I’ll be up front right away: I am no writer, certainly not like our beloved Pixie, and that will probably become apparent as I go on. What I am, though, is passionate about horror, in particular the zombie subgenre; something I am sure you will agree is awesome!
I am here to talk to you about how my passion has manifested and what I am doing, particularly during these difficult times in lockdown, to promote this subgenre, along with horror in a general sense, and, of course, keeping myself sane.
Around August 2020, I was fortunate enough to become part of the George A. Romero Foundation. (Aka the GARF.) “What’s that?” you ask. Well, if you will indulge me, I will take you back slightly—well, to the 1960s and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, not necessarily a place associated with movie-making.
A keen bunch of creatives who thought they could make a movie as good as, if not better than, the current crop of B-movie and creature feature horror filling their local drive-ins and movie theatres, decided to make a little horror movie of their own. It was (eventually) called Night of the Living Dead; the director was one George A. Romero; and an entire sub-genre, namely populated with flesh-eating zombies, was born.
George, of course, went on to make another five zombie movies, including what is generally considered to be the best ever made, Dawn of the Dead, as well as a suite of politically antagonising, non-comprising movies, frequently dabbling in horror if not outright drowning in it.
Over the course of his 30-year career, George visited vampire lore with Martin; tackled a viral outbreak catastrophe with The Crazies, which is very reminiscent of current times; cast a very young Ed Harris in his first lead role in Knightriders, led the way in anthology horror with Creepshow; adapted work with Stephen King’s The Dark Half; and redefined genre convention by combining zombies and found footage with Diary of the Dead.
Along the way, George would collaborate with some of the greatest horror luminaries of the ’80s and ’90s, including Stephen King, Dario Argento, and Tobe Hooper.
Now you have a bit of insight into what George did and was about. So, what does the Foundation do, and how did it all come about?
Well, sadly George passed in July 2017, and to honour his memory and continue his great work, his widow, Suzanne Romero, decided to establish a foundation to promote George’s work and independent horror filmmaking, particularly in and around Pittsburgh, a city George fell in love with, even though he was a New Yorker.
Over the past three years, the Foundation has grown both in numbers and capability and even generated a presence that stretches across the globe. I am the GARF Global lead and UK ambassador, and since I came on board, the Foundation has established ambassadors in France, Italy, and Japan, in addition to having a presence in California, Colorado, Florida, and of course Pittsburgh.
We are all volunteers and huge horror and Romero fans, and have recruited Greg Nicotero (Him of the Walking Dead), Tom Savini (makeup and FX legend), Malcolm McDowell, and John Harrison, as well as other movie industry experts and horror academics to work with and promote the Foundation.
Recent achievements that have come about from the involvement of the Foundation include the reboot of the Creepshow franchise on Shudder, executive produced by Greg; and the release of the long-lost Romero film The Amusement Park, now available to stream on Shudder in the UK after a full restoration and rights negotiation deal undertaken by the Foundation.
In addition to new projects, the Foundation has been instrumental in preserving George’s memory. In partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, a number of film-training programmes have been established, and an archive of material accumulated throughout George’s career has been created and put on display for fellow horror filmmakers, academics, and members of the public to view.
George was a prolific writer and produced some very intriguing and frankly astonishing pieces of work. Over the course of his career, he was attached to an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, recently reimagined as a miniseries for the second time; and the Resident Evil gaming series, ultimately making a commercial for the Japanese market.
So, what does the future hold for myself and the Foundation? Well, as things slowly begin to open, you will see us at horror conventions across the globe. We will have a presence at Living Dead Weekend in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, the very location where Dawn of the Dead was made, and we are planning on some UK convention appearances in the UK in 2022, as well as other live events across Europe and the Far East.
In addition to convention appearances, we are planning live and virtual events focused on George’s works. This year, check out the 16th anniversary of Land of the Dead, and in 2022, we’ll celebrate the 40th anniversary of Creepshow. In April, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Knightriders, bringing some cast members together for the first time in over 35 years, including one Ed Harris.
We are acknowledging Romero’s collaborators’ contributions to horror and others in the genre with our annual Pioneer Award, and we are also continuing to provide a full range of licensed merchandise associated with George’s films—some for the first time. As we are non-profit organization, all money raised goes back into the Foundation and the great work being done.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you have a good appreciation of the work being done if not done already, so maybe check out some of George’s work. After all, no George A. Romero, no Walking Dead, and maybe I’ll catch you at the Monroeville Mall, The Wampum Mines, or Fiddler’s Green, and in the meantime, Stay Scared!
What to know more about GARF? See what we’re up to, let us know what you’re up to or suggest ideas for George Romero events? Well that’s easy with any, and all of the contact details below:
SUBSCRIBE!! To our quarterly newsletter. Head over to https://georgearomerofoundation.org/contact.
CONTRIBUTE!! Fancy throwing us a couple of bucks every month, remember The GARF is non-profit and all our staff are volunteers. All money raised goes straight back into the foundation. Subscribe to our Pateron at www.patreon.com/thegarfofficial
EMAIL!! Send me any ideas, questions, suggestions or even just to chat all things Romero. email@example.com
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I had one of those moments last night after watching The Dead Don’t Die, and I ended up going to bed with an irrational red mist hanging over me… and here’s why.
Before I go any further, if you still wish to subject yourself to this movie, I’d suggest that you skip this review because it has all the spoilers. But hopefully, you’ll take heed of my warning and maybe my anger will at least make you giggle.
The Dead Don’t Die started as a mildly compelling, tongue-in-cheek zombie film with a dry sense of humor… until the last 25 minutes. The end of this film was so bad, I felt like the director was mocking me for watching it.
With such a stellar cast, I was lulled into the false sense of security that it must be good. Hell, it’s starring some of my favourite actors. But even Bill Murray’s charm and Steve Buscemi’s wit could not save this terrible film.
The story is set in a sleepy American town in the middle of nowhere called Centreville, when one day, government fracking on the Earth’s poles causes the entire world to shift on its axis. At first, the animals start to go missing and the daytime bleeds into the night… and then eventually, zombies start to crawl out of their graves.
At this stage in the movie, I was quite enjoying it. The old school Romero-style zombies were great. I didn’t even mind the lack of gore. In this film, instead of spraying the characters with blood, decapitated zombies exploded into dust… imagine if you saw someone farting into a bag of flour… kinda like that, except these zombies would literally go POOF, and then drop dead. Fart jokes aside, I kinda liked it. Although you have to wonder, with such a stellar cast, maybe they simply ran out of budget and had to come up with a cheap, mildly amusing alternative – who knows…
The film was littered with great quirky characters played by Hollywood legends… Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Selena Gomez… there is even a cameo from rock legend Iggy Pop as one of the first zombies. This film had ALL the stars, and yet, their performances couldn’t save it. It wasn’t even that it was acted badly, it was the ending that made no sense.
For some unknown reason, the director decided to end the film by breaking the fourth wall… i.e the characters realising they were in a film. But it added no value to the storyline whatsoever. It literally added nothing. It served no purpose in adding humour, it didn’t create a big twist. It did nothing, other than make me angry.
At the midpoint in the film, the director hinted at breaking the fourth wall, when Officer Ronnie played by Adam Driver and Chief Cliff Robertson played by Bill Murray are listening to the radio in their cop car. The song The Dead Don’t Die came on, and Officer Ronnie comments, “This is the theme tune.” At the time, I groaned internally. I’m not a fan of films that break the fourth wall at the best of times, but sometimes it works, for example, Ferris Buellers Day Off. On that basis, I was willing to stick with it and see it through to the end.
The film ends with mortician Zelda Winston played by Tilda Swinton, who until this point, has been roaming around town as a white-haired, Scottish assassin, killing the undead with her samurai sword. She agrees to meet Officer Ronnie and Chief Cliff in the cemetery. They don’t question why, they simply agree to meet her there.
When they inevitably get surrounded by the zombie horde in their cop car, Chief Cliff questions why Officer Ronnie constantly states that everything is going to end badly. His response was… because I read the script. They then watch Zelda get into an ALIEN SPACESHIP and leave earth – you can’t even make this up. After her swift exit, both cops die in a very mediocre battle with farting zombie heads, and then the credits roll…
Breaking the fourth wall didn’t add humour, it didn’t change the outcome of their fate, it did nothing. Everyone died and no one cared.
So, there you have it. One of the worst films I have watched in a very long time, and hopefully, you won’t make the same mistake as me.
I rate this movie, two terrible zombie head farts out of ten.
Unlike The Dead Don’t Bother, the brand new post-apocalyptic series on Netflix called Sweet Tooth is definitely worth a watch. I wasn’t sure what to think about this series going in, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I still have a couple of episodes to go, so unless it ends terribly, I highly recommend that you check this one out.
Originally a comic book series, the story begins after a devastating global pandemic wipes out the vast majority of the population. As the world begins to crumble, human mothers start to give birth to ‘hybrids’ – half-human, half-animal children. Pockets of society blame the hybrids for the spread of the virus, so many children are forced into hiding. This is where we meet the main character Gus, a half boy, half deer hybrid, surviving in the wilderness with his father.
As the story unfolds, we are introduced to several characters with separate yet parallel stories. Each plot thread is interwoven perfectly, resulting in a highly addictive series. There’s a certain magic to this story, unlike anything else I’ve seen in the post-apocalyptic genre, and strangely it works. If you have teens at home, you could probably watch this with them because there is very little gore. But that doesn’t mean that it’s without action and suspense.
Overall, if you’re looking for something a little different, check this one out and let me know what you think. In case you missed it, here’s the trailer:
Have any of you guys started watching Black Summer yet? You know, probably the best zombie tv series going? Well, I watched the first episode the other night and I forgot how stressful it is. For 50 minutes, my butt cheeks were clenched and my hands were balled into fists. Quite the picture, huh? After the credits rolled, I sagged into to sofa and laughed,
Ah yes, this is why I loved the first season so much.
It’s stressful viewing… but in a good way.
The thing I love about Black Summer is the gritty realness. The characters make silly mistakes but not in an annoying way. As chaos ensues, it easy to imagine yourself in that situation, because as much as we like to believe that under our geeky exteriors we’re all ass-kicking zombie killing warriors like Daryl Dixon, most of us (me included) would be woefully inadequate, just like the beloved Lance in Black Summer who can barely wield an ax.
You’ll get my full review next month once I’ve finished it but if it continues on this trajectory, we’re in for a bumpy ride.
Have you watched it yet? I’d love to know what you think. Post your comments at the bottom of this thread – no spoilers!!
And lastly, we have a brand new trailer for Ashin of the North, a spin-off from Kingdom – the legendary Korean zombie series.
This trailer speaks for itself, so really you should just watch it. But in case you are wondering, this epic ‘sidequal’ explains the origins of the mysterious resurrection flower and follows Ashin on her quest to seek vengeance for her lost tribe and family.
Have you watched Kingdom? If so, what did you think?
That’s it for this month. If you’d like to receive more content like this, including free books, author updates and amusing stories about my cat Pudding, you can join my monthly newsletter. Grab a FREE copy of my short story prequel, and you can sign up today.
Hey Survivors! So, as some of you may know, I have a little monster at home and it is up to me to show him the wonders of horror and zombies but, being that he’s young and I’m the one that has to wake up when he has nightmares, I have to ease him into it. So, I look for gateway horror titles that are good for Pre-Teens; here is a short list of a few that feature zombies!
So, here’s one that many parents who were trapped in the house last year bought for a bit of peace. Trolls World Tour is the second movie in the Trolls franchise and unlike the first movie, it’s based around the society of the trolls.
Early in the movie you learn there are groups of trolls for every genre of music, and they all live separately in peace and harmony with their own magical musical cords. Well, the Rock Trolls want to control all the cords, and in doing so, turn Trolls into mindless Rock n’ Roll Zombies.
It’s pretty cool to see a popular franchise incorporate zombies into their world. TWD has made zombies main stream, but you really don’t notice how big that is until you see things like this.
I’ve never seen Bunks but the concept seems interesting enough. Two trouble making teen brothers scam their way into working at a summer camp instead of going to military camp for troubled youths. The brothers are put in charge of an unruly cabin of kids, and get into it with the other camp counsellors.
