Archive for the ‘Zombies’ Category

Love among the Ruins (the Zombies and the Vampires)

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

forest malmo

Last week I had a planning session with the fabulous Lilith Performance Studio for an upcoming forest performance in Malmö, Sweden. After 3 days and nights amidst the dark blueish pines, swamps, and mossy hills I am having trouble adjusting to New York’s nakedness. Thinking of doing some guerrilla planting, if the spring ever comes: it snowed yesterday, briefly.

On the plane I was unable to resist viewing the almost unwatchable and aforementioned Twilight. No doubt the tiny airplane screen did not do the sweeping Pacific Northwest forest scenes justice, and I confess I am no screaming teenage fan, but for the life of me this story of forbidden love among the vampires screams of cliché.

The “nice” vampires including our perpetually pouting hero happily inhabit, for the moment, a posh glass house sans coffins in rural Washington State, where avoiding full sunlight is unnecessary (since most days are grey and since the sunlight doesn’t kill them anyway), vampire dad dons the guise of preppy local doctor, and everyone is terribly attractive if well beyond the pale…

According to IMDB, “A teenage girl risks everything when she falls in love with a vampire” not the least of which is any hope of being independent. She goes willingly into the role of princess in utter distress and the movie ends with Bella, our damsel, doomed to be protected by her “hero” forever. Only he, and his extended family, can save her from the vampire bad guy and his own monstrous desires. Now that’s progress.

On the plus side, for the first time ever I enjoyed watching baseball played on screen, since vampiric forces make anything more exciting.

sarah jane

I Love Sarah Jane, on the other hand, is an Australian micro film about lust in the time of zombies. As you may know, zombies are at the other side of the class scale. We find Zombie dad in this case tied up in a wrecked suburban backyard, snarling at a skinny shirtless teenage boy who taunts him.

Sarah Jane herself is no ingénue. She emerges from a dark and claustrophobic living room to put the lusting teenage Jimbo – the subject of the film’s title, a mess of bullies, and her eventually (spoiler alert!) chain-sawed dad out of their misery by the end of the film … some with a heavy shovel, sealing her position as no-nonsense heroine and the far from innocent love interest extraordinaire, with a sense of very dark humour.

Zombie Love Blooms Eternal

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

zombie cake toppers

If you really love someone, why promise to part at death in your wedding vows? You call that commitment – haven’t you seen Zombie Honeymoon?

For all you aspiring zombie brides and grooms, what better way to proclaim your undying love than with a custom grisly-cute wedding cake topper. Sadly, according to the Etsy website where you can find this item by Bella Smiles, “this item sold out on 3.17.2009″. Perfect, since yesterday was St Patrick’s Day and this item IS GREEN. However, there are other styles and with any luck there will be more available soon.

If you prefer a more grim and less cute scene on your love cake, here’s a different zombie wedding cake topper.

~Sent to me by friend, Adie Russell

Zombie School!

Friday, March 13th, 2009

This is my kind of course, at Columbia College in Chicago, (correction, I originally wrote Columbia University, thanks Jason!)

Day of the Dead, Risen Again

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

day of the dead

Courtesy of fellow zombiephile and student Sean Colon, I watched a lot of zombie flicks during a recent flight to Saskatoon. This made me think about the claustrophobia built into horror films and what it would be like if zombies were on the plane – throw in a shark and you have my three worst fears. I write this in my notes about the zombie film I want to make one day.

The Day of The Dead remake (2008) was the only one of the films I hadn’t previously seen. The update embraces the “uber fast zombie” trend which if you are not familiar goes against the stiff lumbering archetype of zombies past and gets your heart feeling a might racy.

I have only one thing to say to the badly cast female protagonist on keeping the zombie boyfriend – which seems a shallow reference to the original film where our big oaf zombie guinea pig turns friendly neighbourhood allie in an endearing twist.

“Please, if you’re waiting for him to chill out (and look better) when this all blows over, it never blows over, haven’t you done your research?”

*image from

A Zombie Pride and Prejudice

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

zombie pride and prejudice

I can’t imagine zombies caring much for pride or prejudice, but that didn’t stop Seth Grahame-Smith from re-imagining a classic novel. My friend Roger emailed me a link to the not-yet-released book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, which I imagine to be a bit like “lions and tiger and bears”, with more gore. I think it’s a great way to kick some life, so to speak, into a classic novel. Stay tuned!

Here is the editor talking about the book, without giving anything away.

Living Dead overkill? Never!

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

night of living dead

You can never have too much of a good thing. That applies to one of my favourite horror films, Night of the Living Dead.

I just finished reading “Night of the Living Dead” by Ben Hervey, a great little book rife with anecdotes and trivia which contextualizes the cult classic firmly in its historical moment. This is a film that has never gone out of video print since being released, according to Hervey.

That this film relies on non-actors, a low budget, and the resourcefulness of an ambitious crew makes it all the more worthy of story-telling.

When my friend Jenni Quilter friend invited me for a screening last night I jumped. Accidentally she rented Tom Savini’s 1990 colour remake which I’d never seen. Suffice to say it is almost the same film, based on the screenplay by Romero and Russo, but there are some significant character changes, mostly in the female roles. Barbara is heroic, not catatonic; Judy wants to help, not just “stand by her man”; and little Karen is neither little, endearing, nor as angry at dad. The ending is different too but I won’t spoil that – any fan of the original will surely enjoy the updates and the references to other later zombie films (eg. the hunting posse bullying the zombie in the ring à la 28 Days Later). Oddly, the ghoul’s barbeque feast and the dead farmhouse owner upstairs are toned down gore-wise, where everything else is ramped up.

Zombie Scare

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Zombie Portrait Jillian

I realized today that I might be scaring people away from my website with the zombie portrait that currently fills the home page. It’s not very Christmasy, but then again, if you don’t like zombies, what are you doing here?

Then again I don’t like zombies, they scare the crap out of me.

I always love car ads

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Brace yourself for this one…

Zombies on your desktop

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

zombie screensaver

Picture this: while you step away from your computer, bloodthirsty and none-too-slow 3D zombies take over the screen. These ones have no sense of humour whatsoever as they emerge from a blurry screen surface, track their messy footprints over open documents, and snarl soundlessly. Pity the poor soul who tries to access your files…

Download available for Mac OSX only.

Bust out the Zombies

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

October’s issue of Bust magazine has a nice article about my zombies, by Molly Simms. Click the image below to read a larger version online. It took hours for the photographer to take the photo, which means I am extremely un-photogenic, as are lenticular images – one of which is in the background. Someone give that boy a medal.

jillian mcdonald bust magazine