Guest Post: Jaime Johnesee #SummerofZombie

Jaime blue straight hair

There are as many types of zombies as there are zombie authors. I’ve spoken before about the lore and history of the zombie in the Americas. I’d like to talk to you about a movie that spurred my love for zombies. A movie that I saw because I had read a “true” story of a real zombie named Clairvius Narcisse. After reading his account of being poisoned, and used as a slave, I decided to look into the story more. I tracked down articles from every newspaper and magazine that had covered the story. As I dug I found that a movie had been made based on Narcisse’s experiences. This is the movie I want to talk about today.

It was not based on Clairvius himself, but the general “facts” of his case. I found a friend whose parents had a copy of the movie, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and I watched it. I was fascinated, just as fascinated as I had been with Romero’s NOTLD.

The idea that you could be trapped in your own mind and forced to carry out the will of others creeped me right the hell out. It also intrigued me. I had some serious questions like, was the Tetrodotoxin even necessary to the formula? Could someone be hypnotized long term into being a zombie? How exactly did the whole thing work?

So I continued to dig and to read, and watch, anything I could come across about zombies. I read fiction and nonfiction alike. I dug into Narcisse’s story and I found that I wanted to believe. I thought it was creepy but somehow cool. Yes, I admit freely now that I thought of how cool it would be to have my own zombie to cater to my every whim.

I rewatched the movie countless times. Every time finding more I had missed the first time around. I sat in front of the glowing television enraptured by the whole concept. A magical powder that can make anyone obey made my ten year old heart beat with glee. Imagine what you could do with such a powder?

Okay so I might have been bent more towards evil as a kid than I’d thought, but the fact remains, The Serpent and the Rainbow is one of my favorite zombie movies. I think it’s the realism of it linking with a newspaper story about how Clairvius was zombified. It lent credence to itself somehow.

As I grew older I realized most of it was bullshit. My skeptical nature took over and viewed Narcisse as a liar and yet, somehow, I still loved The Serpent and the Rainbow. Even if it was a bit overdramatized from what had actually occurred, it was brilliant.

Romero created the hungry flesh munchers we know today and he started an entire subgenre of monsters. Without realizing what he had done he reshaped the way the world thought of zombies. In just forty years he erased the voodoo zombie from our memories and replaced it with the fresh, new, far more terrifying undead.

I love all types of zombie dearly, but the voodoo based Haitian zombies are nearest and dearest to me because of Clairvius Narcisse. Reading his story as a child led to me shambling after zombies the rest of my life. Go figure. Have a great day, folks, and remember to beware of dust in the wind.

*   *   *   *   *

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!

Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

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