Archive for the ‘zombies’ Tag

The 15 Best Horror Movie Sieges   Leave a comment

Scene from Return of the Living Dead.

By C. Michael Forsyth

When well executed, the siege is one of the most compelling film scenarios. With a group of disparate individuals barricaded in a confined space or otherwise trapped, surrounded by an implacable foe, the situation is ripe for suspense, interpersonal conflict and drama. The scenario is especially effective in the horror genre, where the sense of dread is heightened by the abnormal nature of the menace, even when off camera.

Here are my favorite horror movie siege scenarios: 

DEMON KNIGHT (1995) — Billy Zane, a marvelously creepy villain in Dead Calm, delivers another chilling performance as a powerful demon in human form known as The Collector. The Collector is on the hunt for drifter Frank Brayker (William Sadler) the guardian of a key that contains the blood of Jesus Christ and that can unlock enormous powers. Brakyer takes refuge in a decommissioned church that has been converted into a boarding house. The Collector is unable to enter the holy building, but summons a horde of demons to surround it and uses his cunning and supernatural powers to influence its residents. Brayker and the occupants, including the fearless owner, a prostitute, a secretive postal clerk and a convict on work release (Jada Pinkett) must hold off the Collector and his minions, while keeping the precious artifact out of his evil clutches.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) — Needless to say, this is the grandpappy of all zombie apocalypse flicks. Traumatized by the murder of her brother at the hands of a zombie, Barbra (Judith O’Dea) takes shelter in an isolated farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania. While she remains virtually catatonic for the remainder of the movie, she is protected by the resourceful Ben (Duane Jones), who drives off the undead with a rifle and sets about boarding up the home. They are soon joined by a middle-aged couple who’d been hiding in cellar, along with their young zombie-bitten daughter, and later a young couple. As the cannibalistic ghouls besiege the farmhouse in ever-increasing numbers, conflict mounts between Ben and the dad Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman).  Beyond its seminal place in the zombie subgenre, the movie is noteworthy for its eerie black and white cinematography, inspired by the surreal 1962 cult classic Carnival of Souls.  A take-charge African American protagonist was unusual at the time—and the devastating shock ending is unforgettable.

THE BLOB (1958) stars Steve McQueen in his first leading role as the young hero, also named Steve. When a meteorite crashes to Earth, it turns out to contain a small, gelatinous, amoeba-like alien that envelops and consumes its prey. A nearby Pennsylvania town falls victim to the amorphous mass as it gobbles up everything its path, including vagrants, doctors and unlucky theater goers and others, steadily becoming larger and larger. Steve, his girlfriend and her kid brother wind up trapped in a diner along with the owner and a waitress, as the now building-size creature engulfs the greasy-spoon joint. Because of the believable concept of an alien life form and its terrifying method of attack, the Blob remains one of the greatest monsters cinema history, despite what now seem primitive special effects.

DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) — It’s a dead heat between George Romero’s 1978 masterpiece and this remake helmed by Zack Snyder in his directorial debut.  The reboot lacks the sociopolitical subtext of the original, which took a swipe at consumerism. Still, I rank it slightly higher thanks to the superior effects and the stellar cast, led by Ving Rhames as police sergeant Kenneth Hall. Set in Milwaukee, Dawn of the Dead follows a group of survivors who take refuge in an upscale suburban shopping mall when the zombie apocalypse erupts. Delving deeper than the fight for survival, the film focuses on conflict between the characters, as The Walking Dead later would. One of the most gripping storylines: the group has to figure out what to do about a pregnant woman who’s been bitten—and may give birth to a zombie baby!

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985) — One of the best horror-comedies of all time, this zombie siege is set in a medical supply warehouse.  Two dimwitted employees accidentally unseal a military drum, releasing a toxic gas called Trioxin that resurrects the dead and unleashes a horde of shambling, brain-munching zombies. The intrepid owner Burt (Clu Gulager), his hapless workers, his mortician buddy and a band of teenage punks become trapped inside. The wickedly funny flick introduced the trope of zombies craving brains as their preferred a delicacy.  Among the highlights is Linnea Quigley as Trash, a morbid exhibitionist who tempts fate by dancing naked in a cemetery and describing her fantasies about being ravished by ghouls. It’s not before her wish is granted, and she returns as the world’s sexiest nude zombie.

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996) The first half hour or so of the movie seems like an ordinary thriller as two fugitive bank robbers, the Gecko brothers, flee toward Mexico. Seth (George Clooney) is an unflappable professional, while Richie (Quentin Tarantino) is a perverted psycho who clearly climbed out of the shallow end of the gene pool.  The hoodlums kidnap a family with an RV in order to smuggle themselves over the border. The driver Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) is a recently widowed pastor experiencing a crisis of faith, traveling with his teenage children. In Mexico, they arrive at the Titty Twister, a strip club where the Gecko brothers are supposed to meet their cohort Carlos at dawn. The place appears to be a raunchy paradise, especially when Salma Hayek at her bodacious prime performs a tantalizing striptease. Unfortunately, the topless bar turns out to be a vampire nest, and Seth and the hostages soon find themselves barricaded inside while a host of bat-like bloodsuckers lay siege. Two other patrons survive the initial battle: a two-fisted tough guy played by Black exploitation era icon Fred Williamson and a biker named Sex Machine played by special effects wizard Tom Savini in a rare appearance in front of the camera.

DOG SOLDIERS (2002)—A squad of six British soldiers are dropped off by chopper in a forest in the Scottish Highlands for a routine training exercise. Attacked by a pack of towering, ferocious werewolves, they manage to make it to a cottage, which is quickly surrounded by what turns out to be a family of lycanthropes. The grunts are armed with automatic weapons, but since the bullets are not made of silver, they merely slow the wolfmen down. The plucky soldiers desperately fend off the creatures, hoping that if they can make it to sunrise, the shapeshifters will revert to human form.  The Brits display stiff upper lips and Cockney courage–especially one lad who has the gumption to box a wolfman who busts into the house. Kevin McKidd stars as the heroic Pvt. Lawrence Cooper along with Sean Pertwee as Sgt. Wells—the squad leader who shows true grit even after being disemboweled and bitten.

THE KILLER SHREWS (1959) – Although widely dismissed as laughable schlock, that’s primarily to the low-budget “special effects.” The plot was actually pretty neat.  Employing more logic than the typical mad scientist, a genius doc performs genetic research using shrews because of their short life spans, which allows him to track the progress of his DNA tinkering over multiple generations. Putting safety first, he conducts his experiments on a remote island. Nevertheless, the best laid plans of shrews and men goes astray when the critters evolve to the size of collies—and since shrews eat three times their body weight each day, they are incredibly voracious. Ship Captain Thorne Sherman (James Best) and his party become trapped in the scientist’s compound, surrounded by the flesh-hungry giant rodents. (Which, thanks to that low budget, WERE portrayed by dogs wearing shrew masks!)

 TREMORS (1990) – Rugged handymen Valentine “Val” McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred  Ward) find themselves pitted against giant, prehistoric, worm-like monsters that live around  a small desert town of Perfection, Nevada. Joined by a pretty seismologist who has detected odd underground activity, and with the help of a gun-crazy survivalist couple, they try to protect the townsfolk from the carnivorous creatures they dub Graboids. To avoid the monsters, which are drawn to vibrations, the survivors are forced onto the roof of the general store and other high spots.  That siege is followed by an even more precarious situation when the group is stranded on boulders. The movie boasts one of my favorite lines, when Ward says, “Running isn’t a plan. Running is what you do what a plan fails!” Michael Gross, previously best known as the mild-mannered, liberal dad on TV’s Family Ties, gleefully shows another side as Burt Gummer, the gun-toting conspiracy theorist and prepper.

THE MIST (2007) is a based a novella by Stephen King, and not unexpectedly is set in Maine. After a severe thunderstorm causes the power to go out, several residents of a small town visit a supermarket to pick up supplies. An unnatural mist envelops the area—from which colossal, spider-like, Lovecraftian monsters emerge.  Tensions quickly rise among the shoppers as they fight to stay alive. Thomas Jane stars as David Drayton, a painter trapped in the store with wife, 8-year-old son and townsfolk, including a religious fanatic who believes the mist to be the wrath of God.

THE CRAWLING EYE AKA THE TROLLENBERG TERROR (1958) — Forrest Tucker, best known as conniving Sgt. O’Rourke on TV’s F Troop, stars as U.N. troubleshooter Alan Brooks, who is dispatched to investigate mysterious fatal accidents that have occurred near a resort hotel on the fictional Mount Trollenberg in Switzerland. The source of the deaths is a weird, radioactive cloud that locals believe is inhabited. It sure is–by a giant, tentacled beast with a single huge eye! Brooks, a mind-reading beauty (Janet Munro) and other hotel guests manage to make it to a well-fortified observatory. There, using Molotov cocktails, axes and other means, they struggle to survive until help arrives.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) — In this comedy-horror classic, Simon Pegg stars as Shaun, a downtrodden London electronics  salesman who becomes an unlikely hero in  the midst of the zombie apocalypse. Rising to the occasion and armed with a cricket bat, Shaun leads a band of survivors including pudgy pal Ed (Nick Frost), his mom, and grumpy stepfather (Bill Nighy). Shaun and his party make their way to the Winchester, a local pub where they make a last stand against the walking dead. Bit of a sticky wicket, you might say.

YOU’RE NEXT (2011) — In this slasher flick, estranged relatives at a family reunion are besieged by a group of bizarrely  masked homicidal maniacs.  Aubrey and Paul Davison (Barbara Crampton and Rob Moran) invite their adult children and their partners to their vacation home, hoping bury a few hatchets. Sharp instruments do indeed enter the picture as the nuts armed with crossbows and machetes encircle the isolated home, forcing the dysfunctional family to fight for their lives.

THE EVIL DEAD (1981)Directed by Sam Raimi in his trademark unhinged, over-the-top style, the story begins when five Michigan State college students vacation at an old cabin in a remote wooded area. Venturing into the basement, the youths stumble across The Naturom Demonto,  an ancient Sumerian book similar to H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional Necronomicon, along with a tape recorder into which a researcher has read passages. Foolishly, they play the tape and the incantation summons a legion of demons. The group battles to keep the malignant entities out, a task that becomes more challenging as members are possessed one by one. The square-jawed hero Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) faces an onslaught of increasingly gory mayhem as he fights to hold onto his sanity and soul. I prefer the better plotted and acted sequel/remake Evil Dead 2 (1987). But nothing in it matches the unnerving elements of the original–most shockingly, a scene where Ash’s girlfriend is raped by demonically possessed trees.

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986) is also based on a Stephen King story, Trucks. After the Earth crosses the tail of a comet, all machines including cars, trucks and even vending machines, suddenly become sentient and embark on a world-wide killing spree. Homicidal trucks are the chief adversary of a group of people stranded at the Dixie Boy Truck Stop outside Wilmington, North Carolina. The film stars Emilio Estevez as Bill Robinson, Pat Hingle as Bubba Hendershot as well as Yeardly Smith (the voice of Lisa Simpson). The film is King’s first and only directorial effort and boasts a hard rock soundtrack by the author’s favorite band AC/DC.  I don’t recall the movie being all that bad, but it garnered nominations for two Golden Raspberry Awards, Worst Director and worst actor for Estevez. King himself takes a dim view of the film in retrospect, admitting that is a “moron movie,” and vowing never to direct again.

HONERABLE MENTION:

ASSAULT ON PRECINT 13 (1976)  — Although it is an action thriller, not a horror movie, this film directed, scored, and edited by John Carpenter of Halloween fame has the feel of a fright flick. A small group of police officers must defend a defunct precinct against a relentless street gang bent avenging the deaths of six of its members. Set in South Central L.A., the movie stars Austin Stoker and Laurie Zimmer as the cops. Darwin Joston plays Napoleon Wilson, a jailed murderer en route to Death Row, who redeems himself by helping the officers survive the night.

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I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, please take a moment to check out my latest project…

THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

In the two-part graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black. Volume One is available on Amazon, and a Kickstarter is underway for Volume 2.

Posted June 5, 2022 by C. Michael Forsyth in Uncategorized

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Troops Deployed at Graves of GOP Presidents — in Case They Rise from Dead!   Leave a comment

grants-tomb

President Grant’s body lies in this tomb — for now.

By C. Michael Forsyth

SPRINGFIELD, Il. — In what officials say is “just a precaution,” National Guard troops have been stationed at the burial sites of dead Republican presidents – in case they claw their way out of their graves!

Eyewitnesses report seeing armed soldiers guarding the tomb of Ulysses S. Grant in New York City’s Riverside Park, Abraham Lincoln’s tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, IL., and Teddy Roosevelt’s final resting place in Youngs Memorial Cemetery in Oyster Bay, N.Y. A watchful eye is also being kept on the graves of presidents Eisenhower and Reagan.

While officials won’t publically comment on the reason for the startling move, a Department of Homeland Security insider acknowledged that it was prompted by a “recent event in national politics.”

“Some things could make a former president turn over in his grave,” he said. “But this development might stir up a much stronger reaction.”

Despite the fact that many of the historical figures are beloved, soldiers have received strict orders to shoot to kill if they rise as zombies.

“Honest Abe was my boyhood hero, but if he comes shambling toward me in rotting clothes and a stovepipe hat, I won’t hesitate to take him down with a headshot,” a National Guard officer said.

lincoln-zombie

Artist Wilfred Aldrich’s  depiction of Honest Abe as a zombie.

