"Curse of the Snowflake"
I can't be the only one who finds these people tiresome. They're increasingly common and can be found in all walks of life and doing all sorts of jobs. They're usually the conservative ones who are pleasant enough to talk to as long as the conversation sticks to normal, mundane things and doesn't cross over into topics like religion and politics. In the making of this site, I was accused of "being a Nazi" by a female Snowflake who evidently thought that anyone working on this subject matter: the photographers, models, makeup department, manager of the studio etc, must automatically be mass-murderers. Obviously this is a pathetic stance by a brainless idiot who presumably sees the whole world in a similar light. Thus according to her moronic logic everyone in World War 2 films playing German soldiers must actually be Nazis themselves and must actually be German. Perhaps she thought in her say-what-you-see mindset - that because I have Zombies on my site then they must be real as well. When she mentioned the crimes that the Nazis committed, I pointed out that the British Empire was far worse and killed many more than the Germans had done. Deaths linked to the British Empire were in the tens of millions, yet no one seems much concerned about that. These Snowflakes - generally not very knowledgeable about history - say their trite piece still glibly unconcerned about our own darkness contained within our blood-splattered overseas involvements. This subject is one these people (and many others) simply don't want to visit or consider. They comment about the Nazis but still want to live here, watch television here, work here, despite our own many crimes against humanity. But I suppose it's far easier to vent spleen on other countries' evil than confront our own acts of wickedness. This particular Snowflake's concern about mass killings appeared to evaporate when Britain was mentioned because then she might have to evaluate her life (and stance) against the backdrop of our own brutality. I'm of the opinion that if a Snowflake really cares about past mass-murders, then why is he or she still living here with the blood of millions of Africans, Indians and others staining this country's legacy? But it's easier to care about something if you don't actually have to do anything about it. For the rest of us, we get on quietly with our lives and reside in the moral vacuum we prefer without having to accept our forefathers' crimes.
These Snowflakes are happy to be the "perpetually offended"; the "constant victims" who never seem to achieve a whole lot themselves because they appear to spend their time playing the down-trodden - even when it's clear they aren't. I remember a fairly recent news story where someone (a straight man I think) complained about a picture hanging in a local art gallery. He was offended by an artist's impression of a naked woman which obviously revealed her naked breasts. He moaned about it and the gallery owner was stupid and weak enough to take the picture down. Firstly - if it were a man complaining - surely he would have seen a real pair of breasts from time to time so why the outrage with the painted variety? Secondly, if it were a woman complaining, surely a familiar part of the female anatomy wouldn't phase her in the slightest - so why the silly hysteria? In the end, it meant that hundreds, possibly thousands, of people weren't able to see an interesting composition because of a single whinger. This isn't even democratic: why should a single whining idiot prevent many more people enjoying a picture? I can't help thinking that these people subconsciously know they will be unlikely to achieve much in their lives and thus seek a brief moment of "fame" by moaning about another person's talent.
I've also heard Snowflakes complain that the Red Poppy (used to celebrate our fallen soldiers) is a racist emblem and should have no place in today's society. Personally I view these people as Professional Idiots who have no grasp on history at all. It's only because of our soldiers' sacrifice in World War 2 that these twerps are able to live in Britain in the first place.
How times have changed - and not always for the better. If you didn't like something 20 years ago you just wouldn't watch it or read it. Now you have to advertise the fact you don't like something and attempt to get it banned. This weakness of character is damaging ourselves and our country as we're now unable to defend our borders because that's deemed as racist, or might hurt someone's feelings. We're also hindered in expelling those who threaten our way of life, and unwilling to stand up to the EU over Brexit when it's quite clear they're taking us for a ride and attempting to reverse our democratic values.
When you consider Britain's many good achievements in the world (things not linked to the violence of the British Empire), how many of these improvements would have been the work of a Snowflake? Not many, I'll wager, because in doing something different and meaningful you have to be prepared to take risks. This, of course, doesn't sit well for the Naysayers of life: the boring farts who'd rather stand in the background criticizing others' efforts, rather than attempting something similar themselves. So the moral of this is: don't be a whiny bed-wetter; find something you want to do in life and storm forward to victory - and if the Snowflakes don't like it: tough shit!
