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The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

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The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever is so bad, it could wake the dead…

After producing three horror films that went mostly ignored on YouTube, Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it's time to make something epic. In fact, they're going to make The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They may not have money or a script, but they have passion. And, after a rash text message, they also have the beautiful Alicia Howtz as the lead.

Hemmed in by a one-month timeline and a cast of uncooperative extras, but aching to fulfill Alicia's dreams, Justin must face the sad, sad truth: he may, in actuality, be producing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever.

266 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 2016

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About the author

Jeff Strand

212 books1,730 followers
Author of a bunch of demented books, including PRESSURE, DWELLER, A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO, WOLF HUNT, SINGLE WHITE PSYCHOPATH SEEKS SAME, BENJAMIN'S PARASITE, FANGBOY, THE SINISTER MR. CORPSE, and lots of others. Four-time Bram Stoker Award finalist. Four-time Bram Stoker Award loser. Ten-time Bram Stoker Award Master of Ceremonies.

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5 stars
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248 (36%)
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205 (30%)
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68 (10%)
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17 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 197 reviews
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,930 reviews10.6k followers
October 10, 2015
After making a few short films that were barely seen, 16 year old Justin and his pals decide to make the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. When everything that can go wrong does, will the film ever get made?

I got this from Netgalley.

I've been trying to curb my Netgalley addiction but when this popped up, I was on it like a reanimated corpse at a brain convention.

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever is the story of a group of teenagers trying to make a movie. It's a YA novel but without all the tropes that normally make YA novels so damn annoying. Instead, it's about a young director trying to keep his movie from going tits up and possibly win the heart of his leading lady.

Once again, Jeff Strand proves he has the writing chops to do pretty much anything he wants. The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever was hilarious but not ridiculously so. The humor didn't take away from the fact that I wanted Jeff and the others to finish their movie.

If you ever wanted to make a movie as a teenager, The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever will be quite a read for you. Four out of five stars. Now if Strand would just write that Exit Red novel I've been salivating over since Kumquat...
Profile Image for Mort.
652 reviews1,317 followers
October 28, 2019
Larry! Call Spielberg...we've got his next blockbuster here!

I stand by those words - If Spielberg got a script for this book, he'll have a great movie.

Maybe you can call this coming-of-age? Not quite sure. What I do know is that this book is hilarious, and completely family friendly. I have nothing bad to say about it - not a DARN thing.

So, Justin and his two best friends wants to make the greatest zombie movie ever. The only problems are:
They still have to study for exams, they have a month before Gabe leaves, they don't have money or a script, for that matter, they have to get permission to film in school and, to top it all off, Justin's crush is willing to play the lead.

With that in mind, they divide the writing of the script into three parts, so each of them has a third of the movie to write. They borrow money from family, but it might be possible that said family member has connections to the mob. Their make-up and costume expert is an ex felon. Alicia seems to be a bit...well, off. And making a movie might not be the easiest thing to do when there is a pesky clown...

I can recommend Strand's YA to anybody with a sense of humor, regardless of age. Loved it!

Ps: Mr. Strand, if you ever read this, I converted my wife into a fan when I gave her A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO to read. After more than two years of dirty looks when I started giggling with your books, she finally admits that she gets it.
Profile Image for Bridgett.
Author 20 books426 followers
December 14, 2021
I don't care how old you are, you should never underestimate the importance of having fun. What's better than feeling like a kid at heart?

And that, my friends, is exactly what The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever is - amazing fun in book form. It's funny, it's sweet, and it brings back a lot of memories of my little group of high school friends making movies (only, for some reason, we decided reenactments of Shakespeare plays, written by us as slapstick comedy, was the quintessential good time - while poor William rolled over in his grave).


If you're looking for something light, humorous, and totally Jeff Strand-ish...here you go. Read this. He's so damn good at this book-writing thing.

Available on Amazon!
Profile Image for Kimberly.
1,700 reviews2 followers
March 15, 2016
THE GREATEST ZOMBIE MOVIE EVER, by Jeff Strand, is a comedy that had me--literally--laughing out loud at something about every other page. (Not so great when you're out in public). The book starts out with a trio of friends--15 year old Justin, Bobby, and Gabe--deciding that they want to film a movie about zombies. Not just any movie though, they're aspiring to write and film "THE GREATEST ZOMBIE MOVIE EVER"! A few minor issues such as: their extremely low budget, lack of free time between school and jobs, and the fact that they have only one month before Gabe leaves on vacation, do nothing to dampen their enthusiasm.

