30 August 2013

Tim Long declares Apocalypse um...Now, Maybe?... in The Apocalypse and Satans Gloryhole (or alternatively) Wacktards of the Apocalypse!

It was foretold in an ancient scripture where it was written that an End of Days would occur; The Four Horsemen would break the Sacred Seals of the Apocalypse and Satan would be unleashed upon this Earth to do battle with God and the all the powers of Heaven. Or so they said... at least. Except the Apocalypse didn't quite pan out as everyone expected.

The rapture never happened.
God could give a shit less about the Apocalypse and more about chicken pot pies.
Jesus is losing miserably at a card table in Vegas sucking back vodka Red Bulls for the first time in his life.
The Antichrist is a miserable failure whose reign is over before it starts thanks to the efforts of an old woman.
The Four Horsement are a bunch of degenerate fuckups appearing on a sleazy daytime talkshow on a weekday morning; Death is having second thoughts about his given profession, War is jealous of Death for taking all the credit, Famine is an overweight obscenity-spewing loudmouthed bitch about to kill her horse with her own fat ass and Pestilence is just plain stoned out of his fucking mind on enough drugs to make Keith Richards, Hunter S. Thompson and Charlie Sheen all blush.
Satan, the Dark Lord himself, is trying to come up out of Hell and make his grand entrance upon the Earth at Burning Man... ass first.
Fortunately a mass hippie orgy of Guinness world record proportions delays his progress, but it can only hold out for so long.

Well what else could go wrong?
In a word: Lots.

It's up to a bathtub acid addled janitor, a band of militant lesbians, a ball-gagged sheriff's deputy (don't ask), a porn store clerk with his one-armed drug loving junkmonkey and a possessed toy to kick the Apocalypse's ass. Throw in angels, demons, evil floating gloryhole boxes, an army of zombies, possessed priests and a team of government agents armed with a cease and desist order for Lucifer and you have the most bizarro tale of the end of the world ever, in fact it's @b$---- *
(*- Sorry, Tim copyrighted the fucking phrase for a million dollars an utterance, that's more than I'll ever hope to make in this life.)

Scott G. Browne, author of Breathers called it: “Disgusting, offensive, irreverent, and profane, Wacktards of the Apocalypse is all kinds of wrong. But in a good way. Jonathan Moon and Timothy W. Long are going to Hell for sure.”

Fellow mass zombie novelist Jonathan Maberry called the book something akin to "Douglas Adams on magic mushrooms."

Timothy Long and Jonathon M-o-o-n (that spells Moon) take the most fun and fucked up trip to Las Vegas since Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Wacktards of the Apocalypse. The books original form, The Apocalypse and Satans Gloryhole managed to offend, literally, every single religion possible (including a raven-toting Pagan at a Seattle Crypticon) before going out of print. It was later released under the name Wacktards of the Apocalypse before going out of print quickly as well. Thanks to e-books the book was re-released in it's original Gloryhole form.

Those easily offended by religion or sex needn't bother here. It's not for the feint of heart either as the marks it leaves could be permanent. All religious kidding aside the story is hilarious and I had a hard time putting it down. What crazy sort of fucked up shit (and I do mean Shit in certain instances) would happen next? Long and Moon go waaaay off the deep end with this tale. But like the onset of a hallucinogenic experience you have to just relax, open your mind and go where ever it's going to take you. So go out and pick up the book that is approved by 4 out 5 Rapture survivors. Just for God's sake don't tell your priest about it at confession; the amount of blasphemies would make the Pope stagger and you'd spend the next week saying Hail Mary's to make up for it. 

Interesting side note and ending thought to the story, I seemingly coined the term "junk monkey" calling the book to Tim "More fun than a barrel of JunkMonkeys" and he thus renamed a chapter in honor of it in Wacktards which was not named as such in it's original Gloryhole release.
Also, beware if you see this monkey on the streets of Seattle,
he probably needs his next fix and throws a wicked mean left cross... fucking Phil

The Death of Summer - Knee Deep in the Dead

See you next hunting season
If you were around Washington yesterday then you were more than likely caught in the summer's torrential rain downpouring that signified it's end. Yes fiends we have thus rounded the corner into the Fall and thus everyone's most favorite time of the year... already from my back porch I can see the hints of fall color beginning to spread. This season of evil I will be making the best of it all since, well c'mon 2013 should be my lucky year after all. Anyhow I'm finally beginning to break free from my rusty cage and I'm coming back with a vengeance. The creative turbines are coming back to speed and I'm realizing how much raw material I still have to work with with, with old classics, retro favorites and some digging up of corpses to do and not even to mention the continual onslaught of new stuff always coming down the pike. The rainstorm yesterday reminded me of Predator: Concrete Jungle

