The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

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We hope you'll find this blog an educational, entertaining, and inspiring source of information, whether you're recently undead, a long-time member of the differently animated, or a still-living friend of your fallen, yet risen again, brethren. Everyone with an interest in zombie rights is welcome!

October 2015
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The Zombie Rights Campaign Visits the Last Dark Carnival Film Festival

Posted By on October 2, 2015

With somewhat heavy hearts, the Zombie Rights Campaign paid our visit to the last Dark Carnival/Diabolique International Film Festival in Bloomington, Indiana last weekend, to see if the horror film world had made any progress toward greater Undead Acceptance.

We were pleasantly surprised by a few of the films on offer, and of course, grossly offended by some of the rest.

And of course, we got some good picketing in:

(The end of an era in sign-making)

Film Highlights from This Year’s Festival:

(minor spoilers follow)

First, I will admit my cultural ignorance here and say that I was not aware what a ‘boniato’ was. Apparently it’s a variety of sweet potato, but not the kind grown in most of the United States.

Which does not actually appear to be the crop harvested in the film, but that’s another matter.

Boniato is on the surface a story about an undocumented migrant farm worker who is betrayed by her boss and left to face a population of apparently feral Differently Animated folks. But the ZRC chooses to look a little deeper, and wonders about the plight of the Undead in this film as well. Who are they? How did they end up in this predicament? Who supplies them with all the little plastic baggies they use?

Despite this complexity it would be hard to call ‘Boniato’ anything but Anti-Zombie, and so we rated it thus.

“Larry Gone Demon”
We’ve written before about the overlap between demonic possession and Zombification, so the ZRC feels entitled to slip in a few comments about this short film. The titular character, Larry, may be going through a… spiritual crisis, but that is no excuse for his rampant poor roommate behavior and shocking lack of hygiene.

I think we’ve all had *that* roommate, flatmate, or dormmate though. So it’s a theme that the Living, Undead, and Demonically Augmented can all understand, and laugh along with.

This doesn’t involve Zombies at all, but it’s very funny and quite short, so see it if you get a chance.

“The Looking Planet”
Again, a film that doesn’t involve the Undead in any way. But The Looking Planet does promote empathy for very different forms of life, which, at least broadly, is the sort of message we look for here at the ZRC.

It concerns a family of aliens tasked with building our universe at the dawn of time, who are up against a tight deadline finishing our solar system. Lufo, one of their children (a scant 14 billion years old), is rebelling against his tedious workload. All they ever let him do is rings, apparently. So he sets off on an astronomical project that would be instantly familiar to all of us living on Earth these many millions of years later.

The Looking Planet is reminiscent of the best in Pixar, so the ZRC heartily endorses catching it sometime.

The Looking Planet [trailer] from Eric Law Anderson on Vimeo.

“Black Eyes”
One of the most on-point films for a Zombie Rights activist at this year’s festival, Black Eyes stars two kids going through a rough adolescence who question whether the answer to their difficult lives is suicide, followed, of course, by reanimation as Zombies.

A very pleasant counterpoint to ‘Dead Friends’ a few years back, ‘Black Eyes’ works well as a Living-Undead conversation piece. Even if, as the art director points out, it is a teensy bit appropriative of Zombie Culture along the way.

The Zombie Rights Campaign nevertheless rates it as Zombie Friendly.

Sadly, due to an oversight we missed ‘What’s Eating Dad?’ this year, which our ZRC Ally Michelle Hartz assures us is a must-catch at the first future opportunity.

But overall, the trend in independent cinema is, somewhat, toward greater tolerance, whether it be of kids who want to be Zombies, aliens who want to be artists, or Undead agricultural workers. Also distinctly toward Things-Living-in-Walls, what with ‘Deep Dark’ this year, ‘Motivational Growth’ last year, and the like.

Mostly though, the ZRC focuses on the tolerance.

Thanks for a great run, Dark Carnival/Diabolique International Film Festival, and hopefully we’ll get the chance to picket some of you in the future.

Dark Carnival Memories, 2007-2015

Posted By on September 24, 2015

The Zombie Rights Campaign has been attending the Dark Carnival (and, for the last couple of years, Diabolique International) Film Festival since before there was a Zombie Rights Campaign as such. Founded in 2007, Dark Carnival/Diabolique has been bringing horror movies of all varieties, including many Zombie films, to southern Indiana for 8 glorious, messy years.

Sadly, that comes to an end in 2015, with their very last festival. But the ZRC will be there, as it always is, to document any atrocities, as well as positive developments.

