props are really cool—the book and the skull in particular.
--A chick is raped by a tree. I'm gonna say that again in case you aren't getting that. A Chick. Is Raped. By a Tree. Evil Dead is considered to be an American classic, and a shining example of great filmmaking on a tiny budget. And in this zombie opus and source of American pride—a chick is raped by a tree. Women have come a long way in horror since then, but c'mon.
--Scott: Huge Asshat, or the Hugest Asshat? In fact, for being such close friends, all of these people are serious dicks to each other.
--Um, is that gerbil supposed to be a wild animal? If so, really?
--The clouds going past the moon shot is an affront to all things lunar. If you can't just shoot the actual moon, please don't bother.
--"Zombism." Personally, I believe in a relaxed and inclusive definition of "zombie" which can include infected, voudon, bite-based, chemical, viral, etc. But being possessed by a Demon is not really zombism. Evil Dead "zombies" don't seem to want to actually eat anyone, not as a primary goal anyway. What really bugs me about this is how many zombie aficionados will scream for days that 28 Days Later is not zombie movie because infection isn't dying blah blah blah, but have no issue with this? I guess later in the film it's a little more zombie-like, but really? Evil Dead is a zombie movie like Pet Sematary is a zombie movie—which is to say: kinda, but not really. In fact, it isn't even marketed as a zombie movie anymore.
--Bruce Campbell. I know he has legions of fans, and is purportedly a really nice guy. He's handsome. Ridiculously, absurdly, chiseled-out-of-stone handsome. No disrespect, but Bruce looks like he could be Mitt Romney's brother. He's so handsome, I'm suspicious and want to dislike him on general principle.
--Claymation. I gotta admit, I like it.
--Zombies don't talk. And you can posthumously tell that prick Dan O'Bannon I said so.

Lets agree for the time being that The Evil Dead is a zombie movie. Zombies are part of the horror genre, and will be until they sparkle and make the romance with teenage girls. But The Evil Dead isn't scary. It's gross and silly and ridiculous. It doesn't take horror seriously. And I do. Horror is serious business, and if you're going to piss on it with your foolish FX and shittier than shitty dialogue (which is free, BTW. Good dialogue costs nothing, and the only thing you need to get it is talent) it needs to be at least as funny as say, Fido. Evil Dead isn't, not in MY humble opinion. It isn't even as funny as Saturday the 14th and how many of you have even seen that little gem of a film? ** insert horsehead bookends joke here **

There's one more thing that keeps me from digging The Evil Dead. And I didn't put it together for the longest time. And it begins with the Fake Shemp. A "Fake Shemp" is a delightfully nerdy expression derived from when the Three Stooges had to complete a few shorts after Shemp Howard's sudden death. They worked around him with (what we now call) some Ed Wood-style body doubling. They had to shoot around Bruce Campbell to finish the film. Since Ted Raimi was far too adorable to stand in for Mitt jr, they used a series of these Fake Shemps.

Hmmm…a Three Stooges joke. Even with that knowledge, it still took someone actually telling me that one reason I don't appreciate Evil Dead movies is that I don't like the Three Stooges. Once I looked for it, Evil Dead was rife with references, parodies, a veritable cornucopia of Three Stooges humor. That's the ongoing joke that I just don't get. And let me assure you, that running gag is holding that movie together more than some of you realize. Without it, the whole thing turns to an unfunny crapshack.
Even more eye-opening was the realization that I don't know a single chick who likes Three Stooges. Not one. I mean, I've seen a few of their shorts and don't wish them any specific harm. A lot of fingers in eyes and pies in rich dowager's faces. Hardee har har. But aside from thinking that recent movie was an affront against the gods of cinema, I know fuckall about the Three Stooges, and am quite comfortable with that. But I was pissed to realize that my dislike of Evil Dead had more to do with me being a chick than I'd care to admit.

In the end, I can forgive lame special effects, bad makeups under too bright lighting, suspiciously handsome actors, and can even learn to tolerate poorly written dialogue. But if I'm not scared, I need to be laughing, intrigued, or care even the tiniest bit about these characters. I wasn't, and I couldn't, and I still can't. And that, ultimately, is what keeps me from enjoying The Evil Dead.
Aren't you glad you know?
wednes: (Default)
Time once again for another Zombie Zone News reprint, this time, it's Peter Clines.  This is from a series we did with Audible.com when they started getting seriously into indie horror.  There are some great authors in this series, more of which will follow in the coming weeks.  

Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday: Peter Clines



Today's 7 authors in 7 days interview is none other than Peter Clines. Inventive and brave, Clines defies genre to give readers something unexpectedly awesome every time. Ex-Heroes inspired fervor among zombie fans, and Ex-Patriots promises to get already rabid fans even more frothy. Ha hails from Maine, the horror capitol in the world, and his newest novel was produced as an audiobook by Audible.com. http://www.audible.com/pd?asin=B0057YOIYI

Clip to follow after the interview.

WLF/ZZN: Hey, thanks for taking the time to answer our Q's. I'll start with what some horror writers call The Grandma Question. Why zombies? Why can't you write about something pleasant?
Hah. Well, let’s get the awkward one out of the way. Honestly, why not? Are zombies really that much more horrible than anything else? This sort of question always makes me laugh because so many people write about disturbing, unnerving things that are real. John Grisham writes about legal and financial machinations by people out to screw the little guy. Lee Child writes about government cover-ups. Ray Bradbury’s written several stories about book burning. Dan Brown writes about secret cults and religious conspiracies. Dozens of bestselling authors write about oppression and unfettered greed. Yet grandmothers everywhere applaud these people as writing “pleasant” stuff. But, man, you wipe out one small town with zombies or vampires and suddenly you’re one of those messed-up horror writers who obviously had a scarring childhood incident.

WLF/ZZN: You are known for work that straddles multiple genres. What's amatter? One genre not good enough for ya?
I just love crossing the streams. I know it’s bad but I think it appeals to most folks on a simple level. When we were kids playing with toys we’d see GI Joe team up with Star Wars and Transformers all the time. It was only when we got older that we learned about all these lines that aren’t supposed to be crossed. So the short answer is that I haven’t matured much since I was nine.
On another level, I think most really good stories tend to cross genres a little bit. I bet you can find a dozen or more old movies about people locked in a store or warehouse over a long weekend, doing all the things we’d all do, and then George Romero dropped in zombies and we had Dawn of the Dead. Stephen King took your classic “small American town” story and added vampires and we got Salem’s Lot.

