Chelsea Green Publishing

The Blogging Community at Chelsea Green

Zombie Jamboree

We were on the set of a movie being shot in Newbury, Vermont in 1986. It was about a small town full of zombies, and it was called Return to Salem’s Lot. It was a sequel to the film made from Stephen King’s second book Salem’s Lot. Sort of like Carrie visits Newbury. Newbury had a nice ring to it, horror wise. Anyway, it was directed by Larry Cohen, who was a kind of schlock auteur, which might explain how guys like Sam Fuller, the legendary Shock Corridor director, got in the cast. Shock meets schlock. Plus Tara Reid.

I was covering the shoot for a local paper, or trying for an extra part, or both. The usual hinterland hustle. It was exciting to make a zombie picture in Vermont that summer because the back to the land movement had stalled out and hippies were looking for the future. Zombies! Zombies could give a shit about wars and politics. Like Jim Thompson’s cops and robbers used to say, “I was already dead!”

A friend of mine was one of the producers. That’s him driving the movie cop car around and shooting the bird. I think he got a kick out of acting the badass cop because normally he didn’t have a whole lot of love for the police. He was a rebel with a cause kind of guy who was always sneaking off to communist countries and making documentaries about lefties fighting the system. This was his chance to try on the other shoe.

Remember it’s Morning in America, Reagan is President, the U.S. is involved in all sorts of counter revolutions and coups in Central America, invading Grenada, and backpackers are coming home saying we’re next, banana republic USA. A zombie cop flipping us the bird, how’s that for a glimpse of the future.

Sure enough it’s all true now with Border Patrol checkpoints 100 miles south of the Canadian border, arrests for “internal possession,” tasers, “reasonable search,” infrared license plate scanners, teenager harassment, cops shooting dogs, failure to respond to calls for help. Try to get on the force if you’re not a Iraqistan vet with PTSD on a psychotropic iv drip. It’s a zombieland jamboree.

So there you have it, the past looking at the future. See it now 23 years ago in Newbury, Vermont.


All Haunted Houses Are Not Old

The condo sits on a hill in a clearing in the woods, one of those flatlander second homes with glass walls, zigzag angles, and a half dozen roof planes. I spent five months on the crew that built the place and I was lucky to get out alive. The house was bankrolled by a couple from Jersey and the pay was good. Too bad they never got to enjoy it. Read More..

Ponds for Viking Funerals!

Boston Globe columnist Mark Feeney declares his affection for “ridiculously tame” urban ponds in a wry “G” section essay, “Fond of the Pond.” Bypassing the grandeur of more distant monumental landscapes, he’s quite happy with the human scale of Boston’s Fresh Pond as a strolling destination and calming object of contemplation. In fact he likes this pond so much he contemplates the rewards of a Viking style funeral on its waters. Read More..

Reflections on the 2009 Pond Season

With the pond season winding down, it’s our traditional time to look back, take stock of the season, and suss out trends in pond construction and use. Read More..

Tap Your Pond for Fire Protection

There’s a saying in the countryside that the fire department is great at saving cellar holes, and insurance premiums covering backwoods homes reflect that pessimism. The combination of woodstoves, snow-covered roads, and widely scattered volunteer fire fighters make insurance underwriters edgy. And winter is not the only dangerous season. A few summers back, a squad […] Read More..

Bubble Trouble in Your Pond: Winter Windmill Aeration and the Pitfalls

For many pond owners a time will come to improve water quality. A growing number of people meet this challenge with aeration. Aeration can be especially useful when you’re raising fish, particularly in the wintertime north where oxygen levels under the ice can be fatally low without that extra dose of air bubbles, otherwise known […] Read More..