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Horror Artist, Lynn Hansen, Always Wanted to be a Zombie

Lynn Hansen describes herself as a “horror artist who specializes in book covers.” The cover art business is keeping her busy right now. She says that she has over 40 cover commissions in “queue.” It was really great that she was able to break away to talk about her favorite monsters: zombies.

“I don’t think there’s anything scarier than having someone who looks like your husband, sister, or best friend not be them, you know?” Hansen says of zombies. To her, this aspect of the creatures is a “betrayal” of the “most basic level” of human interaction. However, she also describes zombies as “just plain fun!” It may seem strange to place such grotesque and ravaging monsters as zombie in the category of fun, but Hansen explains, “They’re a great vehicle for mixing humor and horror, and I think when you can do that, the scary gets scarier and the funny gets funnier.” She calls it a “roller coaster ride,” which itself is, of course, scary and fun at the same time.

Although Hansen believes that she would not survive a zombie apocalypse, she always wanted to play a zombie in a B-movie. “I’d tried several times, but the projects didn’t work out–until I got the opportunity to play both a zombie victim and a resurrected zombie in a short film called Soulless being made for the 30 Day Zombie Film Challenge in Tampa,” she relays. This movie was directed by a woman, Monique Guggino, on no budget, but Hansen thoroughly enjoyed making it. “I was so inspired that when I came home from shooting, still covered in zombie makeup, I declared to my husband that I was going to do a film for the 30 Day Zombie Film Challenge, too.” So, she did. “I wrote the first draft of the script in a day,” she says.

Working with a cast and crew of friends and “friends of friends,” Hansen directed, produced, and edited what would become the short, comedic zombie film Chomp. The film missed the deadline for the 30 Day Zombie Film Challenge but premiered at the Halloween Horror Picture Show. Since that time, Chomp, which is about a sixty-something-year-old woman who kidnaps a college student, after mistaking him for a zombie, has played at over 70 film festivals in 13 countries and has been nominated for over 30 awards. It won Best of the Fest at the Geekfest Film Festival and Best Horror Comedy at the Nightmares Film Festival. Of these accomplishments, Hansen says, “I’m still stunned by the response my little labor of love zombie film received, and will forever be indebted to my amazing team and all the kind folks all over the world who screened our film and helped us find our fans.”

While talking about her own zombie film, Hansen says that her favorite zombie movie is Shaun of the Dead. According to her, the film is “clever, funny, great characters, memorable lines, amazing music, and best of all, zombies that walked that fine line between funny and genuinely scary.” She also loves the original and remake of Dawn of the Dead. “They both had strong ensemble casts, memorable zombies, and lovely pacing that gave us both quiet and loud moments.” Of course, Hansen mentions Return of the Living Dead. She says of this horror-comedy classic, “[It] gave us our first fast zombies and their now infamous love of brains. And again, some bad-ass music and great humor.”

Hansen states that her favorite zombie novel is The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell. The novel is about a little girl who grows up in a world after a zombie apocalypse. “It’s the only life she’s ever known, so while the adults who remember the time before huddle in their little fortresses, she doesn’t live in fear. To her, the world of the zombie apocalypse is beautiful,” Hansen says of the novel. She goes on to describe the prose as “lush” and the story as “lyrical.” Once she came to the end, “I flipped to the beginning and read it again a second time because I didn’t want it to be over.”

Although you might not want this interview to be over, Hansen discussed so much about her love of zombies that I decided to split it. While you wait for next weeks installment, go check out Hansen’s work at: http://www.LynneHansenArt.com

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“The Babadook” and the Private World of Mothers

February is Women in Horror Month, and all month long, Madness Heart Press has been offering a deal whereby 100% of profits from books by female-identifying authors go to those authors – Madness Heart’s way of trying to promote the community of female horror creators and to highlight their frightening, fantastic contributions to art. If you, like me, enjoy the finer things in life – namely, eating those finer things if they slow down long enough – make sure to check out Rachel Rodman’s Exotic Meats and Inedible Objects. Do you like poetry, particularly of the angsty, rip-my-guts-out variety? Be sure to check out just break my heart already. by Lemons Clemons!

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘The Crazies’ (2010)

Not as much fun as the original

This just wasn’t as much fun as the original. Now, I’m not saying the original was good, I actually thought it was kind of boring considering the concept they had to work with. The difference between the original and the remake can be spelled out by tone and pacing. So far as tone goes, the original mixed a level of absurdity with the violence. Yeah, there were rampaging lunatics, but some of them were fun rampaging lunatics. It gave you the idea that the virus might cause you to be violent but in random and even wacky ways. We’re not talking comedy levels here, just enough to note the difference.

