As you know if you’ve been reading The Night Bazaar recently, this is the week that my novel The Panama Laugh comes out (and if you comment on any post this week, you’ll get a chance to win a free copy).
In keeping with the book’s themes of viral media, there are many other ways you can get involved. You can follow me on Twitter or add me on Facebook, “Like” The Panama Laugh on Facebook, and of course, if you’ve read it (in which case THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!), I encourage you to review it on Amazon.com and GoodReads.com, where you can also add me. (Even if you hated it!)
Last but not least, at PanamaLaugh.com, ZombiLeaks.com, Toxicography.com and Thomasroche.com, you can also check out the series of news stories and posts related to the events of the book, which take the book’s apocalyptic events hand them it off to the Crowdsource Commandos for misinterpretation through the filters of “democratic” information sharing and corporate and governmental disinformation…just like today’s “real” news events.
So what makes a scary monster?
You might expect me to say “laughing zombies,” or zombies in general, and you’d be right. I tweaked the genre myself, so of course I love films and books that re-invent the genre, but only up to a point. My opinion is that if something talks to you about how it’s going to eat your soul, or narrates a Less than Zero spinoff, it might be amusing, clever, or scary, but it’s not actually a zombie. Or, to put it more properly, it’s not my kind of zombie.
As to whether they’re fast or slow, I couldn’t really give a damn; they’re dead, as in, dead. That’s what makes a zombie, to me.
Zombies are scary to me not so much because of what they’ll do to us but because of what they represent, which can change with the intention of the author or filmmaker. George Romero, who certainly did not invent the zombie but escalated its portrayal to a new and stunning level of artistry, had a clear and obvious political intention, or several complementary ones. They are perhaps most obvious in two films: Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead, where humans are trapped by zombies in a shopping mall (gee, what could that mean?) and in Land of the Dead, where rich people living in the idyllic high-rise Pittsburgh apartment complex “Fiddler’s Green” (after a European folk paradise of the afterlife) pay poor people living in the skyscraper’s shadow to go out into the zombified landscape to forage for gourmet foodstuffs so the rich can continue living their awesome lives of privilege. Especially in the latter film, zombies themselves are actually little more than a catalyst, for most of the film; Romero’s most important comments have to do with privilege and class, not death. (more…)Read More...