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Zombie Apocalypse: Alternate Endings

Every enemy has a weakness. Every foe has a flaw. With zombies, it’s the head. You’ve heard it before. Shoot them pointblank in the face and they will no longer pose a threat.

Photo by Martin SoulStealer [Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.]

Photo by Martin SoulStealer [Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.]

But what if a new breed of zombie doesn’t respond to the universal bullet to the temple, then what? What if zombies could withstand a pummeling, and rise again to keep advancing toward a fragile humanity ready for extinction?

We’d all be in trouble, wouldn’t we?

For today’s Monday Mayhem, let’s explore the universe of zombies and their alternate endings. Humans can’t always win.

An Invincible Brain—In the 1978 movie Halloween, Michael Myers is a little boy who grows up to become a possessed psychotic out to seek vengeance against his hometown. Michael withstands a knife to the face and a coat hanger to the eye. Yet, he still keeps coming back again and again. Imagine a zombie with the same talent as Michael. It would be the ultimate opponent to defeat. Bullets would no longer work. Knives would become playthings. The undead would rule the earth and humans would flee for the mountains. There wouldn’t be anyone left after they’d get through with us.

Self-Healing—Imagine a world where zombies could self-heal from their wounds. The comic superhero Wolverine has the power to self-heal despite a body riddled with bullets or knife slashes to the throat. Take it a step further and ponder on the thought of zombies possessing that same power. No telling what would become of humanity if the guns can’t stop the undead from attacking. Every wound would heal. No one would be safe from the zombies’ destructive path. In this case, it bleeds but we can’t kill it.

Contagious Scratch—The zombie bite is the universal form for spreading the undead contagion. However, what if that was to change? What if the zombie bite no longer posed a threat? What then? What if instead of the bite a simple scratch would prove equally as menacing? No longer would the undead seek to propagate their kind with their teeth, but they would rip through doors with extended arms searching for people to scratch. The rate of infection would rise and the population would suddenly become undead in a matter of days. All because of a little scratch. A Band-Aid won’t help in this case.

If zombies featured invincible brains, self-healing as part of their makeup or a contagious scratch, one thing is certain, there wouldn’t be anyone left to tell the tale. Nevertheless, should humans know in advance of the fundamental shift in zombie behavior, the arms dealers throughout the world would dream of new defenses for the cities and new weaponry to put the undead back in their place—the grave.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What new zombie trait would you find the biggest threat to humanity?

23 Comments

Ranger Martin Cover Design

If someone were to have told me this time two years ago I’d be in the process of releasing my second book Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion, I would have said they were nuts. And yet, here I am. Another book release. Another cover. I’m not ready to take that yacht cruise I’ve talked about just yet. But maybe one day, when all the work is complete and I’m itching to try something new, I’ll indulge in a little R&R. For now, I only have this story to keep you entertained—this Freedom Friday story about the new book cover.

Original photo I'd shot for the cover

Original photo I’d shot for the cover

As with my first book Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse, I left the cover design process to the very last minute. It was not because I procrastinated, not by any means, but because I didn’t know how best to represent the story through art. I knew it needed a flying saucer, that was a given. I also knew it had to have a dark sky, again, another given. What kept me from going further was how all the elements would fit with one another in a nice little package.

Like last year, I had to dig deep in my 16,000+ original photos collection in an effort to find a handful of images that would work. Not an easy task. I was looking for woods scenery, but then I didn’t know how the spaceship would fit into the design. I was lost and time was slowly creeping away.

It wasn’t until I showed my son a few mockups that the creative juices began to flow. He had some amazing ideas and I wanted to incorporate all of them. One of his thoughts involved an onlooker watching the saucer from behind a tree. The forest scene would be reminiscent of those WWII movies where an escaped POW would be observing enemy planes passing overhead in the distance. I knew of the perfect picture and had no trouble finding it.

His next idea included deep dark clouds with a storm raging in the background. For a while, I wanted that, too. I tried adding clouds from a series of photos I’d taken a few years ago, but none them really worked. I ended up tossing the images and drawing my own clouds. Yep, them there are fake clouds, all right.

The last piece of the puzzle was the saucer. In reality, though, it was the first thing I’d worked on.

So begs the question—what did I use for the saucer? Initially, I wanted to throw a Frisbee in the air, take a shot and paste it into the scene. But my lack of motivation and lack of Frisbee prevented me for doing such a thing. I also had a hubcap I could have held from a fishing pole, yet again, my lazy self said, “I don’t think so.”

I eventually decided to work with a sightseeing landmark, cropping it, playing with the lighting, distorting it to have it look like the saucer in my head. The challenge was the bottom. Because the landmark is a tower, I had to erase the foundation and replace the underside with a pattern. Wouldn’t real life be simple if by the stroke of a mouse buildings could disappear? I’d totally replace them with parks and trees. By the way, if you can guess the landmark, I’ll give you the biggest kudos ever.

After I completed the work, I showed it again to my son. He liked it, but there was still something missing. I thought so, too. It needed color. That’s when I added the green ray firing from the bottom of the ship, the same ray featured in the first book of the series. Once I had drawn that, I knew there wasn’t anything left to do with it. I had finished.

And that’s the story behind the cover to my new book, folks. I really hope you enjoyed it, but most of all, I really hope you like the cover.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Did I miss anything? Do you have a question I may have not answered?

17 Comments

Clara Murphy

Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is the cop who had it all, a loving wife, a beautiful son, and a job, even though dangerous, he enjoyed doing. When multiple injuries in the line of duty nearly kill him, science comes to the rescue. Rebuilt from scratch, he becomes a criminal’s worst nightmare. As cliché as that sounds, his life becomes worth living again as an organic robot bent on destroying crime without pity.

Abbie Cornish as Clara Murphy

Abbie Cornish as Clara Murphy

Women Who Wow Wednesday presents Clara Murphy (Abbie Cornish), RoboCop’s wife who stands by her man during his darkest days.

This 2014 film, a remake of the 1987 hit RoboCop featuring Peter Weller as crime’s mechanical nemesis, contrasts the original by delving into Alex’s relationship with his wife who ultimately makes the man inside the armor better. A better man. A better husband. A better cop.

Joel Kinnaman and Abbie Cornish

Joel Kinnaman and Abbie Cornish

After his injuries, all Alex has on his mind is the thought of his wife, and if she’d accept him for the new man he has become. Clara doesn’t have to think about it, he will always be her husband. Her willingness to overlook his appearance and go beyond the shell makes her responsible for Alex’s future actions as a powerful crime fighter.

Beyond being Alex’s wife, she’s also her son David’s inspiration, leading him to accept his father’s new life. Through her constant vigilance of David’s welfare, she manages to protect and guide the boy without her father’s presence in his life, always reminding that his father loves him, no matter what.

Abbie Cornish and Joel Kinnaman

Abbie Cornish and Joel Kinnaman

Clara’s role doesn’t end there. Her bravery surpasses all expectations when she stands in the middle of a street, stopping RoboCop’s motorcycle as it screams toward her. For months, she hadn’t had contact with her husband and she wanted to know where he had been hiding. The man in charge, Dr. Norton (Gary Oldman), kept Alex from her, but she couldn’t deal not having access to him. When she stands in the middle of traffic with her hand out, she does it knowing she could lose her life in the process.

The hardest thing Clara has to endure is not knowing. Not knowing what happens to her husband in the care of Dr. Norton. Not knowing if she’ll ever see him again. And not knowing if Alex would be the same person as he once was when they first met.

Clara’s strength comes from inside. Where others would have given up on their spouses, she stayed with him through it all without ever wafting from her center.

If there ever was a character with the resilience to fight back, Clara Murphy is that character.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

If you’ve seen it, what did you think of the movie RoboCop? How does it compare to the older version?

19 Comments

Alien Invasion: Shifters

The best aliens are the ones we don’t know who they are. Does anyone remember The X-Files? Remember how this grand conspiracy swept the show, yet the audience didn’t have a clue as to what was going on? We know, but we don’t know. We think we have it figured out, but it changes. Maybe.

The X-Files' Scully and Mulder

The X-Files’ Scully and Mulder

Monday Mayhem has always been about zombies and aliens. From the beginning, I outlined the focus right from the first few posts. There is a plan at work here. Have you figure it out yet?

All right, as I’d mentioned, the best aliens are the ones who we haven’t a clue who they are, what they want, and their motives for doing what they do. Let’s talk about The Thing. A story that scares the sweet nothings out of me, the 1982 film introduces us to an alien that changes forms as it kills its prey. To make this real, imagine your best friend suddenly behaving strangely, turning into someone you no longer recognize. Apart from the fact that in real life we do have friends like that, my tongue is firmly planted in cheek as I write this, it would be a devastating thing to live through.

