Here Comes Stir Fried Justice

For ZombiesFollowing the success of our win at the annual Blobfest Short Film competition, we were asked to submit a trailer to Newt Wallen’s movie project, Midnight Show.  It’s a collection of ‘70s style grindhouse trailers of movies that don’t exist.  We haven’t yet been officially accepted, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Sanj happens to be a fifth degree black belt in Kenpo.  Martial arts movies were fairly common in the ‘70s and fit right in with the grindhouse theme.  Now all we had to do was scare up a number of black belts, henchmen, women in distress and a villain. We didn’t need much of a premise.  It’s all about the action.  Yours truly plays the most evil small time landlord in history.

For ZombiesThe premise is childishly simple.  Evil landlord enters with henchmen.  Man and his three (yes, three) wives couldn’t pay the rent.  Landlord has a henchman rip out the man’s heart and hilarity ensues. Women are kidnapped and the heroes fight for justice – Stir Fried Justice. Yes, that’s the title we went with.  Highbrow entertainment is not what we’re going for here.  Filters were applied to make it look like we shot it in the Philippines on an exceptionally low budget and we think it shows.

While the film looks like it’s been beaten up, the sound does not.  This is the first time we’ve had a production scored from end to end.  Our resident musician, Shmoolie, did a fantastic job of emulating the sound of a sleazy ‘70s action flick. The voicing was intentionally out of sync as it always was in those old school martial arts films.  We had the actor say one line for the camera, then record another line that was spliced in later.

For Zombies

While Midnight Show is being pitched we’re keeping the trailer offline, but decided to share a few choice stills. This may not be zombies, but we enjoyed making it and Sanj got to wear one of his signature propeller beanies.

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Being Dead Shouldn’t Have to Be a Drag

Zombie Amusement ParkAs summer draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about what we can do as one big good-bye party. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a fan of big vacation trips: too much stress, too much work, too many strangers with shotguns everywhere we go. Fortunately, my part of the country is teeming with outings and activities. Unfortunately not all of them are undead-friendly.

Children’s museums can be fun—plenty of space to play, plenty of interesting and educational activities. But misunderstandings abound. The last time we went, a breather child mistook my son for part of the Human Body exhibit and tried to dissect him. In turn, my son mistook the other child for part of the snack bar. But at least the trip was educational. I now know what it feels like to get blasted by a fire extinguisher.
Amusement parks are great fun, except for two things. First, the prices. Why am I paying twelve dollars for a kiddie meal? I don’t think it was even made with real kiddie. I once heard a rumor that someone once found a severed finger in their meal. If it’s true, then we got ripped off. There was nothing in mine but over-processed chicken and French fries.
Secondly, the rollercoasters need to come with more warnings. The sign says that you should secure jewelry and eyeglasses, but it says nothing about fingers, noses, or ears. We never did find my daughter’s pinkie ring, or her pinkie. The signs also warn away people with heart conditions and back pain. It says nothing about people whose heads were once severed and then re-attached. If my husband ever gets on another roller coaster, heads are really going to roll.

I say that we zombies need to band together and build our own amusement parks and play areas. Places we can go where we can get a good-quality kiddie meal at a decent price. Where kids can play freely and nobody freaks out or calls the CDC. We need rollercoasters with reinforced safety harnesses and complimentary lockers for the securing of loose body parts. A place where nobody screams, runs away, pulls the fire alarm, draws an axe, or says, “I thought the Halloween parade wasn’t until October.

Who’s with me?

photo by: Keoni Cabral
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Long Haired Zombie-Killing Freak #8

I smiled, remembering their faces, as I revved up the bike and pulled out on Rt. 29. Half a tick later, I turned right on Glebe Road, and headed down towards Ballston.

The government did something particularly smart, in my opinion, as martial law dissolved. They put people to work, doing what they’d be doing normally, even if money was useless as payment. Instead, people were paid in what used to be called “government cheese”… canned goods, dried milk, and staples the government had been stockpiling for decades.

It kept urban infrastructure as functional as possible, and made it possible for us to have electricity every so often. You can be sure it kept the military functioning, along with some fire and police departments.

People want a sense of normality when the world is going to Hell.

The Work for Life Program is why there were cars on the road with me. Industrious folks were going to work! It kept them out of my way, and I couldn’t be happier.

