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Wednesday Meeting: What’s Your Plan?

Hello, my name is Julianne and I’m a Zombieholic.

(There’s a pause as the rest of the Zombieholics chant “Welcome Julianne.”)

So lately I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I would do if the dead were actually to rise. I mean I love the genre but I’m not entirely sure that I would want to actually live to see the Zombie Apocalypse…

So my plan involves getting as far away from civilization and holing up until I have to move again.

So what’s your plan? Maybe we can be Zombie Apocalypse besties??

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Wednesday Meeting: Favourite Zombie Movies

Hello, my name is Julianne and I’m a Zombieholic.

(There’s a pause as the rest of the Zombieholics chant “Welcome Julianne.”)

I won’t lie to you—I’m an avid watcher of Zombie films. In fact, I’ve likely seen most of them (I’d never even begin to believe I’ve watched all of them; there truly are a lot and I learn about new ones coming out or ones I’ve missed every week). But what are my favorites?

Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead (1968) holds a special place in my heart. It was the first zombie movie I ever watched and I saw it when I was just a young girl. But it would instill in me a love for the genre and take me on the journey to writing my own Zombie tales—I owe it a debt of gratitude. Actually, I think it likely tops quite a few lists for the ever-loving Zombie freak out there!

To that list, I would add Pontypool: a clever and psychologically twisted take on the genre that doesn’t put the zombie in your face. No, it puts them in your ear and that’s all I’m going to say about it. If you haven’t watched it—do it. And better yet, if you haven’t read the book it was based on—Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess—run out and pick it up now. You will thank me.

keep-calm-and-watch-shaun-of-the-deadI do love the Zombie comedy and will watch Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland whenever I catch them on television. But to that list, I’d like to add DogHouse—a delightfully gory tale out of the UK. The first time I watched this film I didn’t stop laughing, even as I cringed with the gore! Okay, it’s not that gory for a Zombie flick, but it’s a different kind of gore. A funny, little twisted bit of gore and I swear you’ll love the scene with the finger!

So if I had to choose a top 10…

  • Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • Pontypool
  • 28 Weeks Later
  • Cabin Fever (and it’s sequels)
  • Return of the Living Dead
  • The Crazies (both the original and the remake)
  • DogHouse
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  • Zombieland
  • World War Z (taken away from the book, this really was a great movie)

Okay that’s 11 but I’m the one writing this so you’re going to have to cut me a little slack! What are your favourites? Do you have any recommendations for me??

WEDNESDAY MEETING: Julianne Snow

Hello, my name is Julianne and I’m a Zombieholic.

(There’s a pause as the rest of the Zombieholics chant “Welcome Julianne.”)

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a meeting. Don’t get me wrong, my addiction is still strong, and I feed it every chance I get. But I do admit that life sometimes gets in the way of getting here. But that’s all going to change – I need you and you all need me. It’s all about community and that’s the only way we’ll be able to get through this – together.

I’ve watched many new movies and even read a few books and stories that have kept the hunger at bay. But the major event that occurred this past week was the premiere of the fifth season of The Walking Dead on AMC. Who else watched it? What did you think?

I had to say it was the strongest season premiere in recent years and I was riveted as I watched it. Part of it was down to the fact I was getting my fix, pure and simple, but the rest of it was because the story itself really started to take off. And it was brutal – just the way you expect the end of the world to turn out!

I had a few favourite scenes, but I will admit that the one at the very end made me absolutely giddy!! I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t watched it, but holy hell!!

Wednesday Meeting: Scott Baker

Hello, my name is Scott and I’m a Zombieholic.

(There’s a pause as the rest of the Zombieholics chant “Welcome Scott.”)

I first became hooked back in the mid-1970s when one of the local television stations in Boston broadcast Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. The movie was an independent, amateur production and looked it, with some of the worst acting and make-up around. But then, half way through the movie, the dead began to rise, crawling their way out of the cemetery accompanied by copious amounts of dry ice fog and the creepiest, synthesized background score my warped young mind had ever heard. From that point on, I was addicted. Slow zombies. Fast zombies. Comical zombies. Movies. Books. Graphic novels. Video games. Like the living dead themselves, I would feast on anything zombie in order to feed the hunger.

We all want to be scared, to sit in a darkened movie theater or alone in bed late at night and enter that fantasy world that sends a cold shiver down our spine. Vampires and other monsters can provide us with that same thrill, so why are zombies so much more terrifying? Because with vampires, all you have to do is survive until morning, and then the threat is gone. With other monsters, once you kill off the creature, you’re safe and can go about rebuilding your life. The living dead, however, represent our worst nightmare – the apocalypse, the complete breakdown of society and its civilized norms. A zombie outbreak would result in a battle of survival between us and thousands of creatures that know no fear, no pain, no emotion, only the desire to feed off of us.

One trend within the genre that has become increasingly popular in the past several years is the idea that the worst part of a zombie apocalypse isn’t the rise of the dead but how the survivors will react. This concept has always been around, going back to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), and has been a staple of the genre for zombie aficionados. What made this concept popular amongst mainstream viewers/readers, however, was the devastation of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and the total breakdown of authority in the aftermath of the storm. We all watched live on cable news the destruction of a large, famous city. The complete breakdown of local, state, and federal governments and their inability to help the victims or maintain order. And man’s basest instincts playing themselves out uncontested inside the Superdome. For the first time, we realized that an apocalyptic event could touch anyone of us and that, rather than work together for our mutual benefit, society would more than likely turn on each other. It left most of us with a sense of unease because that event drudged up our deepest fears about the end of the world. It’s those fears that zombie fiction taps in to.

