Sunday 2 February 2014
This post was inspired by a brief discussion I had recently.
A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed an all-day movie marathon. It’s something that I used to do on a regular basis, but it had fallen by the wayside as the writing thing took over. Anyway, I digress . . .
One of the movies that I watched was World War Z. I enjoy a good action movie, and World War Z certainly fell into that category. For anyone who isn’t aware of the premise of this movie, breaking it down to its absolute basic, World War Z is a zombie movie. And I do love-hate a good zombie flick. Weird thing to write, I know, and I expect that I should clarify that statement.
Y’see, I love watching zombie movies, but I really don’t like zombies themselves. Not that I’ve ever actually met a zombie, and if I did, I’m pretty confident in saying that I’d cr@p myself . . . especially if they were of the ilk of these new zombies that have appeared. Y’know, the fast moving ones.
The first zombie movie that I ever saw, and that I have a vivid recollection of seeing, was George A. Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead. Of course, this was a black and white movie, and that added to the ambience and atmosphere of the situation in the movie. If you’ve seen it, and I’m referring to the original black and white version, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the cemetery scene at the beginning, where poor ol’ Barbra is tormented by her brother Johnny: ‘They’re coming to get you, Barbra.’ And you’ll know how things end up for protagonist, Ben.
This movie has stayed with me since I first saw it, and since then, I’ve seen it a number of times, and I own a copy of it on DVD. Like I wrote before – love zombie movies, hate actual zombies. One of the things about this movie that really stayed with me was, in fact, poor Ben’s demise at the end of the movie. He survives the night of the living dead to see the military come to the farmhouse where he and a few other survivors have taken refuge, only to be mistaken for a zombie by a hyper-vigilant army guy, and shot. The final scene is Ben’s body being burned on a pyre with the living dead.
In these early movies, the zombies were lumbering, practically useless entities. Okay, they weren’t entirely useless, particularly not when their need for brains took over. They were pretty handy then. Other than that, they were lumbering, slow . . . I’d really like to emphasise that point: They. Were. SLOOOOOOWWWWWW.
And that’s how they should be. And always, always stay. Slow.
But no, some jacka$$ decided that it would be better for film, better for audiences, better viewing, if the zombies moved fast. At speed. Could run. Really, really fast. Enter Danny Boyle’s movie 28 Days Later – a great movie idea, but what’s with the speedy zombies? And that’s when zombie movies, as far as I’m concerned, went to hell in a hand basket. Because zombies should not be able to run. They’re meant to lumber. They’re meant to be slow. SLOW.
Then in 2004, Zack Snyder remade George A. Romero’s 1978 sequel to Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead. Again, we are dealing with fast-moving zombies. In the end, a group of survivors managed to get themselves to a boat, cast off, and sail away. Predictably, there’s a zombie on board, or at least, there’s part of a zombie on board. They do get rid of it though. The movie ends with the survivors mooring the boat to a rickety ol’ jetty on an apparently isolated island. Cautious but believing they’re relatively safe, they disembark, but are promptly attacked by another horde of zombies. It’s likely that no one survives.
And we get back to Brad Pitt and World War Z, and the living dead that have progressed again. These suckers can run, they have some sort of ability to learning, and worse still, they climb . . . like fire ants, they make freakin’ zombie chains to get to locales that are higher up. This means that, where once a survivor of a zombie apocalypse could get to the roof of a building, and barricade themselves up there, well, now they’re pretty much stuffed, because the zombies can make a zombie chain right up the side of the building. This in turn, means that in a zombie apocalypse, there is no safe place to hide.
Herein lies my issue with zombies. In the past, a regular, everyday zombie apocalypse survivor could outrun the zombies. Survivors had a chance. These days, if there’s a zombie apocalypse, we’re screwed because now they’re speedy lil critters, they have displayed a level of initiative that the living dead shouldn’t have, they’re demonstrating the ability to learn basic things . . . we’re seriously screwed. Hollywood, you b!tch, you’ve destroyed any hope, any chance that I might have of living through a zombie outbreak because you’ve demonstrated to everyone in the world that the living dead can move with speed, and show initiative. Well played, Hollywood, well played.
Of course, I’ll keep watching zombie movies because it’s imperative that us regular, everyday types learn the most relevant, and updated methods of dispatching zombies, and surviving any zombie apocalypse. Just in case . . .