After all, how difficult can it be to write an entire script in the course of one weekend?

". . . He couldn't believe how terrible he felt. It was almost as if the human body required sleep to function properly."

Justin, Bobby, and Gabe have fantastic dynamics between them right from the start. The way that Strand writes, it's so easy to get caught up in their day to day activities--hilarious upsets and all--and still maintain that credibility of everything happening just as we read it.

" . . . they reviewed their latest rewrite of the script . . . were all thrilled to discover that it sucked even less."

Even the obstacles they faced were countered with matter-of-fact thoughts, made even more hysterical by the fact that the trio just accepted them nonchalantly: " . . . they were trying to shoot a feature film very, very quickly . . . in a best-case scenario, he'd only have to do a second take if a sinkhole swallowed the entire crew on the first."

Strand has a gift for bringing out the humor in nearly every situation, oftentimes by having it as "understated" as possible. While dealing with teenagers, their parents, tests, crushes, and school principals, everything that normally would be encountered takes on a new, comedic theme in his hands.

" . . . it was okay for geniuses to be weirdos as long as they did cool stuff."

If Jeff Strand has written a "bad" book yet--whether for teenagers or adults--I have yet to read it.

Highly recommended for all ages!

*I received an e-copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review."
Profile Image for Erin Dunn.
Author 3 books88 followers
February 7, 2016

I'm not really sure where to start with a review for this one. I've been taking some time to try and decide what to say about it, but honestly there isn't a lot to say. This was a very 3 star book for me. Was The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever the greatest book ever? No. Was it a horrible book? No.

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever was...decent. It was extremely hilarious in parts and a little dull in other parts. This was one of those books that while I was reading it I was interested, but the second I set it down I didn't feel any desire to pick it back up. I feel like I just didn't connect to anything in the book. The characters were funny, the plot wasn't slow, and it wasn't a rough read. I just didn't connect with this one.

Overall The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever was okay. 3 stars is not a bad rating at all. It was still pretty enjoyable in parts. I liked the fact that they were trying to make a zombie movie, but this wasn't regular zombie book. This is not a horror zombie novel. It's a humor novel about filming a zombie movie.

I would recommend this one if you are looking for a light and funny read. The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever would make a great book to read between heavy reads. If you are looking for something super silly then this would be a great one to pick up.

Profile Image for Frank Errington.
738 reviews57 followers
March 6, 2016
Review copy

When reading a new work from Jeff Strand, I'm frequently reminded of the popular line from Forrest Gump, "My momma always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'" Will I get something in the horror genre, something delightfully demented, strange, or even charmingly romantic like his Kumquat novel from a couple of years back. Or will I just get chocolate all over the pages of the book?

What we have with Strand's newest novel is a YA story of some high school buddies who set out to make the greatest zombie movie ever. It's a herculean task fraught with challenges, like money, casting, money, equipment breaking-down, money, romantic entanglements...oh, and did I mention money?

They are so desperate for funds they wind up going to Justin Hollow's grandmother, who turns out to be a bit of a loan shark.

the greatest zombie movie ever. was a lot of sarcastic fun and is a book that is genuinely suitable for all ages.

In some ways the book was similar to the familiar trope of "Let's put on a show," made popular by Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland back in the 30s. It's a thing, google it.

I actually had a zombie dream while reading this book, well not while actually reading the book, although if I could find a way to read while sleeping, I'd be all in favor of that.

the greatest zombie movie ever. is available now from Sourcebooks Fire in both paperback and e-book formats and recommended for grades 6-12.

Jeff Strand moved to Fairbanks, Alaska when he was six months old. He grew up in the cold, where he desperately wanted to be a cartoonist. Then he wanted to make video games. Then he wanted to write movies. Actually, he still wants to do all of those things, but for now he's quite happy writing lots of demented novels in a wide variety of genres.

