Republican candidate for Congress John Dennis doesn't have much of a shot in his election against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. She took nearly 75 percent of the vote in the two-party primary (Dennis got 14 percent) in June, and beat Dennis handily for the seat in 2010.
Still, the long odds aren't stopping Dennis from releasing memorable attack ads against the 13-term incumbent. In an ad that surfaced Monday, called "Night of the Living Pelosi," a (small) hoard of blue-collar zombies gathers at Pelosi's "Napa Valley Estate," preparing to slaughter a literal sacrificial lamb in the name of the status quo.
You just have to watch it:
"[That sheep] is not a sacrificial lamb, and neither am I," he says, heroically intervening to stop the kill. He's referring to his campaign, which is seen as such a long shot that Pelosi won't even bother to participate in an on-stage debate.
"There are some fights that need to be fought, no matter the odds," Dennis tells Nancy--or at least, the actress playing her in the ad.
"Night of the Living Pelosi" was produced by Chris Burgard, the same filmmaker responsible for the infamous "Smoking Man" spot for former GOP presidential also-ran Herman Cain.
“In pop culture, there are more Americans who are interested in zombies than politicians,” he said in a conference call Sunday. The ad is "a way to get their attention."
Dennis's ad is hardly the first strange campaign ad to raise eyebrows--or even the first feature sheep.
Here are a few of the most memorable campaign ads in recent elections, many of which were really only possible in the age of YouTube viral videos.
2. Carly Fiorna, "FCINO" (or, the Demon sheep ad)
California Senate primary, 2010.
Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, slams her primary opponent, former Congressman Tom Campbell, as a flip-flopper and a "Fiscal Conservative in Name Only." Fast forward to 2:25 for the good stuff.
3. John Dennis, "Nancy Pelosi: Wicket Witch of the West"
California 8th Congressional district, 2010.
Another gem from John Dennis, in his first race against Pelosi. In this ad, he transports voters into The Wizard of Oz, casting Pelosi as the classic tale's villain.
4. Herman Cain, "Now is the time for action!" (or, the Smoking ad)
Republican presidential primary, 2012.
The Republican also-ran and former pizza magnate got his chief of staff, Mark Block, to convince voters that Herman Cain was a real contender.
5. Carly Fiorina, "Hot Air"
California Senate, 2010.
Having won her primary campaign for the senate nomination, Fiorina turned her sights on the incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer--turning her head into a giant talking blimp that blew the top off the Capitol Building.
6. Christine O'Donnell, "I'm You"
Delaware Senate, 2010.
The one in which is candidate for Senate has to reassure the voters that she's "not a witch."
7. Mike Gravel, "Rock"
Democratic presidential primary, 2008.
Gravel spends several minutes just staring into the camera, then he turns around, picks up a boulder and tosser a rock into a lake. He later had to explain what the message was, since nobody got it the first time.
8. Rick Santorum, "Rombo"
Republican presidential primary, 2012.
The Conservative candidate was trying to make the point that Mitt Romney's "mudslinging" negative ads would backfire by employing a lookalike to take aim at a cardboard cutout of Santorum using a mud gun. Instead, it brought up memories of a troublesome association with Santorum's name.
9. Jim Slattery, "Hosed"
Kansas Senate, 2008.
Democratic Senate candidate Slattery was trying to make a point about how Kansans were getting hosed, financially, by giant corporations, with the help of Sen. Pat Roberts. An enormous Roberts sprays tiny voters with a gasoline hose, but that certainly isn't what it looked like.
10. Jim Bender, "YUM! YUM!"
New Hampshire Senate Republican primary, 2008.
Making the argument that the federal government is growing too bloated, Jim Bender uses the metaphor of Uncle Sam devouring government program- and bailout-shaped cakes.