Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Walking Dead (Zombies Part 1)

Zombies. Everywhere, zombies. Love them or hate them, you can no longer ignore the zombie craze. Since the Dawn of the Dead remake in 2004, and later Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later, the zombie craze has intensified, growing staggeringly in popularity in the 8 years that have passed since. Zombies are fucking IN right now. The Walking Dead is not only the highest rated show in basic cable history, but it keeps breaking it's own record.

Nearly 11 million people watched the Season 3 premiere of The Walking Dead. And that's excluding the second and third airing later in the night, people who DVR the show, and people who watch it on Project Free TV. Basically, enough people watch the Walking Dead to start a real zombie apocalypse.


And even AMC, who owns the fucking show, didn't seem to believe their own success, or at least didn't want to. During the filming of Season 2, they not only told Frank Darabont his amazingly epic idea for a season premiere was too ambitious for TV, they fired him when he refused to water down his artistic vision, then cut the budget of the show so they could get back to sucking the dicks of everyone involved in Mad Men. All right, we get it, you guys love to dick-ride Mad Men to the Emmys. But taking the budget away from a zombie apocalypse theme to pump into a dialogue heavy drama about advertising execs in the 60's
doesn't make any god damn sense. Not only does a zombie apocalypse show necessitate these funds to actually be executed properly...you know, what with deserted cities, makeup of rotting corpses, and all that stuff. But despite actually needing the extra cash more in terms of idea, Walking Dead has arguably far more critical acclaim, thus deserves the money more, having literally taken the nation by storm like a zombie virus since the very first episode.

The highest rated episode of Mad Men to date was its Season 5 closer, at 2.7 million viewers. The lowest rated episode of the Walking Dead was 4.71 million. That's right, the lowest ratings The Walking Dead has ever gotten were still almost double the highest ratings Mad Men has ever gotten. And usually, I never give a shit about what album sold the most, or what show got the highest ratings, other than sports, or any of that shit. But for once, something that's actually edgy is mainstream. Something badass, that isn't suffocated by political correctness. Not since the cult success of Trailer Park Boys has something impacted pop culture in such a positive way. I'm sick of only garbage being popular, like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Jersey Shore, Honey Boo Boo, Twilight...all that mine-numbing garbage. For once, something I can enjoy is getting critical acclaim. Something for nerds and outcasts is getting recognition.

But with great success, comes great stigmatization. Some people feel zombies have grown stale, that they've overstayed their welcome. Personally, I disagree. The genre has always been rotten - they're corpses, remember? And there's so much ground to cover with a genre as adaptable as zombies, so many epic possibilities...

I've been a zombie fanatic for a long time. Captain Rhodes, Peter, Fran, Flyboy? They were all my niggas long before the sudden surge in the genres popularity started to lead to more and more mainstream zombie properties, such as Zombieland or Call of Duty: Zombies. I'm talking the old school films, like Romero's cult trilogy, the Return of the Living Dead series, and Lucio Fulci's "Zombi 2," which has arguably the most intense moment in cinema.

 
You know, the classics. That's only a quick handful, there's countless more. Literally dozens of movies, ranging from campy to cheesy, and sometimes even corny, that I just could never seem to watch enough of. Even some of the really bad zombie movies are really good.

Then you get the newer, but surprisingly impressive zombie projects. The BBC Mini-series Dead Set, for example, was probably the strongest depiction I've ever seen of fast zombies, at least since Return of the Living Dead. Or the amazing zomedy Shaun of the Dead, which in a lot of opinions might be the best zombie movie of all-time, at least one that isn't 100% serious. Or the awesomely epic, ongoing chronicles of Rick Grimes and co in both comic and TV iterations of The Walking Dead. Or the Undead Nightmare DLC for Red Dead Redemption, which is arguably as good as the fully fleshed-out single player campaign mode. Hell, Undead Nightmare is so good that even though it's only a DLC, I bet it's got more depth than Halo 4. Halo is for children.

Zombies are just a cool concept. They are the ultimate concept of horror, in my opinion. At any moment, you might be attacked by a wave of emotionless, indifferent killing machines, impervious to pain. These are basically "natural," organic Terminators who murder their victims in the least humane way possible - by eating them. And they aren't even conscious of what they are doing, its just motorized instinct...with teeth. These automatons are driven by some random instinct to cannibalize anyone with a pulse.


 Imagine being chased by a fucking mob of hungry corpses. They're rotting. They're half ripped apart, dragging their guts, an eyeball hanging from its socket. Some of them walk on broken legs, the shattered bone of their right shin dragging along the pave-walk. Probably the worst smell you'll ever smelt in your entire like, comparable to someone shitting into Snookie and Lady Gagas festering vaginas after they've been gang-banged by a group of racially diverse homeless people for over a week in a closed off room filled with rotting cheese and milk.

And then as if their nature wasn't enough....as if it wasn't enough they're offensive to every sense....these might be people you know. There is a chance, a possibility, that you will have some sort of emotional connection to this horrific abomination trying to rip open the lining of your stomach so it can feast on your intestines. No, that isn't Aunt May, it's just her possessed corpse that's trying to FUCKING EAT YOU. Nope, that isn't you're insane, bi-polar fuck buddy Natasha that smokes all her weed with you after you bang her in your Chevy Cavalier, that's A HOT DEAD BITCH TRYING TO RIP OUT YOUR THROAT.



And on top of all that, the very mannerisms that drives these creatures forward, their unsteady gait, their uncoordinated stagger...it's all very unnatural and unsettling. Most of their brain is completely fried. Not fried like 30 friends at a music festival, 2 AM Saturday night fried. Fried like all human emotion and intelligence has been completely erased fried.  

The way they walk, interact with their environment...completely lacking of coordination or even the remotest hint of intelligence beyond an insatiable hunger for human flesh...it would be fucking terrifying.

Think about it - a creature you may be emotionally invested in that carries a horrific stench, makes unnatural sounds and movements, and is trying to eat you? THAT times 10? Times 20? Times 100? All clawing to get in to your house, competely indifferent in the amount of time it may take to get in. No perception of reality other than to feast on flesh.



Apocalyptic horror is where it's at. And zombies usually lead to an apocalypse. It's an Extinction Level Event, almost every time. It starts with three bloodied homeless people staggering at you, then before you know it, half the city is dead and the other half is killing each other for supplies and ammunition.

 Think about all that for a minute. All the scenarios that could play out in such circumstances. The horrific nature of the undead. The horrific nature of...man Let it...digest.

Zombies are literally the ultimate symbol of horror this side of HP Lovecraft. They are way more effective than a single entity, like in slasher flicks. Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Freddie Krueger, the Leprechaun, Chucky, Pinhead, Ghostface....none of these evoke the terror a legion of undead can when done right. Literally ANYONE can turn into a zombie, meaning you're never truly safe. The slasher icons have agendas, they have specific targets. They are indifferent, but their motives and, usually their targets, are technically personal. The funnest thing about slashers was always unique kills and kill-counts.
 
Zombie movies are also far more horrific than the torture, snuff horror films of recent years. Saw, Hostel, Saw 2, Hostel 2, Saw 59. You've seen one torture porn flick, you've seen them all. Gore is one of my favorite aspects of horror, but just gore for the sake of gore? It's stupid. There needs to be a context to it, 90% of the time, for it to be effective. Oh, that character you've been following for the past 30 minutes as he searches for his lost children? Yea, his throat just got ripped out by a set of zombies teeth right in front of them. Or BY them. That's way more effective scene than an hour and twenty shitty minutes of some asshole tourist getting tortured in Amsterdam for being a generic douchebag horror caricature.

  
And don't even get me started on how lame and nonthreatening Vampires are. Vampires talk. You can communicate directly with vampires. And that completely ruins any horror aspect vampires may have had. They almost always seem to be portrayed as pompous douchebags, which is even worse. For every Castlevania or Lost Boys, there's 15 Twilights or True Bloods waiting to takeover. Vampires are best utilized in two fashions: really seductive, beautiful females. Or incredibly brutal vampires who speak in an ancient, foreign tongue and thus, are a far more threatening foe because of this language barrier.



For a short time, people thought Vampires were gonna take over, what with the continued success of Underworld, Twilight, 30 Days of Night, and True Blood, all of which were pretty lame, with the exception of 30 Days of Night. Hell, I'll even give an honorable mention to Bloodrayne here as well, but only because of Kristen Lokens amazing titties.

Bloodrayne was so low budget, I'm pretty sure that guy was paid entirely in titties. (Yes, titties can be used as currency, although arguably they bounce more towards the 'services' or 'barter' categories.) His payment was getting to film the sex scene for at least 40 minutes a day.


Most vampire movies don't show enough titties. There really isn't enough scenes in cinema depicting sexy vampire chicks with huge breasts straddling random dudes they throw against cages. Nor are there enough cinematic depictions of lesbian vampires having giant synchronized period blood orgies. The main selling point of vampires is the females are sexy, or the hyper violence and bloodlust. Instead, we get a bunch of Vampires acting like yuppie English cunts to give it an unnecessary soap opera element. GTFO with that shit.

2 comments:

  1. check out stake land.... I like the zelda backround btw

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  2. Thanks for the recommendation, I looked it up on IMDB and it actually sounds pretty interesting, I'll definitely check it out.

    I figured the Zelda background would be complimentary to the new zombie Mario Banner I made ;) Dark World FTW, the music in that part of the game is one of the best compositions in video games

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