Of course, every plan has drawbacks. Commuters still stopped at stop signs. Zombies often hung out at intersections, waiting for people to stop their cars. Recently infected people, unaware of their status, often found themselves dragged out of their automobiles to be eaten on the roadside.

Unfortunate—but true.

It was a situation I’d come to hate, as a freelance zombie executioner. That morning, I got a fresh reminder of why I dislike it so much.

I was barely into Ballston, tall buildings that used to be offices and shopping malls, when I saw two undead rabble rousers pull the schmuck out of his car. These guys weren’t as considerate as some—they just let the car chug off, without a driver, and crash into a building across the road.

Poor civic behavior, I say.

That didn’t solve my central moral dilemma over the tableau that was unfolding before my eyes. Two zombies, each of which is a candidate for repatriation to the afterlife, and one poor soul that they’re going to kill. The soon to be eaten party will come back as a zombie at some point, if not dealt with properly beforehand.

Here’s the question I always run into: do I save this person’s life or not? Now or later, this person is going to be eaten and die, and then return as a contributing member of the undead horde. Saving an innocent person’s life makes perfect sense, but punishing them ahead of time for crimes they’ve yet to commit?

I couldn’t really process the rest of the cerebral judo, so I stuck with the thing I was absolutely sure about: two zombies needed to die. I stopped the bike, pocketed the key, hopped off, and prepared to get down to business.

The tall one saw me coming, as he held the victim down. The shorter of the zombies began to feed by gnawing into the screaming man’s abdomen. Yes, they were fond of brains, but organs like the liver, kidneys, and heart were even more prized. More blood there than in the brain, you see.

Tall zombie gave their morning meal a vicious head butt, and knocked him cold.

“Stay out of our way. This isn’t about you.” He called out to me as I walked towards them. “Get in our way and we’ll kill you. We’ll take our time with it, too.”

“Gosh, String Bean, my penis retracted in utter terror. How will I ever go on?”

My sarcasm often goes unappreciated by the recipients. String Bean certainly didn’t look pleased. I knew this, because he whipped out an ASP baton from the back of his jeans—one of those retractable steel rods that Police Officers carry—and snapped it out to full extension.

“Oh my, String Bean! You’re happy to see me! Your pencil-thin beating tool is erect.” I kept walking towards them. If things didn’t speed up, their victim would be dead before I could save him from… more of a terrible primary death experience?

My verbal sparring partner snarled at me, and launched himself from the grassy verge. I felt it was a reasonable time to warn him off, if only to satisfy my inner sportsman.

“I’d like to explain,” I said, dodging his first attempt to hit me with his stick, “that I carry a katana because I know how to use it.”

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Zombie Amusement Parks Not So Amusing

zombiesWith the rise in popularity of shows like The Waking Dead, zombie awareness has been ever increasing.  Not a day goes by now that I don’t see a decal of a zombie family on the back of an SUV as it speeds away.  As far as I’m concerned that was false advertising.  If you claim to have a zombie family you shouldn’t be surprised when a walker tries to join your outing.  But I digress.  This year’s San Diego ComicCon featured a Walking Dead-inspired obstacle course.  It’s clear we’re making inroads into the breather entertainment industry and the slow march continues.

Universal Studios announced that it will have an attraction dedicated to (you guessed it) The Walking Dead for their annual Halloween Horror Nights.  This September, a zombie theme park opens in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA through to November.  Participants are encouraged to pepper zombies with paint balls.  Z World, a permanent theme park has been proposed as a means of repurposing 200 acres of abandoned area in Detroit as an immersive zombie-survival experience.

While we recognize that these attractions celebrate our ominous presence and Z World has a unique proposal to revitalize a blighted portion of Detroit, we do take issue on a few fronts.

  1. Zombies are used without license.  Sure, Universal Studios pays licensing fees to use The Walking Dead on an attraction, but does The Walking Dead pay the undead to use us as screen fodder?  The sad answer is that we’re underemployed and grossly underpaid.  An undead charity fund is long overdue and we motion that a portion of ticket sales goes to a charity that would cover the cost of duct taping, stapling or, if necessary, replacing limbs and vital organs flung off and lost at their theme parks.
  2. Zombies are not targets.  The Atlanta attraction lets breathers wantonly shoot zombies with paintball guns.  While we do appreciate that they are not allowing firearms of any significant caliber, those paintballs can still take out an eye.  We simply ask for a sporting chance to take down our opponents.  A bite isn’t life threatening after all.  It can be cured with a simple amputation.  Where’s the fun if there isn’t any risk?
  3. Anti-zombie training.  If Z World moves forward, it could become the world’s first training ground in preparation for the zombie apocalypse.  Let me set the record straight.  We zombies have no intention of consuming the entire world.  There would be nothing left to eat.  Our neurons have stopped firing, but we’re not stupid.  We’d much rather you breathers continue to replenish our food supply.  Rumors of a zombie apocalypse are the byproduct of the same conspiracy minded alarmists who ranted that everyone would be rounded up in FEMA camps and that breathers never landed on the moon.  Get a grip. This is unnecessary.