WLF/ZZN: I understand that you oppose fast zombies. How is it that in your books, super heroes exist but still can't quite get a handle on slow zombies?
I just think the idea of fast zombies is a bit silly, and I feel comfortable standing in the same corner as Romero on this one. The walking dead in general are kind of pushing the bounds of believability. I think when people come back from the dead better than they were before—suddenly able to sprint non-stop and leap a dozen feet into the air—I think it’s pushing ridiculous. Simon Pegg’s expressed the same view and said something like “death is a disability, not a superpower.”
That being said, just to be fair, I don’t really consider things like 28 Days Later or The Crazies (Romero’s or the remake) to be zombie stories. I know that label got slapped on them, but I think that was just laziness on the part of some reviewers/ publicists. These are stories about living people who are suffering from a condition. They’re more ghoul stories than zombie stories. It’s a different kind of monster and a different kind of horror.
As far as superheroes not being able to handle slow zombies... that’s like people saying “well, why doesn’t Congress just fix the economy?” The big problem with slow zombies is always numbers. Everyone says “oh, they’re slow—just dodge them.” But how do you dodge twenty people? Or fifty? Or a hundred? Think about it. I established in Ex-Heroes that there are almost five million zombies in Los Angeles alone. So if you killed a hundred zombies a day, every day, for a year, you still wouldn’t’ve killed one percent of the zombie population of L.A. Even if you bumped it up to more than two hundred a day, you’re talking about fifty years to clean out Los Angeles. And then you can move on to the rest of California, the rest of the U.S., the rest of the world... It’s not called an apocalypse because you can recover in a week. There are no quick and easy answers.

WLF/ZZN: Can fans expect another sequel?
Yup. I wrote Ex-Heroes as kind of a stand-alone book, but Jacob Kier at Permuted Press loved it so much, and it’s doing so well with folks, that I got to write Ex-Patriots with a third story in mind. Sooooo... a couple small things are left unresolved, a couple seeds are planted. I’m finishing up a different book right now and then I’m hoping to have Ex-Communication done in time for Christmas next year.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us about the audiobook version of Ex-Patriots.
It’s like getting the book read to you by someone who speaks very well and can do really cool voices. If I read it to you, everyone’s voice would crack or sound squeaky. A lot. Especially the female characters.

WLF/ZZN: Which ZombieFest selections are your favorite(s)?
You want me to say something besides “mine,” right? Well, Bryon Morrigan’s Acheron comes out right after Ex-Patriots and it’s very fun. I got to read it at the start of the year. It’s about a soldier in the middle east who gets caught up in... well, I don’t want to say too much because it’s a great slow-build story. Let’s just say it starts out with a creepy mist and the walking dead and gets crazier and crazier. Part of the fun is the main character, Captain Nate Leathers (and you have to love that name), is very down-to-Earth and he’s viewing all the events through a very pragmatic eye.

WLF/ZZN: You've been credited with creating something truly unique within an oversaturated genre. Do you agree that the zombie subgenre is oversaturated?
I think “oversaturation” is a term that gets thrown out to explain why things fail. No one ever says television is oversaturated with sitcoms or procedural shows until one of them bombs. That’s when the word gets whipped out, because the alternative is “your material sucks.” But the truth is that network television continues to support dozens of sitcoms, dozens of procedurals, and many more are waiting in the wings.
I do think there’s a definite flood of zombie material right now, and I think a large part of that is zombies got cool just at a time when small presses were coming back and e-publishing was really taking off. So there’s been a lot of space on the bandwagon for people to jump on. There’s a lot of really good stuff out there getting a lot of support, but I think the percentage of bad stuff we’re actually seeing is going up because people are able to bypass that filter of editor and publisher. And let’s be honest for a minute—the majority of people should be filtered out. That’s just the way of the world. Not everyone can write good stories. Also, not everyone can cook, not everyone can play guitar, not everyone can repair cars, and not everyone can perform brain surgery.
So, short answer, you could say the market’s oversaturated—cluttered might be a better word-- but I think it’s really just where you’d expect it to be with all the new tech out there. I think every genre’s seeing the same thing right now, we just don’t realize it because most of us here aren’t big into historical romance or period mysteries or whatever.

WLF/ZZN: What, if anything, can you share with us about your own zombie survival plan?
Denial. I will stop them all by sheer denial.

WLF/ZZN: Just for fun, what is the worst zombie movie or book you've ever encountered?
Tough call. I have seen and read some things that I thought were really, really awful. I’m trying to get better about biting my tongue, though, so I probably shouldn’t say anything. It turns out people have started listening to my opinions over the past year or so, which I think means I should be a bit more careful with them. I will be zombie Thumper and say nothing at all (cause, y’know... he’s a dead rabbit. They don’t talk).

WLF/ZZN: How has your experience been with Audible.com?
Really fantastic. I was a bit intimidated at first because I was stepping into an all-new realm, but the people were wonderful (and very patient). One of the people working on Ex-Patriots actually caught something that had slipped past all my proofreaders and editors so we got to make some last-minute tweaks. Jay Snyder, the narrator, is just great. When he recorded Ex-Heroes we traded a bunch of emails because he wanted to make sure he was pronouncing names correctly and what actors I could picture playing different parts. After years in the film industry, where the writer’s opinion is usually ignored at best, it was a pleasant surprise.
They asked me to do some bonus material for the July releases, too. Those are the Junkie Quatrain stories that are tagged on to all four audiobooks. They’re set in a post-apocalyptic world where an infection turns people into uninhibited cannibals. But they’re not zombies. They’re more like... ghouls (link up here, link up there). Each story stands alone, but if you read more than one you’ll start to see overlaps and connections. Rhetorical questions are asked in some stories that actually get answered in others.