Those aliens who take our form are far worse to fight than those who you see coming.

Another example is the symbiont alien that affects Peter Parker in the 2007 movie Spider-Man 3. Amplifying Peter’s negative attitudes, the alien changes him into someone who is an exact opposite of who he is. Again, this is a far worse enemy than those detestable aliens from Independence Day. Because we can’t see their real form, we have our imaginations to rely on, pondering what happened to our friends in the interim.

It doesn’t end there. The 1956 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of the scariest movies to watch on a cold Friday night. It presents as its stage a small town overrun by alien duplicates of its citizens—another opportunity for aliens to show their ingenious and devilish ways when assimilating a nation. What makes this story unique is its reference to communism, but I won’t get into that.

The last, but best of all examples of aliens attempt at taking over the world in human form is the TV miniseries V. The gist of the story goes like this: alien ships appear in the sky and by all accounts, they come in peace, wanting to share their technology with humans and their advancements. Little does anyone know that beneath their skin lies a monster so incredible that I can’t bear to spoil the story for you. You’ll just have to watch it to find out what I mean. This is must viewing for alien aficionados.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if shape-shifting aliens do exist? The world would make a whole lot more sense given how people change once they receive money and power. I won’t use example here, but I’m sure you can come up with your own.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What do you think? Are we living in a world already filled with aliens impersonating humans?

13 Comments

The Fidget

The other day I took a train ride into the city. I was on my way to a meeting when our train met with a half-hour delay. I was fine, continuing to read Calico Joe by John Grisham, but I noticed the other passengers were not. They began to fidget. Yes, fidget. If you had to wait for anything for a long period, you’d know what I mean.

Waiting

Waiting

As strange a topic as this is, I want to talk about the all-important fidget. I do it, and I’m sure you do it, too. What would Freedom Friday be like if I didn’t write about off-the-wall issues that affects everyone?

Back to my train story. We were already traveling for an hour when the announcement came that we needed to divert from our track in order to avoid a derailment that had taken place in the early morning hours.

That’s when the first wave began.

Not necessarily in this order, but it started with one of the passengers sitting and looking out the window of our coach, drumming his fingers on his leg. He was not listening to music. Within minutes, I peered over my reader and saw another passenger checking the time on her device. It continued. Another was tapping his feet while another kept squirming in her seat.

Between watching others yawn, scratch, and stretch, I was getting a kick from noting how quickly people get restless when their patience leaves them.

Here’s the dictionary definition of a fidget according to Google:

Verb: make small movements, especially of the hands and feet, through nervousness or impatience

“The audience had begun to fidget on their chairs”

Noun: a quick, small movement, typically a repeated one, caused by nervousness or impatience

“He disturbed other people with convulsive fidgets.”

Keep calm

Keep calm

I fidget. I do. When I’m waiting in line and the person in front of me has completed their business but instead of leaving stays and exchanges pleasantries—you best be sure I’m fidgeting. I suppose I do it because if I have errands to finish I don’t want to wait in line listening to folks chat about their new color nail polish. That happened. I also don’t want to hear about the sad state of traffic while driving to the store. I know it was bad. Had it been light, I wouldn’t have had to wait behind a long line at checkout. That happened, too.

This is random—I wonder what constitutes a fidget. I mean, is it the nervous facial tick one expresses when someone is driving them crazy? Is it the shaking of the leg under the table when a guy sees a pretty girl who he wants to ask out? Is it the wringing of the hands from a girl ready to punch a guy for making a pass at her?

Not all fidgets are bad. Nope. For instance, did you know therapists train ADHD patients coping skills that involve fidgeting? You heard me right. As a means to remain focused, ADHD patients take to tapping, chewing gum and even listening to music. Their concentration increases and they overcome the need to keep moving. How great is that?

Well, I’m not a psychologist, by any means. Perhaps fidgeting is the body’s way of coping in tight situations. Or maybe it’s just a way for us to serve each other a quick ticket to the insane asylum. Whatever it is, I find it fascinating to watch the effects of the almighty fidget when a person’s expectations implode after a minor delay.

I’m going to go stand in line now. I may find something else as mundane as a fidget to write about.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you noticed what prompts your fidgets?

20 Comments

Sue Charlton

As a travel reporter who seeks interesting stories from the far reaches of the globe, Sue Charlton visits Australia to discover the biggest story of her career. But far better than the research for her job, she finds something else she didn’t expect. Love does appear in the strangest of places.

Crocodile Dundee's Sue

Crocodile Dundee’s Sue

Today’s Women Who Wow Wednesday celebrates the striking Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) from the 1986 film Crocodile Dundee. Starring Paul Hogan in the title role, he is a character right out of a comic book. He can hypnotize a bull with the shake of a hand. He can kill a crocodile using only a knife. And he can tell the time simply by looking at the sun in the sky. Okay, maybe that last one isn’t so true, but he’s a rough-and-tumble character with the ability to save those who need saving.

Sue, on the other hand, is a city girl who is quite helpless in the Aussie bush. Her idea of roughing it has more to do with finding a place to wash her clothes than beating a crock senseless over the head with her weapon of choice. What makes her unique is her ability to capture the heart of Dundee with very little effort on her part.

In a moment of good-natured competition, she sets out on her own in the outback to prove she doesn’t need his saving arms. What could have been a disaster turns into an opportunity where they both become close friends. Their mutual respect for one another’s capabilities proves there’s a hero in everyone.

Linda Kozlowski and Paul Hogan

Linda Kozlowski and Paul Hogan

In the wild, Dundee reigns as the ultimate survivalist, yet in New York City, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. This is where Sue shines by walking him through the urban life. Even when he doesn’t know what a bidet is, she doesn’t look down on him. Her way of teaching is nudging him along so he can learn at his own pace. Eventually he figures out the ins and outs of a bidet—so to speak.

While Dundee loses himself in the journey of a foreign land, he also loses his heart to the beautiful and enchanting reporter he met in the Australian wilderness. If only life were as simple as sweeping her off her feet. It’s not, and in a rush to reconcile his feelings, he decides to leave America.

The story could very well end there. But it doesn’t. Like a well-used cliché, it’s just the beginning. As with all good things that grow from the smallest of seeds, so is Sue’s affection toward the man who once saved her life. She, too, realizes her life will never be the same again without Dundee. He’s showed her more than anything she could have learned on her own, and because of it, is grateful for his friendship.

Sue Charlton, Women Who Wow Wednesday’s best friend.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you seen Crocodile Dundee? What do you think of Sue Charlton?

25 Comments

Zombie What Ifs V

In Latest News: Jack Flacco presents RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION cover reveal.

Since it’s the long weekend here, I thought you’d all like to have some fun with zombies. Hey, who doesn’t want to have fun with zombies? Can I have a show of hands? I didn’t think so. Today’s Monday Mayhem is all about fun. Can you guess why?

Zombie Hunting License

Zombie Hunting License

That’s right. It’s that time again, folks. It’s time to put your thinking caps on and help me escape the zombies. Are you ready to indulge in some serious undead running? It ain’t gonna be pretty. Not today. How it works: I present a scenario filled with zombies, and your job is to figure out a way to escape. Of course I’ll give you my answer telling you what I’d do, but it doesn’t mean that’s what you would do. That’s up for you to decide. And if you missed them, here are the first four parts: I, II, III, IV.

Are you ready? All right then. Let’s go!

Scenario #1: You are sitting on a raft in the middle of a bay surrounded by land on three sides. Two sides have those undead critters wanting to take a bite out of you. Of the remaining sides, one is a small peninsula and the other heads to sea. You haven’t eaten in three days. Do you take a chance and land on the peninsula? Or do you head for sea, hoping the tide will take you to new land? The catch? Within minutes of landing on the peninsula, the zombies can easily chase you.

My Answer: If I have a gun with me, I’ll take a chance. If not, I’ll be too weak from starvation to think straight. In that case, I’d head for sea.

Zombie Warning Sign

Zombie Warning Sign

Scenario #2: Chewers have been after you all afternoon. They finally thrust you to the top of an apartment building with nowhere to go but down. Luck’s with you, though. You find a plank lying on the ledges between buildings. It looks as if others have been in this situation before you. When you look over the ledge, ten stories to the bottom, you see the remains of those who once attempted to cross the threshold. Seeing this, do you attempt to get to the other side or do you stay and fight, knowing you might not have a chance?

My Answer: I would try walking the plank to the other side. If I fall, it would be a quick death, which would contrast the slow death caught at the hands of the zombies.

Scenario #3: You’re on a Caribbean cruise when you notice everything around you changing. Some of the passengers are chasing the others, making meat of them. You manage to lock yourself in a cabin with nothing but the door and a porthole to escape. You think to yourself that you’ll survive for the couple of days, but eventually you’ll have to find food. The kitchen is on the floor below yours. You’ll have to negotiate your way through the corridors and hope you don’t encounter one of them. That’s one of the choices. The other? You’re ten miles from shore. You can dive and take a chance swimming. The problem is you’ll be diving in shark-infested waters. What do you do?

My Answer: I don’t know about you, but taking a dive into a shark’s mouth doesn’t sound as appealing as fighting zombies on my way to find food. In other words, let me quote the worn cliché: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

Scenario #4: I saved the best for last. Trapped in a city bus with four other people, the undead are banging on the door. If you try to climb through any of the windows, the horde will have their way with you. You have no chance of surviving. Then, an evil idea comes to you. It’s such a rotten idea that you try to push it out of your mind. If you throw one of your friends to the zombies, perhaps the distraction will give you an opportunity to escape. It’s a long shot. Would you?

My Answer: This is an easy one for me. It would be an emphatic no. Then again, if those four other people get the same notion of me, I wouldn’t know what to do.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What would you do?

30 Comments

My Snacks

I love food. I mean, I really love food. By my appearance, you wouldn’t guess it. I stand a lean human whose weight wafts along that of disappearance. Yeah, I’m that thin. But regardless, I really enjoy eating food. That’s why for Freedom Friday I thought I’d give you a rundown of what I love to snack on, not so much to inform you what I think everyone else should be eating, but more to let you know how wonderful an experience it is to find a food worth eating.

My Snacks

My Snacks

Let’s start with the basics. I’m not a processed food kind of guy. I like eating chips now and again, but they don’t provide me with the comfort I crave to keep me going throughout the day. You’ll find, as you peruse the list, my thing is natural snacks. I’ve tried the chips and ice cream route, yet it doesn’t do much for me. If anything, I’m not satisfied.

Which brings me to the snacks I love—walnuts is one of them. There’s nothing quite like eating a handful of nuts to keep the energy going for the day. Nuts, especially, provide me with the protein I need to keep me focused and energized. I also enjoy the incredible taste. Who said you need salted nuts to satisfy a craving?

The energy lift doesn’t last long though, I suppose because I have a fast metabolism.

Next on the list is cheese. I gorge on cheese, particularly mozzarella. If anything is true, cheese makes Jack a happy boy. I’ll have it in chunks. I’ll spread it on a pita with some salsa sauce and away I go. Great snack. Really. I also love feta. I’ll talk about feta later, but it has such a well-rounded flavor, it’s hard to resists its draw.

Cucumbers are so high on my list of snacks that I’m surprised I haven’t placed it at the top of this post. Whenever I get the munchies, cucumbers deliver on the goods. They’re great on their own or simply with a little salt. Typically, I’ll wash the cucumber, cut it in half and eat it plain. Simple, right? If I’m really feeling adventurous, I’ll dice it, add salt, pepper, lemon, oregano, and feta cheese, sit on the couch and stuff my face while watching reruns of Love It or List It.

Next on my list are avocados. I have my wife to thank for introducing this fruit to our family a few years ago. Easiest way to eat this is to cut it lengthwise, add some lemon and salt and off you go. Great, great snack. Not only does it provide a good source of monounsaturated fat that reduces blood pressure, but also contains carotenoids, which protects against eye disease. I eat it because it’s a great snack.

I eat other snacks, but let’s limit the list to what I have here. Suffice it to say, my fridge and pantry are always full of snacks I like.

I know that real chocolate comes to mind, but we’ll not go there.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What are your favorite snacks?

16 Comments

The Women of Oz

There is a mystery in the Land of Oz. A wicked witch is wreaking havoc among the people. No one knows who she is, yet if she had her way Oz would become nothing more than a barren wasteland.

Oz the Great and Powerful

Oz the Great and Powerful

Starring James Franco as Oscar Diggs (a.k.a. Oz) and presented by Sam Raimi, director of the original Spider-Man trilogy, the film Oz the Great and Powerful features four Women Who Wow Wednesday characters worth writing about.

Despite lukewarm reviews, this movie is a visual treat. Every frame is gorgeous. Every scene detailed to perfection. Color? Outstanding. But don’t let the eye candy fool you. Woven in its story is an intricate plot between its principles and their ambitions to fulfill their destiny.

Let’s have a look at the women of Oz and the special characteristics that make them unique.

Theodora—Dressed in red, Theodora befriends Oscar believing he is the great and powerful wizard. As a woman preoccupied with her appearance, she delights in the fact she is so beautiful. Somewhat naïve at times, a small scene hints of her untapped potential to harness her unbridled power. Her greatest desire, though, is to bring peace to the Land of Oz.

Evanora—As Theodora’s older sister, Evanora is Emerald City’s protector. When meeting Oscar for the first time, she has her doubts of his authenticity. Her motivation is nothing short of acting as Oz’s guardian, the keeper of the land’s treasure, barring those with intentions to siphon it off for their own selfish desires.

Glinda—Having the power of discernment, Glinda is able to see through Oscar’s craftiness and determine his true nature. She knows he has a good heart. Her calm demeanor suggests of her kindness that radiates in her being. More than anything, she wants justice for all and truth to reign above everything else.

China Girl

China Girl

China Girl—Although made completely out of porcelain, China Girl is a spirited character with more guts than fear. The threat of breaking into pieces does not scare her when confronted with an enemy greater than herself. Her courage carries her through to overcome all obstacles standing in her way. She remains as one of the greatest inspirations in the film, convincing others that if they believe, all things are possible.

No one can deny the women of Oz are of a determined lot. They each have their moment. They each have specific goals tailored for their part. Whether for good or evil, their power comes from a strong resolve to accomplish much.

However, one thing is clear. No matter how much power someone possesses, if the heart is corrupt, so will that power be. For the same reason, everything around that power will dissolve to nothingness, if no one steps in to quell the desire for omnipotence.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you seen Oz the Great and Powerful? What did you think of the female characters?

21 Comments

Why I Like Aliens

Last week for Monday Mayhem, I wrote Why I Like Zombies. I detailed how I enjoy watching a movie or reading a book where the undead are unrelenting with capturing their prey. I also drew a connection between those dastardly demons and their representation of humanity’s search for everlasting life. Lastly, I wrote about how they are metaphoric depictions of a writer’s overactive imagination—specifically, my overactive imagination.

Spider-Man 3/Venom

Spider-Man 3/Venom

This week, I want to talk about the reasons I like aliens.

Unlike zombies, who have a distinct set of rules dictating behavior, biological makeup and life expectancy, aliens have none of that. In fact, alien folklore is so open-ended that anyone can make up anything about these characters and still call them aliens. I like that aspect of the extraterrestrials. Spider-Man 3 had an interesting take on aliens. If you haven’t seen it, it had to do with an organism that has the ability to amplify the negative traits in a person, thereby rendering them evil. It’s quite a fascinating twist of the ordinary alien subplot you see in many other films because in this case, the alien does not have a fixed appearance.

Mars Attacks!

Mars Attacks!

On the other hand, I also like aliens because of the exact opposite of what I just wrote. In some circles, aliens have a concrete mythology based on the crash landing of an alleged spacecraft in 1947 Roswell, New Mexico. The UFO supposedly contained aliens the U.S. government, to this day, conspired to suppress detailed information. This incident sparked multiple theories of the government’s involvement with other planetary life forms. These theories created the legends of little green men from mars all the way to Area 51’s complicity to housing alien ships for technological studies.

I like the fact that some of my favorite movies have aliens in them as well. Movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Men in Black, and Paul feature them in prominent roles as visitors from another planet. What’s not to like of cuddly creatures aiming to take over earth?

Much like zombies, aliens also have an allegorical value to them. In the 1950’s, society’s biggest enemy was communism. Naturally, what did Hollywood do? Of course, they produced Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a film about people taken over by aliens. The commentary came when America was in the midst of McCarthyism—a time when anti-communist sentiment was at its height. It’s that allegory that attracts me to aliens the most. Aliens can symbolize any hot-topic issue thinly disguised as entertainment. They can come to embody social non-conformity matters, oppressive governments or even control-centric cults. The possibilities are endless.

But you know what? I also like aliens because they make incredible splatter patterns when shot.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Do you like aliens? What do you like them? What other alien legends haven’t I covered?

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