Thursday, August 1, 2013

Zombie Me

Zombies. I love them. But, I’m only just beginning to ask myself: why? They are, more often than not, portrayed as mindless, lumbering reanimated corpses, desperate cannibals with an overpowering yearning for brains. They’re definitely not pretty or glamorous, witty or particularly interesting. So, why do I love them so much? Why do I seek them out for entertainment in the form of a film or a book? Why do I dream about them at night? Why do I imagine what it would be like to be a zombie, or to be a human attempting to survive in an apocalyptic world? And, why do I like to write about them?

Zombies are so different to the other horror creatures. Even in some of the goriest and harrowing brain-munching movies I’ve seen, I generally retain a sense of pity for them. They are us, you and I, just gone bad with some rarely properly explained infection of some kind. They had lives and relatives and homes and hobbies, and then all they have left is an urge to devour any poor and unfortunate human to cross their path.

The first zombie film I ever watched was George A Romero’s 1978 horror film, ‘Dawn of the Dead’. I was enthralled by the whole concept. It frightened me how quickly disarray and terror took over, but then they went to the mall. I won’t lie, my girly side got excited. Ooooh, if I had control of the mall and could take anything from any shop …. Oooooh the dresses, ooooh the handbags, oooooooooh the shoes! I feel fairly certain that I ever did become a zombie, that I would still find myself distracted by a pair of cute stilettos. The thing that interested me the most was that the zombies came out of habit, that a small memory or tiniest slither of knowledge, had them congregating in drones, flocking to familiar territories. There must be something vaguely human in there, somewhere.

I have watched countless zombie films over the years and I do get excited by a fresh angle. I enjoyed Marc Price’s 2008 English zombie film ‘Colin’, for that very reason. The film is shot entirely from the perspective of Colin, who becomes a zombie at the beginning of the film, and the audience follows him around London. We find out what happened, who he was and what his life was like. There are several poignant moments, none more so than when his sister, Linda, has turned and they are left alone together. Neither of them can remember the other. But, there are scenes and moments where Colin does remember something. And I like that.

Also, in 2008, came the Day of the Dead remake, which saw an altogether different type of zombie, seemingly ones with super powers who could run (and I mean RUN), leap and even crawl across the ceiling. Dance of the Dead was also released, a zany and fun zombie comedy, taking place during a high school prom. If it has zombies in it, I will watch it. If I can laugh, all the better.

I have written three zombie stories now, all of which have done well, none of them a classic tale. My first attempt was for a flash fiction competition. It amuses me now, looking back, that I could have written anything, a touching story of change, loss and horror. But, no, I decided to scribble about a fussy eater, a pompous sister who, after being turned, discovered that she did not care for plain old brains. It won, which amazed me, first place for the rambling words from my odd imagination.

My second story has just been accepted for an eye-opening anthology due to be released in the autumn of 2014, Mitzi Szereto’s erotic collection: Love, Lust and Zombies. Now, THAT will be different ….

Today, the 1st of August, is a very special launch day. The fabulously hilarious book: ‘Strangely Funny’ has just been released by the clever folk over at Mystery and Horror LLC. It is a collection of paranormal comedy short stories, by many different authors. I am most fortunate to have a story included within its fine pages. Guess what I went with? Yep, you guessed it. My story is called ‘Happy Anniversary’ and follows the plight of a married couple on, what should be, their special day. But, seeing as the chef husband comes home rather zombie-like, the night does not go as planned. It is full of silly humour and it was a joy to write. I hope that you all snap up a copy and enjoy all of the amusing gems of stories inside.

Laura Huntley.