review by Jenna Pitman - October 2008
In 2004, Geoff Bough had a vision. As a horror fanatic, this vision was full of shambling creatures with unearthly moans and a taste for human flesh. And of the people who can't get enough of them.
Four years later Revenant Magazine (www.revenantmagazine.com) is truly the premier source for all things undead. It hosts a staggering array of links, reviews, recommendations, discussions, contests and features. Through networking they've brought together the best names in zombie-culture and introduced the world to many more, ensuring their place as a superb international reference. Locally they've organized zombie walks and sponsored a convention. They are also responsible for creating Seattle's first ever independent film festival comprised entirely of movies about everyone's favorite ghasts.
Sinner readers should remember that zombies are a favorite topic of mine so when given the opportunity to interview Geoff and pick his brain, I jumped at the chance.
What inspired the magazine?
Revenant Magazine stemmed from a group of zombie fans that wanted to create a community of creators, film makers, writers, and fans etc. that appreciate the subgenre as a whole. We wanted to provide a network of news and info relative to the subgenre; from reviews, articles on the mythos, to exclusive interviews. We focus a lot of attention on spotlighting independent productions and properties and we take a lot of pride in being able to give those people an outlet to tell others more about their projects. It's exciting to play an integral role in helping to get the word out about someone's creative project.
What was it about zombies that originally drew you to them?
I've been a fan of horror since I was a little kid. My parents were huge fans of the classic Universal Monster Movies and there were always dubbed tapes of slashers like Halloween and Friday the 13th lying around the house.
My love of zombie films was born from my love of horror. I'd seen all of Romero's films when I was younger and absolutely loved them with my favorites being "Night of the Living Dead" and "Creepshow". I've always really enjoyed the implications of the subgenre and the eloquence of the film makers' delivery of subtext. One of my favorite films is the Italian cult classic "Dellamorte Dellamore" (Cemetery Man) which fuses the zombie myth with comic and art house stylings...an incredible film.
Zombies are essentially a parallel to us all. We all have weaknesses and compulsions beyond our control. Some people are compelled to spend every waking hour burning their money at the shopping mall, some people get caught-up in drugs and alcohol, some people work too much, etc. It's these compulsions that are satirized in zombie films and it may sound a little off to say but sometimes the films really invite you to explore yourself a bit; What drives you? What motivates you? I enjoy a wide variety of zombie films but I am particularly fond of the films that get inside your head.
Why Revenant? Where did the name come from?
'Revenant' is the French term for someone who has returned, mostly used to refer to someone who has returned from the dead. We didn't want something that was "Zombie-this" or "Undead-that" for the project. We developed the concept for the mag in the Fall of 2004 and landed on Revenant Magazine which was a perfect fit so we rolled with it.
Where did the idea for the film festival come from?
We had a lot of ideas festering here at Revenant... like zombie cons and big zombie-themed events but I wanted something that was representational of our devotion to independent creativity. We developed the Revenant Film Festival in early 2007 and held the first ever Revenant Film Festival in September of 2007. Our aim was to feature independent zombie films from all over the world that really showcase the essence of indie film making. I think we did pretty well and had a great mix of films including the first ever zombie-splat film from Greece!
We're returning again this year to MOHAI for the 2008 Revenant Film Festival with some truly amazing films! We hope to see you there!
If you had to choose, what are your favorite zombie movies and directors?
I knew I'd get hit with this one and it's the toughest one to answer because you always forget something. Some of my favorite zombie films: "Dellamorte Dellamore", "The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue", Romero's filmography, "Zombie", "The Serpent & The Rainbow", "2", "Dead Alive", 'Shaun of the Dead", "[REC]", "White Zombie", "The Beyond" and tons more.
Directors: George Romero, Michele Soavi, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Mario Bava, Peter Jackson, Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Zack Snyder, Danny Boyle.
Books and authors?
David J. Schow's "Zombie Jam", Jamie Russell's "Book of the Dead", "World War Z" By Max Brooks, "The Zombie Survival Guide" By Max Brooks, "The Rising" by Brian Keene, "Grande Illusions I & II" by Tom Savini, "The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia" by Peter Dendle.
Any plans for future Revenant projects?
There are a lot of ideas floating around including the possibility of venturing into film productions and potentially the publication of zombie fiction anthologies. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves though. At the moment, our main focus is crafting a print version of Revenant Magazine that all the undead fans out there can hold in their rotting hands!
What has been the best part of the magazine?
I have greatly enjoyed being able to spread the word of independent projects. I've had the pleasure of meeting some very interesting people and getting some behind the scenes insight into their creative processes.
I'd have to say the absolute BEST part is all of the awesome people that share their time to contribute to Revenant, that's very rewarding to me and we wouldn't be what we are today without the awesome people behind it all.
I know you know this is coming: fast or slow?
I've had some pretty long discussions on this subject and for me, I favor the slow shamblers. The scary thing about zombies is that they are overwhelming in their numbers and they do not cease. The slow moving zombies afford for some tension to build while running zombies are just all action. They both have their pros and cons but I guess I'm a stickler for the traditional fare.
Any exciting experiences you care to share?
There was a local zombie movie filmed here in the Seattle area and at the investor screening of the film, I was introduced as a "special guest" of the evening for being a "zombie expert". That was pretty awesome and is definitely going on my resume.
Do you have particular pet theory about where zombies are from?
There is fact and fiction in regards to zombies. I think the modernized mythos of the zombie as a flesh-craving ghoul exists in all of us as consumers. As mentioned above, we all have compulsions and a curiosity about life after death. I think the zombie mythos is a great canvas to explore a lot of societal and psychological ills.
Thank you for the great interview! Thanks to all of the awesome Seattle and NW zombie fans and film makers. We hope to see you all at the Revenant Film Festival at MOHAI on October 11th! Thank you to all of our sponsors!