Thanks for reading and we hope you take our concerns into consideration when planning your zombie-related entertainment.

photo by: Sarah_Ackerman
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Long Haired Zombie-Killing Freak #7

A woman running behavioral experiments on me is one of the things I hate most in the world. This Tracy-person had pulled it off without making a single hair on the back of my neck stand up—that’s some mighty juju. I would have liked to grumble at her about it, but I didn’t know her well enough to take the risk of venting my spleen.

In the end, I decided to finish my breakfast and get on with my project of the day: hunt and kill something nasty.

I could wax rhapsodically about my Buell motorcycle, but I won’t. It doesn’t do you any good if you embarrass your ride, but I love this machine to death. When the company shut down in 2009, I actually cried in my beer.

Still, when I had my Street Fighter cruiser, my world was as complete as could be. (Had I known that I’d lose the bike a few months later, I would have loved it just a little harder.) I don’t think the gang at Buell realized that their bike would be the finest machine on the planet for zombie motor-jousting. The seat angle and low-slung frame were perfect for it.

People often asked me why I didn’t lock the bike up. My usual answer was along the lines of “people are too busy trying to live, to bother with stealing.” The actual fact wasn’t so pretty. Theft, in the absence of effective law enforcement, often received the death penalty. Neighbors watched out for one another, because they had to.

Of course, zombies don’t care. For whatever reason, people who come back from the dead leave their moral compass behind in the afterlife. The closest you’d get to a code of ethics from a zombie boils down to, “Are you gonna eat that?”

God forbid you try to have a civilized conversation with one of them! Their filters don’t work either. If an idea comes to them: it comes right out of their mouth, and that could lead to uncomfortable honesty… at the best of times.

Once, I experimented with one of them.

“Hey, what do you think about this? I’m going to do my absolute best to kill you, and send you back so you don’t return.” I’d yelled at my target from across the street.

“I’m not going to let you do that!” He giggled like a complete nutcase. “I’m going to bite your throat out, but before that, I’m going to claw out your eyes and bite off your nose. No,” he paused, as if he needed to consider what he said next, “I’m going to break both your knees, rape you, and then pull your intestines out of your ass. I’ll use them do jump rope and get my aerobic exercise in for today! Woohoo!”

That one was a difficult kill. He gleefully shrieked everything he could do to my body as we fought. Keeping my concentration was difficult with that litany of awful things going around and around in my head. The tide started to turn in my favor when I landed a solid kick to his nuts.

He screamed, high and loud. “You pig-fucking bastard! I’ll make a bota bag out of your face for this!”

Have I ever mentioned that I don’t fight fair? I fight to win, and I fight to live. The Marquis of Queensbury rules can suck my pinkie toe for all I care.

I kicked him in the throat, and he rapidly lost interest in his testicles. Whatever else could be said for the undead, they still needed to breathe. How silly is that? Granted, crushing his windpipe wouldn’t kill him; he would run away and hibernate until it healed. I imagine, he’d have come looking for me afterward. Why give him that chance.

My katana slithered out of the scabbard the moment my foot touched the ground. I struck. The sword took him at eye-level, neatly, except for the tips of his ears. They dropped to the ground a moment before the rest of him.

I assured myself he was all the way dead, and kicked the top of his head down the sidewalk near ArtScape in Rosslyn. It skidded away like a hairy soup bowl, sloshing fluids as it went.

There was a small crowd of shocked normal people. They’d watched the fight from the beginning, as they paused on their way to whatever was next in their day. Not a single person cheered me on, and I was a little put out.

“Performance art.” I snarled at them. “Philistines! You don’t know performance art when you see it? Can’t you feel my genius?”

Maybe it was my insane laughter. I don’t know. They ran away as fast as their little legs could carry them.

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