The movie has a Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark theme as the brothers find a book of scary stories and break the camp’s only rule of not telling scary stories, releasing a curse from the past and a zombie named Anson who used to work at the camp in the 70s before turning and eating the campers.
Haven’t seen this in forever! So, Norman is an 11 year old who can talk to the dead but no one believes him, because why would you? It’s much more likely that he’s making this up because he enjoys being picked on and having the whole town hate him. Anyways, Norman’s town was big on witch hunting back in the day, so much so, his school makes the kids do a play about the witch hunts and celebrate the murder of a witch three centuries ago (This town sounds fun! That’s sarcasm)
Norman’s crazy Uncle tells Norman it is his time to do a ritual to keep the town safe, and then dies before telling him what that ritual is. But it’s okay, cause Norman talks to the dead and learns from his dead Uncle that he must read from a book (that the uncle was buried with) before sunset.
Simple enough, right? Wrong!
Norman doesn’t read the book and zombies come out of their graves to destroy the town… Kids with books are a dangerous thing in horror movies, books in general come to think of it… but buy my book, I swear you won’t get cursed (that statement is not legally binding)
Remember when we talked about how main stream zombies have become? Well, there is nothing more main stream than a Disney channel musical. Yes, there is a Disney Zombie Musical and yes I’ve watched it more than once.
Zombies is about a place name Seabrook where cheerleading is the only sport people care about, and everyone is pretty stepford-wifeish. Oh, and the whole west side of town are where the zombies live after an explosion at the town power plant (that got its power from an unknown force… I’m not paying my electric bill if even the Mayor don’t know where the power comes from)
The zombies used to be wild and rabid but now they have things called Z bands that allow them to live normal lives, and this year the zombies get to go to school with the normal kids. It’s a story about high school love and segregation… old girl wanted to date him on the down low and he was like “yeah, that sounds great,” he’s a zombie with no self respect and is extremely hypocritical in part two, but it’s still a nice way to ease your kids into the world of zombies.
The best movie for your kid who loves zombies or who isn’t sure about zombies is the one that I sat and watched premier on Cartoon Network in 1998. I’m talking the mother of gateway horror, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island!
This was advertised as the first Scooby-Doo mystery where the monsters were real! (It’s not true, do we not remember when Scooby was hanging with Price?) I sat there with my popcorn and soda cause I had zombies and cartoons! It was the dream team combination! I’m not gonna fill you in, put down your phone and go watch this movie!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this kiddie ride into the world of zombies. Let me know what some of your favorite gateway horror movies are and let me know if your kids love any of the ones on this list
Sylvester Barzey is a best selling horror and fantasy author who grew up in Bronx, NY and was later transplanted to Lawrence, GA. A military veteran with an addiction to all things horror, Sylvester’s goal is to shine a spotlight on BIPOC characters within the horror/fantasy genre.
You can find Sylvester at:
Get over here! and join me as I offer a review of the newly(ish) released movie reboot of the much-loved gaming franchise.
Now cast your mind back to yesteryear, or 1992 to be exact, and you’ll remember a classic computer game released on many platforms. My console of choice was the Sega. Much like the game, the film adaptation told the tale of a group of fighters from earth, or the earth-realm, thrown together and sent to a mysterious island to take part in a tournament.
Full of fan service, one liners, finishers and recognisable characters, the 1995 movie quickly became, not only a favourite with fans, but a cult classic too. The inevitable sequel less so, and the less we say about that the better.
Jump forward 26 years and we have been treated to a modern-day reboot. I think we all know how reboots can go… *cough* Ghostbusters: Answer the Call… So, there was some deserved apprehension from fans of both the films and games.
Thankfully this seemed to be in good albeit fresh hands with Simon McQuoid who brought it back to gruesome life. Without hanging on the subject for too long, there was authentic casting in the forms of some of the Asian characters, so white washing isn’t something that this film can be accused of.
Cast interviews gave early hints that the finishing moves in the film would stay true to the game, and boy did they deliver. My favourite being Kung Lao killing Nitara – he rams his razor edged hat into the ground and runs Nitara through it, easily cutting her in half.