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Oh My God! It’s Godzilla and Rena Mason

He is the undisputed King of the Monsters, and Bram Stoker Award ® winning author, Rena Mason, loves him. Of course, we’re talking about Godzilla.

When asked if Godzilla is the greatest monster ever, Mason has a very succinct answer. “Hell, yeah!”

She explained that Godzilla represents everything a monster is: “an imaginary creature that is typically large, ugly, and frightening.” The giant creature is more than just nightmare fuel. He metaphorically represents so much more. Godzilla, like so many other classic monsters, has reached beyond his menace to draw attention to numerous ills the world faces. “Godzilla is a monster created from the result of nuclear warfare,” Mason points out. “He represents unknown effects/mutations stemming from that post-nuclear warfare and technological advancement.” At the time Godzilla first emerged from the ocean and started stomping his way through Japan, the world was very concerned with effects of nuclear weapons.

Mason points out that as the franchise surrounding the monster grew, the character of Godzilla grew as well. He changed from an almost mindless killing machine to the protector of those who “had once tried to destroy him.” Mason points out that he shows an “empathy” and adaptation to situations that allow him to survive—“much like Japan” where the king of the monsters was created and crowned.

For Mason, Godzilla is more than a giant monster and metaphor for the dangers of the nuclear age. For her, he represented a culture and people she did not often see on television and movies when she was child. Mason is Thai-Chinese American. Growing up, she saw very few Asians in popular American culture. “I wanted to watch actors and actresses on TV that looked like me, that weren’t caricatures,” she says. This drew her to Godzilla movies, Ultraman, and the late-night kung fu movies. “I believe they have influenced my stories and will continue to do so into the future.”

If it weren’t for an aunt, Mason might have never discovered her beloved Godzilla. When she was 4-years-old, her aunt immigrated from Thailand and stayed with her family. “She would stay up late and watch scary movies,” Mason remembers. One night, 4-year-old Mason crept out of her bedroom and hid around the corner while her aunt watched Godzilla Raids Again: Enter Anguirus. She explains, “After seeing a scene of him tromping through Osaka, I couldn’t sleep for a couple of weeks, thinking that every time I heard a noise, Godzilla was on his way down the street to step on our house.” That was her first “horror” movie and still her favorite Godzilla movie followed by Mothra Vs. Godzilla (1964).

Keeping up with nostalgia of remembering how great Godzilla is, Mason says she prefers the rubber suit monster as opposed to the CGI creations. Her favorite Godzilla giant monster fight is the main fight from Ghidorah, The Three-headed Monster. “You just can’t beat Godzilla, Rodan, and Baby Mothra kicking some Ghidorah butt,” she says of the scene and also describing it as “epic!” Mason likes this scene so well that she found a link so that everyone can watch it to enjoy the glory as she does. Here it is:  

Mason believes, like many other classic monsters, that Godzilla “will always be around.” She thinks that he will be here to remind people of the dangers of misusing technology and that will make him immortal. “Long live, Godzilla! He’s a monster that truly rocks!”

Mason began writing after a summer of “bad reading”. She describes her writing as “dark fiction that crosses and mashes genres,” but she also writes nonfiction including the Haunted Travels column for the Horror Writers Association’s monthly newsletter. Her award-winning first novel, The Evolutionist, has just come out on audiobook from Encyclopocalypse Publications. Its narrated by Carol Schneider, who “does a stellar job.” Mason has a lot of writing and editing going on right now. A re-release is coming soon as are numerous new stories.  If you want to follow what is happening in Mason’s world (and you should), here are her social media links.

Twitter – @RenaMason88 
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rena.mason  
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/rena-mason-87797982/ 
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/rena.mason/

(Author Photo by John Urbancik)

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Rebirth of the Shtick: Reimagining 1980s Horror on Shudder

If you are not a subscriber to Shudder, I don’t fault you for it. With Hulu, Netflix, CBS All Access, Disney+, and now uber-niche streaming services like ConTV, Crunchyroll, and Shudder available, there’s a lot to choose from when picking a content provider. Since these services cost money in most cases, the expense can also add up quickly (and, as we all know, you’d much rather take that money and put it to good work in the Madness Heart Press Patreon, wouldn’t you?). As a result, it’s a worthwhile exercise to point out the ways in which some of these services stand out – such as Shudder.

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