Thursday, February 22, 2007

An Appreciation of Zombies

So, the other night, I have a bunch of work to do on the computer. I have short stories to write, and web-sites to tidy up, and witty comments to post. All those difficult things to do. But before I do that, I flip on the TV for thirty seconds to see what's on.

I see a movie called Undead on. It's an Australian horror film. I'd heard good things, so I gave it a moment of my time.

I didn't surface again until it had finished.

This brought to the forefront of my mind one of those interesting details that I knew, deep down, but hadn't been consciously aware of until after I saw that (really, really brilliant) movie. I love zombie movies.

I adore them. It's weird, because I really don't like horror films all that much. People made fun of it (and me) but The Grudge scared my wife and I very, very badly and thoroughly screwed up our lives for a month. For one thing, we wouldn't park the car in the garage, because it's dark and shadowy. I did my writing in the early morning hours instead of late at night. I was frightened of hallways. The Grudge tapped the primordial fears that I had as a child. It made manifest all the images that I had as a child when I gave voice to my fears. After that, I haven't really ventured to horror films, even just splatterflicks. No thanks.

But I gobbled up Evil Dead a month or so ago for the first time. Then I devoured George Romero's movies (to which I am a latecomer, having recently discovered them) and I delighted in Undead. My favorite Stephen King book in a long time is Cell and just tonight I watched Evil Dead 2 and enjoyed it more than many high-budget movies I've seen recently.

You're sitting there going "Gosh, he loves zombies, welcome to the friggin' club, here's a t-shirt," and you're probably right. I'm not exactly the first person on this wagon.

I've always liked the concept of a post-apocalyptic world. I just think it's fun. When I was ten or so, I used to wander around the small town I lived in at the time on a quiet day, and I'd imagine that the reason I wasn't seeing anyone was because there weren't any people. And I used to work out what I'd do if I were the only one left. What houses I would go into, how I would get in, what I would use, would I carry a gun? (yes; a pistol, but I would mostly carry a couple of knives, less clumsy I decided).

It wouldn't matter that I was ten and couldn't drive yet. I would get some keys and drive anyway (and could I get the keys if they were on a dead body?)

Incidentally, these may sound like horrible things for a ten year old to be thinking of, but really it was in good fun. And I think it was my writerly brain turning over and over. At the age of ten, I'd already been writing stories for two years. I was getting the hang of it.

Zombies were a logical progression of that. Not only would I have to survive (heroically, as only a 10 year old can) but I would have to dodge these brain-eating shambling creatures. I'd have to make a fortress for myself, an impenetrable place where I could survive. Making fortresses was another interest of mine.

Zombies are, like Ninjas and Nazi's, instant story gold. Any story is made better by the inclusion of any one of those three things. To include all three would be best, of course. Many's the sad, sappy touching romance movie where I'm sitting in the chair with my leg falling asleep, envisioning zombies shambling out of the walls.

Steel Magnolias
for example.

Gobble gobble.


And that is my appreciation of Zombies. Go watch a zombie movie. We should have an Official Zombie Appreciation Day. It's the right thing to do. The day we honor that we still have our brains inside our heads. I move that February 23rd henceforth be Zombie Day. I think that's important for us as a world community.

I leave you with this important song, the Anthem for our new holiday.

Shamble on, my brothers. Ramble tamble shamble.


Lucien said...

I'm truly glad about your new-found appreciation for zombies. Now go see Sean Of The Dead, which is essentially a BBT take on zombies, and British at that.


Please don't let your new-found love of zombies taint your editorial eye. You see, we get so many zombie stories around here that several of the ediots are in danger of becoming zombies themselves.

Careful with that acceptance button on your keyboard, Pete. Careful.

Pete said...

We *do* get a lot of zombie stories.

Fortunately, I only like GOOD zombie stories, and not all of them are, so I'm safe.

ArsGeek said...

I just ordered a copy of The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. (Son O Mel).

I recently read World War Z which I thought was great.

Now I'll be prepared in any event!