Mark McLaughlin

Fairwood Press / 59 pages / (November 11, 1999)

ISBN: 0966818415

zom bee MOO VEE… zom bee MOO VEE… zom bee MOO VEE… ZOM BEE MOO VEE!!! It starts off quiet and builds to a shriek — the last shriek, of course, being the one where (your monster’s name here) grabs the hapless victim. If you spent any amount of time plunked down in front of the TV on Saturday afternoons, watching Ghoulardi, Dr. Paul Bearer, Zacherley, or any of the scores of horror movie hosts that brought you your weekly fix of truly bad movies, you’ll recognize the occasional music immediately.

And you will love Zom Bee Moo Vee.

Zom Bee Moo Vee is a tribute and a send-up of all those old movies that flood the airwaves in the wee hours, just too flat out awful for prime time. It is a vicious valentine to all the wholesome, family shows of the black & white era of television, that spotlighted families that yours could never measure up to. Most of all, it is a dead-on lampoon of what we call entertainment, and the aftereffects we carry with us long after the image fades.

What, McLaughlin makes us wonder, leads us to be “fans”? How do we get so caught up in the artificial lives and decorated characters we see on the screen? Are we all dying to be “ascloseasthis” to our favourite star? Forget the cost, we simply want to be touched by the famous and the infamous.

Sometimes, the images sink in too deep for the audience to erase, even if they wanted to. Ask poor Arla Merrick whose career has been reduced into a single role. “I Am Not Painsettia Plont” might be a fitting epitaph, but no one really hears her protestations. Besides, she’s a mean lady, anyway. It is not as if she or the lethally cute “Bucktoothed Boy, Beloved By Millions” will be missed, so long as reruns are with us.

That is the cheap stuff, though. What about art? Listen to an expert on that topic as you follow the Critic in the painfully funny “True Love, Special Effects, and Unspeakable Devastation in the Amphitheatre of the Glitterati.” Anyone who has rolled their eyes at “art house” films and the pompously intellectual discussions they inspire will recognize how too-close to reality this story hits.

(There may be some particular acquaintances that so richly deserve a copy of this chapbook. You might want to order extra copies to drop in their mail slot. Seems a pity to waste something this good on fools, though.)

All right. Have you got that soundtrack ready to go? Roll ’em, then. “Zom Bee Moo Vee” is upon us. This is where all that time in front of the tube is going to come in handy. zom bee MOO VEE…zom bee MOO VEE…ZOM BEE MOO VEE… McLaughlin drags everyone into every cheesy zombie movie ever made. You’ll die laughing.

In a pop culture society, this is the cream of the crop of commentary. Where else can you shudder, sneer, guffaw, and blush in the space of fifty-nine pages?

It’s been a long time since you enjoyed anything this much.