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Although it might seem difficult to believe, there was a time – not very long ago, in fact – when zombies weren’t the mainstream icons they are today. Horror fans have always loved the undead, of course, but it wasn’t until the back-to-back release of “28 Days Later” and “Resident Evil” in 2002, followed by Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” remake in 2004 and “The Walking Dead” TV series in 2010, that zombies truly crossed over to become ubiquitous pop culture favorites. And with Snyder’s “Army of the Dead” arriving in Netflix on May 21, their popularity is only likely to increase
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Today, zombies are much more than just a beloved category of movie monster; they’re an entire industry unto themselves. Countless products are emblazoned with undead imagery, and consumers can’t seem to get enough of them. From zombie breakfast cereals, to zombie ice cream, to zombie baby clothes and pet supplies, it’s hard to find a product that hasn’t yet been zombified in some way. Perhaps that’s because zombies represent different things to different people. For some, they’re a powerful symbol of mindless conformity. To others, they represent the fear of mass contagion and the human body’s vulnerability to illness and disease. And many people simply find them funny in a blackly comic sort of way.
To help you fill your home with a gruesome assortment of zombie-themed gifts, here are 13 items that will bring a ghoulish smile to your face.
‘I Walked with a Zombie’ Original Poster
One year after he directed the 1942 horror pic “Cat People,” French filmmaker Jacques Tourneur helmed the atmospheric masterpiece “I Walked with a Zombie,” a ghoulish reinterpretation of Charlotte Brontë’s literary classic “Jane Eyre.” Successfully combining gothic romance with voodoo chills and thrills, the movie helped legitimatize zombie cinema at a time when it was seen as little more than a B-movie subgenre. The film’s striking poster art was created by famed American illustrator William Rose, who also designed original posters for “Citizen Kane,” “Out of the Past,” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Suspicion.” It’s available in a variety of framing options, all of which would add a touch of class to any zombie fan’s home or office.
‘Night of the Living Dead’ Spanish Poster
When it premiered in Pittsburgh on October 1, 1968, George A. Romero’s landmark classic “Night of the Living Dead” shook American audiences to their very core. But the film’s influence extended far beyond U.S. shores, as evidenced by this fantastic original Spanish poster for the movie. Rather than the stark black and white poster art that Americans were treated to, the Spanish poster adds an eerie splash of color to the image, and the painterly design gives the film a disturbing dream-like quality. The inclusion of a disembodied hand reaching out from beneath the grave quickly became a familiar staple in zombie movie posters, particularly the one for “The Evil Dead.”
3-Day Zombie Survival Kit
The problem with the zombie apocalypse is that you never know when it’s about to turn your world upside down. So if you don’t want to be caught empty-handed when the dead rise, you’ll need a proper zombie survival kit to help you last through the crucial first few days of the crisis. Luckily, this handy package comes equipped with several items that just might prevent you from becoming a zombie’s dinner. The kit’s lunch box style container includes energy bars, water pouches, glowsticks, first aid equipment, emergency tools, and a waterproof mylar blanket that will keep you warm once society crumbles. All in all, there are enough supplies here to last a person three full days, and the entire kit can be stored for up to five years. Gift as a standalone kit that says I care about your post-apocalyptic safety or pair it with the “Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks.
‘The Walking Dead’ Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
In the post-apocalyptic universe of “The Walking Dead,” food and water are of utmost importance, but liquor is a much sought-after item too. In fact, booze might be even more valuable when it comes to improving survivors’ morale. So the next time you settle in to watch Carol and Negan clobber a herd of decaying walkers, pour yourself a shot of this officially licensed “Walking Dead” bourbon from the Diageo Beverage Company and Skybound Entertainment. With aromatic hints of caramel and vanilla, plus a spicy cinnamon finish, this limited-release whiskey lends itself nicely to a variety of cocktails, or can be enjoyed over ice while watching your favorite zombie movie.
‘Zombie’ 4K Blu-ray
Although George A. Romero is widely considered to be the father of the modern zombie film, hardcore horror fans hold Italian director Lucio Fulci in equally high regard. That’s because throughout the early 1980s, Fulci helmed a series of wildly gory movies about the living dead that continue to terrify viewers with their ultra-disturbing special effects and surreal storylines. Fulci’s most iconic film is, of course, the grindhouse classic “Zombie” – an unforgettable tale about reanimated corpses on a tropical island. Thanks to the team at Blue Underground, the movie has just been given a glorious 4K Blu-ray upgrade that’s overflowing with audio commentaries and hours of documentaries and special features. It’s a must-have disk for every serious zombie fan with a taste for extreme cinema.
Dead of Winter Board Game
Have you ever wondered if you could survive a zombie apocalypse? Well, you’ll discover the answer when you play this immersive board game from Plaid Hat Games. Set in a world overrun by cannibalistic corpses, the story-centric game tasks each player with leading a small group of survivors on a quest to find enough food and supplies to last through winter. Between two and five players can join in the ghoulish fun, and the gameplay typically lasts two hours. Players are encouraged to work together in a spirit of cooperation in order to survive the zombies, but you can also sabotage the group’s main mission and achieve a personal victory if you’re feeling particularly selfish. Due to the intense subject matter, the game is recommended for players who are at least 12 years or older.
Funko Pop! Zombie Hulk Figure
Back in the winter of 2005, Marvel Comics launched a five-issue limited series called “Marvel Zombies” that asked the eternal question: what would happen if a superhero got bit by a zombie? The comic book series proved so popular with fans that it spawned more than a dozen different spinoffs featuring iconic characters like Spider-Man and Captain America turning into flesh-eating monsters. Naturally, popular toy company Funko decided to create a line of vinyl figurines of the zombified superheroes, including this lovable version of the undead Hulk. With his moldy skin, exposed bone, and ravenous yellow teeth, Zombie Hulk is as adorable as he is disgusting. Other figures in the Funko toy line include Zombie Deadpool, Zombie Wolverine, and a brilliantly designed Zombie Silver Surfer.
‘Zone One’ By Colson Whitehead
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead is famous for writing powerful works of historical fiction like “The Underground Railroad” and “The Nickel Boys.” But in 2011 he turned his attention to zombies with the bestselling novel “Zone One.” Telling the story of an emotionally devastated group of survivors who are assigned to clear out the remaining zombies from a post-apocalyptic New York City, the book is a harrowing account of what life might be like in the aftermath of a global catastrophe. Containing echoes of 9/11, “Zone One” succeeds both as literary fiction and as a classic genre page-turner. Whitehead’s prose style is thoughtful and poetic, but the book never skimps on delivering the goods when it comes to graphic horror.
‘Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema’
Originally published to critical acclaim in 2005, author Jamie Russell’s comprehensive history of zombie cinema was fully updated and exhaustively revised in 2014, and it remains one of the most well-regarded and engagingly written guides to subject ever published. In page after page of this hefty tome, Russell chronicles the development of zombies from their Haitian voodoo roots to their early introduction to moviegoers in the 1932 Bela Lugosi classic “White Zombie” to their mainstream popularity in modern TV shows like “The Walking Dead” and theatrical blockbusters like “28 Days Later” and “World War Z.” Packed with revealing insights, intelligent analysis, and a ton of helpful film recommendations, “Book of the Dead” belongs in the personal library of every self-respecting zombie fan.
Zombie Head Archery Target
As faithful viewers of “The Walking Dead” know, crossbows are an extremely useful weapon to have on hand since their relative silence doesn’t attract much attention. The only problem is that they require a fair degree of practice to learn how to use. Thankfully, this life-size foam zombie target is the perfect training tool to help you hone your archery skills. Simply mount it on a wall or a wooden fence post and then take aim at its hideously decaying face. Within a few hours you’ll be firing bullseyes like Daryl Dixon himself. Of course, if you don’t happen to own a crossbow, you can always use this creepy zombie head as a unique Halloween decoration.
Zombies Eat Flesh T-Shirt
Being devoured by a pack of ravenous zombies isn’t a laughing matter… unless you happen to be wearing this T-shirt while they’re chowing down on you. A clever play on the Subway sandwich shop’s “Eat Fresh” motto, this brightly colored shirt is available in men, women, and kids’ sizes, and is made with 100% lightweight cotton. Best of all, it’s machine washable, so if things get messy while the zombies are eating you, it won’t be too hard to clean. Bon appétit!
Zombie Gotcha Game
It’s never too soon to introduce your impressionable kids to the idea that reanimated corpses want to grab and eat them, so this charming family game from Mattel will turn them into rabid zombie fans in no time. Recommended for children 5 years or older, the game begins with each player locked in a house with a zombie. In order to escape, matching cards must be delicately pulled from a pair of spring-loaded zombie hands without triggering them to snap shut on you. It’s the kind of harmless, good-natured fun that will have your kids laughing and screaming in equal measure.
‘The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack LP
In 1974, Spanish filmmaker Jorge Grau directed a profoundly chilling English language zombie film called “The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue” that became an instant cult favorite on the American drive-in movie circuit. Predating George A. Romero’s classic “Dawn of the Dead” by several years, the film upped the ante in terms of on-screen depictions of zombie mayhem. Italian keyboardist Giuliano Sorgini composed the movie’s unsettling score which is filled with innovative electronic music and pulsating progressive rock. Although unavailable for decades, the film’s soundtrack was recently reissued on 180g vinyl from Mondo’s Death Waltz Recording Company. This handsome limited-edition comes snuggly tucked inside a glossy gatefold featuring stylish art by talented British-based graphic designer Luke Insect.
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