That time of year…

Yes, that’s right. As I write this in the part of September that is edgeing into “late” we can already see the Halloween costumes lining the walls of shops, bags of candy corn piled high, stacks of pumpkins outside of the market.

I enjoy Halloween, I do. I see no reason in beginning festivities a month and a half early, but I digress.

When Halloween comes about, all the shops do SOMETHING. So this is when all of the book/video shops lay out in plain sight on a big table the material I usually have to go hunting for. This is why I got all giddy in Barnes and Noble yesterday when I ran across these two books:

[Read full post below the fold]

The Zen of Zombie: Better Living Through the Undead by Scott Kenemore

The Vampire Survival Guide: How to Fight, and Win, Against the Undead by Scott Bowen

I won’t lie, I’m really excited about these books. It’s often these types of lesser known, but wildly hilarious, monster “joke” books which provide the deepest insights into what I term the metaphorical versions of disease.

And now for something completely different. It feels like we’ve been talking about some pretty heavy stuff here lately, so here is a little review/synopsis/bashing of a movie that is related, but just so bad…

I watched a movie called “Slither” a few weeks ago. I had seen it before, but wasn’t quite so knee deep in my thesis at the time and must not have paid enough attention (okay, I was living in London, and drinking/travelling with all of my time). But at any rate, the first time I saw it, I missed the disease narrative components of the film. The heroine of the film even blatantly says the phrase “concious disease” at one point in the film. Probably should have been a dead give away…maybe I was distracted by the rest of the disgusting and poorly written/produced/directed/acted film.

This movie is different in that the bug like “monster” is from another planet. It arrives and infects Grant, now the patient zero. Grant “impregnates” another woman with his little alien babies, and then she…erm…explodes…allowing thousands of little alien babys (like slugs) to enter into people’s mouths, crawl up into their brain, and remain connected to the “father” (Grant)—confused yet? I am. It’s a terrible movie.

But terrible or not it hits my vital components to qualify as disease narrative. We have the rage filled Grant, who is so mad at his wife Starla for not having sex with him that he goes out to a bar and meets another woman who he later infects/impregnates.

There is some good people killing people, especially once the entire town but three people have been infected and they discover that if they kill Grant, all of the infected will die. An eerie shot at the end of the film has the three survivors walking away from the town; the town is covered in bodies.

While I’m discussing that shot, it simultaneously gives the film a nice “apocalyptic” feel, because at the end of the film you can’t be sure if there were little alien babies that escaped to other towns, or maybe their were other “fathers/mothers” sent down from the sky. So the people we watch walk away from the camera may be the last people on the planet.

There is some abandonment and broken families. When Grant leaves Starla with the intention to be unfaithful to her (or get his kicks elsewhere, as they say) he becomes infected.

Communities versus individuals is kind of blatant…since it’s the whole community…versus three people.

I think the only ones I haven’t really hit on, because they aren’t as prominent in the movie, are quarantine and blood. If anyone has seen this terrible excuse for a movie and would like to argue otherwise…by all means. If it weren’t for the eye-candy, also known as Nathan Fillion, I’m pretty sure this movie would not be worth watching.

Okay, well it’s kind of short, but should suffice for today. I had been feeling guilty for not posting anything lately. Hope this keeps you occupied for a bit. 😉 Take a break from whatever you’re doing, tell a joke, laugh, have fun with something, drink some wine, ponder on what Halloween means to you, and then get back to me.



  1. Halloween is awesome! And it’s a damn fine time of the year- I love autumn.

    Wanted to give you a head’s up, too, about some zombie-lit I’ve been reading. There’s an ongoing series of comics by a guy names Robert Kirkman, entitled ‘The Walking Dead.’ The author fashions it as a long-form story following the protagonist Rick, telling the whole story, most importantly all the good stuff that happens once the movie or novel usually ends.

    Also: Marvel Zombies. It’s kind of a thin concept (the Marvel superhero Universe has been infected, and within two days, everyone’s a zombie or dead), and it’s mostly just fun because of the art. But there was one thing I thought interesting: the zombies talk, reversing their usual voicelessness. It suggested to me something of a retroactive revisioning of all voiceless zombie stories: what if they all are talking all along, but since the stories are usually told from the survivor’s perspective, we just don’t realize it? That theory doesn’t quite hold, since the talking zombies can still talk to the couple of survivors, suggesting that there’s something unique about these guys versus most others, but it’s still a fun idea. Also depicts what super-powered zombies might be like. Kind of like 28 Days Later showing not shuffling, moaning zombies, but sprinting ones- catches you off guard a bit.

    Anyway- enjoy those new books of yours!

  2. I like the idea of zombies talking.

    Do you get the feeling that maybe zombies are evolving in the literature we read over time?

    They start out as nothing but corpses mastered by voodoo, then they get their own power to shuffle around on their own, eventually they remember things (how to use weapons, they have a few memories of humanity, etc), they gain speed and strength, until finally they almost complete the circle and become human again, except without that whole life thing.

    Just a thought.

    Always good to hear from you Rob! 🙂

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