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Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Zombies are the New Vampires

What is it with all these zombie movies lately? Clearly, zombies have replaced vampires as the mythic monster du jour in America today. And just like vampires, there seems to be some confusion about the causes, properties and weaknesses of zombies as it relates to attacking humans. This is always a bad sign, because people no longer know what to expect from a zombie movie.

Night of the Living Dead provided the example that all followed (until recently), with hordes of zombies that stiffly stumbled around. They wanted to eat people's brains and would stop at nothing to accomplish that task. Surrounding whatever cottage or shed the real humans are located in, they would break through whatever they had to, just to get some of those yummy brains. This idea worked so well that in the years after NOTLD, a bunch of movies came out that told the exact same zombie story in a virtually identical way. There were always people holed up somewhere with zombies leering right outside, and there was no possibility of escape. This was a Zombie Movie, and we liked it.

Lately, there have been some disturbing trends in zombie movies. Filmmakers are trying to trick up the zombie formula with superfast, superhuman zombies (28 Days Later) ferocious feral fast zombies (Dawn of the Dead), zombies based on video games (Resident Evil, House of the Dead), and so on. All these ideas are terrible and should never have been made. If you're going to make something other than a zombie movie, make it with something other than zombies. That's all I ask. Here are my rules for subsequent zombie thrillers, which I am calling Zombie Dogme 05:
  1. Zombies are not vampires. You do not turn into one when they bite you. You do not die when they bite you, unless they bite you over and over again. Vampires are a girl monster, with the poofy shirts and the enthralling eyes. Zombies are a man monster, with the rotting flesh and the groaning. Making zombies into vampires is like making a chick movie out of First Blood Part II.
  2. Zombies do not become zombies because of a "virus". That's stupid. A microorganism is not going to be able to kill you in a matter of seconds and then reanimate you. Zombies are not werewolves, and there is no lycanthropy involved. You become a zombie because of one reason and one reason only -- some alien/supernatural event happened, and you clawed your way out of your grave or were killed by somebody who clawed their way out of their grave. They are the dead come back to life, people. This isn't rocket (or bacterial) science. The only reason filmmakers want it to be a virus is so they can expose family members of the main characters to it and make them zombies too. Again, this is a chick impulse and must be surpressed.
  3. Zombies are slow, methodical, and constantly groaning(preferably throwing in the occasional word "brains"). These are monsters who swarm you, not sneak up on you. When you make a zombie quick or superhuman, you've made it into something entirely different from a zombie -- an alien, a werewolf, a banshee, a ghost, etc. -- and consequently failed to make a zombie movie.
  4. Zombies should claw their way out of the grave at dusk and attack until dawn, then collapse when the sun comes up. Zombies in the dark is fun. Zombies during the day is oppressive and Mogadishu-like. Nobody wants to see a movie about Somalia, for Pete's sake. Except maybe Black Hawk Down. But no more. There needs to at least be a finite amount of time set for the zombie attack -- they shouldn't overrun the earth or anything. Again, zombification is not a virus, it is a supernatural event. If you're going to disobey me and do "Day Zombies", then government forces should show up and kill them all in the end, because everybody knows that would happen in real life.
  5. Zombie movies should make no political statements about anything, no scientific statements about anything, and should not be a Darwinian "survival-of-the-fittest"-fest. Zombies are zombies and that's it. "There is no moral, it's just a bunch of stuff that happened."
  6. Fake news reports detailing zombie rampages are nice, but don't overdue it. Don't have news anchors being eaten on camera or pretend that all the cable channels are out of service. If you must have news reports, make them radio news reports so I don't have to see them.
If you follow these six rules, then congratulations! You've made a zombie movie. If not, go back to the drawing board, or better yet, make something else entirely. I mean, how many more zombie movies are we going to have to endure before we get another golem movie. Come on!

And if you're thinking that this entire post is just my way of ripping on the Ving Rhames vehicle Dawn of the Dead, you're absolutely right. Shawn of the Dead was great, though. I saw both on the same day, so I was able to compare and contrast them and come up with Zombie Dogme 05. Hopefully Lars Von Trier is in the Hizzouse, so he can sign another meaningless piece of pretentious film restriction.

1 Comments:

  • At 1:51 PM, Blogger UCLA said…

    In the next Zombie movie Hollywood produces, I’d like to see Zombies have the potential of becoming gods. In order to reach this exalted state of godhood, a Zombie must first become a good Zombie, pay a full ten percent tithe to the Zombie church, follow various laws and ordinances of the church, and be found worthy. At this point, they receive a temple recommend whereupon the Zombie is allowed to enter their sacred temples in order to go through set of secret rituals: baptism for the dead, celestial marriage, and various oaths of secrecy and commitment. Additionally, four secret handshakes would be taught so the believing Zombie, upon entering the third level of Zombie heaven, can shake hands with god in a certain pattern. This celestial ritual is for the purpose of permitting entrance into the highest level of heaven. For those who achieve this highest of heavens, exaltation to godhood awaits them. Then the Zombie will be permitted to have his or her own planet and be the god of their own world and the Zombie system will be expanded to other planets.

     

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