Tag Archives: bruce campbell

Necrophilia? You can love zombies, but you shouldn’t “love” zombies.

In terms of response and traffic, my post Everybody Loves Zombies  had an overwhelming response.  Also, zombie penguins.  Which made me stop and think… why, exactly, does everybody love zombies?  Where did we even get the idea of zombies?  Why won’t this zombie thing go away?  So, in order to stop having audienceless monologues like a supervillain without the lair, I will be writing a few posts on zombies.  This first one: zombigenesis.   Where did zombies come from?

There are stories from cultures all over the globe that feature animated corpses.  Anchimayen, basically zombie children, in Spain.  The draugr, who guards graves in Norway.   The jiang shi, from China, Vetala from India.

The zombies in books, graphic novels, and movies, mostly have their origins in the zombies of Voudoun.  Practitioners believe that they are corpses controlled by bokor, Voudoun sorcerers who practice black magic.  One scientist (for more on this, see his book The Serpent and the Rainbow), whose specialty is ethnobotany, thinks that the zombies are created by basically drugging someone out of his/her mind, including ingredients that make the victim extremely suggestible.  Like being frequently dosed with Rohypnol.  Incredibly creepy, but not exactly raising the dead.

Why, though, have zombies captured our collective imaginations?  The first zombie movie came out in the late 1930s, and since then it’s been a genre that just won’t… die.  Sorry, had to. Also, let’s not just look at zombies that are called zombies.  What about mummies?  Basically zombies, but more stylishly dressed.  What about people that are just empty shells, being controlled by alien puppet-masters?  Still zombies.  If you expand your definition of zombie to anything where someone that is dead, and despite that is still walking around (debating inserting joke about bible being original zombie story), zombies show up even more often than you think.

Is it a fear of death, of the body’s fragility, that makes us fascinated by zombies?  Because the zombies aren’t showing up in rom-coms (Corpse Bride excepted, and really anything by Tim Burton), they’re in some of the most disturbing books and movies of all time.  Is it literally coming face-to-face with mortality, in all it’s scariest , lingering, painful forms (radioactivity, virulent disease, evil magic)?  The desire to be able to kick the ass of Death, preferably with a sawed-off shotgun, a la Bruce Campbell?

Or maybe we just like being grossed out.

My first zombie experiences were Thriller,  and The Hilarious House of Frankenstein (I don’t remember which came first), both of which featured Vincent Price, possessor of the world’s creepiest voice.  I know my sister agrees, because I used to use his part of  the “Thriller” track  to send her fleeing out of our shared room.   I still love B-movie zombie flicks more than sincere horror.  Bruce Campbell will always hold a special place in my heart.  Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness… For books, after the ones I have already mentioned, I will note  The Cell, by Stephen King.  Good, classic, hide-under-the-blankets horror.

So.  Where did your love of zombies start?



Filed under Books, Review

George R.R. Martin: Prima-Donna, or Overwhelmed and Overworked?


For those of you who read my earlier post on George R.R. Martin’s upcoming signing in Toronto,(see here )you may already be familiar with the rules outlined for the signing. For those who are not familiar, I will re-list them:

• Line-up will be first-come, first-served. Due to anticipated attendance, line-up may begin outside of Indigo Manulife Centre – Bay Street entrance ONLY. Please dress appropriately for the weather.
• George R.R. Martin will sign ONE to TWO (1-2) books maximum, depending on the number of people in line.
• No personalizations – author signature only
• No posed photography – can take photographs from the line

Some people are taking this as evidence that Martin (sorry, I got tired of writing the whole thing, plus two initials, over and over) has fallen victim to his own celebrity, and has a vastly inflated ego as a result.  That if he can’t even take time to add a name to a signature, or pose with a fan, why should the fan take time to buy his book.  And then there is that nasty rumor that he doesn’t actually care if he finishes the series, because between the books and the tv show, he’s made his money.

I admit, this was the camp I initially found myself in, thinking of all those people, including fellow employees, who will be waiting hours in line to see him, in Toronto in March (which is a potential horror in and of itself), and he can’t exert himself a little?  After the initial righteous indignation passed, though (the advantage of being out of my twenties), I thought about this a little more.

First of all, Martin is not a young guy.  See above photo.  He, too, will be there for hours, shaking innumerable hands (thanks to Bruce Campbell’s autobiography for acquainting me with what a scary process this can be), and signing innumerable autographs (think of the hand cramps!).  If he took individual photos with everyone in line, it would either mean the whole event would be waaaaaaay longer, or, more likely, that he wouldn’t be able to see as many people.  So this stuff actually is probably to increase the lowly line-waiter’s chance of a face-to-face, however brief.  Also, the day before the signing, he has a reading and Q&A at the Toronto International Film Festival (sold out).  Just so you know, these events encompass more than just the time he spends with the public.  There is much going on behind the scenes to make it all possible.    So, he is probably already exhausted.  I would be too.  I had a look at his schedule of appearances on his official site… he already has bookings for 2014.   http://georgerrmartin.com/appearances.html

Also, although it could be a be conspiratorial marketing scheme, looking at various pages of his site, including his journal, he seems to actually like (most of) his fans, and even has a soft spot for the crazy ones who name babies after his characters.  So maybe we should go easy on him, and author and fans can appreciate that the other one is setting aside time out of their schedule for them.   I, for one, think of all this as further evidence that books are definitely still relevant, or we wouldn’t be so passionate.

So thanks to you both.


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Filed under Books, Bookstore