Monday, November 8, 2010

So...I love The Walking Dead...but zombies? Not so much.

First of all, I have to say that I am a huge fan of AMC's The Walking Dead. I think it's the best thing since sliced bread, I really do. I anxiously await Sunday evenings like I did this past summer when True Blood was on...

And I am certainly a big fan of a whole heaping handful of zombie movies. But....

True confession: I don't like zombies. At all. They are not my monster of choice. And I'm really trying to understand what compels people to love these foul creatures so much more than anything else. I also realize I'm in the minority here, but I feel like I have to speak my mind, so bear with me.

Zombies are gross.
They stink, they're ugly, they're basically brainless, they leak all kinds of bodily fluids, and they have poor fashion sense. So I don't get the weird obsession a lot of horror fans have with dressing up like disheveled, rotten zombies and hanging out at the mall, at any other time than Halloween, of course. You can get a pass in October in general I guess.

Maybe I'm just being a bitch about it, but sometimes I just want to say please stop making your face up into frightening visages and lumbering around mumbling "brains", okay?
You will never see me at a zombie walk. There, I've said it. Just isn't gonna happen, so don't ask. And I live near Pittsburgh, where zombies are sacred. I guess.

Everybody has their thing, I get that. But dead people who want to eat human flesh? Really? What is this obsession with eating flesh, body parts, brains, etc...? Are you people cannibals? Do you want to be?

Or is it just cool to imagine your guts being ripped out and eaten like spaghetti? Again I say: Really?

If you want to like zombies it's certainly your right, but it's my right to say I'm just tired of all the hoopla. I've read several articles and blog posts about people being sick of vampires and vampire movies, so I wanted to get in my two cents about my least favorite "monster".

When I'm watching a zombie flick, I do not feel akin to the zombie. I want the humans who are trying to obliterate them to succeed, and violently. I want the zombies' heads to be blown off so they shut their mouths and stop that damn moaning.
My favorite zombie moment is in the remake of Dawn of the Dead when Ana kills Steve. That was a woot woot moment if I've ever seen one. I want all the zombies to die. Again.

However, when I watch a movie about vampires or werewolves, heck - even serial killers for that matter, I can feel for them. They still seem human somehow. Probably because they still have thought process and I can relate to them.

But zombies? They're just chasing after you. They want to EAT you for heaven's sake!
In my mind, nothing could be more frightening than being eaten alive. I fear shark attacks, grizzly attacks, heck - I fear an attack from the pit bull down the street - so why would I not be scared shitless if I had some loathsome, brain-dead chap trying to bite off my damn arm?
Even if a vampire does his worst, biting your neck and sucking out all your blood - or even ripping your throat out - at least it's relatively quick. I don't want to witness my own death by watching someone rip out my liver.

You know what else? There are too many damn zombie movies. Just searching under the word 'zombie' on Netflix yields a vast array of choices: Zombieland, Zombie Strippers, Zombie Town, American Zombie, Zombie Holocaust, Zombie Lake, Tokyo Zombie, Zombie Campout, Zombie Honeymoon, Zombie Nation, I Zombie...and that's just under 'zombie' - don't even get me started on 'living dead'.
And yes, there are a ridiculous amount of vampire films as well, I'm not saying there aren't. Bad ones at that! Though I'm an avid vampire fan, I have no desire to see most of those crappy films about my fanged favorites, so I sure wouldn't check out the appalling conglomeration of zombie films either. The market is flooded with these damn things. Somebody needs to do something different, damn it! Stop making crappy zombie movies, I implore you.

So I guess I'm asking what everyone likes about zombies? Is it just a cool way to kill people in the movies, or is there something else there? Why the love for the unsightly undead? Do you actually love them? Want to have a relationship with them? I don't get it.

And why do you want to dress up like zombies (other than on Oct. 31st)? Because it is more socially acceptable to appear in public as a repulsive zombie than a hairy werewolf or fang-flashing vampire? And if that is the truth, I have to say, why??? Why on earth would that be any more acceptable?
And do you know how ridiculous you look? Yeah, I know - it's all in fun.
No difference to me, I still don't get it.

So... the reason I love The Walking Dead is because the story is just so compelling and people-oriented. You grow to care about the characters, not the zombies.
The depth of emotion portrayed in this television series is just staggering. It's no wonder the show was the biggest premiere in AMC's history, it was just phenomenal.
The special effects, especially the makeup, are stellar, and the acting is realistic and utterly first-rate.

But still... I'm not a fan of zombies. I love the show, but I want all the zombies to die. Most especially after they killed that horse in the premiere episode, I'm still reeling from that travesty!
Likewise, in Night of the Living Dead for example, I don't find myself hoping the zombie in the cemetery kills Barbra (though after her extended fit of hysteria, the thought does cross my mind), I'm hoping she gets away. Aren't we supposed to want that?

I won't say I HATE zombies, as that's a bit harsh. Because I enjoy (some) movies about zombies - and certainly The Walking Dead - but zombies are still disgusting, vile creatures that I dislike pretty much to my core.

There, now I feel better.


The Film Connoisseur said...

I think people who love zombies and dress up like them and go on zombie walks, Im thinking there is a huge bunch of them who only do it for fun, same way they would dress up on halloween.

But real lovers of zombie movies and comics like them because they see humanity in them. By that I man, they see the masses, they see a reflection of humanity. In a weird way, zombies help us see what humans are like. A virus, a cancer, spreading through the world eating and destroying everything in their path. I think that the real reason zombie fans love zombies is because they are a mirror of ourselves.

Cinema Du Meep said...

I'm with you on the Zombie front. It's kind of hard for me to really fear or empathize with them. There have been some great films about them, but also far too many films about them as well. And I'm definitely not into the Fulci stuff. Yuck. I would however recommend the zombie comedy "Fido". That one really is a hidden gem.

Budd said...

I like them because of they are so freaking scary. They have a single minded purpose and cannot be reasoned with, they can go from one to epidemic really quickly and they just don't go away. They don't have any special abilities that make them more fearsome, they just have persistance.

I think people dress up as zombies because the like freaking people out. It usually works.

Zach S. said...

this is a great piece. I love to hear from horror fans why they like or dislike certain things and always more so with female horror fans.

Zombies for me are the most basic of what humans really are. We kill to consume even if there's no benefit. It's chaos and battling zombies is a way to return order as their arrival puts survival and the skills needed to accomplish that into a proper perspective.

With the Walking Dead, you'll see more of the human drama especially from the comics. First and foremost it's good storytelling, which many zombie tales have been lacking lately. Do you have a zombie survival plan?

Andre said...

Woohooo, I've written a few times on my annoyance with the fad in zombie love. Love the genre sure I guess, but stop with the idolizing the zombie themselves thing.

Stop prepping yourselves for the zombie apocalypse because NEWFLASH there isn't going to be one. I'll tell you, nothing was more annoying to me than suffering through 3 semesters of Humans vs. Zombies at my college. I love trying to get to class and being attacked by a "horde" of zombies chasing a human.

Malice said...

Sort of along the same lines as what Zach S. said, I fear zombies because in truth...the general public scares the shit out of me. They truly are unwashed and stupid. Rude, unsightly, and bafflingly narcissistic in general. So the thought of them taking time out of their day to try and eat me when all I wanted to do was hang out at the mall is what scares me.

Too many years in the service industry, I suppose.

So, in short, people ARE zombies in a way. Thus, the fascination. I look forward to The Walking Dead. It would have to have compelling characters to survive, and I think they've delivered so far.

Fantastic post.

The Mike said...

Ahhhh, so true. Thank you for bringing the thunder, ma'am.

wannabe derby girl said...

I think that what really scares us about zombies is exactly what you hate about them. They have no intelligence, no capabilities for reason. They cannot be stopped easily. There is something truly horrible about someone you know to be dead getting up and coming after you. Don't even get me started on the eating of flesh/brains. I find the whole thing horrifying and that is part of what I like about it. I like to want all the zombies to die. I like to yell at the screen "smash his HEAD you fool!" I agree that there is too much general "zombie-ness" going on though, and your statements are well thought out and reasoned. As for dressing up etc. I don't know why someone would want to "be" a zombie.

dan said...

Nice to hear I'm not the only one with zombies lower on the monster list. Like some of the other commenters, I've seen several great zombie films but the films were great almost in spite of the titular monsters--I mean the creative talent behind the film likely would've put out a great film regardless of the focus. But give a a giant bug or killer animal... that's the stuff for me.

elgartcalago said...

One of the scariest movie I saw. Great blog!

Al Bruno III said...

Count me in as now having Zombies at the top of my favorite monsters list. Give me a vampire or a werewolf any day!

Or better yet, the Tall Man from Phantasm- he's my favorite horror bad guy.

Of course the real irony for me is that the only time I ever got paid for my writing it was for a selection of zombie stories!

Spooky Pie said...

"But zombies? They're just chasing after you. They want to EAT you for heaven's sake!
In my mind, nothing could be more frightening than being eaten alive."

Dear God, I am behind you 100% on this statment and this post. I said something pretty similair when I reviewed the UK's 'Dead Set'.

Zombies are almost completely lost on me.

PhilH said...

Zombies are in vogue with the Horror community just now. I don't know if it's got a lot of mileage left, but they've certainly earned their place among the top tier of the Horror villain ladder.
I really enjoy good Zombie films, the bad ones don't even get a second glance and it's the bad ones that are killing the brand. The relentless, decaying, cannibalistic and pretty much unstoppable mob is a terrifying prospect and I guess much of the appeal is figuring out what you would do if you found yourself in a similar situation.
I don't think the Zombie walk enthusiast need to particularly like Zombies, it's pretty much an excuse to get together and dress up. Ultimately does it matter? As long as everyone enjoys themselves and it's a fun spectacle.
Sooner or later another Villain will capture the public's attention and Zombies will tick along in the background with their hardcore fans. Just hoping they're not replaced with demonic / possessed toys, that will really blow.

Sarah C Palm said...

LOL! You're just so funny xx