WLF/ZZN: Anything you'd like to say to your many readers?
Some of you people have really sick minds. Especially you. Yeah, you. That’s not what I meant by that at all. How did you even come up with that? Seriously, get your minds out of the gutter.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much. Any last words of advice to those of us who may someday have to fight off zombies without the assistance of super heroes?
Don’t get backed into a corner—always have an escape route. And possibly an escape route from your escape route. Don’t get too dependent on your firearms (they run out of ammo or jam at all the worst times). And for God’s sake, it is not “just a scratch” and it will not be okay.
wednes: (Zombie Kitty)
From 2011, please enjoy this interview with Chef Formaro of Zombie Burger and Drink Lab, reprinted from Zombie Zone News:

Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday: Chef George Formaro


Regular readers know that I get to interview all sorts of cool purveyors of undead culture—actors, novelists, musicians, directors, photographers, and so forth. This is the first time I've ever interviewed a chef, because let's face it, zombie food doesn't sound altogether palatable for the living.
And yet…Zombie Burger and Drink Lab is set to open in Des Moines in just a few short days. A harbinger of undead things to come? Perhaps. An atmospheric space with a killer menu of horror and zombie-inspired faire? For sure. Tuesday, August 30th is opening night—and man, you do NOT want to miss it. Burger lovers, zombie fans, even those silly vegetarian types will find something to love on Chef Formaro's extensive menu—which is designed to look like a newspaper during a zombie outbreak. Safehouse-inspired décor and awesome murals create a fun atmosphere for families, while the Drink Lab section serves alcohol just for the grown-ups.

Okay…I sound more like a commercial than an interviewer. I'll admit it, I love cheeseburgers almost as much as I love zombies. They are nature's perfect food. Imagine the joy of a gourmand such as myself having the opportunity to interview Chef Formaro on his truly unique and awesome restaurant!

WLF/ZZN: Chef Formaro, you've created an establishment that combines two of my favorite things on this Earth: zombies, and burgers. What inspired you to bring horror and comfort food together in such an unorthodox way?
Zombie movies and burgers both have an element of fun about them, and I've always been a fan of both. So it just seemed like a fun idea to put them together. And once we started talking about it, the concept kind of took off on its own. The people of Des Moines have really been getting into the idea, and we're not even open yet!

WLF/ZZN: Unlike the usual human nosh in a zombie movie, your menu is extensive, mouth-watering and diverse. What makes your menu well suited to horror fans?
Well, the food is fantastic for both horror and non-horror fans. It's the zombie-movie theme of the menu that makes it fun for horror fans. If you're a fan of the genre, then you'll get the jokes in the names, like the "They're Coming To Get You, Barbara" burger. (WLF note: Ha!)

WLF/ZZN: Why Des Moines?
Des Moines is a great city. There are a lot of smart, fun people here who get the kind of thing we're doing with Zombie Burger. Plus it's where I live, and probably always will, so I want to make sure this town has places like this that you won't really find anywhere else.


WLF/ZZN: A lot of your menu items have a definite family-friendly vibe. As a person without kids, I was delighted to see that the Drink Lab features a more grown-up atmosphere. Any specialty drinks we grown-ups should be trying?
My favorite drink is the Zombie, big shocker huh? Also, adding booze to the milkshakes is a must have! I like the Cherry Darling with vodka.

WLF/ZZN: ZZN fans would love to hear about your horror cred. Who are your horror heroes?
When I was a kid, I loved the old-time horror movies, so if you're talking actors, I was always a big fan of Lon Chaney and his Phantom of the Opera. And Lon Jr.'s WolfMan. And I loved Boris Karloff's Frankenstein.
If you're talking movie characters, I'd go with Barbara from Night of the Living Dead. I actually own the zombie prop head of Uncle Rege and the fire poker that Barbara used to kill him from the 1990 remake!

WLF/ZZN: Do you worry that zombies will be offended at the many, many vegetarian selections?
My experience with zombies is that they're hard to offend. And who knows, the more civilized undead might actually like the fact that you can get any of our burgers with the vegetarian patty. It's got to be a little boring eating brains all the time

WLF/ZZN: Are "Jersey Rippers" as terrifying as they sound?
Rippers are a Jersey thing. Throwing the dogs in hot oil causes them to rip. Thought it was apropos for our concept...and tasty !

WLF/ZZN: Are any menu items directly inspired by horror films?
In Planet Terror is a BBQ sauce. Loved the JT's Bone Shack setting for a chunk of that movie. No blood in our sauce though. And we have fun names tied in all over. We thought it would be cool for Zombie fans to see where our minds were when we were creating the burgers. The Horde is a French zombie movie and the burger is a Franco inspired burger. The Romero Pittsburgher is our take on a famous sandwich joint in Pittsburgh.

WLF/ZZN: I understand that the burgers and Jersey Rippers are served on custom rolls you've developed yourself. Do all those rolls ever make you nervous, given the events in Night of the Living Bread?
We have been doing some really crazy, diabolical stuff with liquid nitrogen, CO2 siphons and other unmentionables, it would not shock me if the bread were to be tampered with and get out of control. Yes, it has been a concern of mine.

WLF/ZZN: Is the Zombie Burger and Drink Lab well situated for zombie defense?
Personally I think a spiked shake is the perfect defense to monster attacks of all kinds. But for those who are worried, I have been assured by the building's architects that the walls and windows can withstand horde levels of zombies.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us a bit about the artist(s) who created the zombie themed murals?
Ron Wagner is a local illustrator who does amazing work. He created three large-scale murals of zombies taking over Des Moines that are prominently featured throughout the space. For more information on Ron, please visit:http://www.rjwagner.com/biography.shtml

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much for the interview, Chef. I predict that the opening will be attended by hordes of…something.

In case anyone is not familiar:

wednes: (Zombie B&W)
Hey kids,

As many of you know, I used to have an interview segment at Zombie Zone News. Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday was a ton of fun, and allowed me to trade Emails with some really cool people. However, an error at the website led to most of those interviews being unavailable to read. The good news? I still have all my interviews, and thought it might be a neat idea to repost them somewhere that they can actually be seen. I have not edited these in any way.
For my own laughs, I decided not to post these in order. Also, the Bear McCreary interview was requested. How can I say no?  Honestly, this was not one of my better interviews because I felt SO far out of my league.  Bear was totes professional and patient with my ignorance. 
So here it is, from March 2011, my interview with composer Bear McCreary:

From Zombie Zone News, March, 2011"



Like most of you, I waited all summer long in anticipation of the premiere of The Walking Dead. I carefully avoided news articles and pics, not wanting even the tiniest spoiler. Open credits begin. Music by Bear McCreary. Cheers! Applause! My Walking Dead party was chock full of BSG devotees, Sarah Connor fans, and Dark Void players. Our already palpable anticipation doubled. We were not disappointed.
Bear McCreary has composed scores for some of the best television of the last ten years including Battlestar Galactica, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Eureka, Caprica, and The Cape. Then there's the movies like Wrong Turn 2, Rest Stop, and BSG Razor. You can, and should, read all about Bear on his website. http://www.bearmccreary.com/
As we all know, the score from Season One of The Walking Dead set the bar for horror television. The banjo work alone is reason enough to buy this soundtrack. Bear's ability to create mood, enhance themes, and elicit emotion, is nothing short of masterful. I was super geeked when Bear agreed to answer some questions just for us.


