Famous Last Words


“They’re coming to get you, Barbara!” Johnny, the jerky brother taunting his sister in the cemetery where he will eventually join the undead.

I first watched Night of the Living Dead on a big screen TV at my aunt’s house on Long Island. Summers there were spent watching slasher movies rented by my aunt at the urging of my older brother who fancied himself a fan of the genre and even an amateur filmmaker whose contribution was footage of me lying in a pool of blood, poured from a jar of La Choy sweet and sour sauce. I was a reluctant viewer who watched the movie with my hands held over my eyes like blinders, peeking out of the corner of my eyes when I thought it was safe, only to quickly divert my gaze from the stampede of zombies feasting on human flesh.

Things haven’t changed much. I recently saw the movie last Halloween for an outdoor screening but despite my advanced age, I still watched with the same wary eyes from my youth. And despite the movie’s age, which was released in 1968, the film retains all the unease borne from the realization that family ties won’t save you from a zombie’s hunger pains nor would perseverance in the presence of armed townies anxious to exterminate the undead uprising.

And last night I learned the news that George Romero, Night of the Living Dead’s brainchild and director, had died. A few hours before, I was watching this summer’s action-packed blockbuster du jour loaded to the hilt with car chases and cool catch phrases which now stood in stark contrast to the grainy, black and white film that creepily made its way into the mainstream with zombie fun runs and pre-packaged costumes for kids. A low-budget legacy that will undoubtedly, like the zombies, outlast us all. RIP George Romero.

Film, Inspiration, Women

A Letter to Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman cuffs and crown

Killer accessories

Dear Wonder Woman,

I hail from the Lynda Carter era. Although the crime fighting prowess of Charlie’s Angels was more my style, I was captivated by your cuffs and crown, not to mention your makeover moves. As a little girl, I couldn’t imagine a greater superpower than spinning myself into a whole new look. But big screen debuts of beloved characters, whether from tv or comic books, are often fraught with apprehension for fans. I resisted at first – unwilling to accept that your attire was now more gladiator than glam. But the sisterhood persisted with talk of your Margaret Sanger, suffragette-inspired roots and coverage of female-only screenings with attendees sporting Handmaid’s Tale womenswear.  I now wanted to be wowed and filled with wonder with a woman at the helm of the male-dominated, summer blockbuster multiplex scene. So imagine my disappointment when you were dispatched to save humankind from ……….. the Nazis. I thought Indiana Jones finished them off in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Earth to Diana: Papa’s got a brand new nerve gas and it looks like you still got the wrong guy.  Suggesting I wait for a sequel or for your pals at the Justice League to join forces just won’t do. Women in the United States scored the right to vote in 1920. 2016 marked the first time in our history when a woman became the first presidential nominee of a major political party. That’s almost 100 years later. And instead, we got a pussy grabber for President. We don’t have time for another flashback when your high-powered accessories could be put to better use right now.

I realize this is more of a demand letter than a fan letter. But I am hopeful when you shed the coiffed, curator disguise and trade in the stiletto-heeled boots for your sensible superhero footwear, your flight path will take you to the battle you deserve to fight.

Stay woke,

First Set Girl