Monday, May 13, 2013

Zombies: Fast & Slow


Fast zombies! Slow zombies!

I've read a few articles that discussed the entertainment value of each and found that people are way too serious about discussing this topic. [1]

This seems to have been a topic of conversation pretty much ever since zombie movies started being made.

The first zombie movie as far as I know was White Zombie in 1936 starring none other than the famous Béla Lugosi. This movie portrayed zombies in the most traditional sense. Using a magic potion Lugosi's character, Murder Legendre [2], a white Haitian voodoo master, kills people, revives them as zombies, and uses them as slaves in his sugar cane mill. [3]

These kind of zombies are just like normal people in that they can walk, talk, and do things as any living person might with the exception that they are enthralled by the voodoo master. Soulless beings, they have no sense of self.

Just George Romero and his zombies
The more modern and more popular zombies are the undead too, but they are literally dead. D.E.D. Dead. They die, get up and shamble about because they are DEAD! It's still supernatural, and as such, there is no good explanation for why they chase teenagers around shopping malls and housing developments.

It wasn't until 2002, I believe, that movie makers came up with a good "fast zombie" story. 28 Days Later was a freakin' awesome end of the world story. But it was also the end of zombies as we know it. These zombies weren't dead! They just got sick. They caught a virus and went buh-zerk. The virus turned people into killing machines. Only those that survived the attack and happened to be infected actually turned into zombies. The only mystery here is why they don't attack each other.

That's actually a classic trope across the entire genre. Zombies are totally on the same team. And they know each other! They look at each other like, "Uhnn. Hey."

So what makes a "proper" zombie? In my humble opinion it's pretty simple. True zombies are dead. They are supernatural and mysterious in origin. You can only turn zombie when bitten. Zombies move only as fast as their damaged rotting limbs will allow; and they can be "killed" only by destroying the brain. [4]

It's zombie Jenga!
I liked the book World War Z by Max Brooks. It tells the tale of the zombie apocalypse through a journalist interviewing different survivors after the fact. It's a haunting recount of terrible terrible times. And the zombies fit my profile. The movie World War Z, directed by Marc Forster, depicts the apocalypse as it is happening. The movie hasn't been released as of this writing, but with the trailer came the premise "zombie pandemic". By definition, a pandemic is the outbreak of a disease on a nation or world wide scale. The trailer shows them racing at inhuman speeds, climbing up a wall forming a human ladder like ants, and leaping from the top of a tower of zombies at a helicopter. Yeah. Sick People.

I shall refrain from discussing the zombies in the comic books & AMC series The Walking Dead. It's an awesome new take on all things zombie and because it's still kind of new, there are people that haven't experienced it yet, that will, and I don't want to ruin it for them.

So, with that I'll leave my opinion. [5] Zombies, fast or slow, are dead and supernatural. If you zombify by catching a cold, you are sick, not a zombie.

And that settles that.

No comments:

Post a Comment