REMEMBER THE KINGDOM: Night of the Zombie/Shark Jam by Joe Fay


Hello, kids!  Stephen here.  See this guy?

JOE says I cant believe I Ate The Whole Thing REMASTERjpg

His name is Joe Fay.  He is one of my best friends and was one of the key citizens of The Kingdom.  (Don’t know what The Kingdom is?  Well, see all those other blog posts before this one?  GO READ THEM, stupid!)  Joe actually can boast the somewhat dubious honor of having been the guy who demanded, upon his arrival at our house of mayhem and madness, that ALL the walls be decorated as you see them.  In the first six years, MY ROOM was the only sector of the house covered in such ephemera.  When “The Boys” arrived in 1999, it was a whole new ballgame.  We spent days, week and months pasting up every damn artifact of badassery you can imagine–literally thousands of weird snippets of coolness-on-paper, from movie posters to trading cards to pornography.  Joe’s own room looked like this:

Joe gives rory THE SHINING

That’s him in there, along with sir Lawrence Rory Guy, also known as Angus Scrimm, also known as The Tall Man of the PHANTASM films.  I put Joe in charge of  “Spacegate Security” when Rory arrived in town to host our PHANTASMANIA event.  The shirt he’s wearing in the photo above was his “official uniform” in that capacity.


It all had to start somewhere, and this morning, I’m going to let Joe himself explain it to you, in a fun little bit of awesome guest-blogging.  This takes us back to early 1999, when I first met the Citizen Joe, in an evening of music and horror we like to call . . .

Tiger Shark Zombie Jam

by Joe Fay

Marijuana has never treated me particularly well. Some people I know can wake up, bake up, and go on about their day. Hell, for a few friends, weed has become an absolute necessity. You know, like morning coffee. I haven’t hung around with Mary Jane in over a decade, and she was a fickle mistress for years before that. One of the few times I smoked weed, and actually got something out of it besides giggles and taco heartburn was the first best night I ever spent in the Kingdom.

(Stephen wants to ask, “What’s wrong with giggling and heartburn?” Insert smiley face.)

During a brief period after meeting Stephen Romano, we hung out at his house with his roommates Bryan Geer and Scott Hiles just to shoot the bull, watch crazy horror movies, talk about wacky script ideas, listen to terrible and amazing music, and generally live the lives of frustrated filmmakers, movie critics, and rudderless young assholes. Before this time, I had fashioned myself a pretty knowledgeable horror movie fan.  And it turns out, I was. But I discovered that there were some gaping holes in my movie-watching life. Giant, bite-sized holes you might suffer from a Zombie.

Growing up in the suburbs, reared on Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and their fraternity of fright, all run through the wringer of strip mall movie theaters, late night cable TV and the seemingly endless inferno/abyss of late-80s video stores, I’d ingested a healthy dose of the hard, wet and red stuff.   (Yeah, I’m the guy who actually paid to see FRIDAY THE 13th PART 8: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN no less than six times in a fucking movie house.)  And, of course, I’d devoured Fangoria religiously for long stretches, where I had seen the worm-encrusted zombie from Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE grace one particularly lurid cover.  (If you are a true card-carrying horror hound, the memory of seeing that goddamn face for the first time is burned forever into you warped brain the same way a tattoo of a dead baby sinks into your skin.)  But somehow I’d missed the actual movie entirely. The pictures of the zombie from ZOMBIE in Fangoria were really all I knew of it. Until that one fateful night late in ’98, when I first saw Fulci’s great masterwork at Stephen Romano’s house on Montclaire street.


(Yeah, THIS GUY.  Feel dirty yet?)

I’m surprised now that I remember that night, considering the amount of weed and beer I’d inhaled. But how can you forget the first time you actually see that movie? You wonder at first if the film itself can possibly live up to the hype of that nightmarishly sniggering undead freak on the poster.  And then.  Oh yeah.  That thumping opening theme music. The bad dubbing. The chick who looks just like Mia Farrow (then you find out why). The giant splinter through the mind’s eye of that one chick. The absolute fucking balls-out zombie apocalypse at the end.

