Sun, Surf, and Rotting Flesh

Summer is well and truly upon us. The days are longer, the nights are shorter and children are running wild in the streets like hors d’oeuvres on legs. But while we’re all enjoying the benefits of the neighborhood ice cream truck, let’s take a few minutes to review some important tips, both for ourselves and our own little shamblers.

Sunscreen. I can’t stress this enough. Even if cancer is no longer a concern, it’s in your best interests to slap a little on, especially if you’re going to spend the day stalking beach goers. When a zombie peels, he REALLY PEELS. My older son forgot this rule last weekend and lost half the skin off his shoulders. His left arm fell off, and the lifeguard got away. Wrecked the whole pool party.

Dehydration. Unless you want the appearance and mobility of an Egyptian mummy, keep yourself moistened. You don’t need to dry up and start crumbling. If the CDC doesn’t get you, the National Geographic Society will. You don’t have to buy fancy bottled water from the snow-covered mountains of deepest Canada. Just hit yourself with a garden hose once or twice a day.

Water safety. Obviously drowning is no more a concern to most of us than cancer, but nobody wants to lose their lunch making a foolish mistake. Don’t go chasing after breathers at the beach unless you know the depth of the water they’re in. You could slip and get caught in an undertow, and then you’d have to walk all the way back and probably get nibbled on by fish the whole way. Happened to my daughter two summers ago. The boys still call her Fishhead.

Fireworks. Know the difference between the sound of an M-80 and the blast of a shotgun. I think that’s all I need to say about that. RIP, Uncle Arthur.

In addition to safety, here are a few fun tips and tricks for making your summer more enjoyable.

1. When you go hunting at a barbecue, wait until the party’s almost over before you attack. The slowest ones are always the last to leave.
2. Look for breathers who are applying suntan oil. They may as well be basting themselves to a crispy golden brown.
3. Avoid hunting at dusk. Insect repellant tastes NASTY.
4. Mint chocolate chip is the best ice cream flavor ever invented by man.

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For Zombies vs Gladiators

zombies vs gladiatorsWe zombies are a proud and long lived species dating back to prehistoric times. It was only in recent history that our presence came to the forefront in Romero’s groundbreaking documentary, Night of the Living Dead.  For decades, though, no one bothered to look into our lineage.  Only recently, have authors begun to do their research and found that we had a strong presence in the 19th century.  Jane Austin’s original work, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, was found before it had been rewritten and watered down to Pride and Prejudice. The world just wasn’t yet ready to learn of our presence.

Other paranormal parties are jealous of our popularity.  Vampires are trying to cash in with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but we know that’s just a work of fiction.  They simply don’t have the same credentials.  Renowned zombie scholar Max Brooks has chronicled several of our appearances throughout history in The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks showing that we have been around since long before Bram Stoker wrote Dracula.

Most recently, Clive Barker has been hired by Amazon Studios to write a historical documentary, Zombies vs Gladiators.   Sure, Clive has an extensive background in horror, but will it translate well into a work of non-fiction?  We have yet to see, but we are excited that our role in the fall of Rome may finally be told.

We already see a flaw in the premise.  A shaman is supposed to unleash the first zombies in history.  Max Brooks has already documented that zombies have surfaced long before that.  The original script is available from Amazon Studios.  We had a chance to look through and while there is a thrilling battle between war elephants and zombies, ultimately Rome triumphs.  That’s just not how it went down.  There are still a few shamblers around that can recount the story.

After years of oppression in the gladiatorial pits, a lone brave zombie broke out of his cell, embraced his captors and turned them to our cause.  Ultimately, the gladiators succumbed to our superior strength in numbers.  We left Rome and went free into the Italian countryside.

Clive, please contact our elder shamblers, the’ll fill you in.

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Zombies at Wizard World Philadelphia ComicCon

For ZombiesLast week, we covered our preparations for Wizard World in Philadelphia.  Ceramic fingers and toes were fired in a kiln and decorated for display.  A fresh batch of beer was brewed and set to ferment.  Custom bookmarks and a banner arrived.  We prepared and schemed, plotted and planned.  Having attended prior conventions, I had a sense of what to expect.  All comic book conventions share core characteristics: comic books (of course!), discussion panels, geek speed dating, plenty of people in costume, vendors, film screenings and late night parties.  Sanj, on the other hand, dove in with both feet forward.  This is his first convention and my first time running an artist table and we couldn’t be happier.

Most importantly, we connected with people directly at our table.  Sure, not everyone likes the undead.  It’s understandable.  Not all breathers are willing to be a meal for ravenous zombies, but plenty of people took a risk and stopped at our table to talk to us.  One even saw us featured in the Pottstown Mercury before the show.  Having a table shows that we’re serious about our silliness.

Evil DeadOf course, there was plenty of networking.  We made some contacts and connections with local film makers and bloggers.  We’ve been graciously invited to be included in the film festival portion of the Trenton Arts All Night event next weekend June 16th and 17th.   This is the first time our videos will be on the big screen and we’re as excited as a zombie in an orthopedic ward.  If you are in the area and plan on attending you might see a small horde making their way through the crowd.

We’ve been struck with inspiration and plan on putting together a short 10-20 minute film we can submit to competitions.  It’s in the early planning stages.  We need to put together a script and plan a shoot sometime in the next three-to-six months.  If you are in the Philadelphia area and would like to be involved let us know with an email to zombies@forzombies.net.

