“Arlene Schabowski of the Undead” — Mark McLaughlin & Kyra M. Schon

Mark McLaughlin’s fiction, poetry, and articles have appeared in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including Cemetery Dance, Midnight Premiere, and The Year’s Best Horror Stories. His most recent story collections are Raising Demons for Fun and Profit and Twisted Tales for Sick Puppies. His first novel, Monster Behind the Wheel (coauthored with Michael McCarty), was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award. His next book will be Vampires & Sex Kittens, a collection of essays.

Kyra M. Schon is the actress who played Karen Cooper, the trowel-wielding zombie girl in the basement in the original Night of the Living Dead. Since 1985, she has made her living teaching pottery and sculpture, and she also sells unique zombie memorabilia through her website, www.ghoulnextdoor.com

In 1939, audiences at The Wizard of Oz were dazzled to see a black-and-white movie burst out into full Technicolor, when Dorothy departs gray Kansas and arrives in the magical land of Oz, and black-and-white has been battling it out with color ever since. In the 1998 film Pleasantville, twins are transported into a black-and-white 1950s-era sitcom, and as they slowly liberate the town from its oppressive staidness, residents who have broken the mold become fully colorized. In the recent video game The Saboteur, the hero moves through black-and-white cityscapes in World War II-era occupied France attempting to disrupt Nazi plans—if he’s successful, color is restored to liberated areas. 

In the world of zombies, of course, the most epic confrontation of black-and-white versus color is the showdown between George Romero’s original 1968 black-and-white classic Night of the Living Dead and the 1990 full-color remake directed by makeup man Tom Savini. Devotees of the original will emphasize its classic status and the haunting quality of its stark black-and-white look, whereas advocates for the remake will point to its sophisticated makeup effects and stronger female characters. 

Like zombies themselves, the debate just keeps on going, relentless. Our next story also features a clash between black-and-white and color. Child stars often seem to grow up to lead troubled lives, but seldom as troubled as this.