Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

I openly admit to a certain fascination with the zombie genre of movies, and lately, that has spilled over into the written word. I even have a zombie game on my Kindle (“Stupid Zombies’). I can’t explain it. But there’s something about the living dead/undead that always grabs my attention. Maybe it’s the whole “IT COULD REALLY HAPPEN!” premise mixed up with the truly scary stories of deadly outbreaks of viruses that occur all too often in the world. If you’ve ever read anything about an Ebola outbreak, you’ll understand the scary parallels between the real and the fiction (and if you’re really interested, I recommend the nonfiction Hot Zone, by Richard Preston. Don’t plan on getting a good night’s sleep if you do.) Books like Preston’s no doubt helped give rise to the growing number of “epidemic” movies like “Contagion,” “The Omega Man,” “I Am Legend,” and “Outbreak.”

And from there, it’s no great leap to get to the zombies — the ones caused by a deadly (undeadly?) virus, such as the case in “28 Days Later” (great movie, by the way).

Of course, none of this came into play when George Romero shot the original “Night of the Living Dead.” He started it all, and the rest, as they say, is history. I’m collecting nominations now (see below) for the best zombie movies of all time, but in the meantime, I’ve been checking out several books in the “zombie lit” category, mainly through the luxury of Amazon Kindle’s “free sample” downloads.

The best read so far is World War Z, a sort of after-action report of the zombie apocalypse and its global effects. It’s definitely on the “to buy” list, and if you’re a hard-core zombie fan, you’re going to want to read this quasi-official accounting of the zombie wars and their causes, sources and effects. And, as the cover suggests, the “oral history” style gives the story a sense of realism and currency.

I’m also reading a fairly new title, Zombiestan, which, as you can probably guess from the title, puts a current-news twist on the zombie apocalypse we all know is coming. It’s not nearly as well-written or interesting as WWZ, but the premise is intriguing.

Back to the movies: What’s the best zombie movie of all time? Let me know in the comments section below. I’ll post the results in a later post.

And while you’re over at Amazon checking out the zombie titles, don’t forget that A Simple Murder is available for download for only 99 cents. 

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