Lynne 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