Z is for Zombie



Alright, ground rules.  If we’re going to talk Zombies, we’re going to have to get a few things straight.  Here’s my 10 commandments of Zombiehood 

  1. Zombies deserve a capital Z.  That’s how you show how badass they are.
  2. Slow Zombies are lame.  They are not scary.  Maybe they were, way back when, I’m not sure because I wasn’t there.  What I can say, without any doubt in my heart, is that for a guy brought up on First Person Shooters, movies with ever-increasing body counts, and a government who shows gun camera footage during their frigging press conferences, a bunch of shamblers is not a threat.  Overwhelming numbers be damned, if you don’t have enough bullets to take care of that sort of thing, your movie/book may well be already running for the Mayor of Snoreville.  Fast Zombies = threat.  Yeah, yeah, Cold War Berlin Wall slow Zombie political undertones blah blah blah.  I’ll walk away from your undertone ridden Zombies, firing a gun in one hand and eating a ham sandwich in the other, Alanis Morisette style.  I’m all for social commentary, but slow Zombies are begging for a headshot.
  3. Zombie novels are HARD.  Nameless adversaries and uncertain conditions of infection/invasion make for a lot of writers to go the “Oh my god he’s bitten and we didn’t even know it” route.  Such things are no fun, at least not to me.  Keeping it new, when the enemy doesn’t do a lot of new things, is what kills a lot of these movies/books.  King knows this, and so do a few others.
  4. I’m going to write one, and I won’t even care if it sucks.  It’ll be fun, and that’s all that matters.  If I like it, maybe others will too.  Thatt’s a good place to start, at least.
  5. Rob Zombie is a god, and White Zombie was his flesh-lined, rib-spoked, bone chariot.
  6. Will Smith’s I Am Legend was, I am certain, shot as a decent movie with one interesting idea that could have worked.  It was then watered down until it was made of nothing other than water.  Two great specfic stories in a row, Will, ruined.  You rock. 
  7. Diary of the Dead is lame.
  8. The first 20 minutes of a good Zombie movie is always the best, but sadly, almost always the same.
  9. A shopping mall is not the only place a small group of survivors can fortify.
  10. If a person is not infected, that makes them a good person, who you will automatically include in your group, despite your limited resources and the fact that group dynamics amongst people who hardly know each other in a stressful environment, right?  After all, if the Zombies didn’t get them, it stands to reason that they must be the best person to move forward with in the new world you’re inevitably going to forge.  Correct?


Any thoughts?  This is just me revving myself up to write something different, so arguments/rants/insults are always welcome.


5 responses to “Z is for Zombie

  • benfrancisco

    Have you read World War Z yet? Brooks actually manages to make slow-moving zombies – sorry, Zombies – terrifying as they have never been before. Also, he goes way beyond the usual Zombie tropes, in a fully imagined, richly detailed global Zombie war. By far the best Zombie story I’ve ever read on paper.

  • Daniel

    I highly recommend David Wellington’s Monster Island series. An amazing zombie story yet so much more. Definitely novesl that besides just being plain great, they push and expand what a zombie could be…

  • hydrolith

    Not sure what I think about zombies. They ruined my Thief playing experience back when I used to play first person shooters. I get bored by the small-band-of-survivors-dying-one-by-one-at-the-end-of-the-world kind of zombie story, mostly because they’re all the same. But I don’t mind and often quite like zombie humour (Sean of the Dead, etc). Seeing as they’re often used metaphorically for social critique — and are apparently a useful genre for first-time directors on a low-budget — I guess humour’s an effective way to make the point. I thought the zombie stories in Dreaming Again were different enough from the bog standard to be interesting, but I probably wouldn’t pick up an entire book of them. Maybe that’s why I need to do one…

  • christophergreen

    I read World War Z (and the Zombie Survival Guide) and liked them both, but found the way the story is told, via the stories of survivors, to be too removed to draw me in. I have yet to read the Monster Island series, though looks like that should be next on my list. Ah, Zombies and Thief, I’d forgotten about those 🙂 A lot of the things you’ve listed that bore you, Chris, bore me too, so it’ll be a fun challenge to avoid them.

    I’m selfish, so I’ll be posting more Zombie thoughts, soon if only to see what gets generated in the discussion

  • Jason Fischer

    Oh man. I love a good zombie story. The only problem being that the genre has been strip-mined and most new stories are picking over the leftover bits. Very very hard to come up with an original spin on this very popular trope. I didn’t mind the first half of Cell, at least it was slightly original.

    Loved the Max Brooks books, and I do believe World War Z has been optioned? Will be very interesting to see the end result.

    Diary of the Dead is not Romero’s finest moment 🙂 Land of the Dead=perfect zombie movie. I’m so glad to see I’m not the only one who didn’t mind the swift zombies in the Dawn of the Dead remake. I know, I know, rigour mortis etc. But don’t tell me the armless asian jogger guy didn’t scare a few folks! that was AWESOME.

    I would suggest that if you’re going to write and submit a zombie novel either

    a) change the post-apocalyptic themes to something less genre-hammered.
    b) make it as extrememly kick-arse as you can and submit it to Permuted Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: