Halloween Book Sales

Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a few scary books to read. In the spirit of the holiday, my paranormal thriller series under Limitless Publishing (The Subdue Books) are being severely slashed. There are freebies and cheapies to be had here. But read at your own risk!

Dwelling (Subdue Book 1) by [Flowers, Thomas S.]

FREE!!

Book 1 in the Subdue Series, a paranormal thriller.

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Emerging (Subdue Book 2) by [Flowers, Thomas S.]

FREE!!

Book 2 in the Subdue Series, a paranormal thriller

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Conceiving (Subdue Book 3) by [Flowers, Thomas S.]

$0.99!!

Book 3 in the Subdue Series, a paranormal thriller

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Converging (Subdue Book 4) by [Flowers, Thomas S.]

$0.99!!

Book 4 in the Subdue Series, a paranormal thriller.

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Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Halloween is almost here. And what better hangout than the graveyard. As a Romero purist, I’ve found zombie flicks outside Romeroism rules to be…meh. However, there are a select few that defy zombie prejudice. Let’s chat a bit about Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead. Now, it is important to distinguish who the director of the film is, versus who it had been, and the writers involved with the project as well. Believe it or not, Return of Living Dead has a sort of complicated history. What started out as a sequel to Night of the Living Dead by legendary George A. Romero co-creator John Russo, when Russo and Romero parted ways after 1968 , according to the documentary provided in the newly released Shout! Factory Return of The Living Dead [Blu-Ray], Russo was able to retain the rights to use “Living Dead,” while Romero was free to work on his sequels to the original film.

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However, when slotted director Tobe Hooper backed out to work on Lifeforce, producers brought on Dan “The Man” O’Bannon to not only polish the script but also to assume the directorial seat. O’Bannon agreed to the job under the condition he could radically alter the original Russo script. I’m not sure what Russo’s script was exactly, but given that he had written the story coming off of Night of the Living Dead, it was probably more serious in tone and akin to the work of George A. Romero. When O’Bannon took the reins, he did not want to produce something that resembled anything Romero had done or was working on. Understandable considering Romero’s zombie trilogy (Night, Dawn, Day) had all been released before Return hit theaters in August 1985. He wanted something his own and completely unique. While Russo remained credited, I do not think much of his original story remained in the final product. This film was very much O’Bannon’s , a living legacy to the late great director.

Before we continue with this review. How about a synopsis?

When foreman Frank (James Karen) shows new employee Freddy (Thom Mathews) a secret military experiment in a supply warehouse, the two klutzes accidentally release a gas that reanimates corpses into flesh-eating zombies.  Frank and Freddy seek the help of their boss (Clu Gulager) and a mysterious mortician (Don Calfa) to dispose of the remains of a still twitching cadaver. When the smoke from the crematoria rolls over the nearby cemetery, the undead wake and mayhem ensues and a group of punk rocker friends hanging out in the graveyard for their buddy Freddy must fight to survive the growing shambling horde of undead fiends. 

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Admittedly, growing up and still somewhat today, I was very much a Romero-purist. My first horror love was Night of the Living Dead which my older sister introduced me to during one of our customary Friday night movie binges. I heard about Return of the Living Dead, but never really gave it much thought in watching. I did watch Return of the Living Dead III back in the 90s when I was working at Blockbuster and rented the sucker on VHS. I was not impressed with that one in the least and assumed at that point that all Returns were just as dumb. I’m not one to shy away admitting when I’m wrong. And I was certainly wrong about the original Return of the Living Dead (1985). For the life of me, I cannot remember when I first watched Return of the Living Dead…but it had to have been within the last few years. Regardless, I was wrong. You heard it here first, folks. I WAS WRONG.

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Despite the horror-comedy hijinks versus the very serious undertones of Romero’s work, Return of the Living Dead was a wonderfully fangtastic flick. While Romero may have the social commentary in the bag with his films, we cannot discredit the cultural significance of Return. The movie is bleak and ironic on a massive scale. The most obvious moment, of course, is the atomic-sized end (SPOILERS). Those characters fight and struggle and deal with so much bullshit and so much death to finally contact the Army for help and then get nuked only to see the same contaminated smoke rolling over new graves is laughably and wonderfully nihilistic.

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In the end, we’re left to ask, “What was the point?” Much as what any decent horror does, it doesn’t answer questions to how we should go about doing things or solving difficult problems. Good horror movies force us to face our deepest darkest questions about ourselves. And that it what Return of the Living Dead precisely did, though not in the serious way most Romero fans are used to, but in an over-the-top parody of itself. My favorite scene in the entire movie was when Frank realizes that he’s about turn into a zombie. He decides to sneak past his friends and climb inside the crematoria, immolating himself, rather than become one of the undead. Rumor is, actor James Karen didn’t want to join the other zombies extras outside in the cold ass prop-rain and asked if he could “go out” this way instead. Whatever really happened as to the reason, the addition of that scene adds to the wonderful bleakness of the movie.

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Since the film’s original August 16, 1985, release, Return of the Living Dead has spread into a huuuuuge cult following. Most of the zombie-culture today gives thanks to this film over Romero’s work. Whenever you hear someone moan, “Braiiiinnnsss,” it’s thanks to this horror-comedy flick. There’s even a Simpson’s TreeHouse of Horror episode dedicated to Return of the Living Dead, the parody being when the zombies are hunting for brains, they pass over Homer Simpson. And domestically, the evidence is clear on which film audiences preferred. Romero’s Day of the Dead grossed around $5.8 million, while Return of the Living Dead grossed around $14 million in 1985. And don’t get me started on the soundtrack. As far as movie soundtracks go, Return has one of the more memorable and fun lists of bands to jive to while trick-or-treaters are ringing your bell.  If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you need to. If not for the cultural significance, then for the fun, over-the-top zombie gags, and punker hilariousness.

My Rating: 5/5

BOOKS OF THE DEAD

I think we can all agree that the world of zombie fiction is saturated. Not that we mind, right? What’s more fun then feasting on some gory undead fiction? Still, like a line from Ecclesiastes, it certainly feels like there is nothing new that can be added that hasn’t already been done. Outside the community of zombie enthusiasts, most have given up on the horror sub-genre (if they had ever invested in it to begin with remains questionable). That being said, there’s some truth on the side of the pessimistics. Zombie fiction…well…be it movie or book, there’s a lot out there. And though there’s a lot of available material to quench our ghoulish appetites, not all of it is good. So, how do we tell what’s worth investing not only our time but also our money?

Kinda sad to say, there are those itching to take advantage of fans of The Walking Dead, George A. Romero, Max Brooks, and other well known proprietors of zombie fiction. With so much material out there, it could make any super-fan-person giddy. But as mentioned there are publishers with little to no real appreciation of our beloved horror trope. So, as a way of helping avoid the snare of these market tappers, I have devised a list of best of’s pulled from real reads of zombie fiction. A majority of the books included here came from reader suggestions from the Facebook group “Reading Zombie.”  Enjoy!

Slow Burn: Box Set 1-3 (Slow Burn Zombie Apocalypse Series Book 0) by [Adair, Bobby]

Slow Burn: Box Set 1-3 (Slow Burn Zombie Apocalypse Series Book 0)

Survive the infection. Survive the Infected.

A new strain of the flu is spreading across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Disturbing scenes are flooding social media and the 24-hour news channels. People are worried. They’re frightened.

Too many dismiss the stories as infotainment hype.

But the virus is here. It’s running through the alleys and clawing its way into the suburbs. And it’s in your parents’ living room, in the veins of a deranged man murdering your mother.

Do you run? Do you freeze in fright? Or do you fight?

The Slow Burn Series
Book 1 – Zero Day
Book 2 – Infected
Book 3 – Destroyer
Book 4 – Dead Fire
Book 5 – Torrent
Book 6 – Bleed
Book 7 – City of Stin
Book 8 – Grind
Book 9 – Sanctum

Start the adventure.

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Dead City (Dead World Book 1) by [Mckinney, Joe]

Dead City (Dead World Book 1)

A relentless thrill ride. . . Break out the popcorn, you’re in for a real treat. –Harry Shannon, author of Dead and Gone

Texas? Toast.

Battered by five cataclysmic hurricanes in three weeks, the Texas Gulf Coast and half of the Lone Star State is reeling from the worst devastation in history. Thousands are dead or dying–but the worst is only beginning. Amid the wreckage, something unimaginable is happening: a deadly virus has broken out, returning the dead to life–with an insatiable hunger for human flesh. . .

The Nightmare Begins

Within hours, the plague has spread all over Texas. San Antonio police officer Eddie Hudson finds his city overrun by a voracious army of the living dead. Along with a small group of survivors, Eddie must fight off the savage horde in a race to save his family. . .

Hell On Earth

There’s no place to run. No place to hide. The zombie horde is growing as the virus runs rampant. Eddie knows he has to find a way to destroy these walking horrors. . .but he doesn’t know the price he will have to pay. . .

“Hair-raising. Do yourself a favor and snag a copy. . . thank me later.” –Gene O’Neill, author of Deathflash

“A merciless, fast-paced and genuinely scary read that will leave you absolutely breathless.” –Brian Keene

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The Apocalypse Crusade War of the Undead Day One: A Zombie Tale by Peter Meredith by [Meredith, Peter]

The Apocalypse Crusade War of the Undead Day One: A Zombie Tale 

In an apocalypse there is definitely a beginning where mistakes are made and the seeds of evil are allowed to sprout and take shape. However, an end is not so certain. Once an Apocalypse occurs not even death is certain. Sometimes death is only the beginning.
At first light that morning, Dr Lee steps into the Walton facility on the initial day of human trials; she can barely contain her excitement. The labs are brand spanking new and everything is sharp and clean. They’ve been built to her specifications and are, without a doubt, a scientist’s dream. Yet even better than the gleaming instruments is the fact that Walton is where cancer is going to be cured once and for all. It’s where Dr. Lee is going to become world famous…only she doesn’t realize what she’s going to be famous for.
By midnight of that first day, Walton is a place of fire, of blood and of death, a death that, like the Apocalypse, is seemingly never ending.
What readers say about The Apocalypse Crusades:
“DO NOT pick this up until you are ready to commit to an all-night sleep-defying read!”
“WAY OUT WICKED”
“…full of suspense and intrigue, love, both innocent and romantic, hate, both blinding and unnatural, non-stop action, and a very real gripping and palpable fear.”
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Zombie Fallout by [Tufo, Mark]

Zombie Fallout

It was a flu season like no other. With the H1N1 virus running rampant throughout the country, people lined up in droves to try and attain one of the coveted vaccines. What was not known was the effect this largely untested, rushed to market, inoculation was to have on the unsuspecting throngs. Within days, feverish folk throughout the country convulsed, collapsed, and died, only to be reborn. With a taste for brains, blood, and bodies, these modern-day zombies scoured the lands for their next meal. Overnight the country became a killing ground for the hordes of zombies that ravaged the land.

This is the story of Michael Talbot, his family, and his friends: a band of ordinary people trying to get by in extraordinary times. When disaster strikes, Mike, a self-proclaimed survivalist, does his best to ensure the safety and security of those he cares for. Book one of the Zombie Fallout Trilogy follows our lead character at his self-deprecating, sarcastic best. What he encounters along the way leads him down a long dark road, always skirting the edge of insanity.

Can he keep his family safe? Can he discover the secret behind Tommy’s powers? Can he save anyone from the zombie queen? Encircled in a seemingly safe haven called Little Turtle, Mike and his family, together with the remnants of a tattered community, must fight against a relentless, ruthless, unstoppable force. This last bastion of civilization has made its final stand. God help them all.

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Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology by [Maberry, Jonathan, Romero, George A.]

Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology

In 1968, the world experienced a brand-new kind of terror with the debut of George A. Romero’s landmark movie Night of the Living Dead. The newly dead rose to attack the living. Not as vampires or werewolves. This was something new . . . and terrifying. Since then, zombies have invaded every aspect of popular culture.

But it all started on that dreadful night in a remote farmhouse. . . .

Nights of the Living Dead returns to that night, to the outbreak, to where it all began. New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry teams with the godfather of the living dead himself, George A. Romero, to present a collection of all-new tales set during the forty-eight hours of that legendary outbreak.

Nights of the Living Dead includes stories by some of today’s most important writers: Brian Keene, Carrie Ryan, Chuck Wendig, Craig E. Engler, David J. Schow, David Wellington, Isaac Marion, Jay Bonansinga, Joe R. Lansdale, John A. Russo, John Skipp, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Max Brallier, Mike Carey, Mira Grant, Neal and Brenda Shusterman, and Ryan Brown. Plus original stories by Romero and Maberry!
For anyone who loves scary stories, take a bite out of this!

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Dark of Night - Flesh and Fire by [Maberry, Jonathan, Lavin, Rachael, Mangum, Lucas]

Dark of Night – Flesh and Fire

Dark of Night:

The dead rose. We fell.

The survivors are trapped in a world of monsters who prey on the helpless. Some of them are zombies…but they are not the only predators who feed on pain and suffering.

DARK OF NIGHT is a story of worlds in collision. Three heroes who have survived the apocalypse are in a deadly race to save a busload of children from ravenous zombies and ruthless human scavengers.

This brand new novella brings together three of New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry’s award-winning novel series.

Captain Joe Ledger (PATIENT ZERO and CODE ZERO), Officer Desdemona Fox (DEAD OF NIGHT and FALL OF NIGHT), and Rachael Elle (BITS & PIECES, a Rot & Ruin novel) are caught between an endless wave of the living dead and an army of corrupt men who want to enslave the last human survivors.

Jonathan Maberry teams with debut novelist Rachael Lavin to tell a sweeping story of adventure, horror, and heroism.

Flesh and Fire:

In the midst of a midlife crisis, Todd is haunted by Chloe, the lover who died not long after their relationship ended. When Chloe escapes Hell in search of the peaceful rest that has eluded her, a demon named Samael is on her trail and she needs Todd’s help.

While on the run Todd and Chloe face demons real and personal, soul-threatening danger, and their long-buried feelings for each other.

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Until the End of the World (Until the End of the World, Book 1) by [Fleming, Sarah Lyons]

Until the End of the World (Until the End of the World, Book 1)

A story of survival, humor and true love. And zombies.

*****
The series is now complete!
So Long, Lollipops (Book 1.5 – novella): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ILKGJ6U
And After (Book 2): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KBWPHA0
All the Stars in the Sky (Book 3): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SW4K268
*****
Cassie Forrest isn’t surprised to learn that the day she’s decided to get her life together is also the day the world ends. After all, she’s been on a self-imposed losing streak since her survivalist parents died: she’s stopped painting, broken off her engagement to Adrian and dated a real jerk. Rectifying her mistakes has to wait, however, because Cassie and her friends have just enough time to escape Brooklyn for her parents’ cabin before Bornavirus LX turns them into zombies, too.

This is difficult enough, but Cassie’s tag along ex-boyfriend and her friend’s bratty sister have a knack for making everything, even the apocalypse, more unpleasant. When the two attract a threat as deadly as the undead to their safe haven, Cassie’s forced to see how far she’ll go to protect those she loves. And it’s a lot farther than she’d anticipated. This, coupled with Adrian’s distant voice on Safe Zone Radio and, of course, the living dead, threaten to put Cassie right back into the funk she just dragged herself out of.

Survival’s great and all, especially when you have leather armor, good friends and home-brewed beer, but there’s something Cassie must do besides survive: tell Adrian she still loves him. And to do that, Cassie has to find faith that she’s stronger than she thinks, she’s still a crack shot and true love never dies.

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A New World: Chaos by [O'Brien, John]

A New World: Chaos

There is no sanctuary.

That was taken away in the blink of an eye. Humanity went out not with a whimper, but a bang.

Jack, a sometimes humorous, sometimes philosophical ex-special operations pilot and soldier is one of the few left to struggle through the desolation left in the aftermath; seeking to survive as a new ferocious species emerges from the rubble, hungry and unrelenting. Will his special forces training be enough? Will he be able to keep his children safe and guide the few survivors through perils that now roam the world they once knew? Or will the hordes that now own the night prevail, forever removing the last of mankind from existence? Humankind was once at the top of the food chain. But that has now changed.

This hard-hitting, action-packed series begins with Jack Walker being suddenly thrust into a world where the infrastructure which cherished Armani suits, night clubs, fast and expensive cars and watching the daily stock market are gone. Left in its place is the material world mankind built but a majority of the population has vanished; replaced by a new, savage, unrelenting, cunning, animalistic species which hunts and operates at night.

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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by [Brooks, Max]

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

We survived the zombie apocalypse, but how many of us are still haunted by that terrible time? We have (temporarily?) defeated the living dead, but at what cost? Told in the haunting and riveting voices of the men and women who witnessed the horror firsthand, World War Z, a #1 New York Times bestseller and the basis for the blockbuster movie, is the only record of the plague years.
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The Rising: Author's Preferred Edition by [Keene, Brian]

The Rising: Author’s Preferred Edition

The classic that helped start a pop culture phenomenon – back in print and UNCUT!

Since it’s 2003 debut, Brian Keene’s THE RISING is one of the best-selling zombie novels of all-time. It has been translated into over a dozen languages, inspired the works of other authors and filmmakers, and has become a cultural touchstone for an entire generation of horror fans.

THE RISING is the story of Jim Thurmond, a determined father battling his way across a post-apocalyptic zombie landscape, to find his young son. Accompanied by Martin, a preacher still holding to his faith, and Frankie, a recovering heroin addict with an indomitable will to survive, Jim travels from state to state and town to town, facing an endless onslaught of undead hordes, and the evils perpetrated by his fellow man.

This brand-new, author’s preferred edition, restores nearly 30,000 words of material that was cut from the original edition. These new chapters, which have never been seen by anyone before now, expand the original story, adding new depths to characters and more horrific situations.

You may think you’ve read THE RISING, but you haven’t read it all until you read this edition!

Deadite Press is proud to present this uncut, author’s preferred edition, which also includes a lengthy essay by the author about the novel’s genesis and history.

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The Undead Day One. (Book One of The Undead Series) by [Haywood, RR]

The Undead Day One. (Book One of The Undead Series)

The Undead. The number one award winning and bestselling UK zombie horror series.

A deadly infection spreads across Europe.
The Undead Series: A terrifying account of one man desperately struggling to survive this harrowing event.

Visit rrhaywood.com for more about the author.

“5 stars isn’t enough! Far and away the best zombie series around!”
“This is a sure-fire, cult hit of a series ”
“One of the best series out there and one of the best authors of this genre – totally gripping and will have you at the edge of your seat.”
“each and every book will leave you begging for the next one.”
“each one is a masterpiece all on its own.”
“Another amazing instalment.”
“Haywood sure is improving like a fine wine.”
“this story simply gets better and better.”
“Once again the sub plots weave around one another, coming together with quality timing.”
“Each time I finish reading I’m exhausted, overjoyed, anxious and fearful of what’s coming next.”
“Brilliant writing from start to end.”
“Well done RR Haywood, please do not stop doing what you are doing.”
“This has been the best zombie series I’ve read.”
“I cannot begin to describe how exciting and spellbinding The Unread series is.”
“I just want to keep getting lost in the story.”
“I like zombie books. A lot. But the character development, the humour, the action and the banter in this series make it the best I have ever read.”

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CANNIBAL KINGDOM by [Campbell, John L.]

CANNIBAL KINGDOM

Deep in an Indonesian jungle, a careless tourist releases an ancient evil that has lain dormant for centuries. Appearing as a virus, completely without symptoms and seemingly benign, Trident quickly infects the world’s population. Silently it waits, counting down to the moment when it will reveal its true, terrifying nature.

It is only weeks before the presidential elections, and Garrison Fox, a decorated Marine and devoted husband and father, is almost assured of a return to the White House for a second term. As the campaign nears its final days, the First Family finds itself scattered across the U.S.

At an Ohio rally and across the globe, Trident suddenly unleashes its horrible power, transforming unsuspecting people into merciless killers driven to feed. When an infected Secret Service turns on him, President Fox is forced to flee across an America plunging deeper into savagery with each passing hour.

In Atlanta, a CDC researcher will work against her own mortality in an effort to stop an extinction-level event. In Pennsylvania, a newly commissioned second lieutenant is hurled into a war for which he was never trained. And moving east toward a secure mountain bunker, President Fox must find a way to save his family, his country and his own life…if he’s not already too late.

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Class Three by [Bradshaw, Duncan P.]

Class Three

*** Get your mitts on this comedy horror novel, set at the start of the zombie apocalypse in the UK. Littered with pop-culture references, this will satisfy fans of Shaun of the Dead or George Romero films. ***

Hungover, dumped and late for work.

On an ordinary day, one of these would be a bad morning, but today Jim Taylor also has to contend with the zombie apocalypse.

Follow Jim during twenty four hours of Day One, as he and his zombie obsessed brother deal with the undead, a doomsday cult and maniacs in their quest to get to their parents, win his girlfriend back and for them to instigate ‘The Plan’.

Worlds will collide and fall apart in a Class Three outbreak.

“A perfect blend of humour and horror.” – Scream Magazine

“Plenty of guts, a shed load of violence, and doused from head to toe in comedy. Absolutely superb stuff.” – DLS Reviews

Philip frowned and looked back. “I don’t mean to burst your bubble el duderino, but an army base in the apocalypse is about as safe as a teenage girl at a Top of the Pops recording in the seventies.”

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PLANET OF THE DEAD by [Flowers, Thomas S.]

PLANET OF THE DEAD

From the author of FEAST and Reinheit comes a new chapter in horror… 

News reports speak of mass panic and violence spreading across the globe. Negligent leaders hide behind misinformation. But in an age of paranoia and suspicion, who can say what is true anymore? Struggling to survive against a sweeping epidemic that has engulfed the planet, survivors will have to make hard choices in a world that no longer makes sense.

Live. Die. Or become one of the undead. 

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Night of the Living Dead (1990)

I’ll do my best and not yarn too much over the movie I give credit as starting my entire fascination with not just horror, but zombies too. And that movie was Night of the Living Dead. Imagine, if you will, that you’re a twelve year old boy and you have a big sister who by all accounts ought to be hanging out with her much more mature friends but instead decides to watch movies with you. That was me. And while not every Friday (because my sister did have a life), but on most Friday nights we would have a Friday Movie Night. I’m talking pizza, popcorn, soda, candy, and whatever other junk we decided to indulge ourselves with. We’d order Pizza Hut and drive down to the local video store (Blockbuster) and rent whatever we wanted. While I cannot recall every movie night, I certainly recall the night my sister rented Night of the Living Dead

For clarification sake, this would be the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead, not the 1968 original. I wouldn’t see that version until many years later. And I know what most people will say when they hear the term remake. Noses raised. Lips pursed. Arms folded across the chest. Yes. Yes. I know the word offends many a film critics sensibilities. On most occasions I’d be apt to agree. There are a number of remakes that are totally unnecessary or fall completely under the bench mark set by the original film. And there are those that some classify as a remake simply because they share the same title but do not actually fit the traditional definition of a true remake. But that’s another argument we simply do not have the time to make. Needless to say, Night of the Living Dead (1990) fits the parameters of a remake, however, it is one I would not say was unnecessary nor did it fall below the benchmark of the original film.

As a refresher, here is an in-depth synopsis provided by IMDb:

“The unburied dead return to life and seek human victims.”

Seriously? That’s it? I mean, they’re not wrong, but…jeez. Okay, well, there’s obviously a little more going on then that. Under direction from Tom Savini and with John Russo AND George A. Romero taking helm over the screenplay and script, Night of the Living Dead (1990) follows all the main plot-lines from the original film. Barbara (played by Patricia Tallman) and her brother Jonny (played by Bill Moseley), on the behest of mother, make their ritual annual drive out to a far away rural cemetery to pay respects to their deceased father. Barbara is obedient. Jonny is…not keen on making the drive. After some hefty teasing on Jonny’s part, Barbara decides she’s had enough and starts back to the car when suddenly she bumps into a man who seems to be partially in a trance, muttering to himself, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”  

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Strange as that is, as the siblings watch the man stumble away, another man reaches between them and grabs a hold on Barbara. Some screaming ensues and a scuffle breaks out between this oddly decomposing fellow and brother Jonny. Jonny gets tripped on his own feet and snaps his neck on a tombstone. In hysterics, Barbara takes off and comes upon another fellow who looks normal enough, he’s wearing a nice suit after all. But as the man comes closer, his suit slips under foot, revealing a very gnarly looking Y autopsy sutures across his chest and bowels. Just like in the original, panic ridden, she makes her way from the cemetery to a farm house. And just like in the original, the house seems abandoned, except for a few pesky undead.

Finding the farm house unsafe, Barb runs outside and watches as a pickup truck, kicking up dirt and dust, barrels over one of the undead and skids into the front lawn. Out jumps Ben (played by Tony Todd) who flicks a cigarette and with crowbar in hand goes after the few zombies that are stumbling around the house. Barb is at this point practically catatonic and unable to answer Ben’s most basic questions, “Is this your place? Do you have a car?” etc. etc. He takes her inside and bars the door, ending up in a scuffle with a rather persistent ghoul who really wants to get inside, leaving Barb alone to fend for herself against the owner of the house’s walking corpse. 

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So, at this point, the movie sounds nearly identical to the original. This of course begs the question, are there any differences? Well, for starters, and probably the most predominant change, is Barbara. In the original, Barb is very catatonic and in shock for most of the movie, only really coming to at the end when the house is nearly overrun and she gets dragged out by zombie brother Jonny. In this 1990 (22 years later) remake, Barb is mostly true to the original character, only this time she comes to sooner rather than later. She fends for herself against the tubby farmer zombie at the very beginning of their time inside the house. Even Ben notices and uses it to help motivate her to take action, “I’ve seen what you can do…when you have to.”

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That line is kinda what the movie is all about, right? Doing what needs to be done when you need to do it. Taking action in the face of in-action. In part, this is the core argument between Ben and Harry Cooper (played by Tom Towles). Cooper is the embodiment of inaction. While Ben is the representation of action when necessary. The interesting thing is how those roles get skewed throughout the movie until both Ben and Cooper, bullet-ridden, seek shelter in the places they had both refused just hours before. 

But back to Barbara…

In the original, she was helpless and in shock. Audiences were meant to feel sorry for her and pity her as just another victim of the zombie apocalypse. But this Barb is different. Yes, she was in shock. Who wouldn’t be after seeing their sibling break their neck and finding all these corpses walking around trying to eat you. Both Barbs are believable. The 1990 Barb though represents something different and perhaps more realistic in terms of metaphor. The new Barb is every bit rational. “They’re so slow,” she says, in reference to her observations of the walking undead. “We could move right by them, if we’re careful, we can get out of here,” she says to Ben who looks at her doubtfully. We’re meant to believe she’s finally cracked, but she hasn’t. She’s actually the only rational one there.

A huge reason why I love Romero inspired zombies is that they ARE so easy to get by. Its only when you’ve waited too long to take action are they dangerous. When you’ve allowed yourself to become paralyzed with in-action, when the staggering few become a shuffling horde, is when things start to become worrisome. And its the most shocking sentiment about a Romero zombie-story, the sin of in-action is death, and often not just any death, but undeath, cursed to walk to the earth as a brainless corpse. In the case of both Ben and Cooper is that they are stuck on one idea, one way of handling things even when the evidence is contrary to their belief.

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As a twelve-year-old, and perhaps more now that i’m all grown up, I’m blown away by this amazing cast of iconic horror legends, and by the concepts the film presented. Romero had said once in one of his many interviews that he felt bad that he had originally made Barbara such a weak character trope. Hence why in Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead we get a strong female protagonist. While I didn’t find the original Barbara to be a sexist characterization of femininity, I certainly didn’t mind the change in the remake. Of course, my perspective may be different from yours. I had known the 1990 Barb waaaay before I met the 1968 Barb. Still… Night of the Living Dead was a fantastic film and the 1990 remake is one of the best remakes to be produced. Mostly because of who was behind the project. When you’ve got the Godfather of Zombies penning the screenplay, chances are its going to be good.

PLANET OF THE DEAD is now available on Amazon!

$0.99!!!

PLANET OF THE DEAD by [Flowers, Thomas S.]

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Facebook Live Event!

Hey folks, in celebration of the release of PLANET OF THE DEAD i’ll be hosting a LIVE event over on Facebook. Join me tomorrow in a talk on ZomPoc (our favorite flesh munching movies and books), a reading from PLANET OF THE DEAD, and some paperback and digital book giveaways.

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Some of the books being offered during the giveaway include, The Hobbsburg Horror, Reinheit, Emerging, and Conceiving. Digital downloads of Feast, The Incredible Zilch Von Whitstein, Lanmo, and a limited number of PLANET OF THE DEAD copies will also be offered. The Facebook Live event will run on Friday the 13th from 11:30 AM (CST) to 12:30 PM (CST). Posts will remain visible throughout the day in case you are unable to attend during the designated hour.

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Thank you and I hope to see you there!

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