Sunday, November 2, 2014

Winter of Zombie Tour - Jaime Johnesee

Today I'm honored to have on a friend of mine that I actually got to meet this year at the World Horror Con - Without further ado - Jaime Johnesee!

Thanks for having me on your blog today, I really appreciate it. I promise I'll try to keep everything right where you left it. Except the bratwurst. I have to be honest and tell you right up front, I ate the bratwurst out of your fridge and for that, I am sorry. There, I feel better now that I've confessed so I think I'll go ahead and move on to the less delicious topic at hand, zombies. I love zombies. They are such versatile monsters and so intrinsically linked with our fear of death and what lies beyond in the afterlife. Zombies represent the possibility that there is no peace and that is something that makes more than a few people uncomfortable and it also explains why zombies are such a great subgenre.

The history of zombies in American literature and film all begins in the Carribean. Haiti, to be exact. The lore says that Bokors practicing voodoo would essentially shanghai people by using a powdered mixture that caused paralysis and mimicked death. The victim was thought to be dead and was buried while in an unconscious state. The kidnapper would then come back under cover of darkness, dig up the grave, and wake the confused soul within. The zombi had no memory of who they were or what had happened. These folks were then said to have been sold to plantation owners, or kept by the Bokor themselves to be used as slaves.

In time, zombi mythos migrated to the Americas where, in the swamps and forests of the southern half of North America, it thrived and grew. These stories morphed from the zombi being sold into slavery to them becoming aware and attacking the slave masters. As more time passed the word morphed from zombi to zombie and the creature itself began to change. This time they weren't merely humans who had their memory erased, now they were the dead brought back to life seeking vengeance.  As the decades passed the stories, and the creature itself, changed and morphed throughout all mediums.

In 1932 the film "White Zombie", and its star Bela Lugosi, brought the zombie into the public theaters for the first time. This paved the way for other films like 1944's "Voodoo Man" These zombies were of the hypnotized/drugged variety and the mainstay in these stories is that the zombie themselves was not evil, but whomever turned them into a zombie was.

Other movies, like "I Walked With a Zombie" from 1943 showed the creatures to be magical and under the total power of a voodoo priest/priestess. Then came the undead. In the thirties, forties, and early fifties zombies start casually shifting from victims to monsters. By the time the man we refer to as the grandfather of the modern zombie, George A Romero, came around these beings were no longer something to pity. Gone were the days of the human robot being controlled by another through words, spells, or drugs.

The monsters Romero envisioned are the ones you read about most often today. The term 'Romero zombie' is actually used when describing a vicious, flesh eating, nearly indestructible terror out to spread the virus it carries in any way it can while feasting on the flesh and viscera of humans.

These beasts are still changing, still evolving, today. There is the more widely known zom-poc (zombie apocalypse) category but there are also other subspecies of zombie tale. Some, like Jeffrey Kosh's "Revenant", bring us back to the deep South and illustrate the lush voodoo tales of old, highlighting an undead creature's desire for revenge. Then there is the funny and entertaining world of zombie comedy --zom-com for short. Jeff Strand's "A Bad Day For Voodoo" being one of my personal favorites. These types of books and films poke fun at the thought of undeath. They seek to make this underlying fear of death --intrinsic to humans-- become something more light hearted and fun. When done properly, as Strand did, these books can be just as fun and thrilling as their survival type counterparts.

Whatever form the zombie has taken, wherever the story is set, and what the zombie itself is capable of doing changes based on the author/filmmaker. Zombies have been around for a long time and I honestly don't think they're going to disappear anytime soon. Some brush aside zombie fiction as being too mainstream, and to them I say; wade a little deeper into other areas of that pool, you just might find something you like after all.

*   *   *   *   *

The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

AND so you don't miss any of the posts in November, here's the complete list, updated daily:

Pin It Now!


  1. Hi! :D
    I love zombie/apocalypse series. have seen the walking dead and z nation. do you know any series like them? i dont think about a movie, but a serie. i hate movies, haha ^^ they're to short.

  2. I love your books Mark Tufo