Lloyd KaufmanMost of the time, we were stationed at our table.  Thanks to our routine zombie victim, Bob, we were free at times to wander the show floor.  We routinely kill off Bob in our productions.  You can see him dismembered, mauled and disemboweled on our You Tube channel.   Lucky for us, we left enough of him around to help out.  On the show floor, we recorded quite a few people in costume reading a Dear Zombies letter for us on camera.  If you’re not familiar with our Dear Zombies series, I encourage you to check out our You Tube channel.  Dear Zombies is best described as Dear Abby meets the undead.  People tell us their woes and we dispense indispensable advice as only zombies can.  A few people were happy to record a letter at our table, but we found we could get more participation if we approached people rather than waiting for them to come to us.

Norman ReedusWe also met with a few surprises.  Not far from our table was none other than Lloyd Kaufman.  Troma had an exhibitor’s booth and there he was promoting their copious offerings.  Having watched the Toxic Avenger back in the 80s and following Troma for decades, we were both in awe.  Nonetheless, we worked up the courage to ask him to participate in a Dear Zombies filming and lo and behold, he did! We’re using it in our next release.

But that’s not all.  We also got our photo taken with Norman Reedus.  It turns out he thinks we’re not so bad after all and enjoys hanging with zombies off the set.  The women from the original Evil Dead were also in attendance and we got them just as they were packing up on Sunday and managed to get a photo with them, too.

For Zombies ComicOur experience at the ComicCon was rounded out with a comic book rendering of our own images by Borden Marsinkul over at Hyperbooster.  He was our table neighbor in Artist Alley and it was his first time at an East Coast con.  We filmed his rendering of our zombie selves.  That video is forthcoming.

This is our first convention appearance, but it won’t be our last.  We also plan on having a table at Infect Scranton in September.  We will be at large at the New York ComicCon in October as well.  We hope to see all our friends again and eat… er… meet many more.

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Real Zombies Don’t Get Caught

Real Zombies Eating In Public

Real Zombies Eating In Public

Last week, in response to a number of possible “zombie” attacks, David Daigle of the CDC sent a message to the Huffington Post in which he stated the “CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms)”.  Excuse me?  We here at For Zombies take great exception to this statement.

To be fair, the article does point out at the beginning that these so-called zombie attacks are nothing more than your standard acts of cannibalism.  For example – let’s start with the infamous Miami incident in which a 31 year old male nearly ate off the face of another person.  Cannibalism?  Yes.  Zombie attack?  Hardly – he didn’t even get into the cranium.

Next, there was a student in Maryland who ingested the brains and heart of his roommate.  On the surface, this may sound like the real thing, but as we look closer at the incident, we find that  he ate “parts of the victim’s brain and all of his heart”.  Hey now!  We would have finished the brain first,  and then gone on to the other organs.

Additionally we have had a number of other recent incidents involving so-called “bath salts” as well as a case in Canada in which a low-rent porn star was sending body parts through the mail.  Bath salts just don’t do much for us as our decayed circulatory systems can’t deliver them anywhere where they may have an effect.  And mailing body parts – hello?  Waste of food, anyone?

Before anyone gets their undies in too much of a bunch, we’d like to take a moment to point out that we life challenged go to great lengths to keep our esoteric eating habits behind closed doors and out of the public eye.  Truth be told, we’re actually quite humdrum about our anthropophagy.  A lot of attention is paid to proper etiquette – e.g. which forks to use with which body parts, does the host or the guest tuck in first and that sort of thing.  All this gathering into hordes and laying waste to society is nothing more than a Hollywood fantasy.

The hysteria surrounding these recent incidents is exactly why we keep our gustatory habits on the down-low.  All it takes is enough people barking up the apocalypse tree, then suddenly it’s open season and we’re being hunted down with chainsaws and baseball bats.

And where’s the fun in that?

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Judge Not Lest Ye Be Eaten

So I was at the park the other day with my two younger shamblers. They were happily playing in the sand, taking turns burying each other’s hands, feet, ears, and eyes. For once nobody was fighting, crying or being chased out of the park by some over-protective breather parent with a baseball bat. It was a good day.

Nearby, I overheard a trio of breather moms, standing in a circle and chatting. The following is an approximate re-telling of their conversation.

“So is she coming today?”
“No, her son has softball this afternoon.”
“I can’t believe she has him in so many activities. The poor kid has got to be exhausted.”
“Well you know she can’t handle that boy. The kid’s out of control.”
“It’s because she never watches him. She just lets him run around and do whatever, and then she wonders why he doesn’t listen to her.”

At that point I noticed that the offspring of one of the clucking hens was poking my youngest with a sharp stick. Poke, poke. My son did not respond, engrossed as he was in building a sand castle with his brother’s finger for a flag. When persistent poking didn’t get a response, he started throwing sand.

I looked over at the trio of breathers. They kept clucking away, going on and on about their friend, who probably had her son in no activities at all but just wanted to avoid these bitches.

My son finally noticed the sandstorm and turned around. At that moment, I cleared my throat and said politely, “Excuse me, but your belligerent offspring is in immediate danger of becoming my son’s afternoon snack. I find your intelligence and common sense in monitoring your son’s activity sadly lacking.”

Well, maybe it was more like “Aaahhchgrruungghhh! Brraaaaaiiiinnnsss!” while I lunged for her face. But I meant what I meant.

The woman didn’t seem to take my meaning, nor did her friends, but at least we had the park to ourselves for the rest of the day – at least until the folks from the CDC showed up. They’re such a buzzkill.

It is my firm belief that children were put on this earth to teach us humility. The more you assume that you’ve got this parenting thing all figured out, the harder reality is going to lay the smack down. And if you look down your nose at the parenting choices of others, reality will sucker-punch you in the crotch and then monkey-stomp you. It may come in the form of a scolding from the pediatrician or a letter from the principal. If you are very unfortunate, it may come in the form of a referral to see a child psychologist. Or it may come in the form of a trio of raging zombies tearing through the park like shambling nightmares.

But reality is out there, and it knows where you live.

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