Archive for the ‘epidemic’ Tag


ALARMING rise in zombie cases has medical experts scratching their heads.

ALARMING rise in zombie cases has medical experts scratching their heads.

By C. Michael Forsyth

ATLANTA — The swiftly widening zombie epidemic does not owe its origin simply to a rogue germ – it’s God’s way of punishing Americans for smoking marijuana, a respected preacher claims.

“Every major plague of the past 2,000 years has been a form a divine retribution,” declared the Reverend Harvey Stintland, a leading theologian and author. “Leprosy, for example, was sent to punish the Roman Empire for its decadence and debauchery.

“AIDS was, of course, His punishment for homosexuality, just as herpes was His wrathful response to the Sexual Revolution. What we’re seeing now across the country is, once again, the Lord using his tiniest creatures — viruses — to teach sinful humans a lesson.”

The earliest known zombie outbreak in the United States was reported in June 1964, just as pot use was emerging among hippies, the Baptist minister points out.

“This was literally days after Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to ‘grass,’” Rev. Stintland notes. “Now, just as states like Alaska, Colorado and Oregon legalize marijuana, we’re seeing a record number of zombism sufferers. Can that be merely a coincidence? Logic tells us otherwise.”

LIGHT 'EM UP! Weed is now legal in many states.

LIGHT ‘EM UP! Weed is now legal in many states.

Statistics show a troubling rise in the bizarre ailment, called Sarcophagic Lazarus Syndrome by medical professionals. At least 675 cases nationwide were reported in 2014, three times the figure from the previous year. Yet government scientists dismiss Rev. Stintland’s claims.

“You don’t have to bring God or the supernatural into it to explain zombies,” observed a CDC insider. “It’s a matter of cold, hard science.”

According to the clergyman, the Almighty smacks the human race with epidemics from time to time for our own good.

“Our Lord is a loving God, but he is also a stern disciplinarian, not unlike a father who must sometimes take his children to the woodshed. He’s not above using biological warfare to whup some sense into mankind when we disobey His law,” explained Rev. Stintland, author of the upcoming book Germs From God.

SPANISH FLU was God's punishment for the senseless slaughter of  World War 1, according to expert.

SPANISH FLU was God’s punishment for the senseless slaughter of World War 1, according to expert.

Here, from the theologian, are other major epidemics and what God was punishing people for:

Plague of Athens (426-429 B.C., death toll 100,000) — Punishment for paganism
Black Death (1346 -1353 A.D., death toll 50 million) — Punishment for false piety, i.e. being “too” religious
Yellow Fever Epidemic (1793-1798, death toll 5,000 ) — Punishment for secular humanism
Cholera Pandemic (1816 -1828, death toll, 30,000) — Punishment for slave trade
Smallpox epidemic (1827-38, death toll 1800) — Punishment of Indians for resisting Manifest Destiny
Spanish Flu (1918-1920, death toll 75 million) — Punishment for World War I

“Contagious diseases don’t just happen,” the clergyman says. “They are God’s holy will.”

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? In the 14th century, when the Black Death struck, belief in God was at an all time high.

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? In the 14th century, when the Black Death struck, belief in God was at an all time high.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

If you enjoyed this mind-bending story by C. Michael Forsyth, check out his collection of bizarre news, available on Kindle and in other eBook formats.

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ZOMBIE master Robert Kirkman's graphic novel  "Thief of Thieves" is even better than his "The Walking Dead."

ZOMBIE master Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel “Thief of Thieves” is even better than his “The Walking Dead.”

As I prepare to launch my first graphic novel, I’ve been boning up on the format, and one of the best I’ve come across was written by Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead fame. Thief of Thieves is even more cinematic than the zombie comic that spawned the hit TV series. It’s essentially a movie on paper. What makes it unusual is that it doesn’t look like a movie storyboard. The layout is almost entirely narrow rectangular panels that stretch across the page, stacked horizontally. As you get used to the steadfastly unchanging aspect ratio, it becomes like watching images flickering on the screen. The caper story, akin to a movie like The Italian Job, is twisty and adult. The charismatic, broad-shouldered, hairy chested hero is presented so vividly, you think, “They’ve really got to cast the same actor in the movie” — until you remember he’s not a real person!

CINEMATIC panel shape, realistic facial expressions and Kirkman's trademark  timing make "Thief of Thieves" feel like a movie.

CINEMATIC panel shape, realistic facial expressions and Kirkman’s trademark timing make “Thief of Thieves” feel like a movie.

In the purely horror vein, I’ve also become hip to Crossed. It’s a zombie apocalypse saga, but makes The Walking Dead seem optimistic and wholesome as milk by comparison. In this version of hell on earth, the infected legions don’t just cannibalize victims, they gleefully rape, sodomize and mutilate them in an orgy of violence. Then eat them — although in some cases, the atrocities are simultaneous.

PLAY BALL! Mayhem ensues when the contagion hits a football stadium.

PLAY BALL! Mayhem ensues when the contagion hits a football stadium.

The disease, which brands those who’ve been bitten (or otherwise taken in bodily fluids) with a distinctive cross-shaped rash on the face, erases all inhibitions, turning them into rage-fueled, sex-crazed killing machines who love to disfigure both hapless victims and themselves. Worse still, unlike your standard shambling walker, their minds still function — albeit far from rationally — allowing them to use weapons, drive cars and operate motorboats. Imagine 28 Days Later meets Road Warrior meets Hellraiser. Crossed is definitely adults only, due to the unrelenting sexual violence, and not for the faint of heart.

