Night of the Living Dead on Criterion

Is the new Criterion Blu-ray edition of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead worth purchasing? I’m of two minds on this question. Part of the eerie charm of the original edition is its low budget–its grainy black-and-white film, cheap sets, tinny music, and actors nobody ever heard of.
 
The Criterion edition attempts to enhance the cheap black-and-white print with Blu-ray technology. But do we really want it enhanced? Doesn’t enhancement take away part of the sinister charm of the grungy original?
 
On the other hand, it’s good to see that the movie is getting the attention it deserves from its groundbreaking reenvisioning of the zombie as a flesh-eating creature that feeds on living humans. Before this movie, zombies lumbered around with their eyes bugging out of their heads, looking spooky, but they were harmless. They were the walking dead without a bloodthirsty appetite, as in Bela Lugosi’s White Zombie.
 
Then along came George Romero and the invention of the modern zombie in Night of the Living Dead. And the zombie was forever changed. It has now become identified as the monster that is the most terrifying threat to humanity, much more terrifying than vampires and werewolves.

Why Are Zombies So Popular Now?

Zombies aren’t just about zombies. They’re about people and how people react to them. People are the main characters in any good zombie fiction, not the witless zombies.
 
Unlike zombie fiction, vampire fiction is more about the vampires and their personalities than about the people that oppose them. Count Dracula is the most interesting character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, not Dr. Van Helsing, who is his human antagonist. The fascinating count is an aristocratic charmer who seduces women so that he can sink his fangs into their necks and suck their blood. He is so seductive he can make women swoon simply by staring at them with his transfixing gaze that immobilizes their wills and renders them his slaves, all so that he can suck their blood and go on living till the end of time.
 
Zombies as characters, on the other hand, are insipid creatures that lumber around eating human flesh and insects as well, as depicted in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, which set the standard for the modern zombie. Zombies are filthy rotting corpses that have become reanimated and go around feeding primarily on living humans. In contrast to the charming Count Dracula, they are creatures with no personality. They all blend into one amorphous, shambling, stupid, flesh-eating mob.
 
In zombie fiction, the zombies aren’t the most interesting characters. They simply propel the action and motivate reactions from their human prey. What is most interesting in zombie fiction is how the main human characters battle the zombies and battle each other, as well, in their struggles for survival in a world overrun by mindless repulsive creatures bent on human annihilation.
 
For example, what is fascinating in Romero’s classic zombie film is how the main characters that are trapped together in a farmhouse battle each other as well as the zombies that besiege them. The tension among the trapped inhabitants is palpable and, combined with the zombie onslaught, generates nerve-racking horror.
 
In contrast to aristocratic vampires with intriguing personalities who are basically loners, zombies are ghastly creatures without any personalities who congregate in huge mobs. Zombies are symbols of modern democracies where numbers are more impotant than royal bloodlines. It’s a case of the majority rules, as in democracies (from which zombies were bred), versus the aristocracy rules (from which Count Dracula was bred). Zombies are perfect monsters for democracies, where everybody is considered equal. All zombies are equally characterless, mindless, and horrifying. Unique vampires with intriguing personalities, on the other hand, are perfect monsters for Victorian England and its dissolute bloodlines and crumbling aristocracy.
 
Zombies then are truly products of modern democracies, whereas vampires are products of decaying aristocracies. Now is the age of the zombie. Zombies rule.

Halloween Treat

Halloween is almost here.  This is the perfect time of the year to buy a zombie boxed set–like Zombie Apocalypse:  The Chad Halverson Series available on Kindle.

T S Elliot had it wrong.  This is the way the world ends . . . not with a whimper but a bang as gangs of bloodthirsty zombies run amok, decimating humanity.

New Web site for Zombie Apocalypse Books: The Chad Halverson Series

Bryan Cassiday has created a new Web site devoted exclusively to his horror boxed set Zombie Apocalypse: The Chad Halverson Series and all things zombie.  Check it out under zombie apocalypse books.

It’s chock-full of excerpts.

An interview with Bryan Cassiday on zombie books

Interview with Bryan Cassiday, author of Zombie Apocalypse: The Chad Halverson Series.
The five-book boxed set contains the complete and unabridged editions of Zombie Maelstrom, Zombie Necropolis, Sanctuary in Steel, Kill Ratio, and Poxland.

 

I: When did you first start writing zombie books?
BC: In 2011. The first zombie book I wrote was Zombie Maelstrom. Publisher’s Weekly did a hatchet job on it when it first came out, but that did not deter me. I wrote four more zombie books.

 

I: Do you plan on writing more zombie fiction?
BC: I have recently written zombie short stories. I haven’t written another zombie novel in a while.

 

I: Are you going to write another one?
BC: I haven’t made up my mind on that. I hadn’t planned on doing another one, but I might change my mind. It would depend on whether there was any demand for one.

 

I:  What do you want to accomplish as a writer?                                                                         BC:  I want to take you out of your comfort zone.  You know that commercial where the advertiser wants you to be comfortable in your own skin?  Well, I don’t want you to be comfortable in your own skin.  I want you to squirm.

Don’t Forget Your Screwdriver in the Zombie Apocalypse

When you get your bug-out bag ready for the zombie apocalypse, don’t forget to pack a screwdriver with your condoms. Not only is it a handy tool for tightening screws and, to some extent, used as a pry bar, it can double as a weapon that dispatches zombies as well. The soft fleshy bottom of the jaw is a perfect entrance point for any edged blade, such as a screwdriver. The pliant flesh yields readily and allows the blade to penetrate both the roof of the mouth and then the brain to slay the zombie.

 

Be sure to take the slot-head screwdriver and not the Phillips, since the slot head has a chiseled tip. Though, in a crunch, you could still jam that Phillips into a zombie brain. The slot head can also be used as a pry bar, whereas the Phillips is inferior in this context.

 

Light and a cinch to pack, condoms, which are essential for your bug-out bag, can be filled with water and used as canteens. You can also forego rubber bands and use condoms in their place as weapons. You could fashion a slingshot out of a wishbone-shaped tree branch and a condom by stretching the condom between the two ends of the branch. Then all you have to do is gather some stones for ammunition and you can nail that zombie smack between the eyes with your slingshot, or, even better, shoot the creature in the eye, which is easier to penetrate than the skull.

 

The zombie won’t die unless its brain is smashed. You’ve got to destroy its brain. A slingshot’s stone might be deflected by the skull, but not by an eye. The only bone the stone might encounter behind the eyes is the ethmoid bone that is eggshell fragile, located behind and between the eyes, and can be penetrated with ease. As a matter of fact, prefrontal lobotomies used to be performed in this manner back in the 1950s, with an ice pick penetrating the ethmoid bone and entering the brain to execute its surgery.

 

A condom can also be used to conceal your handgun from human marauders who will inevitably run amok during the zombie apocalypse. Insert your gun into the condom, knot the condom at the end, then insert the package into a car’s filled gas tank. Marauders will never think to look there, and, when they’re preoccupied looting your campsite you can retrieve your gun and blow them away. It is an ugly truth, which must be prepared for, that during an apocalypse armed bands of marauders will roam the wasteland preying on fellow men.


And, last but not least, a condom is a necessity if you don’t want to contract a venereal disease or don’t want to overpopulate a world that is overrun with zombies and is in the process of dying–or if you meet up with a female zombie that you feel attracted . . . No. Just say no.
href=”http://www.amzn.com/B01HSRHDNY”> />

Zombie Apocalypse: The Chad Halverson Series now has its own page

Bryan Cassiday’s shocking zombie boxed set Zombie Apocalypse:  The Chad Halverson Series now has its own Web page.  The novel is fiction, the horror is real.  Fast and furious zombie action.  Check it out.