Dusk of the Dead

As you have all no doubt figured out by now, the two posts I put up yesterday were gags, part of Blog Like It’s the End of the World, an event organized by blogger Steve Wilson. The idea was to write your blog as if a zombie uprising had actually occurred, Dawn of the Dead-style.

Hundreds, maybe even thousands of bloggers participated, with all sorts of different approaches to the task. I tried to work pretty straightforward, imagining the situation as realistically as possible—if I were actually able to post a blog about something like that, what would I write? How would I really behave during a zombie uprising? Judging from the number of friends who told me they freaked out upon reading the first few paragraphs of my post, it seems I was successful. For all of you who got a little scare, like those folks who heard Orson Welles’s famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast…you’re welcome.

Some of the other Sphere of Influencers participated in BLITEOTW. Most notable is the Jersey Exile, who ended up blogging nearly 6,000 words by the end. His entries read almost like a work of fiction, a Lovecraftian journal chronicling the hideous events.

Stone also pretended he was being swarmed in Watertown. And Robin took a slightly different tack, pointing out the similarities between zombies and burned-out college students.

I’d like to thank all the people who commented—you guys were great. Oh, and DG is fine, by the way. She actually stayed home sick yesterday while I went to work.

Wilson says he plans to hold the event again next year on June 13 (perhaps with a different threat—aliens maybe), so those of you who didn’t participate this time around can sharpen up your shotguns and load your chainsaws.



I just saw someone get eaten.

It was a woman, young, maybe a college student. She was running up Dighton, and she was outpacing a few of them down the street, easy. The things are slow. I went to open the window, call out to her and tell her she could hole up in here, when I saw one of them lurch out from behind a parked car. I couldn’t see the damned thing from my angle.

She struggled for a second but it had already bitten into her arm. She tore at it, trying to get away, but another one of the things had already come around the corner. It…they kept biting her…and then the others caught up–she screamed for minutes, MINUTES, she wouldn’t stop screaming, and then finally she did, and then there was just that wet smacking sound…I shut the window…

No word from DG. Or my family. Email seems to be down, but the damned Internet is still working somehow. How does that make any sense? There seems to be more of them roving around out there. I might have been able to make my car before, but not now. Not after what I just saw.

The TV’s not broadcasting anymore, and I turned the radio off. No one seemed to be getting news reports anymore anyway. And they had nothing useful to say–no one seems to know anything. There was a report, don’t know how reliable it is, that the outbreak started in Louisville (the American outbreak, that is) and the government nuked the city off the map. Could it be true? I guess I could believe anything now.

I thought about going into the hallway and knocking on a few doors, see if anyone else is holed up, but I’m too freaked out…who knows, people might be sitting in front of their doors with shotguns and itchy trigger fingers. Too dangerous right now. I think I’m going to take stock of the food. The power’s going to go out eventually, I need to eat some of the cold foods now while I still can.

I wonder where DG is.

what the hell is going on?!

Obviously I stayed home today. DG isn’t here. She didn’t come back from work last night. I didn’t think anything of it at first…sometimes she works late. But when she wasn’t here this morning I tried to call her lab, but the phone lines are jammed of course. I panicked for about an hour, thought about getting in my car, but one look outside…now I just feel kind of numb.

It feels sort of surreal, sitting here writing a blog entry with all that’s going on…and wondering how long anyone will even be able to read this. How long will the electricity stay on? How long can people like me hide in their apartments and hope this thing blows over?

I’ve been scared before—I was a wreck during September 11. I spent that day, and many days after it, watching the news constantly, surfing the Web for as much information as I could find. I remember how creepy it was to see those crazy second-by-second updates on CNN.com, the way CNN.com kept crashing. And now it’s happening again.

It kind of reminds me of The Stand. That novel scared the hell out of me. The idea of a superflu—it really wasn’t that far-fetched. Well, clearly. Not that this is a flu. The flu doesn’t make people…eat people.

The TV’s out except for WLVI 56, who are still broadcasting from their news station. I remember back when they used to have the Creature Double Feature in the ’80s. I wish they’d never canceled that…what the hell am I saying? I think I’m in shock.

Anyway, they had some fat bearded guy on, a scientist I guess, who said “every dead body that is not exterminated, becomes one of them. It gets up and kills. The people it kills get up and kill!” Thanks for the tip, fatty. Most of us already figured that out.

I guess it started a couple days ago, somewhere in Russia I heard. But it’s spread like wildfire, literally. Kind of funny, coming after that TB scare with that guy who ran off to Europe to get married. You’d think they would have been on high alert or something, or at least had this kind of thing on their minds. I mean, what the hell?!

God, there’s a bunch of them walking up Dighton right now. What I wouldn’t give for one of those assholes who always rips up the street in a pick-up. Mow those things down.

I might post again, if the power’s still on. And if they haven’t…I’m in a basement floor apartment, strong windows, strong doors. I can probably hold out for a while. But DG isn’t here. I want to go find her. I wonder how my family is doing.