The main crux of the reboot story does differ from the original quite a bit, but for me this was a welcome change. We are introduced to a new character Cole Young who is an out of luck MMA fighter paid to lose. He is seemingly unaware of his heritage and therefore cannot understand why, Emperor of the Outworld Shang Tsung, has sent his best warrior Sub-Zero to hunt him down. Once he has learned of his destiny, he is tasked by Lord Raiden, protector of the Earth-realm, to go in search of other champions to fight together. Normally, this would have been done in the form of a tournament, where an earth-realm fighter would go up against an outworld fighter. However, the Emperor is trying to sabotage the tournament, so it doesn’t happen.
A lot of early criticism was because there wasn’t a single tournament in the whole film, but in fairness this is explained and for me it works. The ending also sets up a sequel that would surely then lead to a tournament, as our hero Cole sets off on a trip to Hollywood in the hunt for a much-loved character from the game and first original film.
All in all, I really enjoyed this film, certainly more than I expected. It was true to the source material whilst offering some fresh perspective and if I am honest the gore added a much-needed element that the original film missed. I would certainly recommend with a solid 8/10.
I think we can all agree, Zack Snyder had a tough act to follow after Dawn of the Dead remake. Even though it’s not technically in my top ten favourite films, it’s still highly ranked as one of my favourite zombie films. So, when I first heard about Army of the Dead, I was both excited and a little skeptical. Over the years, we have seen so many zombie films come and go, it’s hard to find a thrilling storyline that doesn’t use the same washed-up tropes, and when I first read the premise of Army of the Dead – I had a lot of reservations.
But you know what? I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I downright loved it. Yes, there were some glaring plot holes and the ending was a little rushed but I honestly didn’t care. I was having way too much fun to care. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.
In an interview last year, Synder said he was going to deliver a ‘balls to the wall’ zombie film, and he certainly did that. Right from the beginning, we were quite literally showered in zombie guts, to the point where I was giggling with glee… come to think of it, I don’t think I have seen such stomach-churning gore since Noah’s demise in The Walking Dead. Remember when he got his head stuck in the revolving doors? Yep, that stayed with me too.
Let’s face it, this film isn’t an oscar-worthy epic. But it doesn’t even try to be. Synder has managed to push the boundaries within the genre, and whilst ‘smart zombies’ isn’t new, his portrayal of the zombie king and queen heightened the action to a whole new level… and then, of course, there are the alien robot zombies that everyone is talking about, which I’ll admit, sounds mad when you say it out loud. But it’s true, there were hints littered throughout the film. I’m not going to discuss that any further because it’s way too spoilery. Apparently, it is going to be explored in the animated prequel coming soon, so maybe we will get some answers there.
At times, the over-the-top, slick action sequences reminded me of John Wick. Was it believable? Absolutely not. Because in real life, even the most skilled soldiers would struggle to get THAT many perfect headshots, but again, I didn’t care. It was pure escapism at its finest, and it was everything I needed after a long week in the office.
I could go into way more detail but I’m going to stop there. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who still needs to watch it. But before I move on, we need to talk about the stars that stole the show: hilarious Tig Notaro as the pilot and the gorgeous Matthias Schweighöfer as Dieter… who I may or may not have a crush on now. I mean, why do I always fall in love with the geeky guys? This film was literally brimming with buff men, and I’m like… meh, bring on Dieter! I’m sure many women will agree with me – muscles are overrated. Give me a cute blond guy who can make me laugh, and my heart is yours!
So, you can imagine my delight when they announced that Dieter would be getting his very own prequel film called Army of Thieves, and although it isn’t strictly a zombie film, it has Dieter in it, so I’m sold already…
Anyways, I digress…
So overall, I really enjoyed it. It was a fun, action-packed zombie extravaganza, and I’ll probably rewatch it again soon. I give this film, 6.5 badass alien zombies out of 10.
