Warning! Flashing on that site! Migraine or seizure trigger alert!
Since perhaps even before the Cranberries’ song Zombie in 1994, the connection between war, apocalyptic thinking, and zombies has been in the widespread cultural consciousness. It’s to the point that university professors and the CDC have taken interest in the phenomenon, though maybe for different reasons. It’s to the point that there are articles out there trying to impress upon us the positive influence this zombie fixation can have on our psychology. Is it any wonder that a large number of people are mashing zombies up with another phenomenon of the zeitgeist–the return of mass popular fascination with fairy tales? (See the bottom of this post for links around the web to fascinating and amusing mash-ups of zombies and fairy tales.)
When Keira and I were assigned the theme “How would you survive the zombie apocalypse?” we immediately decided to to mash the two ideas ourselves, given our own love of fairy tales. We decided to see how–or if–some of our favorite fairy tale characters might survive a zombie apocalypse.
Little Red Riding Hood. Would she survive? We believe she would. With the help of her massive, vicious, protective, sentient, talking wolf friend (and maybe a machine gun in accord with this drawing by Lora Zombie), Red could definitely hold off the zombies and make a cozy home of a wolf den. There are all kinds of incredibly filthy stories that might come of that scenario, but I’ll leave that to your own perverted imaginations. Or you can bleach your brain now, if you like. I’ll wait here.
Rapunzel. Would she survive? We believe she would. For awhile. As the zombies crowd around the base of her tower, Rapunzel watches safely from her tower above, refusing to let down her hair. Eventually, though, it becomes clear that her beloved prince and her evil captor have both lost their yummy brains to the zombies below. Trapped as she is in her tower, Rapunzel must make a terrible choice–die of dehydration and starvation or lower her hair to creatures of the night below.
The Light Princess. Would she make it out alive? We think that the Light Princess stands one of the best chances for successful zombie evasion–assuming she doesn’t find herself completely untethered to float away into the stratosphere to freeze and suffocate. When the zombies approach, the Light Princess could bound to the top of buildings, float to grip the uppermost twigs of trees, and dangle herself off the church spires, climbing down to collect food and water when the coast was clear. Alas, her poor prince would probably be zombified, but the princess herself could likely survive quite some time. (By the way, Keira and I wrote a m/m version of The Light Princess called Earthly Desires.)
Jack (and the Beanstalk). Would he make it? Well, most of the time it would be touch and go for him, but we think there are a few ways that Jack might survive the zombie apocalypse. The first and most obvious step would be for Jack to climb the beanstalk to escape the crowd of zombies. He’d have to get to the top before them all, and then, of course, he’d have to deal with the giant. This is where the possibilities really open up for him. He could try to somehow destroy the beanstalk before the zombies get to the top, hoping that he can accomplish it before the giant smells his delicious English blood. Or he could hide, wait for the zombies to reach the top, and hope the giant takes care of them himself. I’m pretty sure the giant could defeat the zombies. I think he’d have the strength to toss them, one after another, off the side of the cloud, and he’d probably be more successful at destroying the stalk than Jack would be. He’s likely only left it up this long in order to seduce humans up it in order to supplement his food supply with tasty flesh and bones. So, truly, this is probably Jack’s best bet.
Once the giant has tossed the zombies over, destroyed the stalk so no more can climb up, Jack would then need to deal with the giant. He could go the traditional route of cutting off his head (see picture above) or perhaps he might be a bit sneakier than that, choosing instead to attempt to befriend the giant, introduce him to the idea of vegetarianism, or at least seduce him into embracing a diet free of human flesh. There are other options, of course, but I think it all hinges on Jack beating the zombies up the beanstalk and then being able to either kill or befriend the giant.
Another possibility that would be fun would be if the giant cannot destroy the stalk, and so zombies are a constant threat. I’m now imagining a scenario where Jack hides out in the castle, and he and the giant are foes at first, but finally they begin to work together to defeat the zombie threat. Eventually friendship blossoms and then love blooms. It’s the classic danger scenario bringing to enemies together that so many grand romances are made of. Speaking of, while there are no zombies, Keira and I did pen a hate-to-love Jack and the Beanstalk story, which you can purchase HERE.
Welcome to the Zombie/Fairy Tale Zeitgeist!
1. Kevin Richey’s Zombie Fairy Tales: “Kevin Richey’s Zombie Fairy Tales are a monthly series of short stories set in a dark fairy tale universe plagued by zombies. Surreal and full of black humor, installments feature familiar childhood characters as they encounter a world of stark violence and horror — Cinderella is worked to death before the ball, Pinocchio is made from children’s corpses, and Little Red Riding Hood finds more than wolves in the forest. New titles will appear on the 13th of each month throughout 2012. The series features overlapping elements, characters, and places for a more immersive experience for the dedicated fan, but can also be read as stand-alone entries in any order.”
2. Little Red Riding Hood: A Zombie Fairy Tale GAME: “Little Dead Riding Hood is a racing game. Each player assumes the role of one of the Riding Hood sisters trying desperately to get supplies to their beloved grandmother. Simple really, except for those pesky zombie wolves.” (I’m not sure why the wolves need to be zombies and not just, you know, wolves, but there you have it!)
3. Snow White and the Seven Dead Dwarves: A Zombie Fairytale: “Fast-paced and violent with a lot of zombie carnage (seriously; A LOT) make SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DEAD DWARFS a really fun read.”
4. Zombie Fairy Tale Theater: A hilarious and charming new webseries “Zombie Fairytale Theater”; where the zombies tell the stories. You can view the series HERE. (Yes, I used the words ‘hilarious’ and ‘charming’ with regard to zombies. I don’t know either.)
5. Zombie Fairy Tales by Jill Myles: “Collected here are 7 short, slightly twisted fairy tales retold from a zombie perspective. What if Cinderella had been undead when she went to the ball? What if Little Red Riding Hood went to Grandma’s house to eat her?”
6. A Very Zombie Fairy Tale! A play in Dublin that seems to have already run, but deserves a mention anyway due to it’s description: Zombies! Puppets! Musical Numbers! True Love! Sounds like a hoot, don’t you think?
7. Call for Fairy Tale Zombies Submission from Entangled in Romance: The deadline for it was summer 2012, so if you’ve got the sweetest, hottest zombie fairy tale romance sitting on your hard drive, alas you are too late. But! Surely the books or anthology should be available for purchase soon since the deadline for submission was last summer, right? Keep an eye out for it!
Keira Andrews and Leta Blake write fairy tale inspired m/m erotica and romantica with Ellora’s Cave. Check out Ascending Hearts, available through Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and others! And also remember to look at Earthly Desires, the first book in the Tempting Tales series, available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ellora’s Cave.