Interview with It's Alive! Show creator and Zombie Fest
curator Mark Menold
By Geoff Bough
Pittsburgh is like Mecca to a zombie fan. The old George Romero stomping
grounds are home to many of his film locations. Having now moved to Toronto,
George still has the city in his grip and a mass of diehard zombie fans
Hailing from Pittsburgh is Mark Menold, creator of Pittsburgh's horror
host show 'It's Alive!" and organizer of Zombie Fest & World
Zombie Day. You might be asking yourself 'what is World Zombie Day? Do
I need to buy a a card?" Well, we talk with Mark Menold about the
event. *Hallmark cards coming soon
Rev: How did the idea for World Zombie Day
come about? (By the way, I think this should become an official holiday!)
MM.: Since we established
the Guinness world record in 2006 for "Largest Zombie Gathering",
many other cities around the world have tried to beat out record and failed.
I feel bad about this since Pittsburgh has an unfair advantage, being
The Zombie Capital of the World. I felt bad for these other cities not
getting enough people to break the record because they were getting big
turnouts, 600, 800 zombies and still feeling like they failed.
World Zombie Day allows all the zombie walks around the globe to participate
in one big event and add their attendance numbers to one grand total.
Once again, I'm encouraging organizers to include their local food banks
and ask their zombies to bring food donations. We compile attendance numbers
into one big number (and the total weight of all the food donated) and
everyone can feel really good about it.
I think we will eventually have World Zombie Day declared an international
holiday. Or at least let people have the day off work on Halloween!
Rev: The Zombie Fest show is organized by the
cast and crew of the It's Alive! show, did you all grow up in the Pittsburgh
of us did. My childhood was spent going back and forth between Pittsburgh
and Philadelphia. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
It was like watching a game of ping pong, except I was the ping pong ball.
No place was really home, I was a strange gypsy child who knew every Howard
Johnson's on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I did have favorite TV shows in
both cities; "Dr Shock's Scream In" in Philly and Chiller Theatre
here in Pittsburgh. Both were really good local horror host shows but
went away sometime in the late 70s or early 80s.
Rev: Can you tell us a little
more about the It's Alive Show?
MM.: It's Alive is Pittsburgh's
new horror host show. The program features weird sketch comedy, puppets,
live bands and a horror movie. It's not the usual "Hello boils and
ghouls" crap. Instead, I've assembled a cast of musicians and comedians
who are really good at what they do. It's Alive is really a comedy troupe
presenting a horror movie. Who am I kidding? Sometimes we get so carried
away, we forget to even mention the movie.
Rev: This years Zombie Fest is shaping up quite
nicely and the buzz is building about the record breaking, worldwide zombiewalk.
Can you tell us what we can expect from this years event?
MM: This year is going
to rock 33.3% harder than last year. My biggest beef with horror conventions
is there's really nothing to do at them. You can look at celebs sitting
at their tables and buy things but you really can't do anything. I want
people who come to Zombie Fest to be able to mingle with the guests and
dance at The Zombie Ball, to play live action zombie games, have a chance
to appear in a film about zombies, rock out to live bands, and to participate
in another world record attempt at the Monroeville Mall. This is the location
where George Romero shot Dawn of the Dead and it's about 500 feet from
the ExpoMart, where we hold Zombie Fest. At Zombie Fest, you can actually
be a zombie for a day. Three days, really.
Rev: Last year you guys were organizing an interesting
panel on horror journalism, will that be returning this year?
MM: Yes, we have some of
the panelists from last year returning, including several Bram Stoker
Award winners. We’ve actually got a waiting list of horror writers.
Rev: Are you able to announce any special guests
MM.: We’re still
negotiating with folks so we aren’t ready to announce yet. Keep
checking our web site for updates.
Rev: Last years
show also featured screenings of independent films, will the film fest
be returning this year as well?
Yes, we’re developing a program of both commercial and independent
films, but will focus on mostly indies to give these producers and directors
a chance to shine. Stay tuned to the web site for announcements.
Rev: Are there any plans to document the show
and maybe do a World Zombie Day dvd?
MM.: Yes. I'm asking news
crews and production companies in all the participating cities to contribute
footage to my documentary on the worldwide event. There will be a lot
of indy filmmakers shooting the zombie walks, but I'm in the unique position
to compile the footage of all the zombie walks and festivals from around
the world into one documentary. Interested filmmakers can find more info
on our web site. Some amateur footage will be considered as well.
Rev: How are the zombie walks being organized
globally? Are there zombie walk captains throughout the globe that will
lead their shambling masses?
There is usually one insane but resourceful person in each city who organizes
these events. It's important for us to have one point of contact in each
city to verify attendance numbers, charitable contribution totals. If
you would like to be that person in your city please contact us at email@example.com
Rev: When can we expect to hear more announcements
about the event?
MM.: Stay tuned to the It's
Alive web site for updates and breaking news about Zombie Fest and World
Zombie Day at http://www.theitsaliveshow.com.
You can also watch our show there free, on demand, 24/7. Caution: this
website is extremely addictive!
Rev: Finally, how tasty are your brains?
MM.: My brain is soaked
with tequila. You might want salt and a lemon wedge to go with that.