As extraordinary as it sounds, there is historical precedent for dead commanders in chief rising to walk the earth when they’re upset by political events. Legend has it that Andrew Jackson, a staunch supporter of slavery, rose from the dead when the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery was ratified in 1865.

“It’s said that Jackson roamed the roads outside Nashville, Tenn. for 11 days, sometimes lunging at freed slaves,” revealed presidential historian Lillian Bellwither. “A ritual conducted by a Lutheran minister was used to coax him back to his grave.”

Lincoln’s body has been put under armed guard before, when in 1876, authorities got wind of a gang’s plot to steal the remains and hold them for ransom until the government paid $200,000 in gold.

President Reagan’s remains are sealed in a reinforced underground crypt at his presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif.

“Reagan’s tomb is virtually escape-proof,” said the DHS insider. “There’s no way the Gipper is getting out of there.”

Officials insist there is no reason for the public to panic and that the threat level from the dead GOP presidents is “below yellow.”

“This is just erring on the side of caution,” the DHS insider explained. “We’d rather be safe than sorry. We can’t wait until someone sees Lincoln or Ike biting some lobbyist on the steps of the Capitol. If these presidents were alive, they’d be the first to insist we do everything possible to ensure the safety of U.S. citizens.”

teddy-roosvelts-grave

Could Teddy Roosevelt’s grave be Ground Zero for the zombie apocalypse?

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

If you enjoyed this srticle, check out C. Michael Forsyth’s collection of news satire, available on Kindle and in other eBook formatsBizarre News Cover 5.

ZOMBIES COME BACK HORNY, NOT HUNGRY!   Leave a comment

By C. Michael Forsyth

WASHINGTON — Zombies rise from the grave craving sex, not hungering for human flesh, according to startling eyewitness reports. In dozens of cases coast to coast, the lust-crazed walking dead have made awkward advances at living people — and have sometimes even bedded them.

“Remember, when zombies return to life, their brains retain only the most primitive instincts,” explains a CDC researcher who helped compile the mountain of evidence. “The primary drive is sexual desire. Hunger is a distant second, particularly since in many cases, their digestive systems have rotted away.

“If you see a zombie shambling toward you, the odds are he or she is more interested in hooking up than eating your brain.”

In one shocking incident that took place in Bishopville, SC., a terrified homemaker watched a “walker” approach as she planted gardenias in her backyard.

“He was drooling, and as he got closer, I got a better look at his ragged pants,” she told investigators. “Suddenly the phrase ‘the dead shall rise’ took on a whole new meaning. From the look in his eyes, I could tell just what he had in mind.”

Fortunately, the quick-thinking housewife managed to ward off the amorous creature with a weedwacker.

Walking Dead Hardcore

LIFE IMITATES ART: In this “The Walking Dead” porn parody, zombies crave flesh in a very different way. And experts say this time, Hollywood got it right!

In another case outside Philadelphia, an eyewitness identified only as Ken B. heard a knock on his front door, opened it and was stunned to see a former high school acquaintance who’d been buried weeks earlier.

“The right side of Kimberly’s face had mostly rotted away, but she’d kept her figure. I was surprised when she suddenly ripped open her shirt and those double D hooters that made her so popular back in school came spilling out,” Ken B. told a researcher. “The weird part was that back when Kim was a cheerleader and I was in the band, she would never give me the time of day.

“She reached for me – or I should say, a particular part of me. I’ve got to admit, I was tempted to go through with it, because I’d always had a crush on her. But I just couldn’t get past that eye dangling from the socket, and plus my wife was in the kitchen. I slammed the door in her face. Later I heard that she made stops at three of our other classmates.”

But not everyone has the willpower to resist the charms of undead hotties and hunks. A Texas man confessed to having a close encounter with a winsome walker as he was out hunting in a remote area.

“This girl came shambling toward me out of the bushes — buck naked and with a morgue tag still attached to her toe,” the hunter told investigators. “Her skin was gray and there were chunks of flesh missing in places, but I guess I’d still rate her about an 8.

“I unslung my Winchester Model 700 and was just about to take the zombie out with a headshot, when she got down on all fours and gave me this ‘come hither’ look over her shoulder. I’m ashamed to say I took advantage of the situation.”

Zombie sexy

DON’T be tempted by curvaceous zombie vixens, medical experts warn.

Authorities warn that such behavior is high risk, because it often results in transmission of the virus responsible for zombieism, known scientifically as Ambulatory Lazarus Syndrome. Just how many victims have been infected by sexual contact with the raunchy roamers is unclear. But the CDC insider involved in the agency’s hush-hush research into the widening epidemic says it could be “in the hundreds,” with the numbers growing each year.

