Now that World War Z is part of movie history, perhaps this is a good time to have a heart to heart talk. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything if I were to ask a simple question. Some folks might have their opinions, and quite frankly, I’m interested in hearing what those opinions are. After all, I write my Monday Mayhem series hoping to understand what you, the audience, finds exciting about zombies.
Therefore, without further delay, here’s my question: What do you think of fast zombies?
You didn’t really think I’d pass up the opportunity to discuss these speed demons, did you? They’re a terror to the masses. They flock like birds evading a predator. Only, they are the predators. I would find it horrifying if one would come after me. But fifty? A hundred? A thousand? Time to bring out the big guns.
As many of you probably know, and if you’ve read me long enough, I’m a lover of old school zombies. I enjoy seeing them lurch, drag, lumber their way from one corridor to the next in close proximity to where humans become their main dish. Not much goes on in their deteriorating puss sacks except for a few thoughts, which is possibly instinct anyway. Where’s the food? Need the food. Eat food. It would be quite a challenge when two of these belly suckers have their victim trapped, one at the foot of the stairs as another makes its way down, all the while the victim says their prayers, smack dab in the middle, of course.
I suppose the reason for these slow encounters in the past had to do with how Hollywood shot zombies back then. Unless A-list stars took top billing in projects, budgets for these films remained as close to a shoestring as possible. Even more so, if a movie did have an A-list star attached to the project, the film wouldn’t guarantee a heavy reliance on special effects to get their point across. The audience was different back in the Sixties and Seventies, folks could sit through a two and a half hour movie where the characters do nothing but talk.
To pile more stuff on the DNR table, technology back then did not permit super-fast zombies to exist either. So even if a smart producer were to have said they could see zombies that could sprint the streets and crash into trucks like stampeding elephants, studios wouldn’t know how to present such a scenario. They would have needed the imagination of Steven Spielberg to aid in the quest to bring these creatures to life. But Spielberg was too busy making sharks look larger than life than to worry about making zombies fast.
Anyway, that’s my two-paragraph Hollywood history lesson I didn’t mean to write yet appeared in an edited stream of consciousness writing session. What was my point again? Oh, yes. I like slow zombies.
Then I Am Legend made its debut. Already I hear the sharpening of the knives. Yes, I know these creatures are vampires—in. the. book. The movie however, makes no distinction. The audience can look at these creatures as vampires. Alternatively, they can look at them as zombies. It’s entirely open for interpretation. Nevertheless, the point being, these creatures are super-fast, able to crash into cars with very little damage to themselves, and leap, dash, plummet in bounds. Not much different from the zombies in World War Z, right?
Now, I have to admit something. I like fast zombies too. I think, hadn’t it been for today’s special effects, fast zombies wouldn’t have been possible. Stories with these undead involve being out in the open with them chasing after you. Hollywood has the technology to do it now. And, well, I’m kind of embracing it knowing there’s an infinitely vast potential of story left to watch from the movie studios featuring these rambunctious creatures.
Those are my thoughts on the subject.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.
What do you think of fast zombies?