I had no intention of writing Zombies of Oz. For one thing, I’m not exactly an Oz fan. That mean old wicked witch scared me as a child. Sure, I’ve grown to love Margaret Hamilton for her little wink and nod to the camera in William Castle’s 13 Ghosts, but that hasn’t endeared me to the 1939 classic any more.
I haven’t read the Oz books, and the only other Oz story I know is The Patchwork Girl of Oz, thanks to a junior high musical I directed about, oh, 20 years ago. We had a lot of laughs. We didn’t exactly stick to the script. Correction: the delightful young show off I cast as the Glass Cat did not stick to the script. But other than her shenanigans, which unexpectedly went to 11 in front of an actual audience, I remember nothing about it.
A number of years ago, this idea came to me. What if Dorothy didn’t go to Oz? What if there was a storm and a bump on the head, and then a zombie apocalypse? And what if Dorothy was a juvenile delinquent? A rough, inner city kid sent to the farm to chill out? In other words, what if she was fully prepared to kick some zombie butt?
I liked the idea. I didn’t want to write it. So I made it a Facebook post. I posited the questions above and added a few notes about a gun-toting redneck, a cyborg, a shell-shocked soldier, and a pit bull. (You do the math; or better yet, read the story!) I sent it out into the world and told my filmmaker friends, of whom I have many, “Have at it.”
One of those friends, Irv Severs, responded. He loved it, and he said if I wrote it, he’d make it.
I started writing. Irv and I started talking. Then we roped Roni Jonah into the mix, which is how Dorothy became a redhead. You may have seen Roni in some of my films or, more famously, in Shark Exorcist. She’s a delight, and a heck of a muse for a rampaging, redheaded Dorothy Gale.
Long story short, the film never got made. Irv, Roni, and I moved on to other projects, and the script sat in mothballs until about a year ago. That’s when I first converted this story (along with the script that became Girl Most Likely to Kill You and the script that is now the upcoming third Dead Park book) from script to prose.
Zombies of Oz is now available on Amazon, and it will soon be available here. You can pre-order you signed copy from me by clicking here, or you can click here and get it direct from Amazon.
I’d apologize to Frank Baum, but that mean old witch scared me. I think he owes me for that.