I have to admit, I went in to IT Chapter 2 with relatively low expectations. I enjoyed the first movie starring Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Martell, and not forgetting Bill Skasgard as the terrifying nightmare fuel, Pennywise the clown, but I didn’t love it either. For me, it wasn’t one of those movies that I would rush to watch again. The acting was good, the jump scares were okay…it was all just…meh. After watching the first film, I remember leaving the movie theatre feeling very ‘vanilla’ about the whole thing.
So you could imagine my surprise when I left the cinema on Saturday night feeling somewhat impressed. I’m going to put it out there right now, I think IT Chapter 2 is a significant improvement on the first, and it’s not often you could say that about any sequel, especially in the horror genre.
Firstly, the casting choices were absolutely spot on. This was emphasised by the flashbacks to the child actors from the first film. From James McAvoy’s painfully accurate stutter to James Ransone’s depiction of the neurotic, germaphobe Eddie, and even the childish and often blunt comedy from Bill Hader. All of the actors were scarily reminiscent of their younger counterparts, which resulted in an adult adventure film that could easily rival a Goonies remake, if it were surrounded by nightmarish, half-zombie, half-spider monsters…with a few severed baby limbs thrown in for good measure. Sound horrifying? That’s because it is.
You could argue that the plot isn’t anything revolutionary, but it doesn’t try to be either. In IT Chapter 2 Stephen King has firmly taken a page out of Stan Lee’s playbook and actually appears in the film as an eccentric shop-keeper in Derry. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Stephen King. Salem’s Lot is one of my favourite books. But it’s not a secret that the godfather of horror, despite all his legendary tension building and all round awesomeness, can’t write a good ending. And best of all, he knows it too.
So when the film actively pokes fun at this through the character Bill Denbrough played by James McAvoy, who like King, also can’t write a good ending for his horror novel, I found myself giggling through the lacklustre ending. It’s not often you can say that about a film that ends kind of terribly. But I guess it’s hard to feel irritated when you’re subconsciously prepared for it.
For all its foibles, the camaraderie in this rag-tag group of friends is believable. It felt as though we were genuinely watching a group of old school friends taking on a psychotic, murdering clown. The comedy was well-placed without being too over baring, and there were touching moments that heightened the tension too. Overall it was entertaining, which is ultimately the aim of the game, right?
A small piece of advice, though; at nearly three hours long, make sure you have a good pee before you go in. Otherwise you’ll be squirming until the end, or you’ll have to run the gauntlet at some point during the film. And if you leave it until that bathroom scene with Jessica Chastain, you might never want to go into a bathroom stall again.
I rate this movie seven psychotic, child-eating clowns out of ten.
And yet, here we are again. One month until season 10 and I find myself to be naïvely excited. Maybe it’s because the latest trailer actually looked pretty darn good, or maybe it’s the optimistic zombie-fan girl in me, hoping that the writers will bin the predictable, washed-up tropes that have been bled to death in the previous seasons, and actually write something consistent for a change.
But before we discuss that trailer, let’s take a step back and review the highs and lows of the previous seasons.
For me, getting rid of Rick Grimes has been one of the best decisions of the show for a long time. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Andrew Lincoln. He’s a great actor who was the cornerstone of the show for a long time. The opening scene when he woke up in the abandoned hospital, is firmly cemented as one of the most memorable moments of the show.
Fast forward to season 8, which in my mind, will forever be known as, the ‘all-out war that never quite happened,’ not forgetting the montage of Rick’s sweaty death stare and repetitive call to action by King Ezekiel. And of course, the cartoonish depiction of Negan that was at times borderline pantomime. It feels like the show has come a long way from the bleak, isolation of that opening scene in season 1.
So when I heard they were getting rid of Rick, my initial reaction was outrage. How could they get rid of Rick when he’s so integral to the show? And then, in the episodes that followed, there was a new lease of life. We were suddenly reminded of the other amazing characters that had been relegated to the side lines. Remember when Daryl actually had dialogue longer than the odd grunt coupled with a slightly sweaty stare? Without Rick, the show could finally move on and give airtime to other more compelling storylines.
Of course, we know in truth it wasn’t the show’s decision to get rid of Rick, it was Andrew Lincoln’s decision to move on and try new things. Although technically speaking, this isn’t completely the end of Rick Grimes in the world of The Walking Dead. Rick will return in the movies scheduled for the next year or so.