Highlights from past years:

2007: The very first Dark Carnival brought us ‘Dead and Breakfast’, a rare musical early Zombie musical, and ‘Cannibal Flesh Riot’, a film about he problems in the life of, well, ghouls.

2008: The festival’s second year featured a truly standout Zombie short film, ‘A Break in the Monotony’. This one holds a special place in our hearts, as it helped inspire the ZRC’s activism in the first place. Update: You can still watch it, here!

2009: The Dark Carnival held a free outdoor screening of seminal and tragically Anti-Zombie film ‘Night of the Living Dead’, with live horror host accompaniment. The ZRC was there to protest, of course.


2010: This year we were privileged to grace Baron Mardi, one of the long-running hosts of the Dark Carnival, with our Zombie of the Year award, for his noble attempts to enlighten the horror film community about Zombiism.


In 2011 the ZRC eagerly anticipated, and was in turnheartbroken by, a short film entitled ‘Dead Friends’, which still managed to illustrate well the tragedy of irresponsible parenting/necromancy.


For 2012, The Dark Carnival brought circus acts galore and interesting horror movies alike back to Bloomington. ‘Mother Died’ was the film with the greatest impact on the Zombie Rights Movement, but it was more than a little Anti-Zombie, so we won’t dwell on it here. Bad memories.

The squid-like host/abomination of The Dark Carnival known as ‘Doctor Calimari also reached new heights of depravity in 2012, but we’ve never given him any awards, so the ZRC is probably safe from scandal.


In 2013 the film festival moved to a historic theatre in Columbus, Indiana, and showed no Anti-Zombie films! Of course it showed no Zombie films either. We were a tad disappointed.


2014 brought new energy, sponsorship, and a return to Bloomington, rechristened (if anything about the Dark Carnival can be… christened) as the Diabolique International Film Festival.

There was a full slate of fascinating and Zombie-filled movies, many of which the ZRC enjoyed, or at least, analyzed intently.

‘Dead Hearts’ was a real highlight.

Which brings us to this year, and the final Dark Carnival/Diabolique International Film Festival. There’s more than a little sadness here at ZRC headquarters as we pack our bags. What will we do with our fall schedule now? Where will we find out about the coming trends in Zombie cinema, both pro and con?

Stay tuned for reports of our activism.

Halloween Everywhere, Zombie Friendliness Harder to Find

Posted By on September 24, 2015

We are now roughly one month from Halloween, the Zombiest time of the year, and the ZRC is noticing the signs everywhere – candy on the shelves, decorations on the walls, and of course, merchandising, merchandising, merchandising.

spaceballs the flamethrower
(Yogurt’s not a Zombie, but he is green, work with me here)

It’s amazing how much of this merchandise is Zombie-related. And, tragically, how much of it is obviously influenced by the Anti-Zombie elements of our culture.

Cases in point from a recent excursion to various fabric and craft supply stores in town. Yes, craft stores seem to be a real hotbed of a certain sort of halloween decor. Namely, the kind that you slap up in a hurry, for a gathering, perhaps. It seems odd to me that stores catering to people who make their own pillows sell so many pre-made decorative items, but that’s a mystery for another day.

Observe. Many of them seem to reference, with varying levels of specificity, The Walking Dead, or perhaps some of the Romero zombie films:


Not quite ‘Don’t Open, Dead Inside’, but pretty close. And why shouldn’t we feed the Zombies?! Zombies get hungry too you know.

It’s not all bad though. Frankenstein Creations (we discourage the use of the term ‘monster’) get some positive attention.


And we’re especially encouraged by the potentially Undead Friendly hiring practices this store mascot indicates:


The ZRC will keep our eyes collectively peeled for new capitalism to evaluate as we head further into the Zombie Season.

Fear the Walking Dead: The Dinner

Posted By on August 30, 2015

One week ago saw the premiere of the second Kirkman Zombiephobic media-extravaganza, ‘Fear the Walking Dead’, and the ZRC is still sorting through how to respond in the aftermath.

Also, our computing infrastructure had a part blow out on Monday, so we had to get that nailed down. I think it died of grief.

But there was a brighter side to last Sunday’s gory and unfortunate TV spectacle, and that was a delightfully Zombie-inclusive themed dinner the ZRC got to attend here in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Vintage Brewing Company held an ‘Undead Dinner’ with a fixed menu of completely legal food items designed to allow the Living to experience a bit of Zombie culture, so to speak, before the unfortunate televisual premiere.


Just look at this happy little Zombie guy. Very inviting.