Because he doesn't do cold weather anymore, he lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and a deaf cat.
8 reviews1 follower
October 6, 2016
I think this book is some what for like 6th graders why because,I don't think 7th or 8th graders would be really interested into zombie books.And I like this book because there is 1 kid with t
Profile Image for Marvin.
1,414 reviews5,325 followers
February 23, 2016
I would have liked to have made a movie when I was a teenager. The closest thing I ever came to making a movie was being the junior high projectionist. Today's kids have it easy. They have digital video cameras the weight of a Tea-Cup Chihuahua rather than those monstrous elephants of the 60s. You can distribute on the internet rather than bribe a small theater owner to show it in the morning to a handful of friends and family. And you don't have to lug the reels 10 miles in the snow to the not-so-local development lab.

Jeff Strand's very funny The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever is about some teenagers who want to make the Greatest...you get the idea. Justin has made a couple 10 minutes horror videos and got a few likes on YouTube but he and his friends are ready to made their Citizen Kane of zombie films. Unfortunately for them, they have not yet ran into Edison's famous admonishment that genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. What starts out as an epic idea turns into a disaster fueled by teenage reality and inertia. Justin and his friends run into all types of distraction and mistakes, like casting Justin's dream girl in the leading role and borrowing money from a grandma who must be related to Donald Trump. But through all the tribulations, they learn a valuable...who am I kidding? This is a Jeff Strand Novel!

Seriously though, this is quite different from most of the author's novels. Being Young Adult, it is closer to Strand's excellent YA novel, I Have a Bad Feeling about This than his many dark comedy thrillers and horror novels. There are no supernatural elements, no killings except for the imaginary ones on film, and no real zombies in it. The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever reads a bit more Y than A and it is actually about adversity . It is also about friendships, the kind that gets one through all the obstacle that teens encounter as they struggle with their identity and their aspirations. Strand may be a decade or two or ? removed from the adolescent years but he still has a fine ear for the subtleties. Justin and his friends are obsessed and ambitious but still kids. It is the challenges and the chaos that make this such a clever and funny novel. Strand is renowned for his sharp and witty dialog and the trade-off between Justin and his partners in crime Bobby and Gabe is some of the best dialog I have read by him. Finally there is the resolution but it is not the type that anyone may expect. I sort of got an idea where it was going when Spork arrived to the scene (A nickname derived not from the Spock character but from the plastic spoon-fork) but it was a twist that was delightful and fitting to the nature of the tale.

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever is a great choice for young teens and maybe even a little younger. It is especially good for those who like zombie movies or have daydreams about making their own movies. I have seen a few criticisms about how Strand's movie obsessed teens are not realistic with "real" movie making teens, but I think that is bit of zombie bull. Besides, the author was not writing a how-to. Maybe a how-not-to. He was writing about ordinary kids who have dreams, have those dreams tested and still manage to come out of it not just as dreamers but doers. Comparing it to Strand's other works, I personally lean more for the gore and very dark humor of his horror novels. But keeping the audience in mind, this is a solidly funny effort perfectly suited for teens and pre-teens. So I give it an equally solid 4 stars.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,251 reviews187 followers
March 9, 2016
I first heard about The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever when I took part in the cover reveal and sneak peak inside, and I knew that this was a book I had to read. With quote like the following this book is sure to make you laugh out loud.

Her body was like a goddess mixed with an angel mixed with a female superhero.

After finishing The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever I am fining it really hard to put into words what this book is all about. The plot of this book is a group of friends, Gabe, Bobby, and Justin, plan to make the greatest zombie movie ever, they have limited funds, a barely there script, mediocre actors, and idea how to make a movie at all. The result, an hilarious account of how bad they can fail.

I love that this book follows a group of friends trying to make a movie, it's so cringe worthy you feel embarrassed for them at some points, and laugh out loud at others, it's a perfect blend of humour and amateur mistakes from the boys, yet it works amazingly well. If this book were a movie it would be a spoof movie.

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever was a relatively quick read for me, I could not help but turn the pages, wondering what mistake would happen next, or how they would solve the next problem. The excuses they use to get people to be extras were genius, even down to the more unbelievable ones.

Jeff Strand has done a great job of writing a book that draws you in, but also leaves you wondering what the hell is going on. It's crazy but makes complete sense, in a strange sort of way.

Final Verdict
I really enjoyed reading The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever, this book was a break from the norm and made a refreshing change from my latest reads.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
2,093 reviews26 followers
November 8, 2015
Some people say high school is stressful. Imagine trying to finish the final month of your freshman year, work a part time job, study for finals, and occasionally still squeeze in some time to eat and sleep. Doable, you say? Now add on the tasks of writing a screenplay, auditioning actors, advertising for extras, finding the money to pay for special effects, scouting locations, and filming an entire feature-length film - all within that same month. Still sound possible? Well, impossible or not, that's exactly what Justin, Gabe, and Bobby decide to do. And if that wasn't enough pressure, their female lead is also the girl of Justin's dreams.

This book is full of references to the long and gory history of zombie films, including debates on the relative merits of slow versus fast zombies, the difference between the infected in "28 Days Later" and actual zombies, and whether the original versions or remakes of their favorite films are better. The friends face challenges such as scary investors, Stinky the Clown, fires, automobile collisions, body piercings, and possible suspension from school. Their lives are spiraling out of control as they try to make their deadline and the story covers every embarrassing detail.

I began laughing as I read the warning at the front of the book to readers who feel, "Books about zombies are evil! Eeeeeevil!" and the calm response of, "Perhaps we'll reconnect on a future novel." And if the professional courtesy shown in that paragraph doesn't get a small giggle out of you, perhaps the next section will. The author goes on to address those of us who are still reading and have not run off to find some lighter fluid to burn the evil book. He states, "Okay, they're gone. No no, don't judge them." How can you resist a book that starts like that?

The overall feeling from the story that stayed with me was similar to films like "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," a sort of slowly mounting sense of chaos looming over our hero as he tries to fulfill his quest. Fans of books and films featuring such epic struggles will identify with Justin and his friends and, of course, zombie fans will want to see if the guys succeed in creating the greatest zombie movie ever.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
Profile Image for zaheerah.
439 reviews109 followers
December 2, 2015
~ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review~

Justin considers himself to be a director, and after making three failed horror movies, he and his film making friends decide to take it up a notch and make something better than the last three put together. With a limiting budget, a barely completed script and a burning passion to complete this before summer starts, they decide to make The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. And, by luck, they also have Justin's crush Alicia Howtz as their female lead. But when the pressure of making a movie finally dawns on them, could Justin be actually directing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever?

TGZME is a YA novel without all the tropes that normally drag the book down in terms of storyline. Instead, it's just a poor boy trying to make his movie without it crash and burning to ground, and hopefully profess his love for the leading lady.

This book was hilarious! I loved it so much. It reminded me during GCSE times where I had taken Media Studies and we had to create a trailer for our own movie. Ours wasn't zombie (i would've loved it to have made it a zombie trailer though but, unlike Justin, we didn't get a $5,000 loan from our grandparents :') ) I could easily relate to the troubles faced by Justin and his friends. The extremely short time frame, lack of props, and people to cast in the movie. Their lives spiral out of control in this hilarious book, as it covers every single little detail.

I liked how this book was full of reference to the history of zombie film including the  debate of slow versus fast zombies, the difference between the infected in "28 Days Later" and actual zombies. Underneath the comedy, there's a deeper message of friendship, and sacrifice which really did show their dedication to the project.

Overall, a fun read for everyone- even if you hate zombies. Strand writes a solid YA novel with an abundance of sarcasm, weird characters, and hilarious surprises in every page.
Profile Image for Shadow Girl.
705 reviews65 followers
October 19, 2015
What happens when three buddies decide to make an epic zombie movie with no money, no script, and a one month shooting deadline? Possibly THE WORST ZOMBIE MOVIE EVER!

Imagine the Farrelly brothers while they were growing up, and making YouTube movies. That’s how I picture Justin and his friends – brainstorming, conflicting ideas, bickering, casting, cheese fries, and the kind of teasing you can only do with your best friends.

Struggling with location issues, actor demands, and sleep deprivation, everyone’s tempers shorten, and things escalate quickly. If the movie ever does get made, it might be at the cost of their friendship!

As usual, Jeff Strand had me audibly laughing from the beginning! No, not the beginning of the story… the beginning of the book. The preface. The ‘before you read this book WARNING’. Parts of the story reminded me of IF CHINS COULD KILL: CONFESSIONS OF A B MOVIE ACTOR by Bruce Campbell. A fond remembering of the grueling schedule, agonizing FX, and Murphy’s Laws of film making – but when you’re passionate, and with your friends… it’s worth every minute!

THE GREATEST ZOMBIE MOVIE EVER will be released by Sourcebooks Fire on March 1’st, 2016. I read an advanced copy through NetGalley. Like I’ve said to you many times before – don’t let the Teens & YA classification scare you off!

Full review posted on BBB
Profile Image for S.E. Anderson.
Author 26 books134 followers
November 6, 2015
I received an advance copy of this novel through Netgalley and SourceBooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.
The full review can be read here - http://readcommendations.com/2015/11/...
This may be The Greatest – book about the worst attempt to make a – Zombie Movie Ever. Anything that could go wrong does go wrong in this wholly hilarious book. From odd pastel clowns to shady grandmothers, along with a hoard of zombie problems, Justin’s plan to make the greatest zombie movie ever – not just a good movie, the greatest movie – seems like an uphill battle, an impossible feat. It’s enough to give up home, but he is determined to make it all work, no matter what obstacles come in his way. Which means he’s in for the worst weeks of his life.

While the characters read a little younger than fifteen year olds, and some plot points were a little predictable, this novel still managed to make me laugh out loud and hold on for more. It was a fast read, and I devoured it in a mere two hours, but it was a fantastic two hours that were very well spent, and in good company, too.

Because for all their faults, these characters are so darn lovable. Justin with his dogged determination to get this movie done. Alicia’s wavering emotions about her hair. Spork’s obsession with filming every behind the scene detail. Weird Uncle Clyde’s problems with money, and vaping. Bobby and Gabe, the kind of friends you want by your side when the zombie apocalypse comes knocking, even if it is an apocalypse you put together yourself in an attempt to create a fantastic movie. And I’m still quite worried about Justin’s Grandma.

It hit me right in the nostalgia-gut: I was obsessed with film making when I was fifteen, and thought I could do anything on a budget of twenty bucks, so long as I had good friends and a reliable camera. Though I never faced the kinds of problems that Justin had to deal with! There was a moment – and I’m going to remain vague, so I won’t spoil anything here – when he has to face the absolute worst nightmare an amateur director can face, and it made me actually cringe in my seat. I related way too much with this character, and not only felt for him, but was really rooting for him to succeed.

While the ending is a little predictable, it’s the fun finish this novel deserves. I came out of this read feeling excited and content, wishing that this could get made into a movie itself. A fantastic, hilarious novel well worth the read.
Profile Image for Michele Lee.
Author 17 books49 followers
February 12, 2016
Strand is known for his humorous horror books. My favorites are A Bad Day for Voodoo and Wolf Hunt (the last is very much not YA). His loyal readers might come into this one expecting a teenage zombie movie getting taken over by real zombies. And they will be disappointed (but he says so at the beginning).

This book is not a Strand zombie book, it's an ode to the long time legacy of movie making, the heroic independent filmmaker spirit, and the modern technology that lets anyone be an artist. Strand might lace this story with jokes and comedic timing, but in the end he's telling the sad tale of three kids who are trying desperately to still believe in movie magic, the Santa-Bunny idea that if you try hard enough you can become rich and famous on the silver screen with a hand held camera, some photo shop and Youtube.

As a reader, you know this is going to be a disaster. Justin, the director is full of hubris. His best friends are not sure how serious they are about all this, but many times they lean heavily toward “hobbyist” rather than “True Believer”. Uncle Clyde, their special effects man is a mess, and a danger to them all to boot. By the end of the book you feel bad laughing at Justin's misery, and yet I'm sure you can think of some ill-conceived plan from your own childhood that worked out as well (I tried to make spy gadgets like M from the Bond films, with no understanding at all of engineering.)

Readers looking for tales of magic or monsters gone wrong won't find what they want in this book. But readers looking for guilty laughs and a very determined lead will find some fun here.
Profile Image for Ruthsic.
1,763 reviews13 followers
February 29, 2016
After producing three horror films that went mostly ignored on YouTube, Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it's time to make something epic. In fact, they're going to make The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They may not have money or a script, but they have passion. And, after a rash text message, they also have the beautiful Alicia Howtz as the lead. Hemmed in by a one-month timeline and a cast of uncooperative extras, but aching to fulfill Alicia's dreams, Justin must face the sad, sad truth: he may, in actuality, be producing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever.

As the author mentions at the start of the book, this DOES NOT contain any zombies. But that's okay, because this is one hilarious ride from start to finish. It's a story of three kids who want to make the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They have the passion, but no planning. So naturally anything and everything goes wrong throughout their shoot; it isn't limited to petty fights, some breaking and entering, some bribing and lots of fake blood. Justin is the director main character and he has a crush on Alicia, while Gage is the voice-of-reason cameraman/producer and Bobby is the sound guy. They have a great time coming up with the story, improvising it, then shooting it and then improvising that too; what I really loved was how they still had that can-do attitude and actually ended up making the movie. I don't think I stopped grinning throughout the book, which has some really good comedy scenes, witty one-liners and adorable characters. Reminded me a bit of the Geek Girl series - effortlessly funny!

Received a free galley from Sourcebooks Fire, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Harker.
503 reviews51 followers
August 20, 2016
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

I feel like this could have been an interesting teen film, maybe a film of the summer, but as a book it falls a bit flat for me.

There were some really fun moments, when you could clearly see and understand the passion that Justin has for film making. I think, with enough time, he could grow up, go to film school, and become a good filmmaker.

As it stands, though, there wasn't anything remarkable about the story. It was alright during the reading, but the details went from my head once I was done reading it. This isn't the type of book that you can read, put down for ages, and then pick back up and expect to remember everything so you can continue.

Also, I swear I thought that Justin was in middle school while I was reading this. I don't remember if his age was mentioned early on or not until later, but up until I actually found out he was 15, I was thinking more along the lines of 12 or 13. There was something about his mannerisms and his actions (or lack there of) that presented him as younger.

The ending was...weird. Not in a good way, wow that was some stuff kind of weird, just very odd. It was hard to tell whether it was a concrete ending, or another one of Justin's failed movies.
Profile Image for Skye.
Author 2 books38 followers
February 7, 2016
I had a feeling this book, was going to be somewhat like the film Super 8, I was pleasantly surprised to be right for once. I love how the author lets you know from the start that this is not a zombie novel. There are no actual zombies in it. It's about a group of friends trying to make a zombie movie. It's a blast! I genuinely enjoyed this book. The characters, the humor, the plot. Justin is hilarious and real, I can relate to all the challenges he faced, because when your a kid and you try to make anything, people are less than nice about it. I loved how this book focused on the humorous side of things, rather than being depressing or over dramatic. Even thought it's set in today's digital world with all the modern conveniences of internet and cell phones, it didn't dwell on them. All in all it brightened my day and gave me a heavy dose of nostalgia.
November 6, 2015
Full disclosure, Jeff Strand is my favorite author and I have read every one of his books since I discovered the first one I read, Wolf Hunt. So I was excited to read this book and expected to like it. Well it lived up to all my expectations and then some. This is a YA novel, but just proves what I love about Jeff, his writing is so witty, even the YA novels are great for adults. Holding my breath waiting for his next book!
Profile Image for Peter Derk.
Author 24 books336 followers
October 2, 2021
This one’s like a very funny, maybe tween-ish novel about a disastrous attempt to make a zombie movie.

Me and my friends tried to make a Batman movie as youths. This being the eary 90’s, Tim Burton’s Batman was all the rage.

Ours didn’t turn out as good as Batman. Or Batman Returns. I hate to say it’s worse than Batman and Robin…well, relative to budget and talent and experience and equipment, I’ll say we did okay compared to that one.

Some highlights:

-Batman could not get the doors open to his Batcave/garden shed. He struggles on-camera for awhile, turns around laughing, and says he can’t get it open. Upon getting an adult to open it, we discover it’s full of wasps and unusable.