WLF/ZZN: You were a kid who watched TV and played video games, who grew up to work in TV and video games. Does this affirm that TV and video games are not only good for us, but the road to creative fulfillment?
I think that feature films have utterly lost their monopoly on being cool. When I was a kid, films had a sense of grandeur and scope that TV and especially games didn’t even attempt to match. Nowadays, film is trying to keep up with a quickly evolving landscape. The creative opportunities I’ve found in games and TV have been absolutely remarkable. And while I enjoy working in features too, I only take on the projects that allow me to explore new musical sounds. Basically, I take on projects that are dramatically interesting. I don’t even care if its for a film, TV or a game, as long as it’s fun to work on it.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us about your relationship with zombies before you signed on to score The Walking Dead.
I’d always been aware of the zombie genre, but it really wasn’t where my passion lied. However, that all changed when I read Kirkman’s comic. I was sucked into the world of these characters, because I loved them so much. And TWD comic is a good crash course for zombie newbies, because it hits so many of the tropes of the genre. From there, it was a hop, skip and a jump to finding all these great films.

WLF/ZZN: How stoked were you to do it?
Pretty f*cking stoked. Can I say that? Maybe I should rephrase: Pretty f*cking excited about it.

WLF/ZZN: Can you share anything about how scoring this series has influenced your own plans or preparation for the zombie apocalypse?
I’m keeping my banjo handy.

WLF/ZZN: You've talked about the concept of Unity in the score for The Walking Dead, and that the leitmotifs intertwine to create one sound. Does the inspiration for these character themes come more from the actor's performances, or from the script?
Honestly, there aren’t really any character themes to speak of. That’s where the unity comes from. Rather than highlighting all the characters’ differences, by giving them each a unique sound, I’m painting them all with a single brush. They come from different backgrounds and have different values, but they’ve all been brought together by this horrific event and their current surroundings.
If anything, the quality of the actor’s performances has allowed me to step back a little musically and accomplish this. The scenes work so well on their own, I can focus more on creating a musical world, rather than working hard on creating specific character arcs. This approach may change in Season 2, of course, but that’s what worked in Season 1.

WLF/ZZN: Does your musically Unifying the human survivors indicate that you are rooting for the humans to win?
Zombies are fun. But, if you’re rooting for the zombies to win it means the characters aren’t connecting and the whole thing is a failure. That’s precisely what makes Kirkman’s source material so fabulous. As a well-versed comic book / horror fan you KNOW people are going to die. But, Damnit, Kirkman makes you love these people anyway.

WLF/ZZN: The banjos in The Walking Dead are even scarier than those from Deliverance. It literally sounds like a zombie is playing. Do you agree then, with the premise of Land of the Dead, that some zombies will retain the musical abilities they had in life?
That’s exactly how I thought about it, even though I think Kirkman / Darabont would disagree. The zombies in TWD really don’t retain their humanity at all. But, that’s how I got Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek to find the right sound on the banjo. I told him to imagine he was a banjo player who became a zombie and was playing through muscle memory. That really got him in the mood and he created some incredibly terrifying textures.

WLF/ZZN: I haven't heard any accordion in The Walking Dead yet. Did I miss it? When will fans get the accordion they are pining for?
I’ll bet Season 2 finds some.

WLF/ZZN: Speaking of the accordion, I really think you and Weird Al Yankovic should play dueling accordions, maybe for charity? Are you game?
He’d kick my ass.

WLF/ZZN: Are you able to reveal any new instruments you'll be introducing in Season 2? Anything relating to a certain prison, perhaps?
No spoilers on that one, I’m afraid.

WLF/ZZN: Before The Walking Dead, you scored such shows as Caprica, Eureka, The Cape, and the celebrated reimagining of Battlestar Galactica. Was it always your intention to use leitmotifs in Battlestar Galactica, or did that evolve organically?
Quite the opposite. I had strict instruction from the producers to never use any themes at all. But, I couldn’t help it. That’s just where the show was leaning, so I did it anyway hoping no one would notice. Finally, around the end of the first season, the producer said that a scene with Boomer wasn’t quite working. “Can you just bring back that Boomer theme here? I think that will really help.” At that moment, I knew I wouldn’t get fired for using themes.

WLF/ZZN: Felix Gaeta was my favorite BSG character. It was worth suffering through Gaeta's misfortunes just to hear him sing. Can you tell us a bit about how Gaeta's Lament was conceived and incorporated into the show?
It was incorporated into the script that Felix would sing while being operated on. I worked closed with the actor Alessandro Juliani to write a melody in his comfortable vocal range. AJ is a classically trained singer, and has a really beautiful voice. I was stunned working with him. Regrettably, he couldn’t show it off in the series because his character was supposed to be in utter agony. So, he couldn’t sing to his full capacity. Thankfully, we re-recorded it for the Season 4 soundtrack album and he was able to show fans just how serious a singer he is.

WLF/ZZN: Is there anything fans can do to get Caprica back on the air? Facebook revolution? Letter campaign to SyFy? Maybe HBO?
Build a time machine? I’m afraid that ship has long sailed. I miss Caprica. It didn’t get the fulfilling finale that “BSG” had. I will always remember that as one of the more beautiful themes I’ve composed.

WLF/ZZN: I just learned moments ago that The Cape was cancelled, and that the finale would only be aired online. Can you comment on this trend of cancelling innovative, well-produced shows while perpetuating vapid derivative crapfests devoid of anything resembling originality?
It’s an unfortunate reality of the TV business, but not limited to that industry. Bands that don’t go big on their first album don’t get a chance to make a second. In the old days, they had time to evolve a fan base. Queen didn’t take off until their THIRD album. If they were around today, they’d never make it. Similarly, a movie has only opening weekend to prove itself. All you can do is do your best, work on projects you believe in and hope for the best.

WLF/ZZN: The mega-version 8-bit track from the Dark Void theme is awesome. Was that your idea?
That was a bit of a gift, at first. Inafune-San, the creator of “Mega Man,” was a producer on “Dark Void.” So, I made an 8-bit version of the game’s theme in the style of “Mega Man II.” To my surprise, CAPCOM loved it so much, they actually made an 8-bit game to go with it, and I wrote a full score for it. The full orchestral and 8-bit scores of both games are still on iTunes. I love that fans can experience both.

WLF/ZZN: What advice would you offer aspiring composers who want to work in TV and video games?
Do your best work. Treat every project like it matters. Believe in what you’re doing. But, most of all, do this because you love to do it above all else. If there’s something in life you enjoy more than writing music, by all means… do that instead.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us. Is there anything you'd like to say to your many, many fans?
Check out my blog, bearmccreary.com, in the coming weeks for some big announcements. I’ve just released a book of piano sheet music arrangements of “Battlestar Galactica” music. There are soundtrack CDs, concert DVDs and other cool things on the horizon. Thanks and keep on listening!
wednes: (Zombie B&W)
I'd be willing to bet my last $5 that the chick at Terminus is a cannibal--or possibly the leader of a cannibal cabal.
That's why she's inviting people to go there. That's why she was grilling meat when they arrived. That's why she's played by Denise Crosby--because as far as I know, she's only played one non-asshatted character ever.


In other news, I'll be really happy when people stop trying to get Stephen Colbert fired. If one tweet by someone who isn't even him as convinced you that he's nothing more than a hateful bigot who deserves to have his platform taken away, I daresay that you could stand to clean your loop a bit better before turning on your TV. And if you haven't even seen the episode, kindly STFU until you do. No uninformed opinions plz.

Yes, people have a right to be offended at things they don't like. When shit offends me I usually have plenty to say about it. Nobody is being "too sensitive," IMO, and people trying to silence this woman are being just as myopic as she is.
But--not only was the tweet a reference to earlier mocking of racial insensitivity, but it wasn't even written by SC himself. Sure, people have every right to be offended, even outraged, if that's what their misunderstanding of the situation leads them to believe. That doesn't make it true, or reflective of Colbert's intentions.
A few people have explained to me that intentions don't matter if people('s feelings) are being hurt. This is where you lose me. If everyone who uses a certain word is always a certain way--aren't George Carlin and Lenny Bruce also total racists who "don't care about the pain they inflict?" If intentions don't matter, why do people want hate crime laws. NOTE: I do not support hate crimes legislation--not because I think hate crime is awesome, but because I think we should punish people for their actions, not their thoughts.

Hurt feelings necessitate an apology, and perhaps further discussion that leads to greater understanding on both sides. Trying to silence those with whom you disagree--instead of making your case and engaging in fair discussion--is just pointless posturing, just competing to be the Decider.

Maybe we could entertain the idea that we don't necessarily have to get people fired every time they do or say something we don't like. I've worked enough fast food and customer service jobs to know first-hand how much people LOVE to get others fired or reprimanded for doing something they don't like--whether it's not giving away free food undeservedly, saying a word that makes us cringe, or the terrible crime of not smiling. Wanting swift and crippling revenge against people we disagree with is petty, malicious, and an ineffective way to manage hurt or bring about social change. Do we really think all of TV would be better without Stephen Colbert? I don't see how...

Hmmmm...

Nov. 29th, 2013 07:31 pm
wednes: (Zombie Cart)
If I had more free time on my hands, I'd spend a day making a supercut vid of black friday crowds (why you gotta bring race into it?) with Goblin music over it.

Because if people are gonna keep making WWZ and DotD zombie horde jokes about BF shoppers, why not make it incredible?

And Goblin is awesome.

Dexter

Sep. 23rd, 2013 06:16 pm
wednes: (TV!!!)
Even if you've never seen an ep of Dexter in your life, you've probably heard people bitching about the finale online. See, any show that's been on TV for longer than one season will have haters after the finale--no exception. If I liked the finale, the haters can shut up. If I didn't like it--well, they can have at it. ;-] (I liked LOST and Sopranos, but was furious with BSG, for example)

Despite the formulaic season structure on Dexter, and despite the fact that we went through this season surrounded by pivotal characters we barely knew--I thought the finale was beautiful and tragic. I liked it very much.

That said, Dexter pales in comparison to other things on TV...now. I don't know what genius at Showtime decided to run the Dexter finale the week before the Breaking Bad finale, but that was a terrible choice. And it didn't just work out that way--it was planned. Dexter was moved ahead over a month from when it normally airs, so I don't get that at all. Speaking of Breaking Bad. Damn...this shit is getting really sad. Maybe crime doesn't pay?

With S1 Under the Dome behind us, I'm starting to review Hostages tonight. I hope I didn't choose wrong, because we watched the Sleepy Hollow premiere last week and it was pretty good. I don't even think GeekBinge is covering that, which is a drag.

Speaking of good, Boardwalk Empire has been kicking ass.

In Under the Bed news, the EiC and I made the choice to skip a month of the mag so we could have a regular release schedule. This is due to some weirdness at B&N and some other crap I didn't really want to worry about. So what was Undead September is now our October issue. November will be full of monsters. For December, I really want to put the Krampus on the cover. I'm hoping someone will come through with a drawing. *eyes you artists*

You can beat the rush on our awesome zombie issue by subscribing before it comes out. Here is where you'd do that. It's only $1.99 a month, or even less for a whole year--$19.99. Every month you get at least five awesome short stories along with features (*ahem* [personal profile] porcelain72), reviews, interviews, and my own snarky commentary. How can you resist, and why would you want to?

We have Wreck-it-Ralph on the DVR.
If H won't watch it with me, I'm going to punch him.
I wish I had a boxing glove. I'm not a very hard puncher.
wednes: (Dancing Hurley)
Hey kids,

You know how audiobooks are crazy expensive?
Well...The Finster Effect audiobook is now on sale for $1.99

I know, right?

Get it here.

It really is a super good deal, the kind you should tell people about.
It's usually $25. And I don't think it'll be at this crazy low price for long.
wednes: (Wednes Logo)
I keep thinking that some magical thing will happen that will hip readers to who the hell I am and what the hell I'm doing. We made a TV commercial for A Stabbing for Sadie and played it on TV. It didn't do much. I've done all the usual marketing things, except Tweeting. I don't fucking Tweet.
But I digress...



I prithee, if you don't think the trailer sucks too badly--tell a friend!
wednes: (Zombie B&W)
I have to admit, this season's Walking Dead is not as shitty as last season. The first is still my favorite--because it's really a 6-hour long zombie drama. It bucks a lot of traditional tropes, and showed us the kind of drama we don't usually get from my beloved subgenre.
At the same time, I hate the overuse of CGI, and last week was ridiculous. Maybe some of you know better than I, but I declare major shenanigans at Michonne cutting a zombie essentially in half with a Katana. I'm digging David Morrissey as The Governor, thus far. But that's not what occasions me to post about The Walking Dead. I have a few *spoilery* questions about Carol Peltier )

The eclipse was cool. I hope everyone watched it.
wednes: (Really?)
8663 / 50000
(17.33%)


I was going to get a cleaning chick to come in and do a thorough spring clean of the place--especially since we have a little money these days. H decided that he'd rather do it himself. Since then, it's been a non stop barrage of him asking me where things go and what I want him to do with them. I'm glad he's doing the cleaning, really. But it's the NaNo, plus I work from home, and in case I didn't say so, I've got a new book coming out in a week or so.

Ha! Peep that, bitches!
The Finster Effect will be out in a week or so on ebook. No big fan fare (saving that for the paperback), no jaunty to-do. Just zombies and rats, all up in your grille. People are saying good things, so I are happy.


Also, I could use a ride to Cobblestone Farm tomorrow if any of you chumps are gonna be in the area.
wednes: (NaNo Runner)
...but I won't believe you.

4819 / 50000
(9.64%)


Oh, and the ebook for The Finster Effect is actually gonna be out within the week. How you like THEM apples, Internets?

Yeah...thought so!
wednes: (Sow the Seed)
My sleep schedule has been full of the craze--Crazeful, if you will...
I've always wanted to be in some kind of Overlook Hotel situation where I can sleep, wake, eat etc whenever I wanted with no thought of anyone else's schedule. I'd be curious to see how much sleep I'd actually want, and what the intervals would be. *sigh* No matter what I do, someone wants to make some kind of demand of my time. If only I could be totally snowed in.

I'm cutting this pic due to hugeness )
This marvelous thing arrived in the mail. WOW! and wow again.
Big thanks to the sender, [personal profile] crowjoy. You are badass!

Under this cut is a rather large pic of one of the anthologies I was in over the summer. )

My Obama Biden 2012 bumper sticker also arrived. I'm not posting a pic since I presume you've all seen a fucking bumper sticker before.

In case you forgot, or *gasp* didn't know to begin with, I'm covering a few shows this season for GeekBinge. Whatever you do, do NOT cheat yourself out of the awesome episode reviews I'm putting up for Boardwalk Empire on HBO, and Dexter on Showtime. Starting this week, I'm also covering American Horror Story. When the mid-season shows start, I'll also be doing episode reviews of Following--which is the new series with Kevin Bacon and *swooooooon* James Purefoy. That guy is stupid-hot, and even more swoonworthy is the fact that he's an engaging and versatile performer.

I'm not actually covering The Walking Dead this season. I presumed someone at ZZN would handle it, but that place is might as well have virtual tumbleweeds rolling past. I wish the dudes would come back and write some shit. After all...it's zombie season. It can't be all about Floridians eating each other's faces, after all.

This Friday is my 5-year Wedding anniversary.
Time flies when you're happily married, eh?
wednes: (OMG!!!)
*

Prepare to be Ascared
The Finster Effect
Coming in 2013
From Crossroad Press


You can also expect newly edited versions of A Stabbing for Sadie, and Kiss Me Like You Love Me, also from Crossroad Press.

*This is actually H's mockup of the cover. The final version will likely get some tweaking, maybe some texture in the black area. Not sure yet.
wednes: (Jack Mocks)
So it's been a big long hassle with the medical supply place and the insurance company, and the sleep study people. Ultimately, it was a good idea to let the insurance cover the CPAP last year, and a terrible idea to let them cover it now. With last years plan, I'd have paid about the same as it would have cost me to buy a used machine. With this year's plan, I'm paying full price out of pocket for a brand new CPAP machine and all the accessories. That's right, full price.
Because even though we have insurance, our deductible multiplied by 4 this year. So they don't cover anything but prescriptions until we spend $4,000 of our own money.
Funnily, if we'd gone for the plan that actually covers stuff, the premiums would have been almost $500 a month. So this is actually a bargain. Because what couple doesn't have an extra $4 grand laying around? Most? Oh yeah...
We'll be making smaller payments from now til forever. I imagine by the time I pay the stupid thing off, it will no longer work and we'll have to get a new one. No one can seem to tell me what, if any, warranty it has.


In better news, the Spider story I wrote with my protege was accepted. He's getting his first professional writing credit. I'm really happy for him.

Hoping to have the Finster packet ready to send out by Monday. Sending to a way far long-shot publisher. But dammit, I want a professional advance so I can join HWA. I'm tired of not being in HWA.
Also working on the top-secret Blue Harvest project. Ha! Blue Harvest...
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
As most of you know, I'd been putting off getting my query packet together for The Finster Effect. The miserable experience with the last publisher and all that ugliness made me want to put it totally aside and revel in how wronged I felt and how right I felt about how wronged I was.
About 2 hours ago, I got a brainstorm and wrote a fantastic cover letter in the standard: hook, synops, about me format. And unlike the last time I put a packet together, I actually have a bunch of relevant writing credits now.

So I finish it up, feeling totally proud of myself. I trot on over the the first house I planned on subbing to. And I'll be goddamned if they're not

Motherfucking closed to motherfucking submissions!!!

Or the TBS version of that: Monkey fighting closed to Monday-to-Friday submissions! And bully for YOU if you know that reference.

So yeah, I feel foiled up, foil-style.

I'm also working on a top-secret project. I hate when projects are secrets. I'm bad at secrets. I'm much better at telling things than hiding them.
wednes: (Wednes Poison)
A few total strangers have written to ask me when my next book is coming out. That should make me feel awesome. It doesn't. The answer is, I have no fucking idea. Why?
Because I still haven't put my packet together so I haven't even approached another publisher.

WTF, me? Seriously...