The actual menu was very impressive, and the ZRC appreciates that the Vintage found a way to point out that it isn’t only Undead humans who eat raw flesh with their tasteful, and tasty, beef carpaccio main course.



However, the clear standout of the evening was the very thematically appropriate dessert, with the classiest pudding-out-of-a-can that you’ll ever get the chance to consume.


Yes, even your stalwart ZRC staff were amused by this take on one of the internet’s favorite Walking Dead scenes.

Credit to.. whoever originally made this. Let us know!

We found this meal very fortifying as the ZRC heads into a grim fall full of Zombiesploitation.

Great and Zombie Friendly job, Vintage Brewing Company.

More Zombie Burgers in Des Moines

Posted By on August 7, 2015

The ZRC has written before about a Zombie themed burger restaurant in Iowa and how, while the food sounds delicious, the portrayals of the Differently Animated were less than Zombie Correct.

It seems that mixing Zombie culture with food has been successful for the proprietors, at least, as they are expanding:

The Jordan Creek Town Center mall in West Des Moines just upped its food cred.

The dining area, which has remained virtually unchanged since the mall opened 11 years ago, got a new tenant Wednesday.

Zombie Burger + Shake Lab opened in the spot formerly occupied by Wendy’s. The home-grown restaurant brought a pared down version of it popular downtown burger menu to the shopping center.

The ZRC feels conflicted about all this, and not just because we appreciate a good burger and a trip to Zombie Burger would probably qualify as a business expense.

At this rate they might be in Madison in a few years and we’d have a shot at influencing them into Zombie Friendliness…

‘The Walking Dead’ Takes its Anti-Zombie Prejudice to Sea

Posted By on August 7, 2015

This is indeed disturbing news.

Taking a vacation with a cruise ship full of zombies sounds like the premise of a blockbuster Hollywood film, but it will be a reality now for those who get aboard the Norwegian Pearl in January of 2016.

In a partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line, festivals at sea marketer Sixthman and Walker Stalker Con, the normal cruise ship will be transformed into playground for fans of the hit television series and comic books, “The Walking Dead.”

The Zombie Rights Campaign is not out to spoil everyone’s fun. We understand that even fans of a dubious and offensively Anti-Zombie television show might want to take a cruise. We get that.

But must they spend their free time exporting their prejudices into international waters?

The Zombie Rights Campaign is shocked and appalled. It’s also busy next January so it can’t get a stateroom to infiltrate and educate.

Maybe next time.

ZRC Review: Z Nation Season 1

Posted By on July 23, 2015

Zombies on television. Obviously, the first thought for almost everyone is The Walking Dead, unless you’re talking about some of the progressive, more Zombie Tolerant shows from our friends in the UK.

The second thought for many will likely be Walking Dead’s spinoff/prequel, aptly named ‘Fear the Walking Dead’, which debuts this fall.

But there has been at least one other major cable Zombie show in the United States, from Syfy monster movie makers The Asylum, entitled ‘Z Nation’.

Z Nation is ostensibly about transporting the One Immune Human across a Zombie Infested Nation (hence the title) to mass produce a… well, not a cure, more like an Anti-Zombie vaccine.

Obviously not a Zombie Friendly concept. I mean, really. A vaccine against Undeath? Count us out at The Zombie Rights Campaign.

Still, the show grows beyond that premise, if slightly. Zombies start to seem a little less hostile, and the Living display a level of cohesion and reasonableness that is sorely lacking in, say, the Walking-Dead-o-verse. Meanwhile the communities of Living survivors across America range from crazy cults to lunatic ex-military holdouts to ordinary people trying to stay alive, even if they fail to recognize their Undead neighbors, for the moment, as fellow citizens.

There’s also a fair amount of biting social commentary in the show, and the characters, at least some of them, develop in promising, potentially Zombie-accepting ways.

Others, tragically, do not. One case in point is ’10K’, a particularly disturbed young sniper who has literally defined his entire existence around a goal of, err, re-killing 10,000 Undead Americans.

And then there’s Murphy, the One Immune Human. Well… it’s not much of a spoiler to suggest that his immunity is a bit negotiable, and his personal journey toward accepting at least a degree of Zombiism himself is a key piece of the show, not to get TOO spoilery.

The ZRC feels for those who are neither Living nor quite Undead. It’s a difficult place to be.

Still, on the whole, Z Nation is not kind to the Zombies, in spite of Murphy’s Undead evolution. Not kind at all. We rate it as Anti-Zombie.