“The old narrative was that the zombie contagion was principally spread through bites,” explains the researcher, who requested anonymity. “The new narrative is that it is a sexually transmitted disease. Even a hickey from a zombie can cause you to turn.”

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If you enjoyed this mind-bending supernatural news satire by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his new project…

——————————————————————————————————————–

THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

In the graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black.

Vampires take over a women’s prison in the spooky, steamy graphic novel Night Cage, Volume 2

ZOMBIE PLAGUE IS GOD’S PUNISHMENT FOR POT, SAYS TOP CLERGYMAN.   Leave a comment

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.

Bizarre News Cover 5.

SPEAKING OF ZOMBIES…

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.

Most Real Zombies Subsist on Berries, Nuts, Study Shows   Leave a comment

Zombie herds typically forage for berries, nuts and low-hanging fruit.

Zombie herds typically forage for berries, nuts and low-hanging fruit.

By C. Michael Forsyth

Surprise! Most real-life zombies subsist on a diet of berries and nuts, researchers now say – a far cry from Hollywood’s depiction of them as fierce cannibals.

“Zombies are what anthropologists call gatherers,” explains Dr. Henry Coblinsaw, chief author of a recently published study. “Their digestive system has atrophied, making it very difficult to digest meat. And because of their familiar shambling gait, chasing game such as deer or stray dogs is not an option, likewise humans, of course.”

Climbing trees is also impossible, so only low-hanging fruit is on the menu. Wild berries and nuts that have fallen to the ground are a zombie’s most commonly consumed food source.

“An Arizona zombie that was dissected in 2018 was found to have six walnuts in its stomach,” the expert reveals.

"No thanks. Have any walnuts?" Real zombies do not eat rats, contrary to this scene in The Walking Dead.

“No thanks. Have any walnuts?” Real zombies do not eat rats, contrary to this scene in The Walking Dead.

In movies like Night of the Living Dead and the hit TV series The Walking Dead, zombies are shown ripping ordinary people apart and feeding on their body parts. But with slowly decaying muscles and low levels of adrenaline, real zombies simply don’t have the strength or energy to do that. According to the researcher, there have been only eight cases of zombies eating human flesh since 1905.

Brain damage due to the loss of oxygen between death and revival is another factor that explains their dietary restrictions.

“Zombies are quite docile, which is what made them such easily controlled fieldworkers in Haiti from the 1700s up until the 1930s,” notes Dr. Coblinsaw. “They rely on the most primitive instincts residing in the surviving areas of the brain. That means eating fruit, nuts and berries like our tree-dwelling ape-like ancestors.”

The only real hazard zombies present to normal people is when a herd ambles through a strawberry patch, field of corn or other crops.

“They are a real pest to farmers,” says the researcher. “They pass through a cornfield, stripping the stalks bare like locusts. The only solution farmers have found is to post ‘scarecrows,’ cardboard cutouts of figures with chainsaws or cricket bats.”

CARDBOARD cutouts like this one in an Iowa cornfield are used to ward off zombies and protect crops.

CARDBOARD cutouts like this one in an Iowa cornfield are used to ward off zombies and protect crops.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

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If you enjoyed this whimsical story by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his upcoming project:

Vampires take over a women’s prison in this graphic novel. A Kickstarter is underway right now!

CLAUSTROPHIC TERROR GETS THE MAX

If you got a chuckle out of this mind-bending tale by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his new graphic novel Night Cage, about vampires running amok in a women’s prison. 

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.

Bizarre News Cover 5.

This story was written by the author of the acclaimed horror novel Hour of the Beast. Check it out along with his other exciting books HERE.

In Hour of the Beast, a young bride is raped by a werewolf on her wedding night. When her sons grow up and head to college, things REALLY get out of hand.

In Hour of the Beast, a young bride is raped by a werewolf on her wedding night. When her sons grow up and head to college, things REALLY get out of hand.

WORLD’S FASTEST ZOMBIE SHATTERS 100-METER RECORD!   2 comments

QUCK AND THE UNDEAD: Zombie known only as Jacques is the fastest ever recorded.

QUICK AND THE UNDEAD: Zombie known only as Jacques is the fastest ever recorded.

By C. Michael Forsyth

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — There are slow zombies. There are fast zombies. And then there is a blindingly fast zombie named Jacques who recently shattered the world record for his kind by running the 100 meters in 10:06 seconds!

The lean, French-born athlete pulled off the dazzling feat at the annual Undead Track and Field Tournament held in the Toussaint L’Ouverture Racetrack in Haiti, finishing many strides ahead of his eight competitors.

“Jacques’ astounding performance at this event demolishes the image of zombies as shambling and unfocused,” declared sportswriter Kevin J. Bracksley. “His speed was just a fraction of a second behind the ‘normal human’ record set by Usain Bolt in 2009.”

The remarkable “running dead” sports star is equally impressive in longer distances, recently clocked at 4.12 minutes in the mile.

Zombie racing is a tradition that dates back to the 18th century, when plantation owners would wager on their most fleet-footed undead field hands. Mark Twain, who saw one of the bizarre races on his many travels, wrote in 1896 that it was “sort of like a tortoise race, but less exciting.”

In the 20th century, the international tournament was expanded to include events such as the shot put and broad jump. Organizers hope that in future years, other athletic events such as beach volleyball will be added.

Zombies arrived from far away as Turkey to compete in the races held on November 14, brought by family members or handlers who’d purchased them. Jacques’ owner is a wealthy, unidentified British sports enthusiast whose team spent months training and conditioning the 6 foot 2, 160-pound athlete.

“Muscle break down and decay is very common among zombies and the lack of oxygen to the brain they suffer before revival usually means their motor control is shot,” explained Bracksley. “That’s a huge hurdle to overcome in competitive sports.”

Although Jacques’ full name has not been revealed, he reportedly was an avid marathon runner who took home several trophies in Europe before falling victim to a zombie outbreak in 2011. That background has doubtless aided the rotting runner, the sportswriter said.

“There’s such a thing as ‘muscle memory’ you don’t lose even when the higher centers of the brain are kaput,” he observed. “And I’d like to think that the competitive spirit that Jacques had before he crossed over is still flickering in that decaying skull of his, and that helped him across the finish line first.”

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

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CLAUSTROPHIC TERROR GETS THE MAX

If you got a chuckle out of this mind-bending tale by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his new graphic novel Night Cage, about vampires running amok in a women’s prison. 

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

Bizarre News Cover 5.

If you found this story by C. Michael Forsyth entertaining, check out his novel Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in the Adventure of The Spook House HERE.

The creator of Sherlock Holmes and the world's greatest magician probe a paranormal  mystery in new thriller.

The creator of Sherlock Holmes and the world’s greatest magician probe a paranormal mystery in new thriller.

Zombies to Replace Migrant Farm Workers   Leave a comment

ZOMBIE farm labor is expected to outpace migrant labor by 2019.

ZOMBIE farm labor is expected to outpace migrant labor by 2019.


By C. Michael Forsyth

SAN MATEO, Calif. — Most ordinary folks see the widening zombie epidemic with fear — but corporate America sees big profits! Agribusiness giants are gradually replacing migrant workers with zombie farm workers who can pick fruit, lettuce and other crops at a fraction of the cost.

“There are many jobs that living Americans won’t do, and undocumented aliens will do but only if compensated financially,” explained an industry insider. “Zombies don’t demand pay, don’t require rest breaks, don’t need healthcare or other benefits and don’t burden an employer when injured on the job. If they lose a hand on a piece of farm equipment they just keep going.”

Legislation now wending its way through Congress will help smooth the transition from illegal alien to zombie labor. If signed into law, House of Representatives Bill 8263, The American Protection of Personhood Act, would define a person as “a human being not capable of sustaining life when shot through the heart or other vital organs apart from the brain.”

“The language excludes zombies from labor laws,” the insider explained. “That means that zombie laborers are exempt from the minimum wage, workplace safety rules, limitations on hours, the Family Leave Act and other cumbersome Federal regulations.”

Not having to worry about government red tape will help the farm industry compete with foreign food producers, analysts say.

“This is just the kind of boost the U.S. economy could use right now,” says economist Gerard N. Lunkster.

OLD SCHOOL: Zombies have worked the fields of Haiti since the early 1800s.

OLD SCHOOL: Zombies have worked the fields of Haiti since the early 1800s.

The first known use of zombie labor in the western hemisphere was in Haiti in the early 1800s when they were commonly seen harvesting sugarcane. The Haitian government imposed a ban on their use in the 1960s.

“Contrary to what you may have seen in the cinema and on TV, real zombies are quite docile when fed and cared for properly,” said an expert. “They are well suited to farm work. Attempts to train them to do jobs requiring more manual dexterity, such as assembly line work, have by and large been unsuccessful.”

Labor leaders are fighting the bill tooth and nail, warning that employing zombies will displace living workers. But farm industry lobbyists dismiss those concerns.

“Don’t worry about jobless people — zombies need to eat don’t they?” joked the insider. “Just kidding. But seriously, if some unemployed vagrant does trespass on a farm trying to steal food or looking for a handout, and winds up a meal, that’s not the farmer’s concern. You can’t prosecute zombies for homicide because they’re not legally people.”