Am I afraid of failure? I shouldn't be. I've been teh FAILz at plenty of stuff in my life. I quit the volleyball team in junior high, quit jazz/tap soon after that. I left technical theatre when my paychecks started bouncing. I have NO plans to quit writing. Oppositely, I'm trying to freelance full-time. I send out plenty of resumes, writing samples. I'm writing and subbing short stories when appropriate anthologies open up. So why can't I put this packet together and send it out?

Am I afraid that the book sucks? No. It doesn't suck, though there's a thing that happens that I might think was cheap if someone else did it. But I like it, and I stand by it. It's a good book, and it's different from any zombie story I've ever read.

Do I not know who to sub it to? No. I have two houses in mind, neither of which have recently caused a web shit-storm by fucking authors over.

Why don't I just give it to my old publisher to publish? Good question. I want more money. I want more marketing support. I don't want to produce my own audiobooks anymore. I'm not really that good at it. I have a lot of wants my current guy isn't able to give me.

So why haven't I done it.
Seriously, I'm asking.
Because I don't fucking know what my problem is.
If somebody said to me what I'm saying now, I'd tell them to get the fuck over it already. There's nothing to lose by trying, and nothing great will happen to you while you sit around smoking reefer and watching TV.

In fact, the last time someone said "I don't want to send my manuscript out. What if they say no?" I was all "Well gee, you'd better not ask at all. Maybe they'll say yes if you don't actually ask..." because I'm sarcastic like that. Yet, I don't seem to want to take my own smartass advice even though I know it's GOOD advice.



On a completely unrelated topic, I really enjoyed hearing Theon Greyjoy's sister calling him the C-word last night. He IS the C-word. And no, I don't mean that he has cancer.
wednes: (Go Crazy?)
"I find it to be my biggest struggle--to figure out how to be medicated enough to function but still have some semblance of my personality, and access to my insanity for when I need to write something. Insanity is a door, and I can't have it completely closed and locked for fear of being trapped in normalcy. THAT would be FAR scarier than anything my illness could dish out."

--Me, on how I'm actually getting some shit done today for the first time in about 2 weeks.

For those of you dying to see a pic of my undead protege,
I'm just gonna leave this here.
wednes: (Inception)
So...my Walking Dead Shark Jump article was somehow posted to the Walking Dead fan group over to the Google+. It's getting tons of hits and is the 3rd most popular article when you Google "Walking Dead Shark Jump." (the first two being from tv dot com, and the official Shark Jump site)
Results were mixed, as expected. Somehow, I did not expect so many personal attacks aimed at me. Apparently, I need "a laxative and a teddy bear." Some people seem to think that if your story has something fictional in it, that no logic or facts should be required or expected anywhere...buh?

Even more surprising was how many people seemed to think I am a dude.

Granted, Friday is a boys name. But Wednesday is all gal all the time.
(and no, we're not counting Mr Wednesday from American Gods)

I know there's a presumption about horror, and zombies in particular, to be kind of a dude thing. A lot of chicks I know who say they write horror are actually writers of paranormal romance--a lot of ghost and vampire fucking. Still more horror chicks are all about stripping down, covering themselves in blood, and doing photo shoots till the cows come home. Sorry gals, but I don't find that shit scary. I don't know how anyone would.

Apparently, people are aghast that a woman wrote "Kiss Me Like You Love Me." This is the kind of criticism I wish was everywhere. I wish more people were talking about how amazingly I capture a twisted and disturbed mind that barely functions except to want sex and kill things that are upsetting. Of course, I grow very weary of the idea that women write one way and men write another. I don't know that I could write an effectively steamy sex scene if my life depended on it.

Reviews are still trickling in for Cat's Apprentice and KMLYLM. Funny, as I know full well that the internet is full of morons--I take some internet blathering too seriously. Goodreads is probably the most frustrating place to find reviews, since there are tons of ratings with no subsequent explanation for the rating. If you give KMLYLM 2 stars, I'm damn well gonna want to know why. Still, reviews are overwhelmingly positive--which should be good, except that I'm too disappointed by how much I care. Shouldn't I be like...above that or something?


In other TV news the Game of Thrones premiere was awesome. I'm sad that H isn't watching anymore. I adore Danaerys, Tyrion Lannister, and Jon Snow. I'd like to see Joffery "Baratheon" his mom, and that prick Little Finger all go down in flames. I feel badly for Sansa, who is going to grow up to be incredibly unhappy--though she may have an easier time than "Arrie" the orphan boy.
New season of South Park is pretty funny thusfar.
Alcatraz ended as boringly as it started. It's fine, but no big whoop. I might just be desensitized to JJ Abrams and his wacky world of WTF.
wednes: (Zombie B&W)
Got an appointment with the psyche doctor tomorrow.
Let's hope we can get somewhere.

Be sure to check out my ZZN article about how The Walking Dead has jumped the shark. And please, post some sort of angry comment that will incite discussion. I was hoping there'd be an epic flame war by now. No dice...


This vid is hilarious if you've not yet had the pleasure.
All the other Mitt Romneys are just masturbating.

I keep trying to take a step back from politics, but dammit. The shit is hitting the fan out there. Democrat offices being fire bombed? Tennessee wanting to publish the names and vital stats of women seeking abortions? That's obscene. How can anyone deny that there is a war on women? Oh sorry--not ALL women, just those dirty sluts who want to have sex more often than they want to go through childbirth.

We finished season three of Doctor Who last night, then did the Christmas special. Now all that Saxxon stuff I've been seeing at etsy makes sense. Gonna drop a metric fuckton of money at Thinkgeek pretty soon, methinks.
wednes: (Doctor Trust Me)
I'm smack in the middle of a week off from the day-job. Was hoping to have a steady freelance gig lined up by the time I got back. No dice, thus far.

Making some great edits to The Finster Effect. Love it even more than I did before, which is a lot. On schedule to have a query packet ready by Saturday. Yay!!! Speaking of my books, I got my very first one-star review on Amazon. It's for The Cat's Apprentice.

H and I have been watching Doctor Who. We just finished a two-parter where The Doctor has to be human. Then he's sad. I can't get over how good this show is, how impressive the writing is, how deep the themes are, and how smokin' fucking hot David Tennant is. Honestly though, that's an afterthought. I'd watch this show even if The Doctor looked like Dan Hedaya.

