How times have changed. I recall playing tag in the schoolyard pretty much the way it’s always been played. One person is “it”. He tries to tag everyone else. No goal save running around like crazy.
Now, my daughter introduced me to the twenty-first century version: Zombie Walk. One person is it (called a witch). Everyone else gets to be humans. The zombie/witch shambles along, trying to catch the humans, who shriek in mock terror. The zombie must touch a human and count up to the age of the human (an easy feat for a kindergartener). Then the human becomes a zombie and the game continues.
Imagine how shocked our parents would have been if we were busting out this zombie tag in the 70s and 80s? Back then, zombies were pure horror. Remember Night of the Living Dead? That was the staple back then. Now, we have a film with a zombie romance: Warm Bodies.
Additionally, there are even zombie picture books, like Zombie in Love (see my review of it here).
One of my favorite books that I read to my daughter (I’m stealing it the first chance I get) is A Dignity of Dragons by by Jacqueline Ogburn and Nicoletta Ceccoli.
What this book does is address the much needed names for collective nouns of mythical creatures. What the heck is a collective noun? Well, back in the nineteenth century, Victorians got awful bored with out any television or internet. They played a game where they thought up clever names for groups of animals. The idea was to get a name that encompassed the spirit of the animal. Some of my favorites are a crash of rhinos or a flamboyance of flamingos. Get the idea?
Jacqueline Ogburn came up with all sorts of collective nouns for mythical creatures, like: a bolt of hippogriffs, a splash of mermaids, and a dazzlement of Quetzalcoatls. I wanted to continue this trend, only with creatures from horror. Specifically classic monsters. Here’s what I came up with.
- a stumble of zombies
- a coffin of vampires
- a howling of werewolves
- a bolt of Frankensteins*
- a tanna of mummies**
- a caldron of wiches
- a clang hunchbacks
- an ectoplasm of phantoms
- a haunting of ghosts
- a glow of will-o-whisps
- a bottle of djinn***
- a trample of kaiju****
- a decapitation of headless horsemen
- a tinker of gremlins
- a hunger of ghouls
- a husk of scarecrows
- a marrow of skeletons
- a translucence of invisible men
- a beaker of mad scientists
- a lever of henchmen
- a scream of victims
- a probe of aliens
- a circuit of robots
If you can think of any to add to the list (no serial killers or the suck, just classic monsters) then add to the comments below.
*Yes I know that the doctor is actually Frankenstein, but in the sequel it called the Bride of Frankenstein, and she’s intended for the monster, so… Let’s just settle on Frank as the monster’s name.
** Tanna leaves were a device introduced in the later mummy movies as a way of controlling the creature.
*** I know lamps are more common, but a lamp of djinn sounds weird.
**** This is the name for the giant Japanese monsters like Godzilla and Mothra. Go ahead, check out the wiki site.
A tear falls from my eye as I foresee a world with no Twinkies. Forget the Mayan calendar. This is it people. the end is neigh. I mean this was the food Woody Harrelson enjoyed in a zombie filled America. How can I enjoy the little things now?
Zombieland Movie Poster – Redesignby ~ppuntel
In case you haven’t heard, Hostess will close its doors and that means all its tasty snacks, Ding Dongs, Zingers, the whole lot, gone. I survived on this food in college. I mean if you look at the wrapper, a Twinkie doesn’t have that many calories. It was respectable.
What about the Twinkie defense? How will murders secure that not guilty plea with no snack food to blame. This event undermines everything that we call American.
I need to store up on Twinkies. Now.
Everyone likes to be scared. (Okay, not everyone. But if you’re reading this, then yes, you do.) But how about giggling during your brain eating? Not every horror flick needs to be a serious spine tingler. Humor can liven up a scary flick. What follows are the funniest zombie (or zombiesque) films around.
5 Evil Dead
Rami has a gift for delivering chills and gags all at the same time. The demon possessed folk aren’t exactly zombies, yet they stumble around asking Bruce Campbell to “join them.” This is probably the most serious of the bunch, but still good fun.
4 Dead Alive
Everyone knows Peter Jackson from The Lord of the Rings. Few know that he started with slapstick horror. Honestly, you can’t get more gore than Dead Alive. It takes gross to a whole new level. But the film is dead on funny. It has a zombie baby, a plague infested rat, and a kung fu practicing priest. “I kick ass for the Lord.” Come on, give it a go.
3 Evil Dead II
If the first Evil Dead was great, the squeal is awesome. But this isn’t really a continuation of the story. It’s a remake with a bigger budget and more laughs. Bruce Campbell (aka Ash) has to do battle with his severed hand. He replaces his lost appendage with a chainsaw and proceeds to cut up some demon possessed people. All while black blood spews everything. For fun, count the number of head injuries Ash sustains in the film.
Ash tripping out as the house creaks and lamps start dancing.
2 Shaun of the Dead
This movie simultaneously pays homage to nearly every great zombie flick while making you roll over laughing. One of the best scenes is one that would probably happen in real life. Simon Pegg (Shaun) is going through his morning routine of picking up a soda and an ice cream from the corner shop. He fails to notice the staggering corpses in the streets or the bloody hand print on the glass door.
1 Dead and Breakfast
This is a highly under appreciated movie. Watch this and you will never look at blueberry pie the same again. It has it all. Line dancing zombies (alright, possessed people, but they act like zombies). A person’s head used as a hand puppet. And David Carradine.
Eating blueberry pie and ignorant of the gore behind him.
I am an Alice in Wonderland nut. Strange to say, coming from a guy, but I think it’s a terrific world begging to be explored. Most of my love is visual. I’m excited by the fantasy and, well let’s say it, the wonder of it. My recent manuscript echoes this in that I strive to create a magical world with it’s own rules.
As inspiration, I continue to snatch up images that speak to me of Alice.
A wonderfully creepy image of the dormouse drinking tea. This is from a series called ‘Almost Alice’ by Maggie Taylor. There is a whole series of illustrations you can view at Retronaut.
I have no clue where this image came from (I found it here). I simply love the gritty, almost textural feel of the walls and stockings. I also love that we only see her legs. She’s that tall.
Look at the detail in this queen. This screams “pissed off.” This is created by character designer Michael Kutsche.
Finally, I just finished watching Face Off on Sci Fi channel where the effects artists created zombie versions of Alice in Wonderland characters. The concept was Alice in Zombieland. Few photos were available.
This was the winning design. It showed a mutated Red Queen whose bones are growing into a crown.
What a fabulous movie this would make. If only.