"Nazi Zombie Location Shoot"
What is my fascination with these creatures of evil? Some of it is linked with a basic human fear of slipping into the black eternity of death. No creature, however physically strong it's been in its life, returns from the black void. So, naturally, I'm thoroughly absorbed by these beings who exist outside the boundaries of accepted science.
The recent Location Shoot I was at transported me into a world of cold stone, damp caves, and of being hunted by Zeitzler and his deathless Kommandos. To die in different ways, at the hands of his Undead soldiers, was fun, occasionally exhilarating, and a step closer to understanding his savage world of relentless evil. Through the shifting shadows he lurks, pushing his Kommandos ever forward, while he plots his next move. To look at Zeitzler is to step into a dark world of what we're all capable of; to scratch through our veneer of education and learning and to realize it's possible for us all to hide a monster within ourselves.
When 3 or 4 of these characters stand together, I feel as though I'm on a film set with fact and fiction merging and creating an otherworldly setting. It sometimes seems as if the gathered creatures around me are real as they watch me help to organize the Shoot, their dead eyes surveying me coldly. On one occasion, in the place where we'd set up, I was lifting a delicate sandwich to my mouth, when I caught sight of Gert seemingly staring at me from the other side of the room, and I shuddered and put the sandwich down almost apologetically.
Most of the filmed sections of this session were made in the bowels of Fort Amherst, where the flickering shadows masked the oncoming evil of the Nazi Zombies. From the mercenary leader's failed attempt to stop these dead warriors, to my own demise in the brightly-lit Grand Magazine, you'll see the Zombie Sunset team heading in a more ambitious direction. But what do I think of the evil characters?
Zeitzler: played to perfection by the talented Sam Dunning, his stance contains an officer's authority as he gazes down at another victim (generally me). To be captured by him results in death, unless he's happy to let his companions use the prisoner for their own sadistic pleasure. He controls his Kommandos with an iron will. Highly intelligent, he has the vision to push home his viciousness to maximum effect. But sometimes when he interacts with Morgana, you get the feeling their informality suggests a closeness that goes beyond operating together in a small military unit...
Morgana: beautiful - and with a rather striking wardrobe - she's played by the amazing Morgana Buxton. But don't be fooled into thinking this character is mellow. There's no candlelit dinners to be had with this female - the only candles you'll be seeing are those lighting her torture chamber. You may yearn for her cool touch only to bitterly regret that thought when she twists your head and draws you towards her sharp knife. Any slight smile flickering across her pale features doesn't reflect her romantic intent, but instead indicates imminent doom.
Sgt Gert: a warrior's warrior, this character stalks any battlefield, while armed to the teeth, and takes great delight in slaughtering his foes. killing by bullet, bomb, or bayonet is bread and butter (and sometimes fresh meat) to this violent psychopath. He's fanatically loyal to Zeitzler and rarely leaves his side for long. Nicky Paul Rollett injects energy and pace into this part, whether he's kicking the crap out of me, or striking a pose. However, he's also creative and able to give advice on the action scenes. If there's a fight scenario to nail down, Nicky is often the first Nazi Zombie to enter the fray.
Mahler: an axe-wielding homicidal crazy, Mahler fits in nicely with Zeitzler's combat unit. His unsettling grin is often the last thing people see before being sliced to pieces by a knotted blade. This character (played by the laid-back Scott Giller) hails from the Totenkopf division. Mahler favours wounding his foes with a firearm before finishing them off with a bladed weapon.
Zill: played by relative newcomer to modelling, Matthew Mason. This Kommando, despite a youngish countenance, is battle-hardened - adept at blowing the enemy up with his weapon of choice: the Stg24 or Stick Grenade. Sometimes tying 2 or 3 together to increase the blast, Zill is a sinister technician of this dangerous weapon. Thrown into this ad-hoc unit because of killing a senior officer, Zill has embraced the fanatical rage exhibited by Zeitzler's soldiers.
So the next time you're alone - or perhaps an employee at Fort Amherst walking the shadowy atmospheric corridors - it might be advisable to check these killers aren't closing in around you. To be claimed by them is to leave the sunlight and be done to death in a dismal place of Undead evil. So lock your door each night and be sure to check under your bed as well...
My relationship with Alcohol has been generally agreeable. While I realize that it can twist minds, create violence, and ruin lives, I've been able to avoid that and merely suffer from the "acting like a silly arse" scenario. From the fairly common: throwing up in a cab and being kicked out in the middle of nowhere, to taking a lady out to dinner and then blowing it by making ludicrous observations. My "every meerkat can play the trumpet" comment didn't go down especially well.
For me, the onset of inebriation makes everything glitter and shine so that the possibilities of creative endeavour become almost endless. A bottle of red wine gets things going nicely, helping along a sublime mix of artistic planning combined with a hint of madness. Perhaps the sibilant voices I sometimes hear are merely the hissing of ruptured water pipes and not the gentle mocking of demons surrounding me. Lovecraft made insanity work for him as he conjured up his evil Mythos, inhabited as it was by hellish creatures wanting to destroy humanity.
(There comes the sound of blood-red wine pouring into a slender, crystal glass...)
The whispering gets louder as wine is swallowed. The sun slips down, its final shafts of light dappling the encroaching darkness with a watery gold wash as I sway softly, enjoying the sharp clinking of glasses as celebrations echo around me. My eyes half close as pallid faces, eyes dull yellow, peer at me from the long grass while blood-splatters trickle down their porcelain skin. I am insane and these creatures understand, their mouths curving up appreciatively as they begin to suspect that we are similar. Jagged nails grip withered rose bushes, faces twitching in delicious pain as the thorns tear flesh.
The clip-clop of high heels arrests my attention, and there she is: skin flashing seductively; her hair a tumble of curls and crimps. Full red lips partially hide razor-sharp incisors which make me shudder excitedly. My head drops and I rest heavily on a rickety beer garden table, a glass tipping over, as I try to gather my thoughts.
I slurp more wine, finally draining the bottle as her cold breath touches my glowing face. With a snigger, I pick up a bottle of quality red although I know not where it's come from. Soon I'm filling the glass and then begin to sup deeply. The weakening sunlight seems to spin around me, shimmering weirdly as skinny, cadaverous shapes move and twist in the background. She smiles as she loosens the belt around her stylish dress, the soft fabric falling open to reveal her large, pale breasts and slim waist. A glinting silver choker merges with her alabaster skin and her small, yet strong hands yank my head up to hers - for she is tall - and she kisses me forcefully before pushing my head down. I indulge her frantically, ignoring the soft laughing of the creatures around me, and she groans as she stares upwards into the sinister trees. More wine is imbibed and I feel like a god, clutching my face as I scream my immortality to the evil stars suddenly gazing down. She falls to her knees and I glance at the red lips around my nether region and raise my shaking arms to punch the air, tears slipping from my watery eyes.
Half empty glasses surround me and I stare at the sunken faces peering up. I shift position on my throne, feeling the cold steel sending goose pimples spreading over my skin. The blood squelches beneath me and I glance at her as she views her minions, blood dripping down between her engorged breasts. Her crown of bone is splattered in crimson, her eyes enraptured as her skinny cohorts whisper to her, their wavering voices gaining power.
I come to, my breath in unsteady gasps as I prop myself up as I try to remember. Delicate leaves fall onto me from the gold-brown canopy above, the boughs creaking in melancholy protestation. My tired eyes widen at the ribs poking through my tattered clothing. Old, dried blood covers me as does a layer of crispy, disintegrating leaf matter. As I struggle up, a number of opened and empty wine bottles - dozens of them - clink together and roll away. With a soft snarl, I crawl along the floor, parting the bushes and easing myself through. After reaching the High Street, the screaming starts. One female shopper, too slow to retreat, utters a whimper as my fevered face finds her bare legs, my yellowed teeth sinking into her smooth skin. Her uneven screech pleases me as I tear a section of flesh from her, the youth falling to the floor and thrashing around. My heavy breathing becomes more excited as I claw my way up her torso, finally biting off a thumb and snarling savagely -
(I'm sure I can hear laughing from somewhere...)
- before swallowing the small lump of meat. I rip her ears off and raise my face and look into the shop window. My bloody reflection stares back at me and I can hear more screams - and the first sirens. My jagged teeth gore her neck, my throat gulping down the torrent of blood.
I pluck a bottle of wine from her blood-splattered cloth shopping bag and my eyes widen. Chateauneuf-du-Pape! Soon I'm desperately swallowing the Alcohol, my crimson, puckering lips tasting blood and booze and I start to cackle hysterically at the semi-circle of terrified faces staring at my emaciated form. I stagger to my feet to hold forth:
'"What a piece of work is a man. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties. In form and moving, how express and admirable. In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god..."'
I'm swigging more Alcohol as the first bullets strike me, shattering the bottle and puncturing my frail body. Blood and wine merge in the listless air and I fall onto the dead girl, my dying eyes resting on the advancing policemen, their guns still smoking.
A dribble of Alcohol escapes my mouth to be replaced by a surge of blood, and I smile a last crooked grin as my memories of youth, vigour, and lost dreams begin to fade.
How must it feel to turn into a Zombie and become the vicious, relentless beast of legend? To live purely for the slaughter of the living, killing them without mercy, is a terrifying prospect. And to do so without having the mental capacity to question your actions renders us fearful of these lumbering creatures of evil.
But as you stare at the festering wound on your arm, would you be able to recognize your final moments as a human, with ideals and dreams fading away, before they are replaced by a surging, unhinged violence which cannot be sated? The yellowed eyes see only the next blood-splattered meal, with humans only registering as just another food source. The expression changes from dislike to hatred to bloodlust as your loved ones scream in terror as you cross the appalling rubicon into Undeath. Your lips fold back, baring your teeth, as you advance upon friends and family but recognizing no one. The stiffening of muscle, aiding physical strength, contrasts markedly with the weakened brain, reduced to little more than pulp, as you claw your way towards your next victim, snarls escaping between your bloody lips.
To know you're infected with the Zombie Virus means a lingering death sentence, brought into effect as the incubation period is finally ended. Your eyes close and your last feelings of rage and fear are hopelessly confused. You feel sick with worry, shaking with the knowledge of what awaits you.
Your eyes snap open and a bloody grin creeps over your face. For a short while you lie there gazing up at the grey sky with its dark, brooding clouds and brief glint of sunlight. Your dull eyes are momentarily distracted by birds squabbling up in the tree tops before human activity finally rips you from your torpor. Your grin widens as you embrace a satanic call of the wild, mindless and fearless, as you struggle to your feet. Other corpses, also risen, stagger towards the terror stricken civilians while your clawed hand catches hold of a young man who struggles to break free but fails. Your eyes, relaying little to your destroyed brain, lock upon the subdued male who seems to have frozen in fear, accepting his ghastly fate.
Blood covers your mouth, with more trickling down your clammy forehead, as you feast on the glistening entrails of the fallen man. Bodies lie everywhere with ghoulish figures leaning over each one as they tear the flesh from the still-warm cadavers. Growls and snarling fill the air as corrupted bodies embrace the insanity of what is unfolding. The trees sway in the weak breeze, with their leaves whispering softly - a backdrop of normality while all else is chaos.
In the High Street, blood trickles into the gutter, some of it finding its way into a rusty grating in the road where it falls into the Stygian darkness. Standing in your bloody clothes you stare into a shop window and watch the TV screens with vacant eyes. The straggly meat of a consumed rat hangs from the corner of your mouth and you turn clumsily upon hearing movement behind.
You celebrate another death with a savage cackle while the town dies around you. Its shattered windows twinkle in the dying light as dusk closes in. Screaming merges with the car horns from wrecked vehicles; some are overturned, while others burn brightly with smoke billowing out from beneath crumpled metal.
A droplet of blood drips from your thumbnail and falls onto the face of an elderly woman, her face still caught in a silent, endless scream. Her shopping bags lie nearby with meals for one spilling out of the torn plastic. But you stare at this uncaringly, uncomprehendingly as you bite through her fingers one by one...
But how did this cataclysm arrive? Was it through a particularly virulent strain of rabies? Or, perhaps, a military experiment gone wrong? Given Man's track record of widespread inhumanity - even with our rational brains - it seems quite possible that if there ever is a terrible Contagion then it may well be because of a government's meddling in genetics. This prospect is extremely unsettling when one considers the fact that scientists are often reckless individuals only too eager to try out new drugs on an unsuspecting society. Today's test subject guinea pigs could be tomorrow's flesh-ripping Zombies eager for a taste of human meat.
So what about you, now you've transmogrified into a rabid killer?
You're now in the story as just another grotesque with a dead mask face overseeing the collapse of humanity. It's irrelevant to you how this started, and irrelevant to you how this will end.
"Zombies and their Enduring Popularity"
Do you fear the end...?
Given the enormous contribution the Zombie has given to the horror genre (books as well as films) - and the proliferation of soundtracks, mugs, T-shirts, board games et al - it’s quite clear that this particular form of Undead is driving all before it, and has been for some considerable time. In this article I’ll attempt to give my own reasons as to why this might be, and to ponder what the future holds for the relentless evil of the walking corpses.
As described in this site’s introduction, the unconvincing, blue-faced shuffling dead of the 70s’ movies occasionally provided an interesting glimpse into the potential of this creature type. Roll the clock on to more recent years and the viewer is rewarded with the wonderfully rendered prosthetics of series such as the Walking Dead. Close ups of Zombified faces are detailed enough to send shivers down the spine, while the sight of rotting teeth slicing into bloody entrails reveals a godless world that humankind could eventually inhabit.
I think the Zombie works on different levels. Firstly it’s an allegory which is linked to dementia: when a person no longer recognizes his or her loved ones and might even turn violent with them even though they’re attempting to ease the stricken person’s last few years on this earth. Some horror films have dealt with this and the scenes can be surprisingly disturbing, such as when a wife no longer sees her partner as a husband anymore, but merely as meat to be ripped apart. The fact that Zombies cannot be bargained with or convinced to stop partially mimics the awful downward spiral of diseases of the brain.
Another reason for the Zombies’ successful career is more obvious - that they represent the end of the human species and embrace the gory, blood-crazed existence that continues afterwards, and this challenges one of the last great taboos: death. We humans are terrified of shuffling off our mortal coil and, as a result, the prospect of cheating mortality in whatever form - however rudimentary - captivates us. As people age, their thoughts must inevitably turn to their own demise (on occasion) and they wonder when the fateful act will happen and whether the lurid stories of white tunnels and angelic voices are true. And then, possibly, come the ideas of cheating this process and considering if it’s feasible to continue with life even if it’s without a pulse.
Would you want to live after your human death if it meant ripping the flesh from those still in possession of a functioning brain? In the lucidity of a moment’s contemplation perhaps not, but if in a weakened state with the possibility of the end fast approaching and when deals with God have fallen through...then perhaps the answer would then be a hesitant “yes”. So the lust and zeal many of us have for life would possibly lead us to take our meat undercooked if it were possible - and in so doing convince us that we had cheated the inevitability of death. I also find it thrilling to think that several bullets punching through my chest wouldn’t stop me; that the unpleasant grin creeping over my face wouldn’t lessen as my leathery, blood-caked hands still reach out to the terrified human I’d soon be feasting on. There’s something quietly awesome about this: to cheat death; to shrug off the knowledge that every human life will end this way and then rise again without a beating heart - is a lessened form of the divine.
Zombie fans get this idea, I’ll wager: that there’s something after our last breath which waits for us...
The majesty of Undeath.
Another reason for the Zombies’ success is that over the last few decades many different writers, artists, and directors have brought their own ideas to the party thus ensuring the genre remains flexible. This means it’s able to move with the times thus making sure that the Zombie concept is always relevant. As each new generation experiences the cold embrace of dead flesh, this builds a creative friction, just as two seas meeting smash against each other in spouts of violent foam and force.
Of course, the original idea of the Zombie came from Haiti and Africa, and generally within the sinister grip of Voodoo. Many of these Zombies were villagers reduced to vacant slaves by black magic or the application of various substances which dulled a person’s will to resist. According to ethnobotanist Edmund Wade Davis, toxins from the toad Bufo Marinus result in producing numbing agents and hallucinogens, while Puffer fish have toxins that cause paralysis, depress respiration, reduce circulatory activity, and cause a victim to believe he’s floating over his own body. As a result, it’s easy to see how this state of affairs mutated as the legend of the Zombie spread, and the idea was then adapted by writers and other creatives who adjusted the folklore for their own varied projects.
It seems there’s plenty of “life” left in the Zombie genre (sorry, I couldn’t resist that) considering the other different types available to the crazed musings of writers and directors. There’s Atomic Zombies (created by chemical or radioactive contamination); Necromantic Zombies (created by black magic to reanimate the bodies of the dead); Viral Zombies (created by a contagious virus that infects the living and turns them into Zombies following the rapid onset of death) - the list goes on.
It seems the Zombie is here to stay - and not just because its own twisted DNA makes this possible, it’s also because these snarling, vicious forms are wanted by fearful audiences all over the globe.