Dead on arrival

American Movie Classics has been running its traditional Halloween scare-a-thon movie marathon, and yesterday I watched a little bit of a zombie movie.

Like everyone, I am captivated by the undead.

What makes zombies so interesting is that they move around sort of like living humans, but they’re deadly dangerous, have no sexual allure whatsoever (unlike vampires) and their existence puts survivors into all sorts of moral quandaries. It’s why The Walking Dead is so popular. While arrows to the eyeballs is fun a couple times an hour, you really can’t take a steady diet of close encounters with rotting flesh. So, like The Stand, most of your time needs to be spent on how the living cope with the apocalypse.
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Stephen King, when writing The Stand, chose a deadly strain of the flu virus to wipe out 99.7 percent of the population. Zombie movies and TV shows routinely blame a virus for “infection” and the spread of zombification of human beings. World War Z, for example, mostly occupied itself with finding the originally infected human and, for a zombie movie, wasn’t particularly scary. The scrabbling mass of CG undead humanity was awesome, however.

So when I turned on AMC I was thrilled to find the Hollywood zombie purveyors had kicked it up a notch and given us what we want: horrible zombies who eat the flesh of the living on a plane.

Flight of the living dead photo flightofthelivingdead_zps5b3751d1.jpgYes, the title of this movie was Flight of the Living Dead, which I totally wish I had made up. Actually they probably did come up with the title first and then built the movie around it. Zombies! On a plane! It’s even better than Snakes on a Plane — although, no, it didn’t have Samuel L. Jackson, so it could definitely could, by definition, have been more awesome.

As a matter of fact, why didn’t they get Samuel L. on board for this project? I mean, come on. He needs to be the go-to guy for terror in the skies.

I confess I didn’t watch more than about 20 minutes of the movie, which was billed, as I later learned on IMDB as “action horror.” But of course I didn’t have to; you know what happens. The zombies get out, bite nearly everyone, and they chase the remaining people — who not only have to fight the undead but cope with the fact that they’re 30,000 feet from terra firma, which is where all good zombies need to be. Preferably, beneath it.

I was amused by the periodic shots of the big ole jet airliner, taken from slightly above and always covered by flashing, menacing lightning. It reminded me of Airport ’75 (1974) with Karen Black flying the plane, her slightly crossed eyes locked on the instrument panel as she winged a 747 over mountain peaks and brought nuns and sick children safely to the ground.

The movie is a few years old and I might try and scare it up sometime. Even though I enjoy zombies the year ’round, there’s really nothing like Halloween to really bring the undead to life. Gives you an appetite for it, you might say.

Thank heaven writing about these undead ruminations and unsavory combinations only strike me about once a year — although if you put a corpse in some fetching footwear you might captivate me a whole lot more frequently.

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Accessorizing for the apocalypse

This post originally appeared in March 2012 and is consistently one of my most popular blog entries. I’m repeating it today for Halloween. Enjoy!

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When the dead rise and zombies take over the world, it is comforting to know that I am equipped with the appropriate footwear.

AMC style zombiesI’ve been, you see, watching The Walking Dead on AMC, a series now in its second season based on the graphic novels by the same name. It was conceived of by Kentuckian Robert Kirkman, who hails from Cynthiana, so zombification-wise, I’m pretty much at Ground Zero.

I never read the books, but since watching the series I’m becoming more interested in them. What preoccupies me at the moment, though — in addition to following the ethical struggles, babydaddy drama, and child-in-peril moments the show spews in abundance (and oh yeah, zombies and bullets to the head) is Frye boots.

I’m sure this comes as no surprise.

Frye and small frySince stomping onto the set in the pilot episode, female lead Lori, wife to Our Hero Rick Grimes, has been ubiquitously clad in my go-to shitkicker, the Frye harness boot. It’s even the same color as mine, so my preoccupation is justified (sort of). You go, girl.

While I’m a little surprised she’s wearing the things even in the height a hot Georgia summer, I’ve got to go hey, you flee your home with little more than the clothes on your back of course you’re going to pull on the most serviceable good-looking boots in your closet.

“Carl! Pack up some t-shirts, jeans, and a metric buttload of sunscreen, we’re hitting the road!” Lori yells, standing in the bedroom, pulling on her negative-2 size Levis and throwing all the family photos into her luggage.

“Daddy’s dead and the neighbors want to eat us, honey. Pack appropriately.”

Now of course when I’m sitting in front of the screen watching this thing, these thoughts are far from my mind. I am of course much more interested in the moral struggles these people must face, including and up to killing other living, breathing survivors and having unprotected sex in zombie-infested woods, or perhaps abandoned pharmacies. Kiss me before we get eaten!

But give me some time to reflect and my thoughts return to preparing for these conditions with style and comfort in mind.

Of course, the Frye selection is good-looking. Dansko clogs would also be a good choice if you have to plan for wearing the same shoes while squishing over rotting corpses until the year 2525. Flip-flops are right out, unless the Zompocolypse caught you out while on vacation in Myrtle Beach.

Standing in my closet, I ponder the End Times appropriateness level of my own wardrobe. Yes, these capes and shawls could be excellent protection against the elements, as extra bedding, and perhaps even camouflage if the zombies lose their sense of smell. No, I doubt the prairie skirts and  faux fur are going to be of much good. Better stick with skinny jeans, fleece and utility vests.

Wedge-heels and mules are right out, of course — who can run when you’re in danger of throwing a shoe? Running shoes (well, walking shoes in my case) could pose a problem; any length of time spent running in them results in run-down Reeboks, but I suppose in a Mad Max world, there will always be plenty of Foot Lockers to plunder.

Lori, Andrea, Carol and Maggie, our Walking Dead women, seem to favor tank tops under cute tops for their zombie-world wear, though I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s the wardrobe designers who prefer them so uniformly. Anyway, Lori’s going to have to make a run to Motherhood Maternity at some point, unless she’s got a zom-bun in the oven.

Maybe she plans on taking over Rick’s old sheriff uniforms — hey, that worked splendidly for Margie in Fargo, at least. Yah!

Ready to fight zombies at workI know there’s going to be a lot I have to give up when facing down the undead every day. Fashion just isn’t a priority when the only medical practitioner you’ve got is more familiar with fillies than impaled fibias.

But it is good to know if I’m gonna be walking dead, at least my feet are firmly planted in boots already endorsed by one of the survivors.