UNLIKE the vicious creatures in TV shows like "The Walking Dead," most real zombies are docile, compliant and unlikely to strike.

UNLIKE the vicious creatures in TV shows like “The Walking Dead,” most real zombies are docile, compliant and unlikely to strike.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

The tables turn on an identity thief in the latest thriller by C. Michael Forsyth. To check it out, click HERE.

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

If you found this story by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth entertaining, you might enjoy his thriller The Identity Thief.

WAS BIBLE’S LAZARUS “PATIENT ZERO” IN ZOMBIE PLAGUE?   Leave a comment

MIXED BLESSING: Bringing Lazarus back to life unleashed the zombie epidemic, research suggests.

MIXED BLESSING: Bringing Lazarus back to life unleashed the zombie epidemic, research suggests.

By C. Michael Forsyth

Lazarus, the man Jesus Christ brought back from the dead, may have been Patient Zero in the zombie apocalypse. That is the shocking claim of an infectious disease specialist who contends that in performing His most astounding miracle, the Messiah inadvertently sparked the epidemic.

Dr. Godfrey P. Stockworthy and his team used computer analysis to chart every recorded zombie outbreak of the past 2,000 years and created a digital map.

“The map shows waves of outbreaks in concentric circles with the epicenter in the ancient town of Bethany, where Lazarus was resurrected, and spreading first across the Holy Land, then throughout the Roman Empire, then Asia and Africa,” revealed the British researcher. “The first documented zombie incidents took place in 34 A.D. just a few miles from the West Bank town of al-Eizariyat, as Bethany is now known.”

Chapter 11 of the Gospel According to St. John states that Jesus brought Lazarus back to life after the villager lay rotting in a tomb for four days. Little is known of what became of Lazarus after that, other than that the Bible says fearful chief priests considered putting him down. According to Eastern Orthodox tradition, he was driven from Judea and ended up in Cyprus—incidentally the site of one of the earliest mentions of “the walking death,” as ancient historians called the zombie plague. Another account says that terrified townsfolk set him out to sea in a boat without oars and that years later he was cornered in a cave in Marseilles, France, and beheaded. Contradicting that, a 16th century folktale relates how Rabbi Loew, the intrepid holy man who also took down the Golem of Prague, smote him in the forehead with a silver spike engraved with Hebrew lettering.

“Whichever account you believe, it’s noteworthy that in all of them, Lazarus could only be killed permanently by going for the head, just as with modern-day zombies,” Dr. Stockworthy observes.

Medieval zombies were often mistaken for lepers.

Medieval zombies were often mistaken for lepers.

Researchers know now that many cases of what were mistakenly called “lepers” in the Dark Ages and Medieval times were in fact zombies, whose decaying body parts and shambling gait struck fear into the hearts of peasants all over Europe. And historians are in almost unanimous agreement that the Holy Land was ground zero for what has become a widening epidemic. But Dr. Stockworthy is the first expert to pinpoint Lazarus of Bethany as the world’s first zombie.

The study, released April 15 on the eve of Easter, was greeted with skepticism by Bible scholars.

“To suggest that Jesus accidentally created zombies is ludicrous,” declared televangelist Reverend Alvin Becrest. “If Our Lord is responsible for the zombie apocalypse, and I’m not conceding that He is, it must be part of the divine plan.”

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.

Bizarre News Cover 5.

IN OTHER NEWS…

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance  in new book.

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance in new book.

My novel Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in the Adventure of the Spook House is continuing to get rave reviews from fans of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

From the Sherlock Holmes Society of London: “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of the Spook House is an adventure story with depth, full of atmosphere, suspense, ingenuity and a real feeling for place, period and personality. Intensive research, a good ear for rhythms of speech and a literate style make for a cracking good read.”

The spanking new book trailer is now up on YouTube.

New York City dwellers, support independent bookstores by purchasing your autographed copy at The Mysterious Bookshop at 58 Warren Street in the Tribeca area. A neat book store specializing in mysteries, it’s a fun place to browse.It’s open Monday-Saturday from 11am-7pm. (212) 587-1011

Independent bookstores need our support!

Independent bookstores need our support!

The Mysterious Bookshop has been a fixture in New York for over 30 years.

The Mysterious Bookshop has been a fixture in New York for over 30 years.

PLUS, TO SEE EXCITING NEW VERSION OF THE BOOK TRAILER FOR HOUR OF THE BEAST, CLICK HERE!

Book trailer for Hour of the Beast.

Book trailer for Hour of the Beast.

To check out the critically acclaimed horror novel, click HERE.