At least we can be thankful that Rick’s departure was heartful. Unlike Maggie’s that was bizarrely brushed under the rug. It’s times like this when you realise how the writers and creators of the show perpetually sacrifice quality over quantity. Instead of taking their time and releasing the next series when it’s good and ready, they’ve agreed to a ridiculous deadline set by AMC. It’s not surprising that the writing suffers as a result. For such an important character in the show, Maggie’s departure was just plain weird.
Obviously we know outside in the ‘real world’ that Lauren Cohen left the show to pursue other interests, but due to the tight filming schedule her departure was never shown or even explained. She was simply cut out. We the viewers were told about it retrospectively, in a vague conversation that didn’t really explain anything. And that was the end of Maggie.
So you have to wonder, is it really acceptable to forgive the poor writing because one of the lead actors decided to take another job? Not really. If the creators of the show took more time to produce a quality series, they could have taken the time to explain it in a satisfying and convincing way that was fitting for the character arc. And this is just another example of my love/hate relationship with The Walking Dead.
Let’s move on to one of the best additions to the show in recent years, and that’s the legendary Sam Morton and her depiction of the deadly Alpha. In years gone by, we’ve seen several villains come and go in The Walking Deaduniverse, but none quite as terrifying as Alpha and the whisperers.
In the previous season, some of the most compelling moments, if not all of, included Alpha. Remember that scene with baby and the approaching walkers? Yep, that one stayed with me too. It could have been purely coincidental, but I found that the episodes that didn’t include Alpha, were distinctly lacking for one reason or another. Maybe it’s her soft, yet terrifying southern accent or the just the right amount of psycho in her calculating eyes. Whatever it is, she brings it and the show is better as a result.
So naturally, following my new found appreciation of Sam Morton in all her glory, you could imagine my excitement over the new trailer for season 10. With the log line ‘Silence the whisperers’ this captivating trailer sees the power couple Daryl and Carol reunited in their badassery, Michonne gets on a boat and sets sail on the open sea AND kisses Ezekiel, mixed in with a whole bunch of zombie bashing, light banter and all overlaid with Sam Morton’s terrifying southern accent. The trailer finishes with Daryl casually strolling over the boundary into the whisperers land and Alpha warning “Now you have to be punished–––”
From the trailer alone, the next season seems promising. But I still have that niggling feeling that the writers could fall back into the typical Walking Dead formula; the one where at the end of each season, they kill off a bunch of characters for the sake of it. Come to think of it, I can’t even remember a season where they didn’t do that? The most notable death that fell into this formula was Jesus. And damn it I really liked him, so his death was disappointing for all the wrong reasons. I’m not opposed to killing off characters, but it has to have reason…Otherwise, what’s the point? The supposed shock value, isn’t reason enough.
On reflection, the majority of my gripes are rooted in the rushed writing and not the acting itself. I have a huge amount of respect for the actors, and over the years I’ve grown to love these characters. I guess in some ways, I feel as though we’ve all been living The Walking Deadfor so long, we have to see it through until the end. Just please, oh please, make season 10 a good one.
What are your thoughts on The Walking Dead? Post your comments below:
It’s 10:00pm on a Tuesday evening, two weeks before the big event. My husband is standing in the kitchen with a bag of alginate in one hand and a mixer drill in the other. He’s staring at me expectantly with a glimmer of tiredness in his hazel eyes, and his wild, auburn hair has a light dusting of pink powder from the previous batch.
“Are you ready to go again?” He says, in a weary tone.
We’ve both been at our hectic day jobs since 6:00am, and now we have a long night ahead of us moulding zombie hands. We’re both exhausted and neither of us wants to be doing this. But we’re invested now. We’ve come too far and we’re quickly running out of time to build the stall. To lighten the mood in this dire situation, I say with an air of sarcasm,
“Who’s idea was it to make these damn zombie hands anyway?”
