There’s a rather annoying epidemic spreading its way through my place of work at the moment: The Walking Dead. Every single one of my colleagues is fucking obsessed and it’s all they talk about. At the start of the week they dissect the newest episode as many times as possible and they spend the rest of the week speculating about the next one. It’s driving me fucking insane. I’ve tried so hard to enjoy The Walking Dead and have endured friends telling me how well-made it is, how good the effects are, how brilliant the characters and storylines are, blah blah blah. I watched the first series: well some of the first series. I couldn’t do it. I don’t want to focus this rant on the quality of the show or the comic book because I’m really in no position. I’m here to admit to something a lot of us are thinking but not enough people are saying: I hate The Walking Deadbecause zombies are fucking boring.
Zombies are everywhere these days: just as Twilight caused an over-saturation of sexy fantasy fiction, the popularity of The Walking Dead has helped to flood the market with fucking zombies. Obviously, TWD wasn’t the first but it can’t be denied that its loyal audience has helped create a society in which there is a seemingly endless stream of zombie films and games released every 12 months. OK, we fucking get it. Zombies are in. But why?
Really, what is the appeal of zombies? They’ve been so overused that its becoming fucking predictable. It’s the same with all aspects of the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic genre these days. The plots are just clichéd and repetitive. It’s not wonder they are so easy to make: paint-by-numbers film-making. There’s an outbreak, followed by most people dying and causing a situation where a small but diverse group of people must make it to a safe-zone to find a possible cure. Obviously, along the way they encounter much danger, lose a fair few of their group and generally grow as human beings. Bonus points for any gruff, hard-ass opening up and revealing the sympathetic and kind person they are underneath.
There’s just no real way to diversify zombies. The only way to do it is to show a specific section of society getting infected first. To name but a few we’ve seen zombie cheerleaders, zombie strippers, zombie Nazis, zombie sheep, zombie drug addicts, zombie punks and zombie teenagers. It’s still the same fucking film. It’s like Steven Moffat
and his fucking Weeping Angels: ‘Don’t Blink’ is still one of the greatest episodes of the modern series but the more the Angels were brought back the more broing they became. It’s just the same situation over and over again. Any fear they once brought is lost.
And are zombies even that scary anyway? I can certainly think of much more terrifying things than mindless, slow, and bumbling undead humans. My university campus was terrorised by a devil goose, I know what real fear is. Let’s be honest, zombies aren’t even that hard to kill. Look at every zombie film/game that you’ve had experience with and look at how simple they are to kill. You can fight them off with a selection of flowers for fucks sake.
Zombies are pretty flawed when it comes to survival thanks to their major Achilles’ heel: one shot to the head and boom. Plus, their attack isn’t the deadliest. Biting is only a successful attack if you have the strength or precision to pull it off. These aren’t vampires, zombies aren’t able to subdue their foe before they can sink their teeth in. A zombie just comes towards you moaning with outstretched arms and a gaping mouth. Let’s be honest, in a real world situation, I think they’d be easier to fight off than Hollywood would like us to believe.
That’s part of the appeal for zombies though, of course. Out of all the fantasy creatures utilised in modern day films, zombies are, probably, the most realistic or, at the very least, the most likely to happen in real life. Even if that is true, it doesn’t mean its going to fucking happen. There is a large part of society nowadays that has put more effort into preparing for a zombie apocalypse than they have about genuine problems, like world hunger or global warming. I work with a guy who has given more thought to what he’d do in the unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse than he has about what he’s doing with his fucking life. It’s insane.
This guy also happens to be a massive zombie fan and was the one who pushed me so vehemently into giving the show a chance. After spending months listening to him tell me it was the greatest feat of CGI and writing around, I was sorely disappointed when it was actually just an ordinary TV show with special effects that, actually, aren’t that spectacular. Besides, I don’t think I want to be part of a fandom where an admittedly small group of people object more to watching two guys kiss than the endless violence the show glamorises. TWD fans I’ve encountered are perhaps the most stubborn of all TV fandoms. Anytime I’ve tried to discuss my disappointment with my colleague, he’s just failed to grasp that anyone could dislike it. Clearly, I was at fault: I’m just not ‘getting it’.
He was exactly the same with The Last of Us. Back in December, I finally upgraded my old PlayStation 1 (which I’d been living with after my PS2 broke a few years ago) to a PS3. I was told by this same co-worker that the first game I should play was The Last of Us because it was one of the greatest games he’s ever played (I’m pretty sure he says this about everything though). I played it and, almost instantly, got bored of the fucking zombies. I wanted so badly to like it because it looks fucking amazing and the storyline seems pretty well-written for this kind of game. But, the fucking zombies, man. Since I first got the game, I’ve made it through about 30 minutes of gameplay and haven’t touched it since. I’ve replayed the first two Lego Star Wars games instead because it’s much more fun.
I don’t know, maybe its because, in my uni days, I wasted 190 hours (according to Steam) on PvsZ? Maybe I’m just bitter because over a week of my life is gone forever thanks to these undead bastards? Whatever it is, it feels as though zombies are fucking everywhere and they just need to be stopped. It’s like those few weeks just before Christmas when you’re excitement has gone way down because you’ve been forced to listen to Mariah Carey one too many times. Hollywood stretched the zombie genre to the limit years ago but they just won’t fucking stop.
For all those waiting for the influx of undead creatures, you just need to come to work with me and see for yourselves. Zombies are all around us: they’re just too busy watching zombies on their TV screens to attack any of us.