-The Joker (played by me, and I’m comfortable being 4th as cinematic Jokers behind Nicholson, Ledger, and Mark Hamill. Wait, shit, 5th behind Cesar Romero) wore a suit jacket that looked like it’d fit his father, probably because it was acquired from his father’s closet and totally ruined by white makeup.

-Every transition was a fade to white as that was the only transition built into the camera. Also, every transition featured an actor breaking the scene before the transition was complete.

-The Joker was stabbed to death by Batman, who made the killing blow with Batman’s weapon of choice, a chrome artificial hip. Which was a thing we had because my dad worked in a hospital and was weird.

-Batman made a final soliloquy while Joker was face down on the cement. With perfect but unintentional comic timing, when Batman wondered whether Joker was really dead, Joker’s hat fell off while he was facedown on the sidewalk, causing Batman to give out an uncharacteristic and sort of frightening giggle and to say something like “oh, yep, definitely dead.”

-A tearful younger brother who was left out of the production appears for a brief moment to say “I was the key grip.” None of us knew what this meant, my dad just forced us to put him in the movie and suggested this was how we could do it. This was a rare moment of half-assed but effective parenting and was the entirety of the end credits.
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews64 followers
March 4, 2016
Justin, Bobby, and Gabe love making movies. They just aren't that good at it. But this time they're going to do it right. They're going to write a script and everything! It will be THE GREATEST ZOMBIE MOVIE EVER.

What follows is a predictable tale of everything going wrong, friends falling apart and then coming back together. What sells this story is the humor. I was sitting in the Jiffy Lube getting my state inspection done and trying not to crack up in public, because Justin's grandmother was investing the money to produce his picture - and threatening him if he didn't pay her back with interest. (She was just kidding. But really, she's gonna get her money back and Justin isn't going to like it if she has to make him.)

I particularly liked the way the boys got involved in the community through their movie. They sometimes screw it up (waking people early on the weekends being the worst), but sometimes get it just right. It really emphasized that they were running around in public and making a true effort to get a shambling horde onscreen.

THE GREATEST ZOMBIE MOVIE EVER isn't the type of book to win awards, much like the eponymous movie, but it is a cute and funny little novel. It definitely made my hurry-up-and-wait chores easier to take!
Profile Image for Tanya.
245 reviews16 followers
March 9, 2016
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick, fun read and the characters are entertaining. The main character, Justin, really wants to be a filmmaker and he loves horror movies. He decides he's going to make the greatest zombie movie ever with the help of his two best friends (Gabe and Bobby), his crush (Alicia) and random people from their town. The script isn't great, the budget is non-existent and they don't have much time. What's the worst that could happen?

Some of the ideas Justin and his friends, especially Bobby, come up with are so ridiculously bad, that they might be good. If they can survive ant attacks, birthday party clowns, meltdowns and mishaps, they might be able to make the movie. It was fun reading about their misadventures and you could tell how much the characters and the author love zombie movies. I liked the little twist in the Epilogue. It was nice update on the characters' lives.

If you like zombies, comedy and like to be entertained, I think you'll like this book. I received a copy for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Beth.
910 reviews
October 12, 2016
This book was so hilarious! It was also clean (no language or sex), which is rare in the YA world. I think kids will get a kick of of this book, and it's good for reluctant readers too. The ending totally cracked me up. If you have a kid asking for something funny with zombies, give him/her this book! It's a crazy, good time!!!
19 reviews
August 30, 2016
i think this book is very good, because their is a lot of action in that book. So like justin and his filmmaking buddies wanted to make a zombie movie (the greatest zombie movie ever) but... they don't have the money for it and even the script but they have passion.
Profile Image for DeAnna Knippling.
Author 163 books259 followers
October 16, 2019
Several high school students attempt to make the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever.

This was good, but it was so painfully embarrassing for the characters that I had more trouble finishing it than I would have an ordinary horror novel. Example of something that made me squirm in my seat: A+. Seriously not my thing, though.