And again, that music.

And that crazy shark fight scene. I mean, an UNDERWATER DAREDEVIL STUNT MAN, DRESSED LIKE A ZOMBIE, HOLDING HIS BREATH WHILE HE FIGHTS A GODDAMN TIGER SHARK!!! And this ain’t no CGI, friend. That’s a dude, and that’s a shark. And they’re in the water together. After awhile, the shark bites off the zombie’s fake arm, and swims away like he doesn’t give a shit. CUT. PRINT. FUCK!

zombie v shark 1

Mind blown. Into a million tiny skull fragments.

After watching the movie, Stephen told me he’d recently been involved in a musical project celebrating Fulci. The result was a CD soundtrack redux of both Zombie and Umberto Lenzi’s Cannibal Ferox. Blackest Heart Media had released the CD just a month or so before. I wanted to hear it immediately. I wanted more of that thumping Zombie rhythm. Stephen put the CD in the stereo. He turned it up. And I tuned in.

I was so stoned, and mesmerized by the music, all I could do was fall into it. I crept closer and closer to the speakers, until I was sitting directly in front of them, both of them pointed right at me. The Frizzi theme bombarded me like radiation, crawled into my brain, soaked in through every pore, invaded, penetrated. I sat there on the floor of that duplex, and felt like I was living inside the music. I felt merged to that music.

And at that very moment, I knew I was home.

I had been introduced to the world and promise of the Kingdom (even before it was called the Kingdom), this wonderful flophouse of wasted culture, and I wanted more. Shortly thereafter the house of Stephen Romano became my house. After Bryan and Scott moved out, my brother-from-another-mother Robert Jacques and I moved in. We took over for the old guard, and nurtured the insanity that they had given birth to.  We wanted to raze this thing right.

I moved into the Kingdom early in 1999, after crashing with my college girlfriend for a few months. It was like moving from a teahouse to the booby hatch. (There was actually a poster for a film called THE BOOBY HATCH on the back of the front door, but more about that another day). And goddamn, it felt great to be young and insane. The Kingdom gave me hundreds of days of wine and roses, mostly wine, in the two years I lived there, and in the years beyond when I’d hear the siren’s call of the old Montclaire muse. And I’d crash into the rocks, once again, for the love of the music.



 . . . HAH!  Thanks, Joe!  

Stephen again.  Pictured above is what the house started to mutate into after Citizen Joe moved in.  I mention this because that BOOBY HATCH poster somehow managed to end up on the hallway corridor ceiling during that time.  (Look hard and you can see it near the light.)  And, Joe, just so you and everybody else know: Your story is very timely for a very exciting reason!  I shall now explain.  During that same year of 1999, my big project was adapting ZOMBIE into a king-hell comic book, which has sat in the can for the better part of 15 years since.  The full 150 page beast was released in a tiny black-and-white unauthorized vanity run of just 1,000 copies in late 2000, sold out instantly, and is now almost impossible to find.  Even I don’t own a copy.  It goes for sometimes 300 bucks on Amazon.  For years, people have been asking me, “Where can I find that fucking thing and why do I have to pay 300 bucks for it?”  Well, guess what?  You’ll be able to find it again, finally and officially, and for just a few American dollars.  Next year.  In full color.  At your local comic store.  And with a few NEW surprises also.  It is a thing of absolute, unfettered beauty beyond imagination.  The IMAGE ABOVE is just tiny snippet of the all new edition, which I am currently busting my butt to get in shape.  Keep it here for more updates.

And Joe . . . thank you for being there and being my friend.

It was an epic slog through the heart of darkness.


Stephen Romano’s METRO

A novel of suspense, horror and The Kingdom.

Available now from Simon and Schuster where ALL E-BOOKS ARE SOLD for only 2 dollars!