Speaking of crime dramas like Thief of Thieves, if you enjoyed the writing in this article by C. Michael Forsyth, you might enjoy his novel The Identity Thief.

The tables turn on an identity thief in the latest thriller by C. Michael Forsyth.

The tables turn on an identity thief in the latest thriller by C. Michael Forsyth.

A ZOMBIE BY ANY OTHER NAME? “The Crazies” is Back from the Dead.   2 comments


WE'RE THE GOVERNMENT AND WE'RE HERE TO HELP: Judy (Radha Mitchell) is taken under wing by Uncle Sam

By C. Michael Forsyth


Generally, I’m not enthusiastic about remakes. Unlike many horror and sci-fi fans, I don’t thrill to news that a “re-imagining” is in the works of gems that were perfectly executed the first go-around, like “Nightmare on Elm Street” or “Total Recall.” Self-cannibalization is sickening to behold, so when I observe my own culture indulging in the act, I take a dim view of it. Did we really need “Halloween 2,” the sequel to the remake of a film that inspired nine sequels and spawned 147 knock-offs. (Okay, I confess I made that last number up, but you get the idea.) Did we really need to revisit “Friday the 13th,” a franchise that had already generated TWELVE films? Even that term “franchise,” when applied to an art form, betrays a grotesquely cynical and philistine attitude. But what really gets my goat is that this is an industry which prizes youth — a 40-year-old trying to launch a career as a TV writer is considered over the hill. No, executives are looking for “fresh” talent and ideas. Ha! I read that one of these young lions pitched the fresh idea of “ ‘Die Hard’ in an office building” — being so young and fresh that he’d never seen the original! You just know that somewhere a Hollywood bigwig is asking, “Is it too soon to remake the 1993 ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ movie?”  

That having been said, I loved “The Crazies“!

There are cases where there has been an amazing leap forward in technology (as with “King Kong“) or where the original was deeply flawed, or where society has changed so much that a remake can be justified. “The Crazies,” a remake of George Romero’s low-budget, Nixon-versus-hippie-era picture of 1973, falls into the last two categories. That little-known film featured stilted dialogue, poor pacing, and was made at a time when the thought that the federal government might not always be a force for good was a relatively new and alarming idea.

The updated “Crazies,” now on DVD, is a scary, crisply directed, action-packed thriller, that — divorced from the now-antiquated political discussion — consistently delivers the goods.

The plot in a nutshell: A military plane carrying a genetically engineered virus crashes in a swamp near a small Iowa town. Designed to throw enemy cities into chaos, the “Trixie virus” slowly drives the townsfolk mad, transforming them one by one into crazed killing machines. To contain the epidemic, the government cordons off the town and sends in droves of gas-masked storm troopers to round up both the sick and uninfected citizens, whisking them away to an unknown fate. The intrepid Sheriff David Dutten (ably played by Timothy Olyphant) leads a small band of survivors, including his pregnant wife Judy, as they try against all odds to escape the town without falling victim to the zombie-like plague victims or the marauding army goons.

Director Breck Eisner creates a creepy atmosphere, starting with an early scene in which the town drunk interrupts a friendly community baseball game by marching onto the field toting a rifle. The film boasts some thrilling set-pieces, such as the Sheriff’s encounter with a runaway bone-cutting saw. In one of most nail-biting scenes in  my recent memory, a character lies helpless, strapped to a gurney, while a madman lurches toward her, plunging a pitchfork into the chest of one fellow patient after another.

I like that, unlike many such flicks where the law enforcement officials are fatally slow on the uptake, the Sheriff quickly figures out what’s up. He makes all the right moves, beginning with shutting off the water that’s the source of the contamination (to no avail, needless to say).

I’ve always favored horror films that feature multiple menaces, as is the case here. The heroes must contend with not only the crazies and the trigger-happy soldiers, but also the threat from within. They must constantly ask whether their fellow survivors are becoming unglued due to the extreme situation — or because the disease has made its way into their brains. In some instances, all three threats are operating simultaneously, most memorably when a car wash is transformed into a hellhole of panic and mayhem.

Some will argue that “28 Days Later” trod the same ground, because those monsters, too, were not technically zombies but victims of a “rage virus.” But, apart from their accelerated speed, they behaved exactly like the shambling revenants of “Night of the Living Dead.” Here, interestingly, the infected talk and retain a good deal of their personalities, albeit dangerously altered — such as a trio of good ol’ boy hunters who take to hunting humans with guns after they lose their minds. The director’s choice in opting for makeup inspired by real diseases like rabies as opposed to the traditional rotting-corpse look also sets “The Crazies” apart from an ordinary zombie movie and lends the film realism.

Sure, we’ve been down this road before. So often, indeed, that it’s now a given that in the event of a plague, the government will round people up and put them in concentration camps. (Hey, some in the Sarah Palin crowd think Uncle Sam won’t even wait for a plague!) The 2008 movie “Quarantine,” in which the quasi-zombie outbreak takes place in an tenement, amped up the terror-level by introducing a more claustrophobic setting.

But “The Crazies” is a genuinely frightening, well-made movie any horror fan would be out of their mind to miss.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth. All rights reserved

GROOVY, MAN: Original 1973 version of "The Crazies" might really have been in need of an update.

George Romero would definitely approve of C. Michael Forsyth's novel.

Click HERE to learn all about Hour of the Beast and hear Chapter One.

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