The Zombie Casserole Chronicles – Part Seven

This last week we edited one of the big showpiece scenes of our short film Zombie Casserole.  It’s Scene 10 – the zombie activist meeting.  In an earlier post, John detailed how we filmed a zombie protest scene complete with badly put together signs and a reporter.  On that same day we also filmed a meeting of the activists – which by the way takes place in creepy looking basement room.

In this scene, the leader of the zombie activists, Zombie Fred, groans a stirring and grandiose speech as he fires up his shambling horde.

These horde scenes really gave our makeup artists, Alicia and Derek the opportunity to shine.  Each of our zombie extras got a nice closeup, showcasing the work of the artists.  Here are a few examples:

One Zombie

One Zombie

Another Zombie

Another Zombie

And Another Zombie

And Another Zombie

And Another Zombie

And Another Zombie

Still More Zombies

Still More Zombies

Some of my favorite makeup was done on Zombie Fred.  Since the back of the actor’s head was shaved, the makeup artists attached a bunch of sticks using liquid latex, making him look as though he’d been impaled in some sort of horrible gardening accident.

Owwwww...

Owwwww…

This also has one of my favorite scenes in the film, in which we filmed Zombie Fred backlit and from the floor, giving him an imposing presence (this was a suggestion from a friend of mine).

Bow Down And Worship Me Suckers!

Bow Down And Worship Me Suckers!

In spite of having to remind people not to giggle, which was difficult, given the silliness inherent in the scene (c’mon, zombie activists?), and the copious amount of beer we supplied, we managed to film some impressive stuff.

That Looks Like It Hurts!

That Looks Like It Hurts!

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Union Dues and Don’ts

Our local school district is experiencing a teacher strike. Since I homeschool my little shamblers, it doesn’t affect me directly. It has changed things around the neighborhood, though. Usually in the middle of the day there’s nothing to chase but stray cats and the neighbor’s dog. Now it’s like a high-speed buffet out there.
The kids love having so many warm bodies to—ahem—play with, but their parents seem pretty eager to get them back in the classroom and off the streets. I don’t know what that stuck-up Mrs. Clarke was so upset about. Her son did tell my daughter to “drop dead and bite me,” after all. And she’d already done the one.
So there’s a lot of talk about whether the teachers should just suck it up and do their job, or if the district should just suck it up and pay them what they’re worth. I think the solution is obvious. Put zombies in charge of negotiations.
Personally, I’m on the side of the teachers. Public schools have had budget problems since my grandfather was a fresh bleeding corpse, and I know that it’s not because the teachers are chronically overpaid. Short-changing the people who are doing the best they can to keep the system running is not a sound business decision. Anyone with one eye and half a brain can see that.
Zombies are the best of the best when it comes to budget management. Who else is able to do so much with so little? Our brains are rotten, our eyes are falling out, and are limbs tear off if you look at them funny. But in recent years we have taken the world by storm and struck fear in the heart of an entire nation. Our existence has spawned survival guides, video games, and even erotica. (Don’t ask.) We are masters of the adage, “Less is more.”
The best part about putting zombies in charge of negotiations is that we work for almost nothing. What do we need money for? The world is our fast food restaurant. Though with the rising obesity rates, slow food might be a better name for it. Feeding the kids has never been easier.
I am confident that if union leaders and school administrators spent just a few hours with a zombie mediator, a compromise could be reached in record time. A zombie mediator could bring the two opposing factions together in a way that no one else could. A zombie mediator could give them common ground to work from, and a common goal to reach. Put them in a room together with a single zombie, and miracles could happen.
Especially if the room is locked from the outside and empty of all firearms, edged weapons, and blunt instruments.

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For Zombies Timeline

The For Zombies team has gotten its first speaking engagement!  We’re going to need a groan translator, a back-up groan translator after we eat the primary groan translator, a back-up for the back-up and maybe another spare.  Any volunteers?  We’re trucking up to New Hampshire next month where we’ll put their state motto to the test: “Live Free or Die.”  We think they’ll have to amend it after we visit Portsmouth.

June 2011 – Over a couple of beers, we get the notion to record instructional videos by zombies for zombies

August 28, 2011 – Release first two instructional videos: “Brewing for Zombies” and “Grilling for Zombies”

October 3, 2011 – “First Aid for Zombies” released. Our first special effect.

October 13 – 16, 2011 – New York Comic Con (First filming of Dear Zombies questions)

November 11, 2012 – Dear Zombies Episode 1 released.

November 18, 2012 – Dear Zombies Episode 2 released.

December 3, 2012 – “Cocktails for Zombies” released Improve our special effects skills. First usage of green screen.

December 21, 2012 – “A Very Zombie Christmas” released. We butcher Jingle Bells.

January 2012 – First Dear Zombies episodes start airing on Black Flag TV (internet TV station)

January 4, 2012 – “Dear Zombies – Kids’ Edition” released.

January 27, 2012 – “Football for Zombies.” …in snow.  A head is punted over goal posts.

February 17, 2012 – “Dear Zombies Episode Three” released.

February 2012 – For Zombies releases an article in “Z Magazine”

March 11, 2012 – “Dear Zombies – Star Wars Edition” released.  Now with light saber-wielding zombies.

May 28, 2012 – “Blobageddon” released for entry into the Phoenixville Blobfest film competition.

May 30 – June 1st, 2012 – Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, met Norman Reedus

June 17, 2012 – Screened at our first film festival: Trenton Arts All Night

July 13, 2012 – Screened at Phoenixville Blobfest.  Won short film competition

August 17, 2012 – Screened at Mascara and Popcorn in Montreal

September 22, 2012 – Infect Scranton

October 4-7th, 2012 – “Disco Zombie Time” plays at Shriekfest in Los Angeles

November 2012 – Filmed “Zombie Casserole”

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Long Haired Zombie-Killing Freak #24

“Gotcha.” I whispered, and crumpled to the cold sidewalk. “Nice, cold concrete. Good concrete. Make my balls hurt less, please.”

A large finger tapped me on my shoulder blade.

“You hit?” Shawn, the mammoth from across the way, asked me.

“No. I’m just resting the family jewels.”

“I’ll be blunt, man, ‘cause that’s the way I am: you’re one odd dude.”

“See, I think of myself as a man, forward-thinking enough to embrace the absurdity of our existence.” I explained. “I mean, look, this isn’t your mama’s zombie apocalypse.”

“Yep. You’re a weird fucker.” He snorted. “Would you like a hand getting up, Mister Zombie-Killing Freak?”

“I’d be obliged for the assistance, Mister Hulking Mass of Southern Manhood.”

I didn’t expect him to lift me up, bodily, into a fireman’s carry across his shoulders. I yelped when my bits slapped the side of his head.

“Sorry.” He murmured.

“Gasp.” I replied.

“For a hardened, killer of creatures that used to be our neighbors, you’re really sensitive.” Shawn commented.

“You call it being sensitive. I call it being charming and approachable.” I gave him a pet on his shaggy head. “Now, please take me inside and put me down, like a good Wookie.”

He started walking and I remembered something important, and asked him to put me down.

“What?” He asked when my feet hit the ground.

“When you complete a job, you need to have proof. I’m going to walk over there, and cut off my target’s head. That usually satisfies a client.”

I unsheathed my sword, walked across the street, and did the deed. It was somewhat messier than usual, because my bullet blew out the majority of the back of his head. I looked down at the trophy, and tried to decide the best way to carry it.

All things considered, I could have put my hand through the exit hole and carried it that way. I could have hooked my finger through the empty eye socket, and done it that way, too. Ultimately, I hooked my fingers in the nostrils, and carried it off that way.

“That’s sick.” Shawn commented.

“Maybe, but it is the least messy way to do it.” I said as I hobbled over to meet him by the door.

We walked through the crumbling front doors. Marvin, Shirley, and Tracy were sitting with their backs against the bar, sipping clear liquid out of shot glasses. It looked suspiciously like Marvin’s “Dire Distillation”.

“Isn’t it a little early in the day for moonshine?” I asked.

“No.” Marvin replied. “Your head is dripping on the floor.”

I looked down. Indeed, it was.

“Sorry about that.”

“That’s okay.” Marvin dismissed it with a wave of his hand. “I’ll tell you one thing, though.”

“Go on.”

“If there’s any lumber or something in that hardware store, you’re fucking repairing my door and walls for this.” The look on his face brooked no argument.

“Yes, sir.” What else was there to say?

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Shambling in a Winter Wonderland

The holidays are finally over, and winter is well and truly upon us. Now that we’re finally done with the mad rush of cooking dinners and shopping for people (and sometimes vice versa), my little shamblers and I are finally ready to kick back and relax and enjoy the refreshing change in the weather.
Winter can be tricky, though, especially in rural areas that have a hunting season. They don’t even seem to care if I wear an orange cap or not. Here are a few more hazards to watch out for in the coming months.
Frostbite. Once a finger or toe snaps off, it never goes back on the same way again. Sure you can sew it on, but then the flesh pulls and rots away, and it’s a constant upkeep nightmare. Gloves and boots are a must. And if you do lose a finger, good-fitting gloves will keep it from getting lost in the snow.
Snowmobiles. More agile than a car or truck, and capable of doing similar damage to a well-rotted body. They are safe to follow at night, though. If the breather driving it has been drinking, odds are pretty good you’ll get a free meal out of it.
Kids on Sleds. Or as I like to call them, brutal little sadists. I swear they camp out at the top of every snowy incline and wait for the chance to slam into an unsuspecting shambler-by. Last winter I got both legs knocked out from under me, and it took forever to find them both. I eventually found the second leg in a nearby tree with two toes missing, and the kid didn’t even apologize. He just yelled something about George Romero and ran back to the top of the hill to try again.
But winter has lots of upsides, too. The biggest one is that self-preservation is much easier. Damp, warm air rots a body faster than anything, and winter air is neither warm nor damp. Hunting is also safer and easier. People leave their cars running to warm up the engine, which is ideal for the old hide-in-the-back-seat-until-they-start-driving trick. The looks on their faces never gets old.
There are a lot of ways for a kid to have fun in the snow, too. My kids’ favorite game is to hide inside a snowbank and jump out at pedestrians. This can be a problem when they play outside while it’s snowing, however. The plows drive by constantly, piling the banks higher and higher, and it can be hard for the kids to push their way out. One winter it took three days to dig my daughter out, because we got about three feet of snow and her brothers pretended not to remember where they’d buried her. By the time we got her out of there, she’d frozen so badly I had to stitch most of her fingers and toes back on. It’s true; parenting does take a skillful hand. This winter I plan to strap small flags to their backs so it doesn’t happen again.
Have fun everyone, and have a truly apocalyptic new year.

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