"INTERVIEW WITH MATT MOGK": Matt is the head of ZRS and author of , and has appeared as a zombie expert on various television networks, including Nat Geo, History Channel, and SPIKE. . He is a cast member of AMC’s , the live after-show of
With the impending return of The Walking Dead to TV AND the DVD/Blu-Ray release of the last season, there's no better time than to talk to Matt about all things zombies.
|THE HEAD OF THE HEAD OF THE|
ZOMBIE RESEARCH SOCIETY
In a world where decapitation / head-shots are the best way to “kill” a Zombie, it’s quite apt that you’re the HEAD of the Zombie Research Society, how did this come about? I've always been obsessed with zombies. When I was a little boy I used to imagine zombie disaster scenarios right before going to sleep at night, in hopes of having a zombie nightmare. I thought of it like getting to watch a free movie, and I didn't have to borrow money from my mom or beg my sister to drive me to the theatre. As I got older and realised that I wasn't immortal - that zombies could eat me too, just like everyone else - I started to get really afraid of zombies. And to face this fear, I decided to research what an actual zombie outbreak would look like. What would zombies smell like? How might their brains and bodies work? How would they hunt you? What diseases out there are mutating in strange ways that could one day lead to a zombie-like sickness? That's how the Zombie Research Society was born.
Are Zombies more popular than ever before, is it a certain type of person who likes all things Zombie? AND if they are more popular than ever before, WHY? Zombies are more popular than ever before, and at this point I'd say there isn't a certain type of person who likes zombies. Zombies really have something for everyone. As for why they are so popular right now, I think there are three compelling reasons all working in concert:
1) More so than almost any other monster, zombies are synonymous with the end of the world. It seems like today we are all more worried today than ever before about large scale natural disasters, man-made catastrophes, global economic collapse, massive acts of terrorism. Many of these horrible things we see on the news every night streamed live from across the globe look a lot like the aftermath of a zombie attack. To metaphorically zombies are the perfect fictional threat to mirror the real threats we face.
2) Zombies are generally thought to be biological in nature. They're not created by some ancient superstition or myth. Not from some dark pact with the devil. Zombies are essentially a virus with legs and teeth. We know more today about microbiology than ever before. It's become a part of our common consciousness. The average person walking down the street might not be able to tell you who the prime minister of Canada is, or even who their local government representative is, but they almost certainly can tell you how HIV is spread. Or the latest news about bird flu or swine flu. So zombies make sense to us in that way.
3) Zombies accept all comers. There is no more inclusive club than the zombie club. Zombies want everyone equally, whether you are a corporate executive or work in the mail room. And you see that reality played out in grass roots zombie events all over the world. For example: At a zombie walk you’re likely to find a middle aged college professor walking next to a punk rocker with tattoos walking next to a young couple with a baby. All of them dressed up like zombies. All of them moaning “brains!”. When on a normal day the young couple might cross the street to avoid passing the punk rocker. When we’re zombies we all belong.
What are your top 3 Zombie films (and why?)... 1) Night of the Living Dead, 1968 - This is the film that created the modern zombie as we know it today. Without it we wouldn't have The Walking Dead, or any of the other great zombie books, movies and cultural expressions seen around the world. If you haven't seen Night of the Living Dead you can't call yourself a true zombie fan.
2) Return of the Living Dead, 1985 – Introduced the concept of zombies eating brains, and launched the zombie-comedy sub-genre.
3) 28 Days Later, 2003 – Was one of the first “living zombie” movies – in which the “zombies” don’t die and come back to life, but instead are just infected humans. Also brought fast zombies to the forefront.
Does anyone actually believe in Zombies? Are there people out there who think that THEY are coming? I actually believe in zombies! Not that zombies are roaming the streets right now, but I certainly believe in the potential for a catastrophic event that mimics a zombie outbreak that we see in film and TV.
Has anyone asked you a Zombie question that you can’t answer or needed to do some digging to find an answer? Sure, there are a lot of questions regarding the coming zombie pandemic that stump me. That’s the great thing about researching zombies. Each question leads to a new theory and a whole host of new questions. I can say that the strangest question I’ve gotten about zombies, and it is one that I get a lot, is, “Can zombies have sex?” My answer: Gross. I hope not.
What are your top 3 Zombie TV shows (and why?)... The Walking Dead is really the only zombie TV show that has reached the iconic status of being eligible for a “top of” list. But zombies on TV is a very new phenomenon, so there will no doubt be many more great zombie TV shows to come.
How long can The Walking Dead go on for, will it ever reach a natural ending? The Walking Dead is in a great position to last for years to come, not only because of its immense popularity, but also because built into the structure of the show is the natural exit of old characters and entrance of new ones. By introducing new characters and new locations, the show should be able to remain fresh and relevant much longer than your typical TV drama.
THE WALKING DEAD returns with a top-rating and critically acclaimed sixth season, and there’s more than just the undead they need to worry about. With no hope of safety in Alexandria, Rick and his band of survivors soon discover a larger world beyond what they understood it to be. THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON is available to order now from Amazon on Blu-ray™ and DVD, courtesy of Entertainment One.
THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON is bigger and better than ever, with the fantastic main cast returning again; Andrew Lincoln is protagonist, Rick Grimes; Chandler Riggs is Rick’s son, Carl Grimes; Steven Yuen as Maggie's courageous husband, Glenn Rhee; Noman Reedus is the groups primary hunter, Daryl Dixon; Melissa McBride is one of the strongest leaders of the survival group, Carol Peletier; Lauren Cohan is survivor Maggie Greene; Danai Gurira is katana-wielding warrior, Michonne; Sonequa Martin-Green is former firefighter, Sasha Williams; and Lennie James returns as Morgan Jones, the first survivor Rick encountered. This season also sees the introduction of The Saviors and with them, Jeffrey Dean Thomas as their baseball bat wielding leader, Negan.