He smiles lazily, with a twinkle in his eyes, “You did…this is all you. Now grab the bucket and get ready with the water…”
My husband has a saying that perfectly describes our relationship: “If you can dream it, I can build it.” I am firmly the dreamer in this partnership. I’m the writer, part-time indie author and creative entrepreneur, whereas he’s the logical realist and the literal builder of dreams. He keeps me grounded and focussed, but every now and then, he indulges my whimsical ideas and rises to the challenge with his tool box in hand. This is one of those moments.
A year earlier I had heard about Walker Stalker Con on Facebook. It was originally created by fans of the cult TV series The Walking Dead, but over the years it has grown in popularity. Throughout the weekend you can meet the stars of the show, as well as other actors from equally popular TV shows. There’s also high profile televised panel discussions and stalls selling an array of merchandise. This also happened to coincide with my decision to publish the first book in my dystopian YA series Kill or Cure, after my overwhelming success as a Wattpad author.
When the opportunity arose to apply for a vendor pitch at Walker Stalker 2018, I took a punt without hesitating. At the time, I hadn’t even fully edited Kill or Cure yet, but I knew this was an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss. It was evident from the photos and articles online, this event attracted my key demographic, and I wanted to meet them in-person with my book in hand.
I had previously attended the MCM comic-con in the name of research, to see what other authors and artists were doing at events like this, and my discovery was surprisingly little. Most authors were standing gloomily behind a table covered in black cloth, with a stack of books in front of them. Rather unsurprisingly, the vast majority of people were walking past without showing a glimmer of interest. I knew from that moment that if I was going to sell my book successfully as an unknown indie author, I would need to think outside the box.
In my mind, a stall at a convention should be an extension of your book cover, similar to a shop window at a department store at Christmas. Naturally I turned to Pinterest for inspiration, and then swiftly met with one my best friends for coffee; a creative entrepreneur and wedding photographer, who loves nothing more than to brainstorm ambitious ideas for business. After a land-slide of caffeine and cakes, we had devised an interactive photo-wall of zombie hands to attract my potential customers. All we had to do now was to build it with little to no budget.
Within a matter of weeks we had sourced free pallets from Facebook Market place, and moulded our own hands into zombie claws with alginate and plaster. I had even trawled through eBay to purchase some cheap artificial plants, disused apple crates and hessian sand bags to create a ‘dystopian look.’ The end result exceeded all expectations. I knew deep down that I was potentially on to a winner, but I was still plagued by self-doubt. After all, I had never even attended Walker Stalker, let alone as an author.
My husband and I had a bet before we left for the event, on how many books I would sell during the weekend. I said a meagre 40, thinking that even with our epic dystopian-style stall, I had doubts that people would take a chance on an unknown indie author. My husband was more optimistic and said that I would sell 50.
By two o’clock on Sunday afternoon, we had completely sold-out and had somehow managed to sell 100 books (we had even sold my personal copy!) I feel confident that If we had more books with us, we could have easily sold another 50 before the convention closed. At various points throughout the weekend, we had a long queue of people waiting (sometimes at over 20 deep) to purchase my book, and they were all eager to meet the indie author behind it.
On reflection, I’d say the interactive photo wall acted as the ‘hook’ which resulted in crowds of people stopping to watch and take photos, and my ‘elevator pitch’ sealed the deal. Before we embarked on this adventure, I completely underestimated how many people would be interested in learning my story as an indie author, and how high levels of enthusiastic engagement and my passion for Kill or Cure could translate into so many sales.
This carefully crafted combination created a buzzing atmosphere, and we struggled to keep up with demand. So not only did we manage to sell every book in our possession, but I also met a new legion of loyal fans who managed to binge the book within a day or two, many of whom have been messaging me non-stop ever since. The reviews and feedback of Kill or Curehave been wonderful, and it has opened up an array of future opportunities.
It goes without saying that I’ll be attending Walker Stalker next year, hopefully with the second book in the Kill or Cure series too. It was without doubt the most exhausting yet exhilarating experience I’ve had as an indie author, but the long hours and hard work were completely worth it. I’d highly recommend any genre-specific author attending a convention like this, there’s so many to choose from, but be prepared to get creative. Much to my husband’s dismay, I’ve already started to brainstorm even more ambitious ways to sell my books in 2019… so watch this space.