The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever
Author: Jeff Strand
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
After producing three horror movies that went mostly ignored on YouTube, Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it’s time they create something noteworthy, something epic. They’re going to film the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They may not have money or a script, but they have passion. And, after a rash text message, they also have the beautiful Alicia Howtz—Justin’s crush—as the lead.
Praise for The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever:
“Strand's penchant for tongue-in-cheek humor and witty repartee is on full display here. Justin, Bobby, and Gabe have numerous exchanges that will have readers chuckling, snickering, and laughing out loud...A funny and spirited romp.” –Kirkus
“Fans of comical books rejoice as Strand has hit the zombie trend on its head with this one…Aspiring filmmakers, zombie movie fans, and reluctant readers should be entertained by this title.” –School Library Journal
“Readers will come away not only with stomachs aching from laughter but with the stars in their own eyes a little.” –Booklist
“[Strand] hits his stride with sarcastic conversation and the relationship dynamics. This novel will appeal to anyone trying to create something great against all odds—or anyone who needs a laugh.”-RT Book Reviews
The vampire, whose fangs were too big for his mouth, turned to the camera and hissed.
“Don’t look at the camera,” said Justin Hollow, the director.
“I keep poking my lip on these things,” said Harold, and he spit the plastic fangs out onto the ground. He hadn’t been a very frightening example of the undead before, and he was even less scary with no fangs and a thick line of drool running down his chin.
“Cut!” shouted Justin, loud enough to be sure that the command was heard by his production crew of two. “C’mon, Harold. Stay in character. We’re three hours behind schedule.”
“I don’t care. I hate this. You promised that I’d get all the girls I wanted. So where are all the girls I want?”
Justin let out his thirty-ninth exasperated sigh of the night. “The movie has to come out first.”
“It’s not even a real movie.”
Justin bristled. It was a full-body bristle, head to toe, which he hadn’t even realized was physically possible. Bobby, who handled sound recording, and Gabe, who handled everything else, both stepped back a couple of feet. Neither of them truly believed that they were about to witness a murder, but they wanted to get out of the splash zone just in case.
Had this been one of Justin’s movies, he would have very slowly lowered his camera, stared directly into Harold’s eyes with a steel gaze, and then after an extremely dramatic pause, asked, “What…did…you…just…say?”
His actual response, delivered in a squeakier voice than he would have allowed from his actors, was, “Huh?”
“I said it’s not a real movie.” Harold started to wipe the fake blood off his mouth. It didn’t come off, and it probably wouldn’t for several days. Justin had planned to feel guilty about this later, but now he wouldn’t bother. “Nobody’s ever going to see it. You probably won’t even finish it.”
“I finished my last three movies!” Justin insisted. “I got hundreds of hits on YouTube!”
That statement was technically accurate, though it was the lowest possible number of hits you could get and still use “hundred” in its plural form. The only comment anybody posted about his latest film had been, “This twelve-year-old filmmaker sort of shows promise,” which really frustrated Justin because he was fifteen.
Harold shrugged. “This is a waste of time. I’ve got better things to do on a Friday night.”
“Nobody ever said this was going to be easy,” said Justin, who had indeed said that it was going to be easy when he had lured Harold into the role. “You can quit now, but what are you going to think about your decision ten years from now?”
“I’m going to think, ‘Wow, it sure is nice to be such a well-paid dentist.’”
Harold walked off the set. It wasn’t an actual set but rather a small park near Justin’s home, where they were filming without a permit. Justin knew he should shout something after his ex-actor. Something vicious. Something devastating. He thought about shouting, “You’ll never work in this town again!” but no, it had to be something that Harold would consider a
“Fine!” Justin shouted. “But when we record the audio commentary track for the Blu-ray, I’m going to talk about how you abandoned us, and how much happier everybody was with the new actor who took your role, and how we all agreed that he should have been cast in the first place, and how he had so many girlfriends that he couldn’t even keep track of them, and how they all found out about one another and had a great big awesome catfight in his front
yard! And I’ll pronounce your name wrong!”
Harold continued walking, apparently not heartbroken.
Justin wished he could afford a second camera so that he could smash this one in a rage. An entire evening’s worth of shooting, wasted!
“We can write around this,” said Gabe. He stroked his mustache, which could only be seen in direct sunlight, and thought for a moment. “What if the vampire can transform at will? We could get a different actor and still keep all of Harold’s scenes. In fact, we could get lots of different actors. We could just replace that person every time somebody quit. A different vampire in each scene! Think about it!”
Justin shook his head. “That won’t scare audiences.”
“What do you mean? If you were sitting next to somebody, and all of a sudden they turned into a completely different person, you’d freak out! You’d be all like, ‘Whoa! What happened? That’s not how nature works!’ If you transformed into Bobby right now, I wouldn’t even try to be brave about it. I’d just wet myself and run.”
Jeff Strand wrote the script for the short film Gave Up the Ghost, which has zombies in it for a few seconds, and was an associate producer on the short zombie film Chomp. In the event of an actual zombie attack, he would run around crying and screaming, “We’re all doomed!” and contribute very little to everybody’s chances for survival. He’s written a bunch of other books, including I Have A Bad Feeling About This and A Bad Day for Voodoo. Check out this website at jeffstrand.com
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