I didn’t tap into this societal collapse theme in Rotter World. I wanted my first zombie novel to be more of a traditional story, a living dead shoot-’em-up adventure. The story takes place eight months after a zombie apocalypse. A small group of humans and vampires who survived the outbreak accompany a cryptic doctor from the coast of Maine to an underground military facility in Pennsylvania to retrieve the vaccine to stop the Zombie Virus. However, the sequel, Rotter Nation (due out later this year from Permuted Press) makes the collapse of society its central theme. In this book, one character finds herself at the mercy of a rape gang and has to do unspeakable things not only to survive, but to save the lives of those close to her. Meanwhile, a band of survivors from the first novel travels across country, discovering that every town and city along the way endured its own nightmare during the apocalypse. (It was difficult writing Rotter Nation because I wanted to get across the physical and psychological trauma women would go through when left at the mercy of rape gangs without glorifying the act itself. It was also difficult not mentally placing my wife and eleven-year-old daughter into the scenario I created for my female character, and dealing with the emotions that engendered.)

Is the zombie phenomenon on its last legs? Not at all. We’re not going to see various subgenres of zombies (anguished zombies with souls, glittery zombies, zombies dating teenage girls) that will keep the genre going. We don’t need to. As long as the fans are terrified by the end of the world, then zombies will provide them with a terrifying and exciting why to exploit that fear.

And guys like me will try to get as many people addicted on the living dead as possible.

***

IMG_1368ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Scott M. Baker was born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts and spent twenty-three years in northern Virginia working for the Central Intelligence Agency. Scott is now retired and lives in Gainesville, Florida as a full-time writer along with his wife and fellow author Alison Beightol and his stepdaughter. He has written The Vampire Hunters trilogy, about humans fighting the undead in Washington D.C., as well as Rotter World, which details the struggle between humans and vampires during a zombie apocalypse. In early 2014, his fifth novel will be published; Yeitso is his homage to the giant monster movies of the 1950s that he loved watching as a kid. Scott is currently working on the next two books in the Rotter World saga and a series of young adult novels set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Scott has also authored several short stories, including “Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” “Cruise of the Living Dead” (zombies aboard a cruise ship), “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly” (an alcoholic mall Santa battles zombie reindeer), “Last Flight of the Bismarck” (steampunk zombies), “The Hunger” (cannibalism during a zombie apocalypse), “Lebenden Toten at the Gate” (Nazis versus zombies in Stalingrad), and the novella Dead Water

When not writing, Scott can usually be found doting on the two boxers, one house rabbits, and one cat that kindly allow him to live with them. 

Wednesday Meeting: Could You Really Kill A Zombie?

Hello, my name is Julianne and I’m a Zombieholic.

(There’s a pause as the rest of the Zombieholics chant “Welcome Julianne.”)

Since exploring the idea of whether or not any of us could kill someone who had turned, the idea of actually killing a Zombie has been on my mind. The idea of a Zombie is an interesting concept. It goes against all that we know to be true about life and death. Even the term “Living Dead” is an oxymoron. Yet we’ve come to accept that it’s an actual possibility.

Let’s run this sucker down, just for fun.

We all like Zombies, right? We enjoy reading about them, writing about them, even watching them in films. Many of us even maintain that we would survive a Zombie attack if it were to happen to us. Under the right and favourable circumstances, of course. But is that the actual truth?

Could you really kill a Zombie?

Talking from a physical standpoint, I’m fairly certain that I could kill a Zombie. I have the requisite skills and the will to survive. On an emotional level, I’m not entirely sure that I would be able to look into the face of someone whom I once loved, a face that has transformed into one of undead horror, and pull a trigger. Bludgeon them to the death with a blunt object. Or decapitate them with a single swing of the Katana that I purchased a year or so ago.

Does that make me weak-willed? Possibly. If a Zombie Apocalypse were ever to happen, how many of us bona fide Zombie enthusiasts would really have what it takes?

My guess – not that many.

We are a society made up of caring and conscientious people for the most part. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, but does it give us any kind of edge in a dying world?

If the world as we know it was to end and the dead were to walk the earth, it would, by default, harden each and every one of us. We’d stop trusting each other, worried that the meager supplies we’ve managed to scavenge together may be a source of contention. Leery of each and every person that we didn’t know, there is the chance we would isolate ourselves into smaller groups. Smaller groups do have a higher chance of survival; fewer people to protect, fewer people to attract attention and fewer people to fit into a stronghold that you will have to secure. Having a plan in place is optimal, but you’re still going to need to remain flexible and adapt to any situation that arises.

To expound further on the idea of adaptability, it’s going to be of the utmost importance if you’re going to have any shot at survival. Conditions are bound to change drastically at the drop of a hat and if you cannot react quickly, it could mean your death. At any moment a horde of Zombies could come calling, and if you don’t have the stones to do what you have got to do to stay alive, you may as well join them. Emotions aside, you’re going to have to do it.

You may just have to stare into the face of a once innocent child and do the right thing.

So I ask you again, could you really kill a Zombie? If your answer is no, perhaps you’d better start praying that it doesn’t come down to a life or death decision for you.

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