So I've been asked about the title of my blog. I believe the specific question was: "why the hell would you pick such a stupid name?"
First of all, zombies are not stupid. Wait, never mind. They are stupid. But that's part of their charm. You've got a chance against zombies. Except if there are way too many of them, and you've got a broken leg or something. Or if you are blind. It would be really hard to fend off a horde of zombies if you were blind. Or alone. You need someone covering your back (quite literally).
I've been enamoured with zombies ever since I saw Night of the Living Dead. (Yes, of course, the original). George Romero had me from the first chomp. But my favourite all-time zombie film is Dawn of the Dead (again, yes of course, the original). This movie hit us where most of us lived. I mean, I used to be a bit of a mall-zombie when I was a teenager. You probably were, too. What more perfect setting for a zombie film/social commentary than a shopping mall? The mall is analogous to our suburban lifestyles. All the necessities of life are contained under its dome - shelter, clothing, food (of a sort), entertainment, social interactions. When the walking hungry dead descend upon us, what better place to hole up than the neighbourhood mall?
And of course zombies themselves are an analogy for many mall inhabitants. Mindless, ruled by a mob mentality, shuffling along to the Walmart in search of fulfillment, which can never be sated. Chomp, chomp, that's better, oops, need more.
Another great zombie film which made a fantastic social commentary was Shaun of the Dead. Of course, this was also a tribute to the great Romero zombie films, but if anything, Shaun of the Dead has an even wider appeal, attributable to its insanely wicked humour and to the presence of the lovable underachiever (Shaun) played by the irrepressible Simon Pegg. Although the zombies in Shaun of the Dead are gory, numerous and deadly, they can be dispatched with a concentrated effort that has parallels to a video game. Now there's a statement on modern society.
The other British zombie film produced around the same time, 28 Days Later, raised the bar on the deadliness of a zombie attack through zombies that did not shuffle, but actually ran. Holy shit! That's a whole new ball game! I guess we should expect no less from Danny Boyle, after the brilliant direction of Trainspotting. And Cillian Murphy, with his lovely long eyelashes, as our hero Jim, is a nice touch. It's a damn shame he's now gone the direction of that other Boyle wunderkind, Ewan McGregor, appearing in Hollywood movies with a fake American accent.
But I digress.
I'm now eagerly looking forward to the DVD release of Romero's Land of the Dead, as I missed the theatre run. And these zombies can think and plan! The bar just keeps going higher. But if they can think and plan, will they still go to Walmart?