LOS ANGELES — Lance Martinez, VFX artist for “The Last of Us” cited his uncle’s notoriously disgusting toe as inspiration for the hit show’s fungal-infected zombies, according to nauseated sources.
“I was too chicken to ask my Uncle Glenn if I could study his fungus-riddled toe for the show, so I offered to come by under the pretense of chatting about the 2020 election,” said Martinez. “I brought over a case of Keystone and some really salty pretzels. He leaned back in his La-Z-Boy, and my quarry was in sight—all I had to do was wait. After a couple hours of him draining beers and rambling about the Deep State, he finally passed out. I managed to get some great macro shots of his hideous digit. My art director nearly vomited when I showed him.”
Martinez’s uncle eventually found out about the scheme when HBO asked him to sign a release form before the show aired.
“I don’t know why Lance didn’t ask me up front,” said Glenn Martinez while soaking his feet in a vinegar solution. “I’m actually proud that my toe inspired all that cool zombie apocalypse shit. It’s a great show, too. I really identified with that Bill character. At least until… well, you know. Anyhow, I told Lance I’ve got a ton of other unexplained infections happening on or inside my body that he might be interested in using. I sent him a picture of my pilonidal cyst but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet.”
UC Berkeley mycologist Susan Ward said that she and her colleagues are excited about the interest their field is receiving as a result of the show’s success.
“We mycologists don’t often get a lot of attention. When we do, it’s usually just Vice asking about psilocybin again ” said Ward as she studied something revolting under her microscope. “I’m always trying to raise awareness of the danger of fungal foot infections as a vector for more serious disease. I’d argue that the premise of ‘The Last of Us’ would work just as well—if not better—if the fungal plague originated with mutated toe fungus rather than tainted flour. They could show, like, a scene of some guy’s toenail clipping flying into someone’s salad, and that starts it all.”
At press time, Martinez was collecting photos of Shane McGowan’s mouth to reference for the creature in the upcoming “Malignant” sequel.