THE DEAD TIMES

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The Zombie Giftocalypse IV

The fourth annual Zombie Giftocalypse is here! Yes, as Christmas approaches, it’s time for me to trawl lifelessly through the tangled web of the Internet, seeking out new Zombie related merchandise that any undead loving fanboy (or fangirl) will adore.

This year, again things are changing, shifting, evolving. Twelve of the breath-taking items listed below are perfect Christmas gifts - excellently suited to sitting under a tree, wrapped in coffin-like boxes, waiting until the big day, when their cases can be broken, allowing the sparkling content freedom from their earthly moors. A further three items are festive pre-orders; items coming in early 2017 that should not be missed lest your brain be marked for immediate consumption when the dead rise for real.

So, without further unnecessary word play let’s get into the list, every item to die for. Have a wonderful Christmas everybody!

Land of the Dead - Butcher Zombie

Hungry for meat

© Amazon

This life-like (or should that be death-like) figure of the Zombie that wields the cleaver in Land of the Dead is superbly detailed. It comes with a display base, featuring mutilated corpse, a blood splattered cleaver and suitably bloody apron - splendid!

Land of the Dead - Big Daddy Zombie

AAARGH!

© Amazon

Another figure from Land of the Dead, and another high-quality one. Big Daddy is perhaps the only fully sentient Zombie to have graced George Romero’s classic Of the Dead series, moving beyond the half-sentient, “gradually remembering past behaviour” Zombie, Bub. Big Daddy was a lowly gas station attendant pre-death but has the remarkable ability to learn new tricks from his environment, and then pass those traits onto other Zombies. For example, he learns how to use guns, crudely and without accuracy, and manages to teach other Zombies how to use these weapons of destruction as well. All in all, if you are going to end up as one of the living dead, being one of the “smart” ones like Big Daddy, is definitely the way to go.

Z Nation season 2

The nation of Zombies returns

© Amazon

With season 1 on the list last year, I couldn’t afford not to include the next bundle of episodes. Z Nation is great for some light-hearted Zombie apocalypse fun; being much less serious than the gritty, drama-based The Walking Dead. The original crew are back and, after just barely surviving the nuclear blasts of the previous season, they desperately need to relocate ‘Murphy’ - the one man whose blood holds the cure for the apocalyptic Zombie plague. Also be on the lookout for Z-weed; the upstart new drug created using Zombies as fertilizer - it’s a major commodity in these strange days of the dead.

Zombie batman statue

Everyone likes The Big Black Bat

© Amazon

This one is a bit different to our usual straight Zombie flair at The Dead Times being taken from a comic series that has nothing, as far as I know, to do with Zombies. However, I took one look at the amazing detail on this figure and simply could not get it’s garish beauty out of my head, earning it a place on this hallowed list. Maybe the googly eyes drew me in… or the skeletal teeth in his low-hanging jaw… perhaps the withered chest, the uniform sagging to show the outline of devastated ribs. Whatever it was, I’m sure any Zombie-fan - especially one with an interest in Batman - would love this unique, limited edition gift.

Krraaaangs… Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lightweight hoodie

Cowabunga, dude

© RedBubble

This retro-themed lightweight hoodie sports an awesome design of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles having been turned into ravenous Zombies. The undead Turtles haul themselves through the sewers in their pursuit of brains - or, Krangs in this case, the TMNT character Krang being nothing more than an animated squidgy brain with sinister intent. Prefer a t-shirt as opposed to a hoodie? Just change the clothing style using the drop-down menu and kabluey, it’s done.

Fear The Walking Dead season 2

Time to get scared

© Amazon

The second series of The Walking Dead prequel spin-off series has finally washed up on UK shores. The first series was a bit of an acquired taste; being a lot slower paced than The Walking Dead - featuring a gradual build up to all out Zombie mayhem in the final episode. However, I really enjoyed it and I’m sure any seasoned Walking Dead fan will as well, plus, this time the survivors are on a boat, something my friend has told me is the best thing to do in a Zombie apocalypse - let’s see if he’s right.

Coldbrook

Welcome to a new dimenson, brother

© Amazon

This book has received high-praise for its original and intelligent take on the undead. You see, Coldbrook is a research facility but like all notable research facilities, it has a hideous secret. Deep within its metal and concrete innards, scientists have opened a portal to a new dimension (presumably they have never read or seen Stephen King’s The Mist). Obviously, things come through that portal, unnatural things. A contagion sweeps across the globe, turning people into creatures beyond death, causing chaos and leaving the world barren, stripped of life. The only hope for humanity is a cure; one person stands genetically resistant to the otherworldly disease. The race is on to find that person but, with so much death in the world, can they be identified and recovered in time to save the human race?

Zombie Emergency Procedure poster

Be prepared

© Zazzle

ZEP (the Zombie Emergency Procedure) should be adopted as general principle in the very real event of a Zombie apocalypse. The procedure consists of three basic rules:

  1. Zombies can only be killed by destroying the brain.
  2. Never go anywhere alone.
  3. Do not set Zombies on fire.

Each rule is explained in more detail on this informative poster, ensuring you never forget and will be ready when the dead come calling.

Dead Rising (PC remaster)

Chopping Mall

© Steam

If, for some reason you missed it, I reviewed this apocalyptic, shopping mall based, Zombie-basher a few weeks ago and absolutely loved the game - giving it a whopping 4 stars out of 5. Yes, it may be a ten-year old game revamped to run on modern PCs (and consoles) but with the same dated graphics and AI (Artificial Intelligence) problems. This hardly matters though as you’ll enjoy running through the Zombie filled corridoors, rescuing survivors, killing the inevitable psychopaths, snapping off photos and, when backed into a corner, picking up whatever weapon you can find to beat back the undead. An amusing story and memorable encounters ensure that any Zombie-gaming fanatic will love this one. Time to shop ‘til you Drop!

How To Kill A Zombie long-sleeved t-shirt

Remember: Aim for the head

© Amazon

It’s cold outside - warp up warm with this long-sleeved t-shirt reminding you of the three simple steps to killing a Zombie; find a weapon, aim for the head and don’t miss - simple.

Extinction Horizon: Volume 1

Humanity's last gasp

© Amazon

This first volume in the Extinction Cycle range of books promises to be the start of something special and, if the rave reviews are anything to go by, it definitely is. A team of military hard-asses, codenamed Ghost, have been sent into a research facility gone dark (seriously people, just stop building research facilities - it only ends in trouble). Turns out, a rare strain of Ebola has got out and infected most of the facility’s occupants, turning them into flesh-hungry cannibals. After retreating to Fort Bragg, it appears that the infection has escaped the facility’s quarantine, rapidly spreading across the globe. Can a cure be found in time before humanity falls? As extinction beckons, will that cure be any better than the virus?

Tomes of the Dead: Stronghold

Can Zombies penetrate an "inpenetrable" fort?

© Amazon

Why does the Zombie uprising always seem to happen in the present day or near future? Tomes of the Dead: Stronghold dares to imagine a world where the dead rose in medieval times. King Edward the first of England builds a grand castle in Wales to rule over this continent and lord over its peasants - a castle he claims as “impenetrable”. However, the Welsh, after slaving under English tyranny for years, have decided to put an end to the King’s plans. Using ancient wizardry and a powerful artefact, they summon forth and army of undead, unleashing them in waves to crash upon the fortress castle. Can the battlements hold or will the Welsh see victory? What, too, of the dead? The mindless corpses are an unruly bunch so the wisdom of raising such an army may have not be as sound as first thought.

Items you should pre-order

Plan Z

What do you do when your Zombie survival plan needs to change?

© Amazon

Release: January 30th 2017

This British Zombie film has an excellent description and, according to the lucky few who have already seen the movie, is definitely worth watching. Every Zombie apocalypse fanatic has some form of plan for when that eventful day comes; be it a just few simple guidelines to follow or full-blown preparation with hardened bunkers and stocked survival packs. Craig is one such character and when the dead do start walking in this electrifying movie, he puts his formulaic survival plan into action. Things go well, but when Craig receives a desperate call for help from a life-long friend, his plan must change. It’s not long before all hell breaks loose.

Train to Busan

Zombies on a Train

© Amazon

Release: February 27th 2017

I’m always cautious of foreign films but Train to Busan has received astronomical hype and splendid reviews by those who have seen it - to leave it off this special section of the list would be unthinkable. First came Zombies, then came Zombies on a plane, now face Zombies on a train! Korea has come under attack from a viral outbreak of unknown origin, turning its citizens into ravenous ghouls, feasting on the flesh of the living. One town, Busan, has managed to stay disease free. An express train departs overrun Seoul, hauling survivors in their last great hope for continued life - the only thing standing in the way of that life is a 453 kilometre journey through merciless, infected land where, even on a high-speed train, survival is far from guaranteed.

Resident Evil 7

Survival horror returns!

© Steam

Release: January 24th 2017

This is it - the big one, the one that needs no introduction, the one that is the latest iteration of the series that started my love affair with Zombies, Resident Evil 7. However, my recommendation is a precarious one; as of the time of writing, I have absolutely no idea if it involves Zombies. That’s right, Capcom are being so cagey with the details on this one that the legendary franchise could take a dramatic turn off course. To placate our fears somewhat, the developers have repeatedly stated that this is a true Resident Evil game, following directly from the events of the sixth outing - whether January 24th will bring back the epic game series in a way the massive fan base deserves though, only time will tell.

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The Dead Times © Tom Clark 2013 onwards

Made with Kompozer

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