MCN Blogs
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Gearing Up for the Zombie Apocalypse

A while back I took a conversation my guy and I were having via IM (because we are geeks, yes) about the nature of zombies and whether infection-type and parasite-type zombies do, in fact, count as “zombies” proper, onto Facebook. I’ve been experimenting more with using Facebook for conversations about film, in part because the exclusive nature of Facebook and its “friends” model makes it easier to weed out trolls and generally unpleasant people from the conversation, so discussions tend to stay more on topic.

The result of this particular experiment was that it was one of the most fascinating movie-related conversations I’ve been involved in outside a film fest, delving into a philosophical discussion about the zombie genre, the metaphysics of zombie-hood, etc. I was impressed by how thoroughly a lot of people have actually thought through the implications of zombie-ness, what constituted being a true zombie, and how one might survive a zombie apocalypse.

I personally am of the school that there is a difference between body-snatching or consensual symbiotic host-body relationships ala the Trills and zombiehood proper, but I will concede that zombies do not have to be “undead” because in my book, the creation of simulated undead minions via drugs, poison, or voodoo, as in Haitian folklore, counts as “zombie,” even if they aren’t necessarily eating brains. You may have a different line in the sand — there was a lot of dissension over whether infection-based zombie folklore counts as a true zombie, or whether a zombie has to be (or at least appear to be) dead or undead.

People were very passionate in defending their position on all things zombie. It was a fun, spirited discussion that, of course, also got into the various movies that have been made about zombies, and how movies have been a vehicle for making zombies a part of popular culture, and other such zombie-related topics. Some of my personal faves are Shaun of the Dead and Fido (I like a little humor with my brain-eating), but I can’t deny the staying power of The Evil Dead and Night of the Living Dead.

All of this is timely not only because Halloween is coming up, but because this weekend, the zombies are coming to Seattle.

I don’t have scientific proof of this, but I suspect Seattleites are perhaps more prone than people who live in less dark and moody places to be really into abstract expressions of the darker side of human nature; hence, we like our zombies here. While we might not be quite as prepared to actually survive any sort of apocalypse as, say, the hardcore survivalists in rural Idaho and Montana, we do know how to celebrate the undead here.

Hence, zombie parties, zombie raves, and last summer’s spectacular Red, White and Dead Walk (in which Seattle took back its rightful place as capital of the undead from the Big Chill festival in England with an official count of 4,233 undead, giving us the Guinness World Record — take that, Brits!) are very popular.

Could there be any better place for the first ever ZomBCon than Seattle? I think not. And apparently other folks agree with me, because this coming weekend the zombies will be taking over downtown Seattle. ZomBCon boasts guests including Bruce Campbell, George Romero (introducing a screening of Night of the Living Dead!), Malcolm McDowell (introducing a screening of A Clockwork Orange, which is not a zombie film in my book but is still cool as hell, am I right?), Ted Raimi and heaps of authors of zombie books, panel discussions on various zombie-related topics.

There’s also a Prom Night of the Living Dead in the works, a lecture courtesy of the Zombie Research Society (no, I’m not making that up), and sneak peeks of three locally made zombie movies. And more, lots more. I have a busy weekend already, but I have a teenager who is itching to get her zombie freak on, so we will try to make it to at least some of the festivities, take some pics, and tell you about how all the undead fun goes. Hopefully, I won’t get my brains eaten or get infected by any weird zombie virus or otherwise rendered undead, and maybe I’ll pick up some tips and techniques on surviving the zombie apocalypse.

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2 Responses to “Gearing Up for the Zombie Apocalypse”

  1. ratskiwatski says:

    No matter how power-packed your week gets, do carve out a couple of hours for Dead Set on IFC – Brit Zombie Apocalypse on the set of Big Brother… nasty-funny and gnarly as hell. If you haven’t caught it yet by other means (ahem) hope you enjoy.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon