Saturday, June 22, 2013

Zombie rules

I'm a fan of zombie movies.  Long-time readers will know that I've watched a ton of them, and I'm always looking for more.  I've seen good ones, bad ones, many that blur that line, and some that were so awful I was surprised I bothered to finish them.  After viewing all of those films and having quite a few conversations with other zombie fans, I've come to believe that a few basic rules should govern all zombie films.

Those rules all stem from a basic axiom that many zombie filmmakers and writers fail to believe:  Zombies are a metaphor for death.  They are inevitable.  They come for all of us.  They are not quick, but they never stop coming.

Once you accept this axiom, the rules are clear and simple.

Zombies shamble.  Period.  They do not run, fly, leap, or engage in any sort of acrobatics.  They don't need to.  They'll find us inevitably.

Zombies don't organize themselves.  They hear, they may smell, and they make noises that lead other zombies to follow them, but that's as far as zombie communication goes.  They most certainly do not form groups or split up to make escape harder on us.

Beyond seeking out humans to eat, zombies don't think.  They don't fall in love, operate heavy machinery, make a plan, or do anything more complicated than tracking down and eating people.  

If a zombie bites you, you become a zombie.  There's no way around it.  The bite of the zombie is the touch of death's cold hand.  The best you can do is take a bullet to the brain so you die rather than turn into one of death's agents.

Zombies will eat anyone.  They don't care if you're male or female, young or old, healthy or sick, strong or frail--none of that matters.  If a zombie gets its hands on you, you're zombie chow. 

There is no zombie zero.  You don't get to know where zombies started.  Like death, they've simply always been.  

A zombie is a zombie is a zombie.  They're effectively all the same.  There are no super-zombies, no scarier-than-all-the-others zombies.  A zombie is frightening enough all on its own.

There is no cure for being a zombie.  Once you're bitten, you become a zombie until someone destroys you.  

The only way to destroy a zombie is to stop its brain.  You can decapitate a zombie, put a bullet in its head, burn it so the brain is gone, nuke it--anything as long as you stop its brain.  Until you do, though, it will keep on trying to come for you.  Nothing else will stop it.

Simple, right? So simple that you'd think more filmmakers would adhere to them, but in the constant quest to create something new, people invent new rules and new types of zombies. 

I'm fine with people doing that, but the results are never true zombie films; they're hybrids, part zombie flicks and part something else.

None of this, by the way, means that I can't greatly enjoy a semi-zombie film that breaks many of these rules.  Warm Bodies, for example, is a fun, touching movie that breaks almost all of the rules, and I loved it. 

It's just not a pure zombie movie. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've really enjoyed the "Ex-Heroes" and "Ex-Patriots" books, which live up to about 99% of your criteria.
Have a fun vaca, Mark!
-old aggie


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