 But now onto something I mentioned earlier... the sheer amount of stuff I have available to review! Ye Gods man, even just getting through classics is going to take some journalistic time... but then an idea hit me, well several actually... so first off when possible I am starting an ongoing series imparting the same Zombieland wisdom with Double Tap reviews in an attempt to wade through this amount of corpses. I'm also going to start attempting to do themed weeks with ideas like When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Fists of Fury, special director or creature themed weeks. Other than that expect whatever comes to my twisted imagination to be seen here... one special thing will be on about how I came to love horror in the first place and another discussing how the zombie genre blew up the way it did....  
so start hacking and slashing through it all, stay tuned this long weekend for a "Long" weekend and by "Long" I mean Seattle zombie author Timothy Long. I have lots of backdated book reviews I owe him so what better way to spend it... first off is a reprint of my first interview with Tim about his story The Apocalypse and Satan's Gloryhole or Wacktards of the Apocalypse (depending on the version you're reading). So keep reading boils and ghouls it's just going to keep getting better so hold on to your butts... it's about to get Weird
"What better place than here, what better time than now... All Hell Can't Stop Me Now"

28 August 2013

When The West Was Dead Part 2: Rotten

During my time and tenure at ZomBcon I got to interview some cool people about zombies, this one just happened to be local. The following was an interview with Mark Rahner about the zombie political western Rotten:

Single Bullet Theory: Rotten has not been at all shy when it comes to expressing its opinions on modern day politics from Terry Schivo to pedophilic priests, even Wade's own disgruntled remarks about Hayes mirroring the same sentiments as peoples reaction to George W Bush being re-elected... so I'm curious, what else will be mirrored in the story?

The distinguished Mark Rahner

Mark Rahner: We’re certainly not in any danger of running out of material these days. My god, the freaks have really been coming out like debutants lately. But I should point out that nobody buys a comic to read an editorial. Rotten is first and foremost horror and action, played very straight, and we hope, unsettling.

Having said that, our character Father von Becker in issues 10 and 11 was a lot of fun to write, as he bears a striking resemblance to a certain despicable former Fox News personality. And he’s a full-fledged character instead of the cameos by, say, the zombie Palins in issue 7 who got what they deserved in a very cathartic way. 


How did JJ and Wade come to meet in the first place?

They were officers in the Civil War. We’ll delve more into their past and why Wade hates the Army so intensely in future issues. Although getting reconscripted after 12 years as a civilian after the war would piss off anyone. Flynn, on the other hand, is a career officer, slightly older and less fulminating with rage than Wade. He’s more willing to work the system. The two men hadn’t seen each other for a long time when they meet in the first issue, but they’re like brothers.

Whats the backstory with Wade's hat?

On one level, it’s simply one of the only indulgences that he allows himself. It’s not that Wade’s necessarily an austere guy, but he’s extraordinarily disciplined and he’s used to having everything taken away from him. And it’s a damn fine hat. But you’re picking up some other breadcrumbs we’ve left, and yes: there’s more to the hat. Keep watching.

Pale rider Aubrey, the 'White Man who brings death'

When are we going to find out more about Aubrey, the 'White Man who brings death'?

Things are going to pick up with Aubrey faster now. He’s been very enigmatic and a little scary so far. Then he closes out the 11th issue with a WTF moment that’ll continue to play out as we go. The series was always planned to pick up steam slowly at first and then grab you exactly like an HBO series, and Aubrey’s part of that. Unfortunately, the sporadic publishing schedule has made gratification even more delayed than we intended. If you think you know Aubrey’s deal, you don’t. He’s not a simple bad guy and he’s more than just an adversary.

Will President Hayes appear in person as a character?

I am forbidden to reveal that under pain of being renditioned, water-boarded and forced to wear a diaper for no less than one month. 

What about two months in a cloth adult diaper held together with an oversized safety pin and being waterboarded by Sarah Palin who talks incessantly about being a maverick every time you come up for air?

If you could just add Rick Santorum talking about gay people, I’d pray for a quick death. Whether or not you see Hayes, he’s always a presence in the story. Wade’s hatred of him and his corruption never fades. 

Moving onto favorites: What's your favorite zombie movie?

There are a lot of good ones, and a whole lot more bad ones. But I always go back to the three that really got me going. “Dawn of the Dead,” “Night of the Living Dead” and Lucio Fulci’s “Zombie, which I saw in that order. Each one made an impact and was genuinely disturbing. Everything after them is a copy.

