THE DEAD TIMES

DEAD ARE COMING...

The Zombie Giftocalypse 2

What is a good Zombie article without a sequel?

Another year has passed and, as the chronologically minded will know, it's starting to look a lot like Christmas. So, once again, I have plunged my fleshy bits into the undead world of Zombie memorabilia, searching every mold-ridden rock and blackened shadow for miracles of the industry. I'm doing the scurry for resources in a more organised fashion this year, learning every day. This time my finds are grouped into categories of awesome significance, each one oozing with three otherworldly gifts. Fill the fetid dangling sock (aka, the stocking) of any rabid Zombie fanatic with the grotesquely-good gifts I have listed and guarantee them a Christmas of such unbridled joy it will re-animate in their minds forever.

Pics

Keep calm and aim for the head

© Zazzle

This poster is brilliantly simple - a 'keep calm and carry on' variant to suit the avid Zombie fanatic.

Zombie weapons poster

© Zazzle

There is lots of information on this outstanding poster detailing the best weapons to use against the living dead, a timeline of the most popular Zombie movies and even detailing 10 important lessons for the inevitable rising. Great stuff!

If Daryl Dies We Riot

© Amazon

This high-quality print just goes to show the massive fanbase behind Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead TV show. If the message and picture were not enough, the actor's signature is also emblazoned on the image - a gift any diehard fan will adore.

Games

There are so many great games involving Zombies in history that, to get down to a top 3, I've limited myself to recent offerings. That still leaves many sterling examples including the amazing Left 4 Dead series, the two wonderful Walking Dead seasons from Telltale Games and the oh-so-entertaining Dead Island (soon to get a sequel) but here are my top 3 recommendations.

Dead Rising 3

© Amazon

This deeply silly take on the Zombie apocalypse genre crept out of the shadows and exceeded my expectations in almost every way. For numbers of Zombies on-screen at any one time, dripping with organic detail, it simply can't be beaten. Carving a path through those hordes with anything that comes to hand including fireaxes, lead pipes and coffee tables is extremely satisfying and endlessly enjoyable. Some downsides but still heartily recommended.

State of Decay

© Steam

This large-scale Zombie apocalypse simulator is guilty of biting off slightly more than it can chew. For instance, the attempted focus on drama and the human struggle of surviving a Zombie outbreak while in a group of other survivors really falls flat on its face with two dimensional characters that you never really get attached to. Still, this is one of the most detailed Zombie games on the market with loot runs, home invasions and supply deposits.

Dead State

© Steam

I'll be honest - I've not actually played this one because (at the time of writing) it has not been released. It just sounds so amazing that I could not pass it by. Zombies aplenty, hostile survivors, resource management, group dynamics, upgradeable bases, scavenging, strategic turn-based combat - think XCOM with Zombies. The game touches down on the 4th of December which is plenty of time to nab a copy for Crimbo. Not even the dead could keep me from this one - cannot wait!

Bonus game:

7 Days to Die

© Steam

This game, currently in early access and in no way finished with development, holds a special place in my Zombie-thought infested mind. Back when this esteemed project was on Kickstarter, I funded it (at quite a substantial level I might add). The concept is sheerly mind-blowing with everything from RPG skill trees to destructible - and constructible - terrain. Raising over half a million dollars and with developers that seem genuinely passionate about the game they are making, I cannot wait for the final product.

Movies

The George Romero series

© Various

This would not be a proper list of best Zombie products without a nod to George A. Romero's outstanding "of the Dead" series. There are six movies in all; Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Simply said, if you have not seen at least the first three Romero movies, you cannot call yourself a Zombie fan.

The Resident Evil series

© Amazon

We are up to an eye-watering five movies in this light-hearted series - a sixth, the supposed last ever Resident Evil film, hits cinemas in 2015. Diehard fans of the Resident Evil games may be a little dismayed at the heavy focus on over-the-top action but, go in without expecting to be blown away with atmospheric horror and you'll find an entertaining night of Zombie slaying ahead. Also, if you find yourself not liking the initial offerings - stick with it as the series definitely gets better towards the end.

The Walking Dead series 1 - 4

© Amazon

Not really a movie but definitely worthy of a mention is the absurdly popular The Walking Dead TV series. Now in its fifth series, the epic show that focuses more on the human aspect of survival in a Zombie apocalypse, is showing no signs of stopping - if you have not seen the first four seasons, now is an excellent time to start. Even people who do not like Zombies (yes, I do begrudgingly talk to these neanderthals at times) love The Walking Dead - high praise indeed!

Books

The Max Brooks boxed set

© Amazon

Both books in this set are must haves for Zombie lovers. Forget the World War Z movie - the original novel is much more thought-provoking and unusual. The real star of the show, however, is The Zombie Survival Guide. This book is ludicrously well-researched and awesomely written - I simply cannot praise it enough. It contains detailed instructions on how to defend your home from the rampaging hordes, how to prepare for travel in an undead world, it gives a detailed guide to Zombiism including a timeframe of first infection to inevitable re-animation and concludes by giving reports of all recorded Zombie attacks throughout history. This book will make you believe Zombies are real (which they are) and give you the knowledge you need to survive the apocalypse.

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End

© Amazon

The first in the Apocalypse Z series was without doubt, the best Zombie book I read this year. It covers the day-by-day struggle of a Spaniard trying to both survive in a world lously with walking corpses and, later, escape his overrun hometown Galicia. The story is written in a diary-style - a series of entries cataloguing the events of a day - rather than the default chapter division. I really like this as it brings across the normality of the main character, forced into hard times and increasingly more difficult consequences. He also has a mischievous ginger cat to provide some amusement and humanity, bigging up the emotion for cat-lovers.

Empire of the Dead

© Amazon

I have not read this 128 page comic yet - formerly only available in the US - but I'm dying to sink my teeth into it! Years after the undead plague has taken hold of the world, human's eke out survival in the last bastion of humanity - a quarantined Manhattan. They aren't safe though; not only do Zombies slip by the defences, Vampires roam the streets. Written by the Godfather of the Dead, George A. Romero, this is definitely a comic no Zombie fanatic should be without.

Toys

Zombie Bowl

© ThinkGeek

This unique gift is one for our US cousins (I just can't find a UK retailer anywhere). Simply put, this is a bowl in the shape of a Zombie head - I really love the idea of eating your cereal out of a ceramic Zombie head.

Zombie Horde

© Element Games Ltd.

To be honest, I'm really not sure about this one. I mean, it certainly sounds cool - a 30-strong set of Zombie miniatures is always going to be good (assuming the are not real Zombies in miniaturised form of course!). From the box, the figures appear high-quality and lifelike.

The Walking Dead Season 4 - Gas Mask & Riot Gear Zombie figures

© Amazon

Gas Mask Zombie:

Riot Gear Zombie:

It is a bit cheeky putting two Zombie toys in one slot but these two action figures are both so beautifully detailed I simply could not choose one above the other.

Clothing

Gunshots attract Zombies t-shirt

© Zazzle

This t-shirt (which I advise you customise into a long-sleeved version) gives a stark warning to those who believe stocking up on guns is the answer to the coming apocalypse. Zombies are attracted to noise so it doesn't take a genius to figure out what will happen when popping of a shot from an unsilenced pistol. Avoid the problem of gunshot noise altogether - use a bow. Bows are effectively silent, their arrows can pierce a skull with enough force behind them and, with practice, bows are extremely accurate.

Aliens and Zombies t-shirt

© Zazzle

With the rip-roaring success of Alien Isolation this year (pro-tip: buy this game now) there has been no better time to proudly wear this amusing t-shirt. Fans of the Alien franchise who are also crazy about the undead will love the forced similarity of two organisms that couldn't be more different.

They're coming to get you t-shirt

© AllPosters

The unforgettable opening line from Night of the Living Dead is emblazoned in large, blood-red letters on the front of this t-shirt. If this does not get the heart of any long-time Zombie fanatic racing, I don't know what will.

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The Dead Times © Tom Clark 2013 onwards

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The Dead Times © Tom Clark 2013 onwards

Made with Kompozer

'Universal Fruitcake' font sourced from www.fontsquirrel.com