When you’ve been married for nearly 18 years, have three kids, and work one and a half day jobs between you, and one of you is a horror writer, and when you come across the unusual situation (at least, I’m assuming it’s unusual – mathematicians, feel free to provide accurate stats) where a Friday the 13th and Valentine’s Day occupy consecutive spots on the calendar, and you lack the energy and inclination to celebrate both…well, something’s got to give. For us, it was a no-brainer – why go out on February 14 and jostle for table space alongside every other loved-up couple in Melbourne when you can coerce your teenage son to babysit on February 13 and go see a new zombie movie on its release day – and get bonus points for supporting Australian made?

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead could not be more Australian if it had drop bears and zombie kangaroos in it. Depending on your point of view, the dialogue is either rudimentary or true-to-life; most of it consists of just two words – “Mate!” and “FAAAARRKK!” The action is relentless – maybe five minutes are devoted to gentle domestic scenes with protagonist Barry and his wife and child before the zompocalypse erupts, and next thing you know mum and kid are dead (again) zombies with nails in their skulls. It remains faithful to zombie movie tropes, including copious amounts of blood and gore, while at the same time introducing a couple of new ideas that I hadn’t seen before. (Never mind that said ideas range from scientifically highly unlikely to downright impossible – it’s a zombie movie. Just go with it). Even without the novelty, it contains some visually striking, memorable scenes that elevate it above the stock-standard zombie fare. As my husband says, it has “cult classic” written all over it, and was the most fun I’ve had on date night since we watched Zombieland to celebrate our thirteenth wedding anniversary.

* * * * *

And in other Friday the 13th news – today was the official launch of the horror anthology The Grimorium Verum, the third in Western Legends Publishing’s Tres Librorum Prohibitorum series. The Grimorium Verum contains my story Q is for Quackery. It is a tale of wrath, greed and revenge, and how giving full rein to any of these impulses is unlikely to end well. It was also my third contribution to a Dean M. Drinkel anthology, the other two being Phobophobia and The Demonologia Biblica.

By the time many of you read this, it will be Valentine’s Day – a gift of to your loved one of The Grimorium Verum will be nothing if not memorable.

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