MY PERSONAL experience of zombies is pretty much limited to Michael Jackson’s 1983 video Thriller, which blew my nine-year-old mind. I’m too chicken to watch them, but I am aware of a huge catalogue of flesh-eating films from the classic 1932 White Zombie to the genre-defining Night of the Living Dead and more recent apocalyptic hits such as 28 Days Later.
While the idea of voodoo zombies appeared in 1929 novel The Magic Island by William Seabook, the zombie sub-genre of horror fiction only really became big in the 1990s.
Apparently zombies are now rattling the cage of vampires for dominance of popular supernatural culture, which makes it a good time to be publishing a blockbusting collection of short stories by some of the world’s best horror writers.
Holiday of the Dead is a summer-reading anthology of 38 stories published by Newcastle’s independent publisher Wild Wolf.
Publisher and writer Rod Glenn, 39, of Benton, Newcastle, says: “We asked authors to respond to the holiday theme and we were inundated by hundreds of stories. It took a long time to whittle them down to 38 and we are proud of this collection.”
All the tales by top UK, US and Canadian writers have a holiday theme. Possibly the biggest name is John Russo, who co-wrote Night of the Living Dead, but there are also stories by Pontypool writer Tony Burgess, Deadfall author Shaun Jeffrey and thriller writer Matt Hilton.
There is also a story by Rod, who says: “The zombie genre can be quite gruesome and if it is purely horror, it can be a little wearing, so the best fiction also has an element of dark humour.
“The genre probably became a bit tired for a while, but there has been a recent resurgence with new talent reinventing ideas of zombies. Now zombies seem to be taking over from vampires as the horror villain of choice.”
Rod, who used to work as a bodyguard in London, wrote his first novel aged 16 and has had numerous books published including Sinema: The Northumberland Massacre and Sinema 2: Sympathy for the Devil.
Holiday of the Dead published by Wild Wolf Publishing is £19.99 and also available as an e-book, www.wildwolfpublishing.com