ZRC Review: The Walking Deceased

Posted By on July 23, 2015

The Walking Dead, ahh, yes. Cultural phenomenon, to be sure. But, and this almost goes without saying by this point, rabidly, and unredeemably, Living Supremacist.

It’s also a show that is more than a little ripe for a satirical skewering, so The Zombie Rights Campaign was interested to learn of ‘The Walking Deceased’, a parody movie (now available on Netflix streaming).

First off, however, ‘The Walking Deceased’, while primarily poking some well-deserved fun at ‘The Walking Dead’, also takes jabs at everything from ‘Zombieland’ to ‘Warm Bodies’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead’, with smaller nods to various games, movies and other artifacts of the Zombie Industrial Complex.

It’s occasionally riotously funny. It’s also more than a little slow in places, and sometimes it runs its jokes into the ground.

The story is about what you might expect, if you’ve watched a lot of the previously mentioned Zombie media products. Sheriff Lincoln (the Rick Grimes analogue) wakes up in a hospital with some fairly obvious mental difficulties due to his prolonged coma (a popular fan theory for Actual Rick Grimes’ erratic and violent behavior). He quickly runs into refugee survivor characters from Zombieland, but sets off in search of his son, Chris, who the coma renders him unable to call anything but ‘Carl’.

Or rather, in true Walking Dead fashion, ‘Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhrl’.

From there it’s a series of failed rescues and comically inept survivorship attempts until the end credits. Malls will be abandoned, farms will be improperly defended, and on the whole, you’ll find yourself largely agreeing with Warm Bodies-esque Zombie ‘Romeo’ about the sad state of the Living human community.

Highlights include Chris/Carl, Romeo’s inner monologues, and the many, many 4th-wall cracking jokes at the various bizarre coincidences and logical gaps in The Walking Dead. If you’ve ever wondered why Walker skulls are ‘newborn baby soft’, then this might be the satire for you. If you haven’t watched/slogged through a lot of Zombie fiction, however, the jokes are going to have a lot less resonance.

A tougher question for the ZRC was, however, the rating to assign to this film. A lot of Zombies are needlessly killed, of course. But is that because THIS film is Living Supremacist, or because its source materials are?

In the end, we choose to believe, especially given Romeo’s inclusion, that this is a more tolerant understanding of the Differently Animated. The Zombie Rights Campaign therefore gives it a ‘Zombie Neutral’ rating.


‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Trailer Released

Posted By on July 13, 2015

Following on the heels of The Walking Dead Season 6 trailer this week was one for its new spinoff series, which purports to (somehow) explain the rapid implosion of Living society as a result of the Undead. Yes, ‘Fear the Walking Dead’, set in sunny California, will attempt to demonstrate how Everything Went Wrong.

In about a month, if main show Walking Dead is to be believed.

The ZRC has never cared for the sudden onset ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ notion. First of all, it’s unfair to the Differently Animated. But second, it just doesn’t seem plausible, does it? Granted, the ‘disease’ in Walking Dead is remarkably lethal once symptoms set in via a bite, but aside from that, it isn’t remotely comparable to smallpox, let alone the bubonic plague or the 1918 Flu.

Yet civilizations the world over survived all of those pandemics, in most cases without the advantages of modern science and technology.

Somehow, modern human civilization is just much more fragile, we are supposed to believe.


Just watching this trailer you can spot a few possible explanations from the Walking Dead-o-verse. First, nobody with a firearm has decent aim. Second, no one has ever heard of a headshot. And third, everyone ignores all the Warning Signs right up until they collectively Flip Out and Panic.

Sigh. As a Living person myself, I’m starting to wonder if Robert Kirkman is prejudiced against us as well.

Stay tuned this fall to find out.

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 6 Trailer Arrives, Demonstrates Much More of the Same

Posted By on July 13, 2015

The Zombie Rights Campaign has, along with America, watched a lot of Walking Dead. More however is on the way, and the plight of Rick, his questionably-led survivor band, and the many innocent Zombies they oppress, is about to be unleashed once more on our nation.

Yes, there’s a trailer for the next season of The Walking Dead:

Although the internet has gone a bit crazy over this video, what’s most remarkable to the Zombie Rights Campaign is what it doesn’t show: any real changes.

Rick’s still crazy. The Walkers are still cruelly excluded from his violently gated community. Everyone who doesn’t trust him is in danger of being eaten, except for Michonne, because she has a magic sword.

Admittedly, magic swords are handy.

Also, everyone and everything is terrible forever, aka the premise of The Walking Dead.

The Zombie Rights Campaign will tune in to the show as it airs this fall, of course, because it is our solemn duty.

Our solemn, difficult duty.