Summer of Zombie Sunday June 14
(see excerpts and links below)
Our co-blogger talks Zombies vs Monsters
Zombies vs. Other Monsters
By Jessica Robinson
Recently, I was surfing the channels looking for something to watch, and I noticed that Tremors (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100814/?ref_=ttloc_loc_tt) was on. I haven’t seen this movie in years, so I decided to watch it. It’s still one of my faves.
One of the things I really like about the film is that the location they are in looks a whole lot like Wyoming. It was filmed in California, but the desert with the mountains is the same terrain we have around here. As kids, we used to run into the desert by my parents’ house and play Tremors. We had so much fun!
The other thing that struck me as I was watching the film was how isolated the characters are. The town they live in is tiny and far away from others. There are only a few of them that the underground creatures can target.
And that made me think about other horror movies. The vast majority of them take place in secluded locations and affect a relatively small group of people. Zombie films are really the only ones that take place on a global scale.
Seriously, think about it. In Friday the 13th (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080761/?ref_=nv_sr_2), the vast majority of the deaths occur at Camp Crystal Lake, and the teens have to venture there to die. Jason and Mrs. Voorhees don’t often leave the area. In the one film when Jason does, Part 8 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097388/?ref_=nv_sr_4), it’s not like he goes after everyone in New York. If they get in his way, he takes them down, but his focus is still on the teens who came through his home.
In A Nightmare on Elm Street (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087800/?ref_=nv_sr_1), the murders take place in a slightly larger town, but it still only affects a small percentage of the population. If Freddy can interject himself into the dreams of the teens, surely he can invade the dreams of anyone he wants anywhere in the world. But he doesn’t.
Same goes with Halloween (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077651/?ref_=nv_sr_1).
And what about vampire films? These creatures live eternally and travel the world, but they keep their feeding to a small area. I’m sure if they really wanted to they could take out a vast majority of the population—they have super human strength and, in some cases, magic powers—but they don’t. They usually try to stay hidden. Which, honestly, isn’t a bad plan since they could easily be overpowered by an angry mob and killed.
Zombies are the only monsters that completely wipe out the vast majority of the human race. For a zombie film to be truly scary, it has to take place in a highly populated area and it has to wipe out the vast majority of the population. There has to be lots and lots of people around who could become potential victims. There’s no tension otherwise.
As I was watching Tremors, I tried to imagine what it would be like if the creature was a zombie instead of an underground worm. And it just wasn’t the same. First of all, if it’s a traditional Romero zombie, it’s going to be super slow moving. The characters would be able to see it coming from a long way away and take care of it with a sniper rifle. Boom. End of story.
Even if there happened to be more than one zombie, the terrain isn’t exactly zombie friendly. It would get tangled in a bush or caught in a barbed wire fence or trip over a rock or fall into a ditch, then they could kill it when they wanted. End of story.
Even if it was a fast zombie, there would be too many obstacles that it needed to get around. It just wouldn’t work the same.
I have to say, though, that I think it would be fascinating to see if someone could make it work. I mean, Dead Snow (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1278340/?ref_=nv_sr_2) happened in a remote location with a small group of victims, and that was a damn fine movie. I think it can be done, but it would be a challenge.
What do you think? Can you think of other zombie films that happened in a remote location and were good?
Sunday June 14
J.E. Gurley Guest Post
Fast? Or slow Zombies...
Fast? Or slow Zombies...
First, we must define the term zombie. A Zombie is a person who has lost sense of self-awareness and identity and cares only for the destruction of any live human being. Their condition is usually contagious. There are many types of zombies: Crawlers – legless; Shamblers or Walkers – slow movers; and Runners – very fast, sometimes endowed with superhuman strength. Read the rest…
Jessica Robinson Guest Post (see above)
John Palisano Guest Post
WHERE YOU COME FROM
Settings in Zombie fiction
By John Palisano
How can a city be a character? Isn’t it just a series of roads? Buildings? A created architecture? Yes. And no.
Anyone with a pulse who has visited New Orleans can feel the presence of something else in the air. It’s as though there is some other mysterious quotient oozing its way through every brick and iron gate. The city possesses you. It’s not just one thing. It’s difficult to pinpoint. Writers have spent novels on trying to capture what it feels like. When they do, it’s magic. Would Interview with the Vampire be the same anywhere else? Absolutely not. Louisiana definied so much of what made that book unique and unforgettable. As we’ve seen in subsequent installments in Anne Rice’s vampire stories, placing the characters in different locations can radically change the tone and feel of a story, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for much worse. Read the rest...
PM Barnes Guest Post
Zombies… are us?
What makes us love zombies? Maybe love is too strong a word, but what makes them interesting to us? Why do we continue to patron movies, watch TV shows and read books with the theme of the undead?
I think the answer to this question is simpler and may be more sinister than people think. Zombies as opposed to other horror subjects like monsters, aliens or out of control animals, are us. Whether it is people who are reanimated due to toxic waste or hordes that are transformed by a virus that produces blinding rage, they are human beings. Read the rest…
Saul Tanpepper Guest Post
Rock the Rot: Demystifying Decay in the Undead
With a fondness that the uninitiated have difficulty fathoming, we fans of the undead often find ourselves referring to the zombie scourge as rotters. But the use of such an epithet belies a systemic lapse by contributors to the literature: our rotters don’t rot. At least, not in ways that adhere to the natural processes of decay.
Putting aside arguments of suspension of disbelief (after all, we’re talking reanimation here!), it’s understandable that writers in the genre generally eschew the technical minutiae of decay in their stories, opting instead to focus on the dramatic details that move a plot along. What fun would it be if we forced our zombies to conform strictly to the laws governing decomposition? Read the rest…
Jay Wilburn Guest Post
What’s So Scary About Zombies Anymore?
I was on a zombie panel at Mid South Con in Memphis this past March 2015. It was mildly attended as zombie panels tend to be at broad fandom conventions. We had a discussion afterward whether or not zombie panels are becoming part of the white noise of the zombie subgenre. During the panel, questions from the audience steered into the realm of what ideas work in zombie stories and what notions pushed them, the audience members and readers, out of the story. Some of the complaints seemed to be specific to the individuals in some ways and those are hard to address in writing a story for every man. The discussion drifted into what actually makes a zombie scary anymore and I contended then and still do now that zombies don’t necessarily have to be scary for the zombie story to work as a horror story or as a piece of literature apart from horror specifically. Read the rest…
BONUS! You can also order a cool T-shirt from the event.
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