How about western?

Good lord, there are so many. We make a point of not making Rotten something just based on movies we’ve seen, and we don’t want it to be a Tarantino-like pastiche – even though I like Tarantino. But I have asked Dougherty to, for instance, check out Sergio Corbucci’s “The Great Silence” for its striking, unusual snowbound look when he drew the “Frost Bite” story. And Spaghetti Western buffs will notice I’m a fan of the eye-close-up shot.

Anyhow, I’ll throw out some of my favorite titles, in no order: “Django,” also by Corbucci, anything by Sergio Leone except for maybe “Duck, You Sucker.” “The Searchers,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “High Plains Drifter,” anything by Sam Peckinpah, particularly “The Wild Bunch” and “Ride the High Country,” and Budd Boetticher’s masterful little movies with Randolph Scott.

[Authors note: The next line of questions was going to be a recurring theme I wrote about entitled Dead in 60 Seconds, putting someone in a situation with 60 seconds between defending themselves and the jaws of death] So did you ever come up with a zombie plan? I know I bugged you about this once upon a time at Crypticon Seattle once already. Would you try and get out of the city or would you stay and fortify your place to make a stand?

Barricade myself inside a liquor store.

Okay so since you've chosen to barricade yourself in a liquor store:

What label do you drink first just to get rid of it? Which bottles do you save for last?

For defense: do you bust heads with the bottles Old West bar-brawl style or use molotovs to make zombie flambe and risk immolation? 

You’re really not letting this go, are you? First of all, we don’t waste perfectly good alcohol, despite what you saw in Rotten No. 6. Second, don’t you think there are scarier things to plan for at the moment? What’s your teabagger defense plan?

What's your opinion on comic books being downloadable now? Is print actually dead?

My opinion is that people reading this should download issues of Rotten from Comixology for 99 cents, promptly.

Everyone in comics is still trying to figure that one out, but coming from a career in the newspaper industry, I think I can tell you what not to do with online material and the decline of print: everything newspapers have done.

 Anyhow, my opinion’s evolving like everyone else’s. Right now, I’m thinking that it would work for digital comics to be cheap so people can just read ‘em, and there’s still the floppies if you want to collect and cherish and stroke them. That sounded kind of repulsive, didn’t it? 

Only if you wanted it to! Can you give any details on Robert Horton's recent transcription of The Lost Diaryof John J. Flynn?

Yeah, it’s an all-prose book by Wade’s partner that serves as a kind of prequel to the events in issue 1. Horton’s “transcriptions” are very creepy and wryly funny. Do not miss this book. You’ll love it.

How did you get your start in writing?

Jeez, I’ve been writing practically since I was in diapers, and will until I’m in them again. Had a humor column in my high school paper, the whole nine yards. As far as making my living as a writer, I started doing movie reviews for a paper in Indiana while I was working on a PhD. at Purdue and doing a radio show. One day, they asked me if I wanted to work at the paper full-time – and if I could pass the drug test. And here we are.

You're obviously a very busy man, aside from Rotten what other titles are you working on presently?

I’ve got a Green Hornet annual coming out from Dynamite – here’s the link:


He goes berserk! I’m also working on a “Warlord of Mars” annual for them, which I’m planning to be just as over-the-top violent.

Any chance of Rotten being opted for a TV series?

There’s been talk about that from the beginning, but I’ve learned not to uncork the champagne until Something is actually in progress. But it would make a damn fine show, don’t you think?

I would certainly think so! PS: One final question: Is the term 'revenant' a subtle nod to our mutual friend Geoff Bough?

No, “revenant” came about a long time ago and much differently for us. We figured that in the 1870s, nobody would see someone raised from the dead and call it a zombie. They aren’t really zombies anyhow – we’ve got a Hatian storyline coming up in the future that features some of those. If we were truly wiping the slate clean, people wouldn’t know what to call the things. It would be beyond their frame of reference. They’d be freaking the hell out and turning to religion – like some of our dumber citizens have been doing since 9/11. And that’s where the term comes from. It annoys Wade, because he has zero patience with religious nonsense.

To conclude, an awesome piece of video and song by Fever Ray "Keep the Streets Empty For Me"... we'll follow the man in black across the desert next time in the 3rd installment of When The West Was Dead

27 August 2013

Zombie Science: Insects, cordyceps and killer fungus!

Tarantula infected with cordyceps, yikes!

Truth as they say. is stranger than fiction. Here's nature's proof of zombies in these video clips. 

Ant zombies

Infected crickets

Snail zombies!

Mold, spores and fungus... oh my!

