August 25, 2011

Zombiewood Weekly by Rob Sacchetto (Review)

Zombiewood Weekly:
The Celebrity Dead Exposed

Illustrator: Rob Sacchetto
Writer: Jeremy Walsh

Ulysses Press: 2010

4 / 5 zedheads


"Celebrity is death. Celebrity - that's the worst thing that can happen to an actor." - Glenn Close

In Rob Sacchetto and Jeremy Walsh's parody book Zombiewood Weekly, celebrity is not just death but a living death. In this full-colour parody of celebrity gossip magazines, Sacchetto and Walsh strip back the glamor and flawless good looks on an Oscars Party-worth of Hollywood's hottest and sexiest celebrities to expose their inner ghoul. In Sacchetto's acclaimed style, we get to see what Hollywood's brightest stars would look like as mangled, pus-filled, rotting, writhing, and repulsive flesh-hungry zombies. And you know what? They're not so different!

Sacchetto and Walsh show that celebrities and zombies have a lot in common. Celebrities and Zombies develop selfish attitudes and poor self-control that leads to addiction and bad behavior. For celebrities, this leads to too much partying, sex tapes, drugs and the occasional crotch-shot photo op. For Zombies, this leads to rioting, clawing, biting, and an addiction to flesh and brains. Therefore, when Sacchetto and Walsh present their zombified versions of naughty celebs like Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton, Colin Farrel, and Lindsay Lohan, it's no surprise that they're still up to their old tricks, but now their hunger for flesh and fame makes every carpet a red carpet event.

The real effects of too much Tiger's blood  and WINNING

Rob Sacchetto is acclaimed for his zombie portrait artwork. Through his site, Sacchetto has zombified hundreds of people who send him their photos so he can make one-of-a-kind zombie portraits for them. In Zombiewood Weekly, his skills as a portrait artist and zombie artist are obvious. For one, this book wouldn't work if the images were distorted caricatures of celebrities because then the art would lose its striking realism. Instead, Sacchetto's celebrity portraits are exact likenesses of their subjects, or as exact as they can be after Sacchetto applies his patented style of zombification. Noticeably, Sacchetto's zombie art leans toward the violently grotesque. Common traits among his zombies are sloughing, gangrenous skin; boils and pustules; and ragged, torn faces that expose glistening and bloody musculature in contrast to the putrid lesions and fetid wounds. Yet, at the same time, Sacchetto`s work (like the work of artist William Stout) has just enough of a comic book feel (specifically, an EC comics feel) to take the edge off the grotesqueness.

"If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty."
Sacchetto is also known for producing what I`m now going to call "grotties," or "grotesque hotties," coming from the term "grot" (gross + hot), a term coined by Zombie Ad in a recent comment thread here on the Zed Word: Zombie Blog. Despite their deformities, there are plenty of super grot celebs to be found in Zombiewood Weekly. Pamela Anderson, Tyra Banks, porn stars Jesse Jane and Jenna Jameson, Mariah Carey, and Scarlett Johansson are just a few of the sexy female celebs getting zombified. Meanwhile, ladies with an undead fetish can browse dreamy undead celebs like the Jonas Brothers, Brad Pitt, Daniel Craig, and Robert Downey Jr. to name a few. Yum!

For her freaky sense of style, zombies go gaga for Gaga
 While Jeremy Walsh's amusing celebrity profiles and gossip tidbits about the undead celebs are funny, concise, and on the good side of Cryptkeeper-esque puns, I wish that Sacchetto's art had been designed to be the focus of the pages. To accommodate the text, magazine-style layout, and the images, a lot of Sacchetto's best work is reduced to inserts and thumbnails. I wouldn't want to get rid of Walsh's dead-on celebrity gossip text-- it's essential to the book -- but the zombie celebrity portraits should have been the focus of the book. Since the artwork is reduced in size and resolution, Zombiewood Weekly is not as successful as it could be, although it's still a hell of a lot of fun to read and look at.

Accelerated decomposition is par for the course
Zombiewood Weekly is a breezy, gossip-filled trip into the world of celebrity zombies. Fans of zombies and popular culture, and appreciators of detailed zombie art and portraits, need to pick up Zombiewood Weekly right away if they don't yet have it. Unfortunately, Zombiewood Weekly is not available on newsstands like those other gossip rags, but you can get Zombiewood Weekly: The Celebrity Dead Exposed from Amazon or get a signed copy directly from