THE NEW DEAD celebrates THE WALKING DEAD
With AMC’s new series THE WALKING DEAD hitting small screens on Halloween, many of the contributors to editor Christopher Golden's THE NEW DEAD, from St. Martin’s Press, got together to talk about zombies and the upcoming television show.
1) What's your favorite piece of zombie-related entertainment or pop culture?
John Connolly: "I suspect it's probably The Return of the Living Dead, of which I have fond memories. That funny/scary balance is harder to pull off that people think, but that movie managed it."
Max Brooks: "The original Dawn of the Dead. George Romero not only reinvented the modern zombie genre, but infused it with a level of social commentary we've yet to see in later zombie stories."
Rick Hautala: "Gotta be the original Night of the Living Dead... Does it hold up? I dunno. All I remember is seeing it in college and being terrified. Like looking up old girlfriends on the Internet, some things are best left in the past. But that was (and is?) THE pivotal zombie movie!"
Tim Lebbon: "Okay, I'm preparing to dive behind my sandbags and hide from a barrage of abuse from zombie fans but ... I'm a huge fan of Zack Snyder's remake of Dawn of the Dead. A great opening, good acting, and a story that pumped along at a cracking pace. Great zombies. Yeah, they ran. I liked that. Made the zombies scary, instead of just gross."
Kelley Armstrong: "Definitely the original Night of the Living Dead. I saw it at far too young an age, so it branded itself in my mind as a terrifying and amazing experience. I was flipping through channels with my eighteen year old daughter lately and came across it, and tried to convince her to watch it with me, but she couldn't get past the really old school special effects. Some things from our past just don't hold up that well, apparently, but I'll remember it fondly."
Holly Newstein: "I love the movies 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. Entertaining and oh-so-creepy. And Shaun of The Dead was a riot."
David Wellington: "Oh, no one has ever done it better than Romero. Night of the Living Dead, the movie that started it all. 28 Days Later is a close second, but... no. NotLD for me, please."
David Liss: "The honest answer is The Walking Dead. I think Kirkman is brilliant (I also love Invincible), and his take on the zombie apocalypse is the most moving, horrifying and human I've come across."
M.B. Homler: "Dead Rising, the video game from Capcom. It takes all the elements that make up some of the greatest zombie movies and throws them into a Grand Theft Auto style world. It’s the type of game you can spend hours playing and re-playing."
James A. Moore: "Actually, Kirkman's The Walking Dead is amazing. Solid and well-written."
2) Writer-director Frank Darabont is bringing Robert Kirkman's comic book series THE WALKING DEAD to television on AMC in October. Will you be tuning in, and if so, what do you hope Darabont can accomplish in the genre on television?
Rick Hautala: "If Frank Darabont is involved, you bet yer butt I'll watch! What he can bring to zombies is his touch ... which is masterful!"
Max Brooks: "Are you f**king kidding me? Of course I'll be tuning in. C'mon, it's DARABONT! If Walking Dead is just a tenth as good as Shawshank, it'll be to zombies what The Sopranos was to the mob. Go Kirkman! Go Darabont!"
David Wellington: "I'm looking forward to it. The comic book is amazing, probably the purest zombie story I've seen in the recent renaissance. The characters are compelling, believable, relatable--it has all the makings of a perfect zombie storm. Hopefully the show will keep the pacing and the claustrophobia that Kirkman manages. Claustrophobia even on sun-baked plains, claustrophobia where the whole world has turned into an elevator stuck between floors. It's scary stuff, in the best possible way."
Kelley Armstrong: "I'm hoping we'll get it. Living in Canada, it's iffy with US cable shows. So while I'm hoping to see it, I'm not getting too excited, in case I can't!"
Tim Lebbon: "Yes, I'll be watching. I'm a sucker for end-of-the-world stories, and Darabont is a fantastic director. It'll be interesting to see how effective it'll look on the smaller screen, but from the clips I've seen so far...I have high hopes."
Holly Newstein: "Definitely. I hope he can continue ‘mainstreaming’ zombies, making them interesting characters instead of mindless landsharks."
David Liss: "I absolutely plan to watch. If the TV series can do what the comic series does, I think it will demonstrate to a large audience just how moving and insightful genre fiction can be. I know I've encountered many snobbish readers and viewers who don't watch or read ‘that kind of thing’ because genre storytelling is supposedly too frivolous. If the TV series stays true to the spirit of Kirkman's writing, I don't think anyone will be able to turn their nose up at it."
John Connolly: "I would do, if I wasn't living in Ireland, but it may be that I can catch it when I'm over in the US. Anything Frank Darabont does is worth watching, and he's particularly perceptive and sensitive when it comes to adapting other people's work."
M.B. Homler: "Absolutely! I honestly hope they bring a really demented and at the same time captivating look at a world gone wrong. It’s never been on TV, and if they pull it off, it should be a lot of fun."
James A. Moore: "I will indeed be tuning in and I'm looking forward to it. I'm hoping Darabont can bring the same nearly legendary eye for story and pacing that he's brought to all of his movies. If so, the show should be amazing."
3) What's the next project readers should be looking out for from you?
Kelley Armstrong: "Well, after three novels this year, I'm thankfully done for 2010 books. The next thing I'm looking forward to is an original four issue comic story I'm doing with Dabel Brothers and Dynamite Entertainment. That's due to start this fall."
Rick Hautala: "I have a new novel, Waiting, being looked at, and Mark Steensland and I delivered the second draft of the Pigeons From Hell script to Paradox ... Of course, I wouldn't be hurt if folks bought my new novella Reunion (from PS Publications) and new short story collection Occasional Demons (from CD Publications)."
David Wellington: "I've got a werewolf book coming out this fall, called Overwinter, that my fans are going to love!"
Tim Lebbon: "Well to link in with the zombie theme, I have a novel due next year in the UK from Corsair called Coldbrook. The tagline we're using is, ‘The end of the world is only the beginning.’ It's a science fiction novel with alternate Earths and zombies, and I think it's one of the most exciting novels I've ever written. My love of apocalyptic fiction drove the story, and I had so much fun writing it."
Holly Newstein: "I am putting the finishing touches on a novel that has languished for several years, and I have the ‘nice children's book’ my mother always wanted me to write out in search of an agent."
David Liss: "I have a new novel called The Darkening Green, my first venture into supernatural fiction, that will be out next fall. I also will be beginning a monthly run on a Marvel Comics series in December, but I'm not yet allowed to be more specific."
John Connolly: "A sequel to my children's novel, THE GATES, entitled HELL'S BELLS."
M.B. Homler: "Either a few short stories (a ways away) or a novel that I’ve been working on for some time (also a ways away), so whichever happens first!"
James A. Moore: "Next up from me is a new young adult science fiction adventure series called Subject Seven, due out in February."
Max Brooks: "Look forward to the fourth (of five) installments of my GI Joe comic Hearts and Minds, and this time next year I should have my graphic novel (World War 1-Non Zombie) finally on the shelves."
The Walking Dead premieres Halloween night on AMC. The New Dead is in stores now!