The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

The Zombie, Err, Thing Rights Campaign at Flashback Weekend

First, let me apologize for the belated post; ran into a few difficulties, including photographing some items.

So the Thing Rights Campaign was devised, in part thanks to the encouragement of ZRC pal Michelle Hartz, to take the important issue of Things and their proper, and often sadly ignored, civil liberties to Flashback Weekend, featuring as it did John Carpenter as the guest of honor.

First, on Friday night, we had the screenings. Before ‘The Thing’ played on the big screen, however, there was a showing of the pilot for ‘The Zombie Factor’, a sort of spoof on trashy reality shows.. only this time featuring grotesque and shameless Anti-Zombie violence.

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(on the big screen)

‘The Zombie Factor’ recalls early 90s reality tv a bit more than the current celebrity-stalking version; a gaggle of random citizens with personality problems are put into a stressful situation together, then given bizarre challenges to compete in toward an unspecified goal. Presumably a large cash reward from the way the show’s contestants talk.

So, for those old enough to remember, something like The Real World, Road Rules, or, particularly relevant here, Survivor.

For ‘The Zombie Factor’, those challenges involve Zombies. Taunting them, tormenting them, and, at random times, being attacked by Zombies let in to the living area of the contestants.

Naturally we don’t condone said Zombies seeking revenge on their Living tormentors either, but it’s understandable, and a more decent and sympathetic motive than cashing-in, at least.

(On Saturday we actually had a chance to talk to the director of ‘The Zombie Factor’, Matt Cantu, in the vendor room, and we raised a number of these concerns, especially about the patently hostile (and potentially actionable) work environments of the Zombies on the show, who are unwilling participants, unlike the contestants. I think it was a productive exchange, though I remain skeptical that said conditions will actually improve if a full season is made.

We shall see.)

After ‘The Zombie Factor’ it was time for the main event, ‘The Thing’ on the big screen. Exciting, sad, gruesome all at the same time, it was every bit the story of misunderstanding and unintentional mayhem I remembered, and the digital presentation was quite nice.

Before the film started John Carpenter gave a short and amusing talk about the initial lack of appreciation for the movie, a lesson in perseverance for us all.

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And then the tragedy unfolded:

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(Extremely cool in an actual theatre)

Those poor Things, and poor researchers too! Honestly, I think the real villains of The Thing are the Norwegians. Talk about irresponsible science! Were they even legally authorized for a first contact scenario with alien visitors? I sincerely doubt it.

The next day it was time to take our pamphlet and our message to The Man himself, Mr. John Carpenter. They had a nifty set of backdrops for photo opportunities, if you’re in to that sort of thing:

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However, we had outreach in mind.

We got a couple of items autographed and gave Mr. Carpenter a ‘Thing Rights and You’ pamphlet, letting him know that we were there for the Things, and that they had an organization behind them. He seemed open to the idea, at least far more open than some we’ve talked with, and that’s a start!

A promising start.

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We puttered around the vendor area afterward, and as previously mentioned ran into Matt Cantu and had a good talk. We also saw the Meatspider Studios booth, and they had a lovely line of Zombie ‘Chomp’ Boxes. I had to pick up one, and it’s gorgeous, showcasing the natural beauty of the Undead, but in.. box form. Take a look:

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Gorgeous. I love Zombie art that doesn’t involve anyone being dismembered or eaten alive, don’t you?

That about sums it up; talks with two directors, sweet merch, autographs and a historic screening of an important film. A great first outing for The Thing Rights Campaign.


About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.

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