The Army of the Lost is the third book in the Deadlands trilogy written by mother-daughter team Lily Herne. It's officially published here in the UK on April 17th, 2014 by Much-in-Little, and to celebrate there's a cool blog tour going on all this week. Are you familiar with this series? If not, here's a summary of the first book, Deadlands:
Welcome to the Deadlands, where life is a lottery.Since the apocalypse, Cape Town's suburbs have become zombie-infested Deadlands. Human survivors are protected from the living dead by sinister, shrouded figures - the Guardians. In return, five teenagers are 'chosen' and handed over to them for a mysterious purpose: this year, Lele de la Fontein's name is picked.But Lele will not stick around and face whatever shady fate the Guardians have in store for her. She escapes, willing to take her chances in the Deadlands. Alone, exiled and unable to return home, she runs into a misfit gang of renegade teens: Saint, a tough Batswana girl; Ginger, a wise-cracking Brit; and handsome Ash, a former child soldier. Under their tutelage, Lele learns how to seriously destroy zombies and together they uncover the corruption endemic in Cape Town, and come to learn the sickening truth about the Guardians...
Thanks to Savannah (the daughter half of this author collaboration) for writing this great post for me. I'm a fan of horror/zombies so I thought this was the perfect topic for a guest post. Enjoy!
Top 10 Zombie Movies
by Savannah Lotz
(one half of collaborative mother-daughter writing due, Lily Herne)
Some people might say that zombies are the zit on the face of pop culture, but love them or hate them, they’re impossible to ignore. They once occupied a fairly small niche in pop culturedom, but over the last few years they’ve lurched out of the shadows to take their place in the mainstream. ‘Zombie culture’ (if that’s even a thing!) has always been a big part of my life. As my mum has an almost unhealthy obsession with the walking dead, I pretty much grew up with them. Every year, she’d throw a Halloween party for me and my friends, and I remember sitting for hours while she dressed us up as mini walking corpses, sticking scars made out of tissue paper, food colouring and glue to our faces. (It’s no wonder I’m so messed up!)
I also had an early introduction to classic zombie movies, all of which had a huge influence on the Deadlands series. The following is a list of ten films that made a real impression on me or inspired the books in one way or another:
Night of the Living Dead (1968): No list is complete without the original George R Romero classic. Sure, some of the acting comes off as a bit hokey these days (except for Duane Jones – who kills his performance, no pun intended), but it stands the test of time as a brilliant (and often funny) exploration of claustrophobia and dread (and the ending of the 1990 remake is a killer). It’s the humans in Deadlands who are often the greatest monsters, and this concept forms the heart of this film and its Tom Savini remake.
Shaun of the Dead (2004): My mum and I reference this affectionate satire on the zombie genre far too much in the Deadlands series. Ginger, one of the main characters, is obsessed with it. ‘You’ve got red on you,’ has to be one of my all-time favourite movie quotes.
Dawn of the Dead (1978): Another Romero classic that forever married zombie and mall culture together. A sly comment on consumerism, this film hugely influenced the first book in the series and is part of the reason why the only building left in our Capetonian apocalypse landscape is a huge (and sinister) shopping complex. The gorier Zack Snyder remake (2004) is also worth a look.
Resident Evil (2002): Sure, the later instalments might have been classed as high-octane trash, but I can’t knock anything with a strong female protagonist (or two) in it!
Fido (2006): This charming black comedy set in a faux 1950s world explores the friendship between one boy and his ‘tame’ zombie. In some ways it’s a similar concept at the core of the brilliant The Returned series: just how much humanity still lurks inside the living dead? We referenced this is in The Army of the Lost, when one of our characters befriends a zombie he nicknames Optimus (!) It was great fun to write, albeit disturbing.
Evil Dead II (1987): Despite the now dated stop-motion CGI, this scared the crap out of me when I first saw it. While not strictly a zombie movie, it does feature a pretty awesome chainsaw scene, and what is a zombie apocalypse without a chainsaw? We gave one to Ginger to wield in the first book, although chainsaws are one of the least efficient zombie killing weapons. They guzzle fuel, they’re hard to control and no one wants to spend hours cleaning out bits of zombie brain out of the chain. Still, we did enjoy writing Ginger’s short lived love affair with his chainsaw before we were forced to give him a far more realistic axe.
We also named one of our characters after Ash, the movie’s scenery chewing protagonist.
28 Days Later (2002): To me, this movie heralds the dawn of the fast-moving zombie – and there’s nothing scarier than one of the undead that can outrun you. We were greedy in Deadlands, and included both slow-moving zombies (Rotters) and fast-moving ones (Hatchlings). Danny Boyle nails the desolation of the post-apocalyptic landscape, as well as brilliantly portraying how people deal with a climatic event and fight for survival.
Land of the Dead (2005): We’ve always made a point in the Deadlands series to explore how people react to the total break-down of structure and society, and what I really love about this film is that even with the dead decimating the population, a small echelon of people still find a way to be on top. It’s an insightful look at corruption and the scourge of the 1% on a micro level. With zombies. And Simon Baker. Yes please.
Zombieland (2009): This is a bit of a cheat as it came out after the first book was written, but I reckon Ginger would love this film (and would fall in love with Emma Stone’s black eye-liner). The old story of a group of misfit survivors finding companionship in a tough apocalyptic setting is one that’s close to my heart, and as it has added Bill Murray goodness, what’s not to like?
Warm Bodies (2013): Okay, another cheat, as this was released way after we wrote the first two novels. But this one was a no-brainer to include – who doesn’t love a twisted, funny, undead romantic comedy?