Okay, so maybe Zombie Cat isn’t a “Book on Film,” or a “Book about Film,” or even a “Book Adapted from a Film.” But bear with me here. It is a book, I can assure you of that much, and it does, at the very least, make passing reference to one of the most beloved subgenres of horror film, the zombie movie. Sure, it’s a bit of a stretch here for inclusion in our self-imposed category of “Books on Film,” but listen, it’s our website and we do what we want! …Sorry. Sincerely, excuse the antagonism. My point here is that we’re bringing you a review of Zombie Cat not because it fits with some larger vision of FilmMonthly, the “Books on Film” category, or even because we’re contractually obligated to (we swear!). We just thought, Hey, we’ve got a really cool readership who enjoys really cool things and what could possibly be cooler than a cat that is also a zombie? Indeed, very little, I assure you.
Zombie Cat tells the tale of a cat that becomes a zombie and he stays that way until the end. Maybe that was a bit too obvious, but there’s more to it than that. Seriously. There’s dancing, sewing, tweeting, and a little girl being eaten by cats… zombie cats! And did I mention the mouse mutated by toxic waste? That’s a thing. And it’s all here, presented in the guise of an adult picture book (which is to say, a book in that format typically associated with children’s literature, only here with way more gore).
All this apocalyptic, kitty chaos comes to us care of writer Isabel Atherton (director of Creative Authors Ltd.) and illustrator Bethany Straker (Zombie Cat marks Straker’s debut in books, but she has quite the extensive resume in magazine illustration). Together they bring our hero Tiddles to life in full color, but only after killing him first, of course. Straker’s work here is really the highlight of the piece for me. Her graphic, yet cartoonish illustrations sit somewhere between the stylings of a Steve Fiorilla and a Mike Judge series. However, while Atherton’s concept and scenarios are exceedingly amusing, the language at times undermines the gags, being occasionally too wordy or repetitive when coupled with the artwork. Honestly, I had expected a more straightforward, simplistic style when I picked up the book, like that of a graphically gory children’s book, say. And this approach may have added to the humor of the piece through a sheer bluntness of terminology, but it’s hard to say whether or not it would have added to the experience. After all, Zombie Cat’s got cats, it’s got zombies, and some of those cats just so happen to be zombies. What more could you ask for?