I Fear Zombies is a documentary, web series and book exploring our fear of life after death and what is has inspired. I intend to travel to at least 6 countries and various points within North America to interview and investigate the folklore of the undead within various communities. As well I will be speaking with member of the scientific community regarding the realities of our zombie myths.
The stories we share, whether based in experience or a particular mythology gives us a treasure trove of understanding. The art, music, science and faith of a people can all be traced, in some way, back to the concept of life after death. I intend to produce a weekly web-based series exploring this topic in an educationally entertaining way. Along with the series I will be contributing to a daily blog.
This represents my greatest dream and if given the opportunity to share it with the world I intend to make every second count and provide the audience with inspiration to go out and knock on a few doors themselves.
Sample Topics & Investigations
Rejected by God: How has faith shaped our fears of the undead? Many religious traditions include the belief that a savior or prophet will return from death, yet those same religions count a zombie as evil. Why the difference?
Norway's Deildegast: The “border-stone ghosts” of southern Norway are the best paranormal security system ever devised. Their folktales held such weight in the hearts of the people that for centuries, land disputes were kept under control because touching someone's border stones could enact the violent revenge of a trapped spirit. Who was the first person to come back as a Deildegast and what exactly happened to them?
Philippines's Manananggal: While some would consider this legendary flying beast a vampire, I make the case that they are a zombie. It is said the “condition” could be hereditary or transmitted through infected flesh or saliva. The reports speak of a human who has become a flying, fetus eating bat-like creature of the night. Where do the facts end and the storytelling begin? Is this merely a fictional monster to scare kids into getting home on time for supper, or is there a deeper story to be discovered about this culture and this colorful vision of life after death?
Science Stuff: How widespread is the belief that a zombie apocalypse of some form is not only possible but likely in the near future? How does science view popular culture's take on viral diseases, world-wide readiness for this kind of outbreak, and the reality of the killer brain viruses that most closely resemble our idea of a “rage zombie”? Has the pop culture phenomenon hindered or helped their research on the subject?
New Orleans and my hot date with a ghoul: You can't have Zombies without New Orleans. The faiths that mingled in this historic and haunted city created the strongest zombie myths in the world. They have survived oceans, wars and death itself. Can one really chase death without poking a stick at the real story of marsh ghouls?
The one where Science and Folklore do a dance: Where fact ends and storytelling begins is a foggy, murky place. Just how much has folklore and popular culture twisted the realities of real zombie-like viruses? Is it just hysteria or are we in real danger? Also, do zombies like jokes?
The website will be a place for backers and the general public to track my progress as the investigative process moves along. Throughout the research and writing phase, I plan not only to document as much as I can through video and audio recordings, but also share bits and pieces of this media. Backers will have access to a backers-only area of the site, which will have exclusive content, special messages and inside information. The rest of the site will be a clean, streamlined portal where I will share and exchange messages with fans, and show them what it looks like when a goofy American lady decides she wants to chase death. Through this I can share my ups and downs with a community of people, and the people I meet on the road can share their stories with the world. This isn't about me posting a few pictures and a blog now and then. The story isn't going to come out of a few interviews; it will come out of real experiences and hands-on investigation that I want to share with the readers, backers and supporters every step of the way. It's their expedition as much as mine!
Budget for the duration of the 6-10 month research phase of the project includes general living, food, communication, and administrative expenses along with equipment and it's maintenance,training, conventions, seminars, website build and maintenance. All expenses for my airfare,hotels, gas, and visa costs for myself and a photographer and/or research assistant when possible have been factor into the budget as well.
Total Budget: $40,000