Here’s a typical “gorelets” poem…made with virtual refrigerator magnets on the “original” Fridge of the Damned. The fridge has been in cold storage for about a decade…but I thought you’d like to see this. Because — horror of horrors! — it’s nearly defrosted! And over the next few days you will find out about the surprising rebirth of this damned fridge in 2013!
You’ll likely be surprised. Mum’s the word for now, but for more vague teasers like this, drop by my flickr account for a growing set of photos, and do come back soon. And in the mean time, beware the Eater of Worms!
The original “Fridge of the Damned” was a virtual poetry magnet set hosted on gorelets.com, from 2001-3. Bascially, I deconstructed the poems from the original Gorelets series into tiles made up of weird and disturbing words, which visitors could slide around on the page and create their own horror poems. Nowadays, you can probably find similar games online or in phone apps, but it was pretty unique at the time, and writers of many stripes used to visit the page and leave their creations on a guestbook. In fact, at one point a number of horror poets got together and wrote a batch of poetry on the fridge that ended up published as a section of a book called Cemetery Poets!
[Or click here... for our unique KICKSTARTER project! (See the kickstarter "update #1" for a video involving the above poem, too).]
The Science Fiction Poetry Association has gathered together a number of new readings of poetry related to Halloween on their website, as part of an annual tradition of terror. I’ve shared a clip from my live reading at Morgantown Poets this past June, which was a lot of fun: “Attack of the Bleu Man Group.” This poem, which appears in The Gorelets Omnibus, actually had its very first publication in the form of a musically-enhanced number on this website a few Halloweens ago, which you can still listen to right here.
Visit the SFPA Halloween Readings to hear it live.
I saw this (Zombie Sudoku) in a bookstore today. Had to take a photograph and share with you all. Sorry it’s so blurry. I was crying a tear for my genre.
But really, I should have seen this coming when “hard” sudoku became superceded by “evil” sudoku in many puzzle books. While technically, “satanic sudoku” should have come next, it was only a matter of time before “zombie sudoku” took the place of that. But I think it would have been much more challenging to release “parasitic sudoku” or maybe “bacterial infection sudoku” instead. Or maybe just “leech sudoku”. Yeah, I like that one. Leeches. Ten of them in the row….
Happy official Halloween day. I have a lot of work to do this afternoon. But I’m going to personally challenge myself to write at least one horror haiku poem an hour (at minimum) and post it on my twitter page all day long…till midnight.
I’m giving them all a zombie theme, partially inspired by the recent release of the sequel to Ryan Mecum’s great Zombie Haiku book from a few years ago: Dawn of Zombie Haiku and all the great #zombiehaiku he’s been publishing on twitter himself over the past few days.
To read the zombie haiku, you can subscribe to my twitter profile or just run a search on twitter for the hashtag #zombiehaiku. If you’re on twitter, come join the party — Ryan Mecum started it, and it’s open to anyone.
WHY ZOMBIES LUMBER
by Michael A. Arnzen (1.41 mins)
DOWNLOAD .mp3(1.58 mb)
p.s. Speaking of John Skipp… he’s currently running a great kickstarter campaign asking for pledges to help fund a 3D Zombie Puppet Musical called Rose. Chuck him a buck to support this ambitiously fun project…or donate a large chunk of change and get a bit part (literally) in the film!
The Morgantown Poets society has posted video excerpts from my Halloween season poetry reading in Morgantown, West Virginia last month. It was a goofy gory night of the bizarre, which I titled “Food, Folks and Fun with Zombies.”
I read three courses of horror: a batch of gory “food” poems from a variety of sources (including crazy twitter poems and pieces from The Goreletter e-edition), a “folksy” ghost story (from the just-released collection, Legends of the Mountain State IV — not appearing on the vid), and then I ended with a “fun” batch of zombie poems from my book, Rigormarole. The lighting is dark, the sound is hit-and-miss, but the video captures the jist of what my readings are like. It was fun to read in an art gallery to a very indulgent audience, who was enormously generous with their time, patience, and laughter.
Look for “Endless Shrimp” — delivered in the 2nd of the 3 short video clips — to appear in an upcoming issue of The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, edited by John Skipp.
ATTACK OF THE BLEU MAN GROUP
by Michael A. Arnzen (3.33 mins)
DOWNLOAD .mp3 (3.4 mb)
Happy Halloween! For a surprise treat this year, I am releasing a new humorous zombie story, exclusively in audio format, called “Attack of the Bleu Man Group.” It’s a wacky musical number, as much as a bizarro fiction reading, in the style of Audiovile. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say two things about it: 1) yes, I meant to spell it “bleu,” and, 2) “zombie mimes in black berets”!
Just crank up your speakers and press the red play button above. Or go ahead and download the .mp3 (3.43 MB — right click that link to save it to your computer) for free right now and listen to it whenever you like. (Free for personal use only. All other rights reserved.)
Comments welcome here on the blog, and please do let others know about this strangeness however you can.
If this sort of thing is your cup of tea, then I hope you’ll pick up a copy of my cd, Audiovile, which features 16 tracks just as strange as this one, featuring musically-enhanced stories from my book, 100 Jolts, and beyond. You can get it from iTunes or buy the cd itself via cdbaby.com or the publisher, Raw Dog Screaming Press. But I’m offering up a special deal to readers of The Goreletter: get a signed CD copy for just $6, postage paid. Order from PayPal by using the button below, or e-mail me if you need to use check or cash.
p.s. You can find other audio streams here on gorelets.com, via the “audio” tag.
Just a vampire girl
Livin’ in a zombie world
She took the midnight train
Just a city boy
Dead and raised in south Detroit
He took a bite of brain
Find a human in a smoky room
The smell of blood and cheap perfume
For a lifetime they can share the night
It goes on and on and on and on
Up and down the boulevard
In the night
Living just to find emotion
In the night
Slurping hearts till the lust’s fulfilled
Everybody’s out to kill
Doin’ anything to feel the vice
just one more time
Some are green, some are blue
Some have mouths that cannot chew
Oh, the horror movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on
Up and down the boulevard
In the night
Living just to find emotion
In the night
Hold on to that feeding
Hold on to that feeding
Cthulhu the Obscure
A Connecticut Devil in King Arthur’s Inferno
The Golden Bowl of Blood
The Isle of Dr. Moreau and Mr. Hyde
As I Lay Resurrecting
Creature from the Walden Pond
Of Mice and Tentacles
A Midsummer Night’s Scream
Oedipus Rex: The Boy With the X-Ray Eyes
Uncle Tom’s Cannibal Cabin
A Poison Clockwork Orange
Rabid Animal Farm
Lord of the Giant Flies
Clone King Richard the Thirtieth
A Morgue of One’s Own
With irreverence for: Quirk Classics.
[Update: The literati among you might also appreciate this essay at the 'Jane Austen's World' blog.]
In August 2008, Kensington Books released a great nonfiction title called ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Undead, written by Stoker Award-winning author Jonathan Maberry, that is definitely worth a look-see if you’re a fan of this subgenre of the undead. Reminiscent of — but far richer in scope than — Max Brooks’ classic Zombie Survival Manual, Zombie CSU covers far more than just “Crime Scene Unit” material. It is, in fact, a thick cultural guide to virtually everything associated with these brain-eating maniacs, with chapters devoted to every possible subgenre within this huge subgenre, alongside original art by many horror artists and fans, reports on little-known facts of the undead lifestyle, heady discussions of film scenes and analyses of fiction, and just a ton of interviews with horror professionals about their take on zombies.
Maberry kindly interviewed me by e-mail when he was putting the book together, and I had a lot of fun with my answers. But the book itself was so huge that the publisher had to lop off tens of thousands of words…and my section was sadly dropped. I recently checked with the author to see if he wouldn’t mind if I shared it with readers here as a weblog exclusive article on The Goreletter, and he kindly granted me permission. So without further ado, here is the “lost” Arnzen interview (questions by Jonathan Maberry) from Zombie CSU.
Maberry: Why zombies?
Arnzen: Zombies as we think of them today (thanks to Romero) have been around for forty years now — as long as the Beatles and McDonald’s and space travel. They are some of the most direct and visceral metaphors for mankind today, especially on screen. They are social creatures (they move in hoards, like the proverbial “masses”), but (usually) without any hierarchy or organized system to keep them together beyond their consumerist hunger and crazed instinct. So zombie stories are always about the survivors, and how they organize or individualize, and not the (often animalistic, often stupid) monsters themselves. I can tell I’m being too academic because I put too many parentheses in there. Next question.
Maberry: Distill down to a few sentences why you think zombie stories are so popular worldwide.
Arnzen: 1) They give us a way to have our brains and eat them, too.
2) The dead speak an international language.
3) They are us…especially in the morning.
Maberry: What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen humans do in a zombie film?
Arnzen: Become zombies in the first place? Okay, seriously: In 28 Weeks Later — one of my favorite films — there’s a scene where a woman and two children go into an underground tunnel with only a night vision rifle scope to help them find their way through a pile of dead bodies. That’s like going shark diving with only a whipped cream canister for your oxygen.
Maberry: What’s the smartest thing you’ve seen a human do in one of those flicks?
Arnzen: Using fireworks to distract the zombie hoard in Land of the Dead. Brilliant! And a sly comment from George Romero about what it truly means to be zombified in our society of the spectacle.
Maberry: If you could nudge the genre in a certain direction, what themes/aspects would you like to see explored more fully?