25 August 2013

Books of Blood: Thom Carnell ensures that No Flesh Shall Be Spared

Welcome fiends to one of my soon-to-be-continuing articles I'm entitling Books of Blood after Clive Barker, this is where I'm going to review all the gorey, bloody text to grace the page. First up only fittingly is another reprint from the ZomBcon files a review of the  book and then and interview with the author of No Flesh Shall Be Spared author, close personal friend and all around badass Thom Carnell.

Humans are a brutal species by nature and always have been; from the dawn of time when two monkeys clubbed each other over the heads with rocks, to the Roman coliseums where gladiators fought to the death for the Caesars’ pleasure, to boxing wrestling and mixed martial arts. Even after mankind is nearly erased by the undead plague, the people need entertainment. Bill Hicks sums the need quite nicely in Revelations pondering about American Gladiators,
” ‘Is Gladiators too violent? And what are we doing watching it? Is it really good for us to watch? Is it too violent?’ NO! Fuck it! Give these guys chainsaws! Let them fuck each other up good. It’s not violent enough. Let these fuckin’ morons kill each other in that God Damn pit! Man… I want to see a fuckin railway spike go through their eyeballs.  They want to kill each other, I’m filming it!
Like many zombie enthusiasts I have a penchant for liking sharp toys, the cover to Thom Carnell’s book No Flesh Shall Be Spared caught my eye almost immediately at last years ZomBcon. There’s nothing like a giant bloody blade to catch the eye. Carnell would later sum up the novel to me as:  “Gladiator meets Dawn of the Dead as seen through the eyes of [Legendary Japanese film director] Akira Kurosawa.”
The story starts with a careless truck-stop mother accidentally smothering the son she never wanted in her sleep. Thus the Apocalypse begins, not with a bang like everyone expected, but only with the tiniest whimper. She wakes up only to find junior has awakened from his dirt nap and is chewing her to death.
From there we fast forward to a world just barely recovered from the brink. The people need entertainment and the latest bloodsport from the Undead Fight League is just the thing. The game is quite simple: kill the zombies that come out of the turnstiles, stay alive and make it look good for TV. Our man Cleese is just our man for the job, having earned a reputation for clearing out hordes of zombies nothing with a bottle of Jack and a bat during the Apocalypse.
His entry into the UFL is mentored by the older, grizzled cage-veteran Monk; whose job is to take the tough-talking wiseass and turn him into an economically viable trained killing machine before he can retire in peace. Monk teaches him all he knows, how to fight and how to utilize the weapons provided. When the cameras aren’t on Cleese finds himself drawn to the mysterious woman ninja Chikara [Japanese for strength]. Except that just because the television cameras aren’t on doesn’t mean no one is watching.
As his ratings begin to rise, he begins to notice that something’s just not quite right. Cleese decides it’s time to opt for early retirement. If he’s not careful about he plays the game it might wind up being someone he cares about trying to tear his throat out on the sandy arena floor, that is if he can live long enough not to end up one of the losers coming out of the turnstiles.
Really what’s not to like about this book? Zombies, Gladiators, Samurai philosophy, guns, knives, swords!  Even from the beginning of the story Carnell doesn’t bullshit you, this is not going to be a happy story with a happy ending, Thom Carnell takes the term bloodsport to a whole new level and assures that  No Flesh Shall Be Spared.
Last year at ZomBcon I met a lot of awesome people with a lot of similar interests aside from the zombie genre. The leather-jacketed local horror journalist, author and cinemaphile extraordinaire Thom Carnell was definitely one of these people.  Now almost a year later he and I finally go mano-a-mano and head to head in this epic tête-à-tête that goes all 13 rounds that follows:

The Single Bullet Theory: Not to go for the proverbial throat right out of the gate but Jesus fucking Christ dude, that first chapter completely ripped my heart out (being an especially new father at the time I had a hard time reading past that point for a while, I had to go hug my daughter after that) was that anywhere as hard for you to write as a parent yourself as it was to read?

Carnell: Martial artist, mortician, medic, movie maniac extraordinaire

Thom Carnell: Well, initially, the story had a different beginning. It was more of a moment that showed the main character in his element: covered in blood, buried in corpses… happy. My wife thought it lacked punch and it was her in fact that suggested we come out swingin’. She was right. She usually is. Was that chapter hard to write? Well, no… not really. I knew I wanted something visceral, something that would let the reader know I what they had in their hand was not your usual zombie story. I mean, so many of them are so utterly formulaic. ‘The zombies are at the door. They’re trying to get in! What will we do?’ Usually, it’s not the zombies that are the real threat anyway. It’s always the old saw-horse of “Man’s inability to cooperate with Man” that is his undoing. In a word… “Boring.” Well, not so much boring as over-done. I wanted to do something else, something different. So, I took a look around and looked at what was popular in Pop Culture (in this case, zombies and MMA) and what was in my body of knowledge (luckily, zombies and MMA) and went from there. I have kids as well and I knew the connection parents had with them. I then remembered a scene from Stephen King’s SALEM LOT which had a child died and came back as a vampire. I recalled the way it affected me when I read it. I also remembered Andrea Bianchi’s 1981 film, BURIAL GROUND: NIGHTS OF TERROR (aka LE NOTTI DEL TERRORE) and a scene in which a child also dies and comes back attack his mother. I remembered how effective those scenes were and let my imagination go from there. After that, it wasn’t hard at all.

So during the Apocalypse Cleese went on the warpath with a bat, what do you think ol' Cleese would say to swinging one of these?

[laughs] I think he’d like that a lot. However, Cleese only used the bat because it was handy. It could have easily been an axe handle, a chair leg, or anything else. The bat was just something that made for an image that screamed American to me. Hell, if pressed, he might have grabbed a severed limb and used that.

What's the word on the sequel to No Flesh?

Sequel’s being written as we speak. It’s tentatively titled, DON’T LOOK BACK, and I’m thinking it’s going to be even more action oriented. I’ve done about 20,000 words so far and I’m having to slow myself down. The pace has been blistering. I took some time after the first one and did a ton of research: shooting guns, learning about helicopters, learning about ammo, and spending a lot of time on “improvised munitions.” It may not all get used, but the experiences I’ve had doing the research will definitely inform how things will feel. Once the sequel is done, I’ll promote that and get started on the final book in what I’m seeing as a trilogy.

You've mentioned before being a big fan of the chanbara genre, particularly Kurosawa (of which I'm particularly fond myself), do you have a favorite out of the genre? I remember you mentioning having seen every Zatoichi movie.

Hmmm… well, that’s a hard one. I mean I do have personal favorites, but - believe it or not - there are even sub-genres to that sub-genre. I mean, there’s the action-oriented films like the Zatoichi films or the Lone Wolf & Cub films. Then, there are the more drama-oriented films like the Yoji Yamada trilogy (THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI, THE HIDDEN BLADE, and LOVE AND HONOR) which I just love. I’m actually doing a thirteen part primer on chanbara films on Season 2 of the pod cast I co-host, The Night Crew (http:// www.thenightcrew.org) and we just did a comparison between the Japanese chanbara film and American western. I love the genre because it’s morality is so clearly defined. That… and the swordplay is awesome. As far as favorites… The Yamada Trilogy, The SLEEPY EYES OF DEATH series, DORA HEITA, HARAKIRI, KILL!, The Hanzo The Razor series, THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI, NINJA HUNT… Man, the list just goes on and on.

You write for DreadCentral as well as Fangoria and I see you posting reviews of movies everyday, how many movies would you say you've seen in your line of work?

I do indeed post reviews of everything I watch on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/carnell). Honestly though, I do what I do not to be who I am… but because of who I am. Does that sound douchey? I mean, I watched the amount of films I watch even before I started writing for genre outlets and I watch an average of 2-3 movies a day and I’ve done so for the last forty-five years. Film was such a huge part of my growing up and I just naturally became interested in it. Then, I found books and that opened a whole other world for me. At my core, I just love the Art of Storytelling. It’s the closest thing on earth I’ve found to Magic. But to answer your question, let’s put it this way… On Netflix, I’ve rated almost 7,000 movies and that’s not counting ones I’ve seen, but either haven’t seen listed or aren’t in in their archives.

Any comment on 'martial artist' Frank Dux bailing on your panel at Crypticon? Perhaps he was worried about the Bloodsport controversy or his credibility as a supposed martial artist being questioned?

I can’t even address that. I mean, I am not in the business of attacking people or making them look like an asshole. Dux would have gotten “kid gloves” treatment from me. The subject of his past and what’s real and what’s myth may have come up, but I would have done so only to give him a chance to dispel any misconceptions people may have. Why he didn’t show for the interview is anybody’s guess. In the end, he didn’t show and I held my own panel on MMA, martial arts, and how important I think it all is to being an “enlightened” person. Honestly, we didn’t miss him all that much.

What got you into horror?

One of my first movie-going experiences was going to a drive-in with my mom back in the early ‘60s. We were a family who were getting by on a single parent’s income. There wasn’t a lot of money, you know? So, my mom had heard about this new comedy and she loaded me and my two sisters into the ‘56 Buick and we went to the El Rancho Drive-In in San Jose, CA. It was an old school place and I saw some great flicks there. Anyway, it wasn’t until we paid to get in and got settled that the movie began. The comedy she’d taken us to… HUSH, HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE.. which is by no means a comedy. She told us kids to lay down and go to sleep, but I sat and watched the film through the seats and was entranced. From there, I saw what I could. It wasn’t until 1971 when Bob Wilkins came on KTVU 2 in Oakland with a show called CREATURE FEATURES that I was fully hooked. That show became like my religion. Years later, I interviewed Bob and told him how important he was to me growing up. I think he thought I was just being nice, but… I wasn’t. From there, I leapt in with both feet. I used to wait with baited breath for the TV GUIDE to come in the mail and I’d grab it and a highlighter and sit and mark off all the movies I wanted to see. And every day, I’d set my alarm for fifteen minutes before the movie started just so I could get up and watch it. I used to go to school with little sleep, but it didn’t matter because I would tell my friends all about the film I’d seen the night before. Luckily, my mom kind of understood and allowed me to get away with it.

How do you feel about the amount of remakes? Do you feel any have made any marked improvement over their original?

Well, not all remakes are bad. There are just as many out there that rock. I think people give remakes too hard a time. If you want to get infuriated about something movie related, get pissed of at people who won’t watch a film in black & white. Get irritated at the person who won’t watch a film with subtitles… or that is letterboxed. If you want to see some truly great films, you need watch films from all over the world. On The Night Crew pod cast, we are always going on about “context.” The gist of it is… to fully understand why a film like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is a good film, you need to have seen OUT OF THE PAST or KEY LARGO or… who Jacques Tourneur is. Hell, you need to know a thing or two about fuckin’ musicals or who Vincente Minelli is. Y’know? So a lot of the blame on the lame output of Hollywood I lay right at the feet of the average moviegoer who doesn’t take the time to know what it is he or she is looking at. Because, let’s face it, going to a cinema now is a nightmare. People texting during the film… talking… bringing children to wholly inappropriate films. It’s hard to imagine that some of these people know how to behave. Then, to top it all off, theater owners don’t do a thing about it. Thankfully, there are people in the world like Tim League at The Alamo Drafthouse who will have someone who does that shit escorted from the building in no uncertain terms. But remakes… shit, they’re the least of my worries.

Regarding zombies

What is your take on the whole Fast or Slow debate?

I kind of adhere to the idea that Zack Snyder talked about in the Special Features of the DAWN OF THE DEAD DVD. In that, he describes 3 stages of zombism. #1) “The Emergency Room Zombie” That is… people who have just died. They bear the injuries that killed them and they possess all of the attributes that they had in life. Now, I’ll factor in the inevitable adrenaline dump to explain the whole “fast” zombie thing. What I won’t buy is a zombie doing something that it could not have done when it was alive. #2) This is the dead after say three to five days or so. Rigor Mortis has already come and gone (it usually appears eight to twenty hours after death and lasts for ten to seventy hours but can remain for several days) and decomposition has started. Shit’s goin’ south. The can move, just not very well. #3) This is a body that is less mobile and a lot more decomposed, a whole lot less coordinated. Think… The Bicycle Zombie in THE WALKING DEAD. Ok, so, that said… I also adhere to the Romeroian idea that “Every dead body that is not exterminated becomes one of them. It gets up and kills! The people it kills get up and kill!” I think it has more of a sense of randomness… which, to me, is scarier than just a suped-up case of flu. The idea that zombification is an infection is an interesting one, but one that is more about our fear of infection and of contamination. While that scenario is a lot more likely… someone getting sick and dying and coming back is far more possible than something affecting the bodies of the dead and bringing them back… there just a part of me that thinks the Romero Model is more frightening. Either way… we still end up with hordes of the undead roaming the streets. People bickering about how it all started is, at that point, kind of beside the point.

Weapon of choice: Blade, bat or firearm?

Well, as I said when I was asked about my weapon of choice at the first ZomBCon… My initial weapon of choice would be… a good pair of running shoes. The best way to win a swordfight is to never draw your sword, right? That said… I think it all depends on your battleground. Urban? Suburban? Rural? Forest? What’s your playing field like? But as far as weaponry… and assuming I had anything at my disposal. Long range… I’m saying the .50 caliber M82A1 SASR (Special Applications Scoped Rifle or Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle) sniper rifle. It packs a helluva punch and the round can be delivered from a long way off. Medium range… the Colt AR-15 or the Heckler & Koch HK416 both use the standard 5.56 NATO round. Short range… the AA12 Fully Automatic Shotgun (it can deliver an astounding 300 rounds a minute - full auto, 12 gauge) wins the blue ribbon. Handgun… I’ll take a suppressed Heckler & Koch HK45 or a Berretta 92F.  Closer than that… Give me either a 31” tachi, a 29” katana, or… if we’re being exotic… a Turkish Kilij.

Are you Prepared for Z-Day?

Let’s just say this… I’m probably better prepared than your average citizen. I mean, I’ve spent my life around the dead (I attended mortuary college and worked as an embalmer for years). I know a thing or two about weapons and fighting. And… I’ve spent a LOT of time thinking the whole scenario over. But to be honest - and while it may sound silly - one thing I learned from played LEFT 4 DEAD is… that even a meticulously laid plan can go to shit real fast from the slightest deviation or bit of bad timing. So, you never know…

I understand doing it for the love of film. What are your top 10 movies that you would Ludovico Technique one of these average movie-goers in an attempt to make them appreciate film a bit more?

Well… this gets dicey. I mean, there are the films I think everyone should see. Then, there are the films I myself enjoy (which sometimes are necessarily classically “great”). And then, there are the films that people need to see to be able to hold their own in a discussion of Film. I’ll give you a list of the films I gave when I filled out my staff questionnaire for The Night Crew. Favorite films: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, WHITE CHRISTMAS, THE FALL, Hirokazu Koreeda’s AFTERLIFE, ENTER THE DRAGON, FIGHT CLUB, BLADE RUNNER, CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, the entire ZATOICHI series, the LONE WOLF AND CUB series, KWAIDAN, the SLEEPY EYES OF DEATH series, SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER… AND SPRING, THE RED VIOLIN, OUT OF THE PAST, INSIDE, MARTYRS, GALLIPOLI, WHEN THE LAST SWORD IS DRAWN, Yoji Yamada’s SAMURAI Trilogy, WATER, THE LAST SAMURAI, 800 BULLETS , THRONE OF BLOOD, DEPARTURES, TOKYO GODFATHERS, SCHULTZE GETS THE BLUES, RED CLIFF (International version), DORM, PLAYTIME, Yang Zhang’s SHOWER, OSS117: CAIRO, NEST OF SPIES, the anime MUSHI-SHI, THE FOUNTAIN, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, THE MAN FROM NOWHERE, THE OTHERS, THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, MURDER BY DEATH, AMELIE, HARAKIRI, THE DESCENT… I’m sure I’ve left a ton out, but that’s as good a place as any to get started.

Obviously you're WELL versed in horror, but what scares Thom Carnell? Or rather, what sort of thing makes a horror enthusiast such as yourself's skin crawl? (i.e. the director of Saw II came up with the syringe pit because needles terrify him, bad example maybe but it's the first one I can think of this late)

Well, first off, one wishes the thing that scared Darren Lynn Bousman would have been the fear of making a crappy movie… maybe SAW II would have been better. But, I digress… Other than the big things (something happening to my family, being infirmed and unable to care for myself, etc), there’s not a lot. I mean, I worked in funeral service for ten years off and on and I saw as many ways as there is to die. I’m not too concerned by the thought of walking in a graveyard at night (it’s really rather pleasant). I’ve encountered violence. Spiders don’t bug me. Snakes… Some might saw that I have an issue with zombies since I’ve spent more than a few years studying them. Honestly, if I had to pick one thing that frightens me… it’d be people. I love people one-on-one… it’s just I get a little uncomfortable when I encounter them in large numbers. I start getting mental images of being run up a windmill by villagers with pitchforks and torches. In my opinion, four or five people is a dinner party… any more than that and that’s a mob… and THAT’S scary.

Do you have a favorite interview with you've conducted with someone or a most memorable moment? Who would you like most to interview and why? 

Favorite interview… Well, I always enjoy speaking to Clive Barker. He always leaves me with something to think about and is super inspiring. Both him and Neil Gaiman make you want to be a better writer. Diamanda Galas was amazing. I was so scared to talk to her, but she was great. I recently chatted with Kate Beckinsale for the new Underworld movie and she was nice… smelled amazing. There’s been so many over the years. I’ve been doing interviews since 1994. There have been literally hundreds of people I‘ve sat with and each one is kind of special in their own right, y’know? Frank Miller. Salma Hayek. Robert Rodriquez. Alex Ross. Luckily, Zed Presents… is putting the best of those out in eBook form in association with Crossroad Press (http://www.macabreink.com/cpmain) called THE CARPE NOCTEM INTERVIEWS… Once we click through the ones I did for CARPE NOCTEM Magazine, we’ll start doing THE FREELANCE YEARS… which covers everything after that. Ok, so… The memorable ones? I had an interview with Andrew Vachss go bad once. It was just after the Columbine incident and I think he thought I was asking questions that were designed to get some clichéd soundbite from him. I wasn’t, but… The talk started to go sideways and it became impossible to put it back on track. My wife arranged for me to talk to Gino Vannelli for my birthday one year. That was pretty terrific because I’ve been a fan since I was younger. I really enjoyed talking with Spanish director Nacho Cerda about his film, AFTERMATH because we got into a lot of deep shit about death and dying. These says, I really dig interviews where I myself learn something and it’s not just that same ol’ same ol’. It’s the main thing I love about doing The Night Crew podcast. My co-host, Sean Smithson, and I do interviews with people that are WAY out of the box. It makes it fun for Sean and I… and it makes it fun for the guests because they get to actually have a conversation rather than just answer the same questions they’ve been answering for years. But like I said… there’s been so many people over the years and I usually have a great time talking with them. As far as who I’d most like to talk to… I’ve managed to click off most of the names I’ve had on my Interview Bucket List… with one exception: Stephen King. I was supposed to interview him years ago, but just before we were scheduled to talk, he was hit by that car and that ended that. Maybe some day…

What's your opinion on the latest craze of 'torture porn' movies like Human Centipede: Full Sequence, A Serbian Film or the Hostel movies? Are these directors just trying to get a reaction from a 'been-there-done-that-seen-that" sort of crowd by pushing the envelope off the cliff?

Man, how much space to you have for this answer? [laughs] What’s my opinion? I have no problem with violence (even extreme violence) IF it serves to move the story forward. Sadly, most “torture porn” films fail to do that. The violence tends to be more… masturbatory than anything else. I think the violence in A SERBIAN FILM was a necessary part of that particular film. If you wee to take it out of that flick, the structure would definitely fall apart. It would make no sense. The HOSTEL series… there I think the violence was necessary, but it also lingered unnecessarily. There came a point where the audience “got it,” they knew what was happening and the director let the camera run. After a while, it’s no longer furthering anything (not story, not theme, etc). It’s just sort of “wallowing” in its own excess. I’m not a particular fan of the HOSTEL films, but Eli Roth at least tried to do something that was new (even if he did get caught up in his own mythos). Plus… any series that casts both Takashi Miike and Edwige Fenech… ain’t half bad. Now, HUMAN CENTIPEDE… Look, I HATED HUMAN CENTIPEDE, but not because of the violence or whatnot. I think it had a solid story idea. The problem there was in its execution. The film was simply poorly made. Now, this all said, I grew up in an era (the 70s and 80s) when “splatter” was in its heyday. Back then, Special Makeup FX guys like Savini and Bottin were like rock stars. In fact, I used to go to see films because of who the FX guy was. But as a result of that era, we all learned that “gore” was only effective if the audience felt something about the characters. Look at FRIDAY THE 13TH. Those kids were dicks and by the time Jason’s mom starts offing them, the audience is cheering for those fuckers to die. Now, juxtapose that with the single, simple death in SCHULTZE GETS THE BLUES or the violence in THE MAN FROM NOWHERE. Completely different things. In the former… you don’t give a shit about the characters and want them to die horribly. In the latter, you COMPLETELY care and, when the deaths come, you’re either deeply saddened (as in SCHULTZE) or completely exhilarated (as MAN FROM NOWHERE). Then… you look at something like Fred Vogel’s AUGUST UNDERGROUND films and you see them for what they are… exploitative masturbatory crap. There is no subtext there, no meaning. It’s just death for death’s sake, meant to titillate. It’s bullshit and it’s just bad filmmaking.

Suppose a fictional battle between a Roman gladiator and a samurai under the house of Tokugawa, who wins and why?

This sounds like an unused DEADLIEST WARRIOR episode. [laughs] Well, samurai have the better weapons (the Katana, Yumi, Kanabo, and Naginata), the better mindset (the willingness to die), and speed. Gladiators have a more diverse arsenal (although they hail from an age when the weapons were made from weaker metals and were therefore more likely to bend or break) with the Sica, Sling, Trident and Net, Cestus, and Scissor and are physically bigger fighters. So, it really comes down to size vs. weaponry. So, given the speed, training, and advanced technology of the samurai, I’m going with Tokugawa. Now that said, if you watch DEADLIEST WARRIOR, you’d know that the Samurai lost to the Spartan, so… one never knows.