This week the League is calling for a write-up on a topic which is rather synonym to the very core of my existence in the pop culture realm. So let’s see what I can come up with when I talk about…..______________________________
The dead have arisen…
I’ve actually posted a bit about zombies in one of my previous Pop Culture League (PCL) essays (was it the last one? In the Here There Be Monsters article I think?) but I’ll talk about them again here albeit a bit more elaborate to fulfill this week’s challenge.
So how should I say this? Zombies or walkers or lurkers or the undead or whatever you may want to call them has always been my fascination. Deep down inside I get this tiny feeling that most of us secretly want a zombie apocalypse to happen so that we could quickly go down to our DIY stores and finally pick those machetes, spades or crowbars up as defence (or offence?!) against the undead.
The irony is that I am a person who firmly believes that I should not pay for something that’ll scare the crap out of me. I generally dislike watching horror movies although there are several exceptions to the rule and one of them are zombie movies.
Having said all of those, my infatuation with zombies is not merely confined to movies and TV series but for print materials as well.
Let us now go through the many zombie-rific stuff that rocked my world:
1 – George Romero’s movies – I literally grew up with Romero’s movies. As a kid in the 80s who spent his afternoons re-watching Romero’s marvelous films over and over again (after I was done with homework of course!) I began to develop that somewhat sadistic appreciation towards the art of brain bashing. The special effects were very minimal of course at the time and heavy usage of CGIs were virtually non-existent….and I loved it! But Romero’s movies (like any other great movies of our time) were not merely an outlet for displaying his mastery of gore but they were also instrumental in educating us kids that disaster/apocalypse brings out either the best or the worse in human behavior. Yup, they were deep in meaning but we were too young to understand it.
2 – Other B-grade zombie flicks – Don’t underestimate the power of B-grade/low-budget/indie zombie flicks for they sometime contain fresh plots that we’ve never seen in the big budgeted mainstream zombie films. While most mainstream films offer a somewhat similar premise i.e. outbreak-humans get infected-a group of survivors-yadayadayada….. these small budget movies can sometime spring few surprises in the plot department. I’m not gonna go very detail and name many here because there are simply too many to begin with (a trip with uncle Google with give you a busload of recommendations). But if I have to name a couple then I’d say check out Peter Jackson’s cult classic “Dead Alive” and 2007’s “Rec”…..and please don’t get me started with Warm Bodies…hahah.
3 – Zombie comedy – Ok, I’m not gonna lie here but I think I’ve only seen just few movies that fits the bill in this category and that’s Shaun of The Dead. When it comes to great modern British comedy, nobody does it better than Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. So when Pegg and Frost decided to dip their hands into the zombie genre you can be sure that all hell will break loose! Quirky Brit funny dialogues coupled with Pegg and gang’s humor, the movie is actually movie #1 in a series of British comedic genre films dubbed the Cornetto Trilogy. Zombieland on the other hand tells you about a group of random survivors from the American point of view. How about Woody Harrelson-Jesse Eisenberg-Emma Stone –Bill Murray(?) in the same movie? The result is hilarious.
A thought to ponder…..now could Evil Dead possibly be in the comedy genre?
3 – Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comics – I must admit that I was rather skeptical when I first read Robert Kirkman’s TWD comic (I got myself the thick compendium trade paperback since I’ve missed the boat to collect from issue #1) simply because it was black and white. But once I started to flip through the first few pages I was hooked. Hooked I tell ya! This is a modern zombie tale but you kinda get that old school vibe in the absence of colored pages. Finally a zombie comic book that is both continuous and never ending in nature. What more could you ask for really?
4 – AMC’s The Walking Dead TV series (Season 7 coming up real fast later this month. Woohoo!) – If you have no clue whatsoever of this TV series then I shall assume that you’d probably spent the last 6 years or so living in a cave with no contact with the outside world. This award-winning series is now heading towards its 7th season and you need not be a fan of Kirkman’s comics to enjoy it. Zombie-bashing action at its very best on a weekly basis makes fan boys scream in delight. Even so many fans are crying foul that the TV series do not follow the stuff that has happened in the comic pages frame by frame. Now where’s the fun in that?
5 – Zombie action figures
i. McFarlane Toys TWD TV series action figures – I’ve been religiously trying to complete my TV series action figure line up since it was first released many years ago (remember that weird contorted Daryl Dixon figure from wave 1?). I’m a bit gutted now that McFarlane Toys decided to ditch their 5” line and concentrate on ‘staction’ like 7” figures. There are many more characters yet to be done for the 5” line and their decision to pull the hand brake couldn’t have come at a more worse time since the Negan story arc is coming up next in Season 7. Anyway, I think I have more human characters than the walkers themselves…..shouldn’t I be having more walkers/zombies action figures since they are the focal point of the whole premise, right?
ii. Random zombie toys - These are my two favorite non TWD zombie collectibles: