Thursday, November 21, 2013

Zombie Gore Manifesto

Zombies are not desperate actors with hours of makeup applied to their faces and bodies. Zombies are not the creatures who run at you from across the television screen while your XBOX internet connection suddenly shorts out during a thunderstorm and you abandon your fellow survivors to the mercy of those creatures that are not zombies. Zombies are not a composite of seven million animated creatures climbing over a wall to get at Brad Pitt’s abs. Zombies are not shouting “trick or treat” outside your door. Zombies do not organize parades and march down the streets of major metropolitan cities. The word “zombie” is not a metaphor or an adjective.

We are surrounded by brick and grafitti, the tombstones
epitaphs of prophets, red and yellow cursive
shapes the cool air, autumnal, worthy of killing trees
freezing earth, fingers
can soften the ground from which nothing will grow
for months. Feet drag shapes across 
sodden hills, the sun is vain
vines vomited upon the brick
tree branches spilling from shattered windows

Zombies are not sleeping beneath the ground.

Hundreds of people want to gather for the convention,
but they don’t know what they want
they don’t know why they walk
they don’t know
cold brick from leaf piles
Latin from Martian
they want to gather for the convention
pushing into each other, oozing through the cracks 
that border rifts of space.

Zombies do not feel inclined to run. Zombies do not feel inclined to feel inclined. Zombies do not incline. Zombies are not hungry.

Their feet slap the pavement
boots scuff
cement has been ruined by this crowd
weeds growing through cracks are trampled
if only we could escape from the brick 
into the sky
glass has fallen like snow upon this plane

Zombies do not make a sound when they plunge their fingernails into your eye sockets and peel back the flesh to expose what lies beneath the skull. Zombies do not moan or dream. Zombies do not plan to attack someone, and they have no desire to run, for they do not desire. They do not want.

The smell of a thousand garbage dumps rotting
a legion of flies has perished
the worms have starved themselves
the smell of vomit and feces in the sun
the smell of a thousand things 

Zombies do not taste when their teeth scratch across your flesh like the needle on a record player, grazing the surface and making an impression upon the object. Zombies do not acknowledge the blood that fills their mouths, nor do they stop to wipe their hands on their pants. Zombies cannot remember the names of dead presidents.

Colorless renditions of Van Gogh discoloration
gray and black and green
black and black and rot
fingernails curling over shriveling fingertips
these are the knifes that won’t let go
toothless gums in askew jaws

Zombies do not suffer pain when their jaws break upon your skull. Zombies do not stop rending your flesh when their mouths fail to encapsulate enough flesh to stuff their cheeks. Zombies do not carry sticks or learn how to talk on the phone.

Spiders roam over their skulls
leathery ropes once intestines
horror tropes once invested
sound like a rake combing the beach
dead worms dangling from open stomachs
leaking the blood and chunks
undigested man
undigested child
this is the waste they have left

Zombies do not die for they are already dead. Zombies do not eat because they are hungry. Zombies do not hunger for they are no longer aware. Zombies do not exist because they cannot acknowledge themselves. Zombies do not exist because there is nobody to acknowledge them.

“I think therefore I am”
We are enclosed in red brick
They have brought us the truth
and it is violence
icy conception of flesh and bone
the concrete is the color of blood
the caves of the first man were the color of blood
they were always here
pulling faces backward, inside out
swollen tongues expunged
carrying feces in their back pockets
a thousand variations of blank
and blue

Zombies do not care about the blood on their fingers. Zombies do not notice the rain or the snow. Zombies do not step back from flame. Zombies do not have a purpose. Zombies do not exist because they cannot be seen. Zombies do not exist because they have already ripped our hearts from our chests and shoved them down their throats, beating against thorax and vein. Zombies do not vomit your eyes into the sewers. Zombies do not know you have a name. Zombies do not have names.

This is the sewer where the rats
give praise to plague
shadows fade to gray
there is nothing here to eat
a button with a smiling monkey face
floats down the turgid river
but this we cannot see
for we are not here. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013


After nearly one year of editing for Bizarro Pulp Press, our little project is gaining steam. 

Here's an interview over at Horror News in which I discuss what it's like to hang out with weird people, why I decided to dabble in the bizarro genre, and what the heck an apostrophe means to the English language. 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Slipway Grey by Mark C. Scioneaux and Dane T. Hatchell

As blood stains the sugar white sands of Pensacola Beach, mysterious disappearances plague the area. But this doesn't stop a group of high school seniors from having one last blowout at an exclusive beach mansion before graduation. But Mandy, the party's host, has plans of her own. 

With a special friend, a massive bull shark she befriended as a child, Mandy plans to work through her teen angst the only way she knows how: with the help of massive jaws and an insatiable appetite for human flesh! 


I’m a sucker for “throwback” films that remind me of an entire decade. Since horror films are made quite differently now than the ones I used to watch while growing up, I am lucky to find books that can capture the essence of the type of horror fiction that helped define what I understand as horror. I’ve had the pleasure of reading several novels in this “throwback-horror” genre, and I have to say that Slipway Grey is one of my favorites.

The book involves a shark. Teenagers (and a bunch of other people) die gruesomely. Beer and breasts are all over the place. The plot is just as plausible as anything you’d find in a B-movie. How can this book be any good? I felt like I was watching a movie rather than reading a book. The characters’ sexuality seems to ooze from the pages, and I enjoyed the role the shark played in the novel; this is hardly “Jaws.” This is a horror story, and it can’t be transformed into a theme-park ride. Think about all the horror stories that include a bunch of kids going to a secluded vacation spot, and throw a shark into the mix WITH a cold-blooded killer with serious issues, and you’ve got the recipe for an original story. 

I fell in love with the story’s premise, because the murderer was well-characterized and interesting; the psychological element that plays an integral part of a good horror story is present, and it’s worth mentioning. There is character development, something that is typically missing from the horror-film style this book seems to have been inspired by. There were moments when I found myself sympathizing and pitying Mandy, the femme-fatale whom this story focuses on.

The authors kept the story fresh by skipping backward in time on a few occasions; I understand this might frustrate one or two readers, but I needed a break from the hormonal boys to get inside Mandy’s head and learn about her motives and methods. In many ways, she seemed to be a metaphor for the shark; a beautiful creature that can be amicable, but can easily switch into the mindset of a bloodthirsty hunter. 

I didn’t expect to get anything more from this book than blood and sex; I would have been happy just to read a story about a shark that kills a bunch of people who’re stuck in the middle of the ocean somewhere. Readers who habitually pick of Nora Roberts and James Patterson aren’t interested in anything different than what they’ve read before. I wanted to be entertained, and I was pleasantly surprised.  In throwback horror, you’re interested in the kill-count in the quality of the kills, and the authors satisfied my expectations; Hatchell and Scioneaux combined their talents to provide a story that doesn’t grow stale after the first three chapters. After all, haven’t we seen all these movies before? No… not this one…