Sunday, September 9, 2012

Steve Hockensmith’s "Cadaver in Chief"

In 2010, Steve Hockensmith clawed his way onto the New York Times bestseller list with a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Dawn of the Dreadfuls. He completed the PPZ trilogy the following year with Dreadfully Ever After while also continuing his Edgar-nominated “Holmes on the Range” mystery series.

Hockensmith’s latest effort, the horror/mystery/satire Cadaver in Chief, combines the genres he’s known for: Hockensmith describes it as “State of Play with zombies.” He says he knows exactly who should turn it into a film.
To: Bobcat Goldthwait
From: Steve Hockensmith
Re: Call me

You don’t know it, but we have a checkered past, you and I. For a time in the mid-’80s, I was under the impression that you were Tony Rosato. (“Wow,” I remember thinking as I watched Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment with my high school buddies, “that guy wasn’t nearly this animated on Saturday Night Live.”) This misapprehension came to an end in 1988 as a result, alas, of an assignment for my college newspaper: I was sent to review Hot to Trot. (Obviously, I was low man on the film critic totem pole. They sent me to see all the Ernest movies, too, which is why I can definitively state that Ernest Saves Christmas is bad but Ernest Goes to Jail is waterboarding for the soul.)

During the ’90s, we were ships passing in the night. I caught Nirvana’s final concert appearance in Chicago but showed up too late to be antagonized by your opening act. I let Shakes the Clown and Radioland Murders slip in and out of theaters without my ass in one of the many available seats. Capitol Critters and Herman’s Head were cancelled before I (or the rest of the nation) realized they were on. I managed to miss each and every one of your one-man late-night TV riots.

The decade that followed was a blur. (I’d like to blame booze and coke, but the truth is I started having kids. So I got to spend years of my life feeling sleep deprived and jangled without even experiencing the dizzying highs afforded by life-threatening substance abuse. Hi ho. Maybe I’ll get around to that in my fifties.)

And now here we are in 2012, and a surprising thing has happened. A black guy is President! I’ll bet even Michael Winslow didn’t see that one coming!

Oh, and another surprising thing, more to the point: I’ve discovered that there are few people in the business of show whom I respect more than you. You’ve gone from being a known associate of Steve Guttenberg to writing and directing some of the bleakest black comedies being made today. You’ve remained true to your own vision and voice -- recently going from the ultra-grim (but funny) World’s Greatest Dad to the ultra-ultra-ultra-grim (but funny) God Bless America -- when you could have cashed a big, fat studio check and signed on for Wild Hogs 2: Hogs in Hawaii. And coolest and perhaps most surprising of all, you seem to really have your head screwed on right.

Which is why you’re the man to bring my new satirical horror novella Cadaver in Chief to the screen. It’s about a journalist who’s trying to prove that the President of the United States is a zombie. That’s a win-win-win for someone like you. You’d get to make fun of the media and politicians plus...zombies!

You write the script. You do the casting. You direct it however the hell you want. I promise to keep my mouth shut until it’s time for the gala premiere, at which point I’m sure all I’ll have to say is, “Hell’s yeah!”

And that’ll be true even if that “gala premiere” is at an Olive Garden in Pasadena because the movie went straight to video. I don’t need Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. I don’t need one of those big, fat studio checks. (Well, actually, I do. But I’ve resigned myself to living without any.) I need the Bobcat!

Oh, and if you’re not interested, could you forward this to Eli Craig?
Learn more about the book and author at Steve Hockensmith’s blog and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue