Thursday, April 2, 2009

A meditation on zombies

First off, let me apologize for the infrequency of my updates as of late. There is a guy at work that has been gone for the last 3 weeks and is out next week as well. I am this guy's back up at work, so I have been pulling double duty lately, which has left me working about 55 hours a week and tired when I'm not at work. Admittedly I knew this was coming because he is gone to spend time with his first child, so I'm neither surprised nor angry, it's just been a bit tiring. But I will diligently try to keep updating as often as possible.

Well, as expected from the title of this posting, I will be discussing zombies today. We'll see just how long I rant on the subject; it may end up being broken into two posts for you, the readers' sake. First off, let's establish something: what defines a zombie?

Now, I'm not exactly Webster's (I am a bit of a walking dictionary, though), but I have a definition of a zombie that I adhere to. A zombie is a creature (not necessarily human, but more often than not) that has died and due to some unnatural process has come back to life. The reanimated corpse is unable to truly think, though they may be able to put some basic thoughts (even speech) together. They are in the group of creatures known as "undead", which includes vampires, mummies, ghouls, skeletons, and (depending on which legend you go by) werewolves. They are all creatures that die and then come back, not really alive but definitely not dead.

Now that's where my definition really trails off. My usual thought of a zombie is that of the Romero Type - slow, shambling corpses with no thought or coordination. They are ever present, moaning but not really speaking. And you had better be prepared to shoot them in the head in order to kill them. That doesn't mean I won't accept other types of zombies: Dawn of the Dead (2004) had zombies, but they were fast; Return of the Living Dead featured zombies that had to be electrocuted, not shot in the head; The Dead Next Door had zombies that were basically unkillable and some spoke; and Cemetery Man featured zombies that could not only talk, but could hold conversations. Now, I consider all of those movies to contain zombies, but they aren't all the same type of zombies. I am even willing to accept 28 Days Later and Quarantine as having zombies in them if someone wants to use them as an example. I realize I have said in the past I don't accept 28 Days and Quarantine as true zombies, but I do consider them a sort of sub-genre in zombie movies I like to refer to as "Infection Zombies". So while they aren't "zombies" in my truest sense of the word, I'm willing to accept the movies on a zombie movie list (though I like to point out they aren't "true" zombie films). The one uniting factor is that you have some unrelenting, unthinking enemy that keeps wanting to kill you for no good reason.

With the recent development of the fast zombie (28 Days Later, Dawn remake), it has given rise to one question: which is scarier, the slow zombie or the fast zombie? Seeing as how this post has already come to be quite long, I will tell you in my next post what I think. However, I would like to know what everyone else thinks. So, in the comments, what do you find scarier? Fast or slow zombies? Here's some food for thought:

Fast Zombies:

Slow Zombies

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm... tough decision. First of all, I do not think that Zombies are very scary. There is something charming, almost cute, about them. (Kind of like dumb blondes... or George Bush!) I haven't seen the two "fast zombie" movies that you mention, so in judging by the clip you gave (and the 28 Days Later trailer), I would say that "slow zombies" seem scarier. Of your two clips, the "slow zombie" movie offered more jumpy scares and that type of slow and unavoidable death... (or undeath.) Something tells me, however, that if I actually watched a "fast zombie" movie, that it might be scarier in its "element of surprise" potential. (Since jumpy scares get me every time!) Plus, "slow zombie" movies often have really corny background music which ads to the humour, rather than scare factor. Maybe the "fast zombie" movies have a more bad-ass background music approach. Wishy-washy... yes, but I think you can follow.