Recommended for YA audiences who love horror novels and irony.
Profile Image for Carl Alves.
Author 20 books165 followers
July 30, 2017
Despite its title, The Best Zombie Movie Ever doesn’t have a single zombie. Not one, lonely, solitaire zombie. You would think a novel that has zombie in its title and yet doesn’t even have one itty-bitty zombie wouldn’t be any good, but you would be wrong. Instead, this young adult novel is filled with the comical musings of Jeff Strand, and if there’s anything better than zombies, it would be Strand’s fiction, which has me rolling from beginning to end.

Besides humor, the one thing that Strand is exceptionally skilled at is getting characters in seemingly innocuous situations and turning the situation into something really terrible for the characters. And just when you think this bad situation can’t get worse, Strand makes it worse. And just when you’re certain there is no way that the author can find a way to make it worse for them, the evil genius somehow manages to make the character’s situation even worse. You get a lot of that sort of thing in this novel. My only conclusion is that Strand really, really hates his characters.

This novel is a quick read. I finished it in about three sittings, which is refreshing given the length of some of the novels in today’s marketplace. The pace is just where it should be, and the characters are well fleshed out. The entire time I read the story, I kept thinking there’s no way these kids are going to pull off the task of making this awesomely epic zombie movie. I won’t spoil if it worked out for the Justin and his two friends, but the journey was well worth it. If you haven’t read Strand’s fiction before, The Best Zombie Movie Ever is a good place to start.

Carl Alves - author of Battle of the Soul
Profile Image for Scott.
290 reviews6 followers
October 22, 2015
Jeff Strand is the undisputed king of comedic horror. Sure, there are some strong writers working in that subgenre now, but I feel like there weren't any when Jeff Strand started doing his thing. Recently he has branched out in to other territory, but his trademark humor and writing style have stayed constant.

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever isn't a horror story, but it is about horror. Three teenage boys who love to make movies (but aren't very good at it) decide they are going to create, you guessed it, The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. Hijinks ensue as the friends have a falling out, their lead actress might be insane, and a children's party clown ruins their first day of shooting.

If you are looking for a funny read then this book is for you. Beyond that, I enjoyed the story of teenage friends directing their passion in to something together. Most people never have the kind of close friendships later in life as they had in the teenage years, and Jeff Strand does an excellent job of capturing that time.

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever is marketed as a YA novel, but as an adult in his 40s I enjoyed it thoroughly and never felt that it was dumbed down or childish. 5 stars, highly recommended.
3 reviews
December 21, 2016
“The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever” by Jeff Strand. I think that the title really fits the book, it describe what the character want to achieve and what the book is going to be mostly about. The main character Justin and his other two buddies make movie on Youtube, they thought they will get a lot of view on their movies but it came out the opposite. This book is about the process of making the movie of “The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever” from scrap in one month. They don’t have any people, script, money, and they don’t even have any props. A girl named Alicia got involved with the movie and she is going to play the lead character. She is also Justin's crush at school so there might be some romance in there but not clearly. There will be ups and down with the budget and to what he really want see during the process of the movie making. If you like the description that is mentioned then I really recommend this book to you.
Profile Image for Rachel Rooney.
2,023 reviews82 followers
September 4, 2017
A 2018-2019 Missouri Truman Readers Award preliminary nominee (grades 6-8).

This was surprisingly humorous and fun! I say surprising because I have read a previous book by Strand that I did not find fun or funny although it attempted to be. Justin, 15, and his two best friends decide that they are done making bad movies. Instead, they are going to make the "greatest zombie movie ever". They have just under a month to write a script, find the actors, raise the money, create the effects, and shoot the film. Since it's not a zombie book, it's not particularly violent or gruesome, although there is at least one or two things that are kind of gross.
Profile Image for Laura Jean.
1,021 reviews14 followers
May 29, 2019
This was what I was expecting from Scream All Night by Derek Milman. Just silly horror themed YA fun. Although both are considered "realistic" teen fiction with a horror theme, Scream All Night has characters who have suffered from some serious emotional and physical abuse. This was just three goofy teens who decide to make a zombie movie. Just silly and fun.
Profile Image for Steven.
553 reviews35 followers
November 30, 2015
Fun, Funny, and an entertaining creation by Strand. This had a cast of characters that made me laugh out loud and I could totally see in a film for either the theater or TV. As I was reading it, I even started picking who I would cast for each part. Strand never let's me down on a great read.
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