I wonder where DG is.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

So I finally watched Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. It was interesting to watch Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead after having recently watched all of Romero’s films, as well as Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later…. I enjoyed the latter, though I admit it didn’t really feel like a zombie film, and the same could be said for Dawn of the Dead ’04. Other than the fact that the “Infected” of 28 Days Later… can be killed like any human while the zombies of Dawn have to have their brain destroyed, there’s hardly any difference between the portrayal of the monsters—they’re fast-moving, violent, cannibalistic savages.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

For the most part, I prefer to review films that aren’t necessarily considered classics (by any stretch of the imagination). Some are “cult” classics, a la Evil Dead II, but few of them would be deemed “culturally significant” by the United States Library of Congress. There are a few reasons I tend to avoid reviewing “good” films, but the main one is that I just don’t feel qualified. I don’t have a film degree; I really haven’t even seen all that many movies. I only recently saw The Godfather for the first time. I’ve never seen a John Wayne movie, and so forth. I do believe there should be some modicum of respectability to the profession of critiquing works of art.

Dude, grunge is so fifteen years ago.

On the other hand, there’s a difference between analyzing the themes of a film for an art journal and assessing how entertaining it is for a general audience, and on that level, I feel I can make a few comments about Dawn of the Dead. Of course, Dawn of the Dead is not exactly Citizen Kane or Requiem for a Dream, but it still has a better critical reputation than most of the stuff I review on the site. So think of this less as a “review,” and more just general ruminations on a topic.

Attack of the Living Dead

I tend toward faddishness, and my latest fad (in case you couldn’t tell) has been zombies. This owes in part to the subject of this article, the wonderfully disgusting “Attack of the Living Dead” action figures by Mezco Toyz [sic]. AOTLD is a combination of today’s advanced action figure design and those old gross-out toys of the 1980s (times ten).

“Attack of the Living Dead” isn’t based on any particular film, despite the “Living Dead” moniker (a quick check at the U.S. trademark office shows that Mezco was able to trademark the title, so it looks like George Romero and John Russo lose yet again, courtesy of the Walter Reade Organization). The line was originally going to be titled “After Life” (and Mezco had trademarked that as well), but at some point they must have figured out that the “Living Dead” phrase wasn’t trademarked and changed to the new title to capitalize on the name recognition.

The Walking Dead

The Walking DeadI seem to have an uncanny knack for getting into fads just as they’re hitting their peak, and often about to begin a decline. Case in point: zombies. I’m not sure exactly when the current zombie craze began, but starting with 28 Days Later… in 2002 there’s been quite a run of zombie mania. There was the remake of Dawn of the Dead in 2004 as well as Shaun of the Dead, followed by the return of the founder of the zombie film, George A. Romero, with Land of the Dead in 2005. The Resident Evil flicks in 2002 and 2004 also featured zombies, and zombies have been quite active in videogames of late, from the aforementioned Resident to the quirky Stubbs the Zombie and the recent megahit Dead Rising.

But nowhere is the zombie love more evident than comics. A quick glance through the racks at any comic store will reveal an astounding number of zombie-related publications. Most of these are independent, but even Marvel Comics ran a popular miniseries titled Marvel Zombies, which takes place in an alternate universe where all your favorite superheroes have become flesh-eating zombies.

The Zombie Survival Guide

Since the millennial fever leading up to the year 2000, there have been many catastrophic scenarios played out in the media, from movies about alien invasions and meteorite impacts to novels that sensationalize the Rapture and documentaries about global warming. There’s a lot of talk about a clash of civilizations, avian flu, dwindling natural resources, and the fact that there are tens of thousands of nuclear weapons floating around Russia secured with no more than a padlock and a piece of scrap paper that says “Do not touch—spasiba!” in felt-tip marker.

But the real threat isn’t the hole in the ozone layer, or the irrational politicians, or even the terrorists. It’s zombies.

I’ve been trying to warn people about the zombie menace for years. Many people dismiss zombies as the featured villains in a few disproportionately popular low-budget horror flicks, but I’m here to tell you there is a clear and present danger from the living dead. I’ve never seen a zombie personally, but if you do the right searches on Google News and read between the lines, it’s easy to see just how real and imminent the threat of a zombie armageddon is. With the current ease and speed of international travel and the tendency of major governments to dismiss and ignore zombie outbreaks, the world is no more than a week away from a near-total conversion to a planet of the living dead.

Return of the Living Dead

In 1968, a relatively unknown filmmaker named George Romero made a little film called Night of the Living Dead. Though relatively low-budget, it became one of the earliest cult films and spawned an entire sub-genre of horror movies that continue to this day.

Casting calls for Thriller.

Romero wrote the screenplay with Night of the Living Dead with a fellow named John Russo. According to the film’s Wikipedia entry (which, in a refreshing change, cites most of its sources), the story grew from a horror comedy involving aliens into a straight, gruesome horror film that drew inspiration from Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend.

Zombies rule

I wish I had an Xbox 360. And Dead Rising.

Alternatively, I wish I’d never gone to my cousin Mike’s and played Dead Rising, because now I know what I’m missing.

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