Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Great Zombie Debate: Running vs Walking and why it doesn't matter

There's an ongoing debate among zombie fans, are they better represented by the slow moving zombie packs that have historically been the bread and butter of the genre, or is it not scarier to face the all out unrelenting horror of a creature that can outrun but not out think you?

When I think of zombies, one of the first thoughts to enter I mind in the slow, shambling mass of the recently dead. They're slow, sure, but they keep coming. You can stop one, but more will come after you. They don't have to be fast to be effective. They just keep coming. How can you outrun a creature that doesn't need to stop to rest or to eat or to drink or to shit? They just keep chasing you. Keep running, they'll be right behind you with a determination that more than makes up for their speed.

On the other hand, movies like 28 Days Later and Resident Evil and their sequels, as well as the Dawn of the Dead remake have helped to popularize the fast moving zombie. A creature of blind rage and hunger, it's only driving force is more food. And, as this is the case, it will stop at nothing to get to it's next meal. Running though glass and fire means nothing to it. It's a creature of pure hunger and adrenaline. It feels no pain and has no interest in hobbies or colorful lights. It can outrun you if you make the slightest mistake. Your only advantage is the ability to out think the creature.

Now, it's long been thought that zombies are a critique of our society. We, as in Western 'culture' are the undead. Conformists with a herd mentality. Zombies are the ultimate consumers. All they do is 'use up' what they have and go get more. They don't plan ahead. They don't save for a rainy day. All they do is consume, consume, consume. They ravage they're environment in a never ending quest to to fulfill a hunger that just never ends. They are us, and we are them. We are the zombies with our SUVs, our throw-away electronics, our credit cards and our take out. If the zombies have always been a thinly veiled criticism of us, is it any wonder that the new breed of zombie movies has upped the ante to include zombies that move faster?

In an age when Google can return untold amounts of information in less than a second and companies can be bought and sold in a day, is it any wonder that zombie have had to adapt to catch up? Life takes Visa, and any attempt to slow things down is met with derision by those behind you in line. No, it was imperative that zombies move faster lest they be brushed aside on the way to the mall. Slow zombies became the old man in the powder blue Buick with the Florida license plate doing ten under in the left lane.

We needed a zombie that could envelope our own fear of being overwhelmed by our own culture. Life moves too fast for most of us. Email, cell phones, the internet, 1000+ channel HD cable/satellite packages. It's overwhelming and the modern 'fast' zombie seeks to epitomize that. Suddenly the fear isn't of city life coming to the farthest reaches of rural American and devouring the life we once lived, no. No, the fear is that the speed at which we have to live to get by in modern society is going to overwhelm us.

What say you? Fast or slow? Why? Defend your position.

2 comments:

Kate said...

Slow zombies creep me out in that they're just always *there* Every time you think you've gotten away, every time you think you're ahead of the game, there they are again, creeping in like the tide.

That being said, the fast-moving zombie that pops up and scares the hell out of you is a force to be reckoned with.

Overall though, the constant but never-stopping tide of zombies is overwhelmingly scarier.

Anonymous said...

hi!
I aggree with u'r opinion...

1rst Romero's B/W zombie movie scared me so mutch cause we didn't know we didn't see as well as now...these so "clean" zombies movies...

like the original zombie,bitting your neck slowly, i like to take my time eating a NY top sirloin steak :)....

Run , run my little 21 century zombie run fast to your fate :)

Ps: just to know.... is the zombie must be funny...

Sorry if you dont understand my zombenglish....

Frederic.