I'm glad I found another cool show to enjoy, because The Walking Dead sucks. It pains me to say it, you don't even know how much. H and I were both SO stoked when we heard that Darabont was doing TWD, that they had a fantastic cast, and they were pumping some real money into it. Sadly, all of that lasted for one season. Season two, a way-too long arc leading to what ended up being a really good mid-season finale. It should never have taken 7 whole episodes to get there. Or six...I forget now. Anyway, if you've been watching I'm sure you know all the stupid plot points and ridiculous idiocy that's been going down this season. (Presumably, spoilers in the comments).
And as much as I adore the work of Greg Nicotero, and think The Mist is a damn near perfect horror film--fuck him for the goings on with the swamp zombie. And fuck him for all that CGI blood. To you I say: Is that what you learned studying under Tom Motherfucking Savini (pretty sure that's his name now)??? To use goddamn, goddamn CGI blood? What are you, SyFy Saturday?!?
Just so you know, I'm not paying to own that shit either.
And I bought the first season on DVD despite its absurdly high price.

You people could have elevated the zombie genre in a way we've not seen since the time of 28 Days Later. Giving the world a riveting, action-filled, compelling zombie drama with high production values and intense and artful direction--and what did you do? You cheaped out. And you artists? You fucking stood for it. It is bullshit. As a fan, it offends me.
You all should be ashamed.
Except Jeffery DeMunn. I will always love you, Sir.
wednes: (TV!!!)
Cut for Spoilers of last night's The Walking Dead )
wednes: (Zombie B&W)
Been selling a LOT of books lately. I don't discuss numbers or money specifics publicly, but more people have bought or downloaded my books in the month of February than they did all of last year...by a WIDE margin. That knowledge is helping me get totally stoked about making edits to The Finster Effect and keeping up on all the other marketing crap I have to do. I had two (out of three) of my novels make it to the top ten in horror and/or contemporary fiction. I'm not exactly sure why Contemporary Fiction is its own category--but whatever.

Was thinking again about getting a table at Motor City Nightmares this year since I'm not having a book release party after all. But just the table is $300. Plus at least that much for books, and then transportation, hotel, and I might want to eat or buy something while I'm there. As much as I'd like to meet Tony Todd and have him sign my Candyman doll, I really cannot justify that kind of expenditure when I still haven't paid for my CPAP and pretty much gave up ever going to the oral surgeon for the $200 consult. (I was going to go, but got new glasses instead)

Having said that, I bought a slick bit of jewelry from someone on etsy that I think is great, and who also had some emergency vet bills happening. They didn't want a straight up donation (which is what I offered. People were so kind and generous that time that Clarence got sick.) but invited people to buy stuff from the etsy store. Soon I shall be sporting a truly unique and badass pendant of THE CRAWLING EYE. Yeah, just when you thought my horror cred could be none more better, it gets even better still.

Had lunch with my brother yesterday. We checked out a couple of low budget zombie screeners that I'll be reviewing soon for ZZN. Also hard at work on my treatise about the how and why I HATE the Evil Dead movies so much. It's going to be tremendous fun. Maybe it will be the beginning of a series of articles on why I hate stuff. You know you're all dying to know!
wednes: (Zombie Cart)
Well kids, I waited a bit to make this announcement because I don't want anyone to freak out as much as I did. This is new territory for me, so I'm not sure the actual rules about this sort of thing. So here goes.

The Finster Effect is NOT being published by JournalStone Publishing.
The book is NO LONGER scheduled to drop May 2012.


I think this is the part where I cite "creative differences" as the reason, while trying not to make me, or anyone, sound like a pretentious douche bag.
This was not an easy decision. I had to ask some hard questions about the book, why I'm writing, what I have to offer the zeitgeist (Yeah, doing a shitty job of avoiding pretension, no?) and whether or not I have any confidence at all in my abilities to judge what good writing is.

As it happens, I do.
I believe in myself, in this book, and in the readers--that they will trust me enough to follow me into this story and believe that I will answer all their questions. I can't think of a reason to publish one more goddamn zombie book if I'm not bringing something new to the table. And I am. This book made me cry a few times as I wrote it, and the ending knocked my socks off. I didn't even realize how much I loved it until just before I gave it to the editor in December. God DAMN, it's a good book.

Sad times. I was SO ready to move forward. I've been pre-marketing this book for over a year, so I am ready to bust out of the gate with some heavy hitting reviews and a sizable network of peeps who will help me boost the signal. Swag is moving forward as planned, just to make sure everything is ready when I do find a publisher who loves The Finster Effect, and believes in it (and me) as much as I do.

Interested publishers should feel free to contact me. Beat the rush--hit me up NOW before I start shopping it around. You can avoid the *chuckle* *snerk* *snort* bidding war that is sure to ensue.
wednes: (Dimitri)
H and I got this for Christmas, and it's totally taken this long for me to post pics of it. I know, right?


Get it? CAPRICA? Toaster? Hahahahahahahaha!

I forgot to resize one of the pics, so it's going under a cut for hugeness )


In other news, recording with my first child actor went swimmingly. He was enthusiastic and professional. I learned that a lot of the same skills one uses in customer service also help when working with children. There are pics of that event, but they will not be posted here. Sorry...

My interview with Night of the Living Dead's Judith O'Dea is now posted over to the Zombie Zone News. It's a really good one. She's a delight!
wednes: (Wednes Blue)
I am Wednesday Lee Friday, writer of fact and fiction.

I have digital, paperback, app, and audiobooks you should feel free to acquire in your usual manner of getting new stuff. The links to your left will take you to various places where you can find out more about me or my work, and check out my archive of TV reviews, sex articles, and whatever else I'm up to. You can also ask. I'm really into that sort of thing.


Buy my horror books on Amazon or from the good people at Crossroad Press:
A Stabbing for Sadie
2nd Edition
Kiss Me Like You Love Me
2nd Edition.
The Finster Effect
DRM-free epub and audiobook editions available now.



This is my official blog, maintained by me. I've been blogging in it for over 10 years now, first at Livejournal, then here at DW. In this blog you will find swears, adult content, occasional pics or vids with nudies, bloody killings, mental-health talk, or just plain disturbing shit. I talk about my personal life, on the off chance that you've an interest in that sort of thing. There are tons of reviews on movies and TV, and my reactions to all of LOST and Harry Potter as I experienced them. Check out the tags if you want to skip stuff that's boring to you.

Using the Radish app? Peep my serialized offering Hellish Calling. New chaps drop every Wednesday (more or less).

Here's the time Wolfman Mac and Boney Bob talked about my first book on their show: )

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