The Fast Zombie

Okay, I meant to write a post about this the other day when both @agautsc and @thebrandbuilder linked to this wonderful article by Simon Pegg of “Shaun of the Dead” fame.  It is a genius little piece examining the problem with the new school of zombies who are unnaturally fast.  Now I, being the zombie fan that I am, obviously have some personal opinions on the matter.  First and foremost I am of the school that the best zombie use is with the slow shambling decaying corpses that most people, including the characters in zombie situations, tend to believe should be avoidable but turn out to be more tenacious than is generally liked.  Part of the disturbing quality of George A. Romero’s Dead Series zombies is the fact that they are these slow dead things and yet they still prove incredibly dangerous.  But at the same time there is unquestionably something terrifying about a creature (not exactly a zombie mind you, regardless of how zombie-ish it may be) that can run you down before tearing your throat out.  “28 Days Later” (and “28 Weeks Later” a little less) is a truly horrifying film with truly disturbing monsters.  But at the same time the unnatural speed and strength takes away from the real sense of good zombie movie.  Essentially, as Pegg points out in the article, it creates a new monster that is scary for similar but ultimately different reasons.  I could go on for hours about the absolute genius that is the zombie archetype and how, I think, more than any other monster (Vampires, werewolves, aliens, etc.), it embrace a truly human fear of death, not just of the body but, probably more so, of the mind, the consciousness.  Really that is what I think it is with zombies.  The fear of death yes but more than that (because almost all monsters present a fear of death through being killed) the fear that the “self”, the human conscious, will be lost and what will remain will only be a husk, a dead body, of what once existed.  Read about philosophical zombies which in many ways embraces this very idea (essentially it states that theoretically it is possible that there could be beings in a parallel world exactly like us in every way — physically, through action and interaction, etc — except they lack any consciousness or sense of self).

A good twist on the traditional slow zombie along with faster varieties comes from Jenny Romanchuk’s webcomic “The Zombie Hunters“, which besides having wonderful illustrations and a decent story, has created a range of different zombie types that threaten humanity (check out her encyclopedia on the site).  Good stuff I really enjoy it.

Oh, and this, a slide show along with Pegg’s article.  Damn I love writing about zombies.

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~ by Nathaniel on November 13, 2008.

3 Responses to “The Fast Zombie”

  1. I agree, fear of zombies is similar to the fear of Alzheimers or Mad Cow disease. However, the “zombies” in 28 Days Later are rabid. And after discussing (with you) the horrors of rabies, I am pretty sure it’s a somewhat realistic scenario. The only difference being that two rabid humans probably would cancel each other out, whereas in the 28 series, they teamed up.

  2. Yeah, definitely . . . I have always wondered what it is about zombies that keep them from attacking one another. In traditional zombies I would assume that the reason is just the general lack of “self” and the aim of destroying that which is self. In the 28 Days Later infected type monsters I have a harder time because I think of how the disease is called “rage” and seems to make people just go ape shit. Why wouldn’t they go after each other? Obviously for the movie the reason is to drive plot but in consideration of such a disease, like a super rabies, I have to assume there would be little distinction between a healthy person and another infected individual.

  3. Yeah, definitely . . . I have always wondered what it is about zombies that keep them from attacking one another. In traditional zombies I would assume that the reason is just the general lack of “self” and the aim of destroying that which is self. In the 28 Days Later infected type monsters I have a harder time because I think of how the disease is called “rage” and seems to make people just go ape shit. Why wouldn’t they go after each other? Obviously for the movie the reason is to drive plot but in consideration of such a disease, like a super rabies, I have to assume there would be little distinction between a healthy person and another infected individual.

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