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Published On: Sun, Dec 19th, 2010

A Zombie Christmas? The undead popularity grows and has infected Hello Kitty

Right up there with discovering Kreepy Karen Christmas ornaments for a festive take on “Night of the Living Dead” are a litter of zombie Hello Kitty holiday decorations. Check out the photo below, a screenshot from YouTube.

A noted zombie-phile explained why books such as Michael Spradlin’s “It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Zombies: A Book of Zombie Christmas Carols” and online lessons in drawing zombie Santas crop up this time of year.

“Hey, who says the holidays aren’t scary?” says Jonathan Maberry, whose latest book is “Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil” (Citadel Press), with co-author Janice Gable Bashman.

“Let’s face it, ‘A Christmas Carol’ is a pretty scary ghost story. The Grinch is a monster story. A lot of holiday stories are frightening.

“A lot of holiday stories build on fears of all kinds to make the characters (and the readers/viewers) feel weak, lost, vulnerable, helpless … and yet hopeful. So, instead of a gun-toting hero rushing in to save the day, we have Santa, or a reformed Grinch, or a collection of well-intentioned ghosts … .

“Some of the best horror stories aren’t about monsters, and zombie stories are definitely not about zombies. Not the good ones, anyway. They’re about people who … escape and/or overcome a great and terrible event. They’re survivor stories. Some even have happy endings. Of a sort.”

Maberry’s first zombie novel, “Patient Zero,” was all about preventing a zombie apocalypse.

“My most recent, ‘Rot & Ruin,’ deals with teenagers growing up in a post-zombie apocalyptic world and discovering that they may have a real future. One worth living.

“So … hope? Yeah, good holiday gift.”

The current success of the TV gorefest “The Walking Dead” — released appropriately on Halloween but still going strong for AMC — has put the genre in the fast lane recently.

Hollywood will be making Max Brooks’ “World War Z,” a zombie apocalypse survival story with political overtones that has Brad Pitt and director Marc Foster (“The Kite Runner,” “Quantum of Solace”) attached. The Internet Movie Data Base lists the film as in “pre-production.”

 

Writing for The New York Times on Dec. 5, author Chuck Klosterman (“Eating the Dinosaur” and “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs”) noted that the undead are a growth industry “with no glass ceiling.”

“Roughly 5.3 million people watched the first episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ on AMC, a stunning 83 percent more than the 2.9 million who watched the Season 4 premiere of ‘Mad Men.’ This means there are at least 2.4 million cable-ready Americans who might prefer watching Christina Hendricks if she were an animated corpse,” Klosterman wrote.

 

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- Stories transferred over from The Desk of Brian where the original author was not determined and the content is still of interest of Dispatch readers.

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