Arnzen: I’ve never quite been satisfied with the ‘origin story’ behind most zombie stories…or the endings, either. But it seems to me that every good zombie film I’ve liked leaves the origin open to interpretation and has ended in a really nihilistic fashion, where nobody wins and there’s no hope for a future. I liked the idea in the end of Land of the Dead that the zombies could organize themselves as an autonomous unit, but it seems silly at the same time. Zombies can’t make sense; the second they do, they lose something essential, I think. So, actually, I’d like to see zombies put to even more surrealist and experimental ends altogether. Horror writers should be asking: if zombies represent the masses, what ELSE do the masses do beyond consuming? Let’s find out.
Maberry: Quick question: Zombies…fast or slow?
Arnzen: Slow but still strong and unstoppable. Fast zombies are more like wild animals or insane people on steroids than supernatural monsters. Plus my bullshit detector kicks in when the zombies race around: I can’t help but think they’d need more fuel than they’re getting from even the meatiest of body feasts.
Maberry: What are your favorite zombies (movies, books, etc.)?
Arnzen: Night of the Living Dead remains my favorite zombie film — mostly because its grainy b-movie feel is creepier than any dream state I’ve ever experienced…and that montage at the end gets me with its irony every time. Heck, I even liked the remake. But right now, despite a few of its stupid haunted house tactics, 28 Weeks Later is high up on my “best zombie film” list, because I like the scope and theme of the picture: it’s all about death, and the death of the civilized world, just like all zombie films — but it’s also a very effective story about the breakdown of the family unit. To me, that personalized it in an effective and chilling way, balancing the horror show aspects with good writing, all while taking the subgenre in a relatively new and meaningful direction (though, of course, Romero did it first, with a trowel!). Beyond these, maybe in a different category altogether, lies Rodriquez’s Planet Terror — my god, it’s ingenious!
Maberry: What other areas of zombie pop culture interest you (Games, books, comics, etc.)?
Arnzen: I think zombies make for great comedies as much as great horror films. Obviously, Shaun of the Dead proved that — and Planet Terror just might be one of the most outrageously hilarious zombie comedies ever made. But even long before them, Evil Dead 2 employed zombies in hilarious and outrageous ways. Basically, Sam Raimi took the “surrounded in a cabin in the woods” scenario to extremes…and the best zombie comedies take the extremes way over the top. So I’m interested right now in movies like Andrew Currie’s Fido or books like Jeff Strand’s The Sinister Mr. Corpse and even Max Brooks’ infamous (but almost too dry) “survival guide.” Let’s see a zombie musical — that’d be a riot.
Maberry: Have you ever written zombie fiction? If so…tell us about it.
Arnzen: I’ve done some short stories here and there, but my main zombie work appears in a cute little booklet called Rigormarole: Zombie Poems. That’s right, poetry. A lot of it is comedic horror, actually, like the Rhysling-nominated poem, “Those Who Landed, Surprised that Zombies Had Taken Over the Planet” or the patently silly “Home Depot of the Dead.” It even includes freaky-deak doodles by bestselling author (and editor of Mondo Zombie), John Skipp. Some of these pieces, and more zombie work, can also be found in my brand new “best of Arnzen” collection, called Proverbs for Monsters (Dark Regions Press, 2007).
– E-mail Interview, July 14, 2007
Want a copy of the book this interview was slotted to appear in? You know you do. And, luckily, the publisher is currently offering 30% off the list price of Zombie CSU!
And be sure to visit Jonathan Maberry’s blog, to learn more about what hellish irons he is currently stoking in the creative fires of his imagination.
Dead or Alive?
How many of your authors are dead?
Dead: 49 / Alive: 116 / Unknown: 153 / Not a Person: 1
Percent alive: 70.3%
I sort of assumed I’d have more dead authors. Ah well. Ironically, they listed my own name as “Unknown”…and I found that a little soothing. Call me anthropomorphic, but I think I’d rather be among those undead than “Not a Person”.
[Scrolled to the bottom ... They DO have a catagory for "Zombies" too! LibraryThing is a riot.]
Happy Valendine’s Day.
Zombiefest 2008 — held at the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh this weekend — has so far been both fun and disturbingly surreal. I’ve posted some photos from the first day of the dead in the gorelets.com gallery – mostly of friends in publishing, but also a few freaky shots like the one above. Aside from crawling the mall, hanging out at my publisher‘s table and saying “Brainnns!” over and over again, yesterday I performed a fiction reading along with Ryan Mecum (author of Zombie Haiku) and Steve North (author of Dead Tide) — which you should be able to hear a podcast of soon on Library of the Living Dead – and I was also videorecorded doing another reading of weird excerpts from my “dream journal” for FearZone.com, appearing soon. This morning portends a record-breaking “mall crawl” for World Zombie Day.