A Brain-eating Bonanza! “The Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics.”   Leave a comment

By C. Michael Forsyth

In my scariest childhood nightmare ever, a man hears a weird whistle that draws him like a siren into a ruined mansion — where he’s cut into mincemeat by an unseen, supernatural entity. In the scariest play I’ve ever seen, “The Woman in Black,” a vengeful undead wraith preys on whoever sets foot in her decaying home. In the last movie to genuinely frighten me, “The Grudge”, a hideous harpy with wild, ragged hair hides out in a haunted house and murders every unlucky visitor (even tracking down and dispatching folks who heed the obvious warnings to get out).

So it was quite an unusual, sum-of-all-fears reading experience to find those elements combined in a single bone-chilling, atmospheric comic titled “Pigeons from Hell.”

The ultra-creepy comic is based on a 1932 short story by Robert E. Howard. (Yep, Conan’s creator did more than just churn out yarns about pumped up he-men with Viking hats. A buddy of H.P. Lovecraft, he too was a master of the horror genre and the pair engaged in a robust correspondence about the supernatural.)

The chiller is just one of 30 great zombie tales in The Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics, edited by David Kendall.

An eerie whistle lures a victim to the lair of this zombie she-devil in “Pigeons from Hell.”

You might expect that a 453-page anthology packed with nothing but zombie stories would get old in a hurry. But nothing could be further from the truth. What I love about this book is the astonishing variety of plots, themes, and visual styles.

In the blackly humorous “Dead Eyes Open,” the theme of discrimination is explored when millions of people return from the dead with their minds fully intact. The first celebrity “returner” is Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame. The undead former child actor pleads for acceptance of the new minority group and an end to the “re-murder” of his kind by trigger-happy vigilantes.

Based on an old folktale, “The Zombie“ takes place in Africa, where voodoo has its roots and zombies are the tragic victims of sorcerers.

In “Necrotic: Dead Flesh on a Living Body,” an Egyptologist discovers that mummification provides the key to immortality — with a terrible price.

An Egyptologist’s bid to cheat death has a few glitches in “Necrotic: Dead Flesh on a Living Body.”

The book offers a visual buffet, featuring styles ranging from the three-dimensional realism of the space-zombie story “Flight from Earth,” illustrated by Roman Surzhenko, to the minimalist avante guarde approach taken by artist Iain Laurie in “Pariah.”

Previously, I’d never found zombies either interesting or all that scary (after the shock of my first viewing of “Night of the Living Dead” as a kid). Unlike vampires and werewolves, who have an inner life and are often tortured by guilt, zombies are almost always presented on film as mindless, flesh-eating killing machines. And usually pretty easy to kill, once you figure out to shoot ’em in the head. (Often they can be taken out of commission by a baseball bat or solid uppercut).

But the stories in this collection pose some deep philosophical questions. “Zombies,” for example, explores that old trick of mimicking the infected to slip by them — dating back at least as far as “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and parodied to hilarious effect in “Shaun of the Dead.” The shocking ending raises the question, “How far would you be willing to go to survive?”

This interview with a zombified Star Trek C-list celeb Wil Wheaton would have been the perfect finale for Oprah’s TV show.

Varying rules and explanations for zombism abound; the creators are not restricted by the mythology established in Hollywood by Romero. Some zombies are created the old fashioned way by wicked voodoo practitioners, while in “Amy,” disembodied alien invaders travel light-years to animate the corpses of earthlings.

You know, when “28 Days Later” came out, many reviewers praised director Danny Boyle for “reinventing the zombie genre.” Bull. While deserving of kudos for its grim, digital-video look, artistic flourishes and thought-provoking climax, the zombies themselves were the same brainless, cannibalistic monsters of “Night of the Living Dead” and its sequels — just a whole lot quicker.

And while the character-driven “Walking Dead” graphic novel and the TV series based on it boast some intriguing situations and relationships, these truly ARE your father’s zombies. Comic book writer Robert Kirkman makes no claim to have re-invented the genre. He doesn’t believe it needs re-invention. In his intro to Volume One, he extols the virtues of well-scripted zombie flicks like the “Dawn of the Dead” remake, acknowledging his debt to them. Really, the mess hero Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors find themselves in could have been ANY end-of-the world scenario; those shambling, “classic” zombies are just a plot device.

But in “The Mammoth book of Zombie Comics,” you WILL find the genre re-invented again and again in delightful, deliciously scary way

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THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

Vampires run amok in a women’s prison in the gorgeously illustrated, 80-page graphic novel Night Cage. When a newly made vampire is sentenced to an escape-proof, underground slammer, she quickly begins to spread the contagion.

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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