So my friend and fellow writer, Marina Bridges, and I, being ladies of a certain age, love to gross each other out. (What? You thought we shared refined discourse about classical music and tea cakes? Sorry to disappoint.) Since we have so much fun dishing on the horror genre, I thought we’d share.
MARINA: Remember helicopter zombie from Dawn of the Dead?
ME: I remember Jay Leno zombie. Was he in that one?
(From across the country I could sense her rolling her eyes. I like zombie movies. She is an aficionado. A connoisseur of grue and gore and shambling dead.)
MARINA: There are (again with the eye roll) TWO Dawn of the Dead movies.
Here is the first with helicopter guy:
ME: Ooh, that’s pretty gross. Tell me more.
MARINA: They came to get Barbara in 1968, but in 1978, George A. Romero returned zombies to the big screen in a big way with Dawn Of The Dead. Unbelievably, there are people on this planet (–>Jaye) who don’t know that Zack Snyder’s 2004 Dawn Of The Dead, while not exactly a re-make, was heavily inspired by the 1978 Romero classic. George’s second film in his zombie trilogy picks up with the zombie apocalypse in its last gasp. There aren’t many people left, and the people we take up with are looking for a good place to land their helicopter. They eventually end up at a shopping mall, and the rest is zombie history.
ME: That’s why I never go to shopping malls. Zombies.
MARINA: But, just like the rest of us, before these characters go to the mall, they need to get some gas. You have to remember here that the 1968 film, Night Of The Living Dead, had been a real shocker.
ME: Uh yeah, I still have a hard time watching it. Gives me night–did she just call me a little sissy prissy missy?
MARINA: People ate people onscreen, and that really bothered a lot of people in 1968. Black and white, shot on a shoestring budget with what was actually minimal gore, Night of The Living Dead took a back seat at the drive-in movie when Dawn Of The Dead roared onto the screen ten years later with something like ten times the budget and a million times the Tom Savini buckets of fake blood and guts. Plus, it was in color.
ME: Wait, this is coming back to me. I did see that movie! But I might have been at a drive-in theater and that would have meant the back seat, and my date… Never mind. Go on.
MARINA: There are a lot of iconic gore moments in the original Dawn Of The Dead, but the one most people (by most people, I mean me) remember is Helicopter Zombie. It’s the ultimate accidental death, walking into an unseen, whirling helicopter blade, and this zombie accidentally kills himself AFTER HE’S ALREADY DEAD. It was the first time a lot of us got to laugh at something truly horrible. I’ll never forget that feeling of liberation.
ME: I wish I could remember the name of my date. That night is definitely coming back to me.
In honor of his contribution to horror history, Marina presents
Where Are They Now: Helicopter Zombie Capitalizing On His Contribution To Horror History!
Me: Wow, Jim Krut, the helicopter zombie looks pretty darned good for an undead guy. He even makes live appearances. Now I have to go find the 1978 version of the movie (actually watch it this time). In the meantime, I recently finished reading a zombie novel.
Zombie Bible: What Our Eyes Have Witnessed, by Stant Litore.
One of the more unusual takes on a zombie novel I have read. It’s the Romans versus the Christians versus the zombies. Way high on the creepy scale.
If you’re in the mood for a quick bite, so to speak, you can check out Marina’s funny and very gross short story over on Amazon. Only .99 cents.