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World War Z, types of zombies and the evolution of the genre
June 24, 2013 12:03 PM   Subscribe

"I think a major change in zombie behavior in this was if something were to bite you, well, you're still fresh, you're still able to move quickly. But now you don't think about yourself. You only think about where's my next bite, where's my next takedown. And you will run as fast as you can because you're still healthy, and you'll lead with your teeth to take the next human down..." says Scott Farrar, visual effects supervisor of World War Z, on the fast moving and swarming zombies in the movie.

The undead haven't always moved so quickly. Traditionally, they've been slow and lumbering. But Zack Snyder's 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake changed the rules. Fans howled at the change, which infected the internet with numerous debates about the differences between "runners" and "walkers," the evolution of zombies and the ongoing commercialization of the genre.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (212 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
But Zack Snyder's 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake changed the rules.

What? No. 28 Days Later had fast zombies 2 full years before that.

....which i see the unbearably slow-to-load slate article mentions. hisss.
posted by elizardbits at 12:04 PM on June 24, 2013 [25 favorites]


28 Days Later and the subsequent 'fast zombie' movies freak me TF out! Zombies are NOT supposed to be fast. *cries in the corner*
posted by _paegan_ at 12:07 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


What? No. 28 Days Later had fast zombies 2 full years before that.

Whatever, bite me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:09 PM on June 24, 2013 [14 favorites]


....which i see the unbearably slow-to-load slate article mentions.

See, we don't need faster zombies. We need faster web servers.
posted by webmutant at 12:09 PM on June 24, 2013 [13 favorites]


Ironically I have pinkeye today.
posted by elizardbits at 12:10 PM on June 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


If it’s possible for thousands of undead organizing themselves into a corpse pyramid to feel “real,” then World War Z feels real.

Fast or slow is one thing, but if they're doing anything besides "advance toward humans, eat humans," then they're not goddamn zombies. An accidental corpse pyramid? Sure, fine. But this was clearly a swarming behavior, and that's not zombies, so fuck you, corrupters of World War Z.
posted by Etrigan at 12:11 PM on June 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


I watched 28 days later alone in my apartment living downtown and then subsequently REFUSED to go to the public market with my wife. Hell no. That's how they getcha. Fuck fast moving zombies. Fuck em.
posted by iamabot at 12:11 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake is both his best movie and the most pointless since why the hell did you need to remake Dawn of the Dead?
posted by octothorpe at 12:12 PM on June 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


28 Days Later and the subsequent 'fast zombie' movies freak me TF out! Zombies are NOT supposed to be fast.

One of the scariest scenes in a movie for me was the start of 28 Weeks Later, with Robert Carlyle running across that clearing to the lake in full daylight and the camera panning out to a hillside of infected running after him at full speed. That combination flicks a full panic switch in me.

The inevitable crush of slow zombies flicks another panic switch--just as nightmarish--but a different switch.
posted by gladly at 12:14 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


28 Days Later and similar had a significant effect upon the revamp of my apocalypse preparedness planning, much in the same way that Jurassic Park affected my theme park/wildlife reserve emergency preparedness planning.
posted by elizardbits at 12:14 PM on June 24, 2013 [20 favorites]


octothorpe: what was the point of Sucker Punch?
posted by biffa at 12:14 PM on June 24, 2013


One of the things I appreciated about 28 Days Later and the recent game, Last of Us, is that they deal with what happens to the zombies over time. I'm completely willing to accept that a zombie can be fast at first and maybe it slows down as it decomposes. Walking Dead bothers me a little because it doesn't seem to touch on this at all (as far as I'm aware). The zombies decompose, but never seem to lose their mobility.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 12:15 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the first Dawn, scores of shopping-mall-bound corpses ride escalators in an endless loop and wobble listlessly to Muzak.

Now *those* are real zombies.
posted by mediareport at 12:17 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


But this was clearly a swarming behavior, and that's not zombies, so fuck you, corrupters of World War Z.

I loved it, the zombies were pack animal like, it was great, along with the more science grounded take.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:18 PM on June 24, 2013


If it’s possible for thousands of undead marketing execs organizing themselves into a corpse earned media pyramid to feel “real,” then World War Z feels real.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:18 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ironically I have pinkeye today

It starts with pinkeye and quickly moves to screaming.
posted by arcticseal at 12:19 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eh it's also worth noting that the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead goes running after Barbara (who They're Coming To Get), crashing through the trees in the cemetery after she goes sprinting through the car. See here.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:20 PM on June 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Why do the zombies bite things if they don't eat them? What do they possibly get out of that?

What do zombies eat?

Why wouldn't injuries to cartilage, bones, etc. disable their ability to walk or run?

Why would they possibly be faster?

Why wouldn't they starve to death and die out rather quickly?

I understand that in the book there are zombies walking around the ocean floor. Under what sort of logic would this even be remotely possible?

I am all for suspending certain rules of physics to allow for the supernatural to occur in movies, but zombies seem completely arbitrary. They try to use some sort of science to explain why things are the way they are, but then the just discard science with no explanation when it suits them. It is important to lay down the rules at the beginning and then stick to those rules. Otherwise, anything is possible and nothing makes sense.

This also reminds me that I never commented in a previous Star Trek thread where people were bitching that the Enterprise could never go underwater because the pressure would crush it (as an aside, water pressure apparently does not crush zombies) and the weight of the water running off the surface of it as it emerges from the water would snap the Enterprise into pieces.

In this future world, they have the ability to travel at the speed of light. They also have the ability to dematerialize objects and have them reappear in another place. They can even dematerialize living beings and have them reappear completely alive and well. And you think that having a ship be able to withstand pressure from water is the unrealistic scientific claim of the movie? If I had to guess the order of those things being accomplished at some point, I am pretty sure that my list would look like this:

First: Ability to make a ship that can withstand water pressure.
Second: Ability to make a ship that can travel at the speed of light.
Third: Ability to make things dematerialize and reappear someplace else.

If the zombies had behaved more like rabid animals (bite when provoked or near something rather than seek out things to bite), I might have found it a bit more believable.
posted by flarbuse at 12:21 PM on June 24, 2013 [16 favorites]


. An accidental corpse pyramid?

They do mention the zombies piling up to get over walls in the book like it's a swarming thing. I just looked it up last weekend to settle the argument two friends were having.
posted by fshgrl at 12:21 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Return of the Living Dead had fast zombies way back in 1985 and it is a classic.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:23 PM on June 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


They do mention the zombies piling up to get over walls in the book like it's a swarming thing. I just looked it up last weekend to settle the argument two friends were having.

It's been a while since I read it, but my recollection of that was less "piling up over 500-foot wall" than "a bunch of them pressing against a 12-foot wall, and some of them get crushed, and the others just keep walking, and they're now a little higher, etc. etc."
posted by Etrigan at 12:24 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Romero blamed the shift to swift-footed undead on video games.
...
“I still don’t agree with it. If zombies are dead, how can they move fast?


Romero correctly points out that according to Science, dead people can ONLY move at about 2 miles per hour, MAX. That is the fastest we have ever recorded a dead person running IRL.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:24 PM on June 24, 2013 [60 favorites]


Ahem there are no Zombies in 28 days later. They are normal humans infected with a rage virus. The Homo Romerus Zombie is a recenty deceased person whose body has been re-animated via virus or other natural external matter. The original Voo-doo, or White Zombie is under the control of an external force or being, and not necessarily dead.

In either case Zombies are slow. Please do not make me come up there.
posted by Gungho at 12:25 PM on June 24, 2013 [27 favorites]


shakespeherian: "Eh it's also worth noting that the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead goes running after Barbara (who They're Coming To Get), crashing through the trees in the cemetery after she goes sprinting through the car."

"You know a place back down the road called Beekman's? Beekman's Diner? Anyhow, that's where I found that truck I have out there. There's a radio in the truck. I jumped in to listen, when a big gasoline truck came screaming right across the road! There must've been ten, fifteen of those things chasing after it, grabbing and holding on. Now, I didn't see them at first. I could just see that the truck was moving in a funny way. Those things were catching up to it."
posted by brundlefly at 12:25 PM on June 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


it's also worth noting that the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead goes running after Barbara (who They're Coming To Get), crashing through the trees in the cemetery after she goes sprinting through the car.

And used a rock to break her car window.
posted by Gelatin at 12:26 PM on June 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


He's also pushing the leaves away from his face because it's super annoying to have leaves whap you in the face. Not really what we expect from zombie behavior nowadays.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:27 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


This doesn't need to be a hypothetical discussion. The answer is normal speed and spastic, followed by inert and fruiting.
posted by R. Schlock at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


it's also worth noting that the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead goes running after Barbara (who They're Coming To Get), crashing through the trees in the cemetery after she goes sprinting through the car.

And used a rock to break her car window.
posted by Gelatin at 3:26 PM on June 24 [+] [!]

A. It was a downhill slope.
B. He was new, didn't know all the rules of being a Zombie. (includes not stopping to eat the freshly killed.)
posted by Gungho at 12:29 PM on June 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


Gungho: "Ahem there are no Zombies in 28 days later. They are normal humans infected with a rage virus."

I'm a huge zombie movie fan, and I've never understood the extreme parsing of what is and is not a zombie. To me, zombie is a sub-genre more than a specific creature, and there's plenty of room for supernatural zombies, virus zombies (include rage-infected humans), chemical/bio-warfare zombies, satellite zombies... It's a big tent. A big tent full of zombies.
posted by brundlefly at 12:30 PM on June 24, 2013 [36 favorites]


Oh, and head crab zombies. Don't forget those.
posted by brundlefly at 12:31 PM on June 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


28 Days Later is a film within the zombie genre, but it is not a film which features zombies. It takes the form but not the content.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:31 PM on June 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ahem there are no Zombies in 28 days later. They are normal humans infected with a rage virus.

Yeah, and vomiting gallons of blood, yet still able to keep moving for a long time, at high speed. They are actually slightly more believable than zombies, there being no "undead" nonsense.

Cracked.com, which I cannot access at work, already dealt with the unreality of zombies persisting very long. Basically, in hot places they'd swell and burst from decay, in cold places they'd shatter, and everywhere, they'd be irresistable snacks to carrion-eating animals. Not to mention the bugs.

Under the ocean, they would be crushed by pressure, or also eaten by carrion-eaters like crabs, or ripped apart by currents. Or all three.
posted by emjaybee at 12:32 PM on June 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


What do you call a zombie door-to-door salesman?
.
.
.
A dead ringer
posted by item at 12:35 PM on June 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Human rioters move pretty quickly; if you want to use the zombie as a stand-in for the "have-nots" wreaking havoc on the "haves", then a bunch of them moving unstoppably at high speed is the way to go.
posted by Renoroc at 12:35 PM on June 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Finally, an argument to replace emacs vs. vi!
posted by tommasz at 12:37 PM on June 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm a huge zombie movie fan, and I've never understood the extreme parsing of what is and is not a zombie. To me, zombie is a sub-genre more than a specific creature, and there's plenty of room for supernatural zombies, virus zombies (include rage-infected humans), chemical/bio-warfare zombies, satellite zombies... It's a big tent. A big tent full of zombies.
posted by brundlefly at 3:30 PM on June 24 [+] [!]


You're almost there. With the exception of rage infected humans all the others you list are Zombies. Provided they were once dead, or in some instances killed by the source and re-animated as a result of the infection they are classified as Homo Romerus. Dead or alive, if they are under the control of another person they are voo-doo or White Zombies. Let's classify them "Homo Lugosi".
posted by Gungho at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Somebody smarter or who knows more about zombies than me should write about how the representation of zombies ("walker" vs. "runner") correlates to ideas about drug addiction ("extended use and circumstance leads to addiction" vs. "reefer madness/one time and you're hooked") in the popular culture.

(If this is a well tread point in zombie discussions, I apologize.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eh it's also worth noting that the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead goes running after Barbara (who They're Coming To Get), crashing through the trees in the cemetery after she goes sprinting through the car.

>And used a rock to break her car window.


It's not just the rock, he's trying to use the door handle the whole time. This guy's a red herring, I don't think he's even dead.
posted by anazgnos at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


Does the movie have "seafloor walking" zombies and "thawed out after winter" zombies? Because those were my favorite types from the book.
posted by sideshow at 12:40 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can someone say in one word whether I should see WWZ or not? I dont want to but I had a dream about it the other day in which I was in it (I look like Brad Pitt) and that was awesome.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:41 PM on June 24, 2013


Under the ocean, they would be crushed by pressure

Uh, no. A zombie's body would be fine. Zombies don't care about the bends.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:41 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does the movie have "seafloor walking" zombies and "thawed out after winter" zombies?

No.

Can someone say in one word whether I should see WWZ or not?

Yes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:42 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Uh, no. A zombie's body would be fine. Zombies don't care about the bends.

The bends comes from nitrogen bubbles in your bloodstream when you're rising too rapidly through pressures. The crushy pressure at the seafloor is a totally separate endeavor.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:43 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, I see your distinction, Gungho. I was just about to bring up Resident Evil (the game, not the movies). It was a virus, but the victims definitely died first. Ignoring, of course, the mutants that became more prevalent as the series progressed.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 12:44 PM on June 24, 2013


I love spring. The leaves growing again. The birds twittering. The zombies thawing out. It's my favorite time of year.
posted by brundlefly at 12:45 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


This guy's a red herring, I don't think he's even dead.

Just some random, psychotic cemetery-wandering weirdo? I'll buy that.
I'll also give him a pass on killing Barbara's brother. That dude was way annoying.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:45 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Eh it's also worth noting that the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead goes running after Barbara (who They're Coming To Get), crashing through the trees in the cemetery after she goes sprinting through the car.

Hmm. That's highly arguable. The first two times we see him he's a shuffler all the way, even up to the point he first attacks. Sure, he stumbles downhill a couple of times from a low camera angle, but that's as much falling as running. Basically, this is his top speed, well within definitional limits for slow zombies, and again, that's going downhill. Btw, the scene also sets up the canonical strength of zombies; they're not weak.

You can justify the picking up the rock as residual brain activity in the newly undead, but the acting doesn't really sell it, so we just won't talk about that part.
posted by mediareport at 12:45 PM on June 24, 2013


Fast or slow is one thing, but if they're doing anything besides "advance toward humans, eat humans," then they're not goddamn zombies. An accidental corpse pyramid? Sure, fine. But this was clearly a swarming behavior, and that's not zombies, so fuck you, corrupters of World War Z.

It didn't look to me as if we were meant to understand any deliberate coordination or complex "swarming" behavior in that scene; I think it was just "zombies hear noise on far side of wall and run towards wall." Whichever zombies are lowest become a platform for the others to climb up.
posted by yoink at 12:46 PM on June 24, 2013


biffa: octothorpe: what was the point of Sucker Punch?

Proving a point about the practical limits of the Bechdel Test.
posted by baf at 12:47 PM on June 24, 2013 [26 favorites]


Can someone say in one word whether I should see WWZ or not?

If you don't like the sound of a multi-million dollar affront to your intelligence, no.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 12:47 PM on June 24, 2013


@flarbuse: This also reminds me that I never commented in a previous Star Trek thread where people were bitching that the Enterprise could never go underwater because the pressure would crush it (as an aside, water pressure apparently does not crush zombies) and the weight of the water running off the surface of it as it emerges from the water would snap the Enterprise into pieces.

Consisting almost entirely of incompressible materials (mostly water), apart from the lungs as long as they're inflated, there's nothing to crush in a zombie. They'd be perfectly fine on the ocean floor, as soon as their lungs are filled with water.
posted by dlg at 12:47 PM on June 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Zombies don't care about the bends.

As well as blood and spinal cord and brain, which isn't a problem for your regular zombie, bends can happen in joints too. I'd bet some zombies, at least, would be disabled in their hips or feet or knees by joint damage.
posted by bonehead at 12:48 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


A zombie doesn't need air, so why would it crush into a puff of blood at the bottom of the ocean, I mean it's lungs will be full of water, so what else is compressible?

All my science knowledge comes from the Abyss
posted by Static Vagabond at 12:49 PM on June 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


It didn't look to me as if we were meant to understand any deliberate coordination or complex "swarming" behavior in that scene; I think it was just "zombies hear noise on far side of wall and run towards wall." Whichever zombies are lowest become a platform for the others to climb up.

Here's where I admit to judging the movie based solely on its trailer, but that big-honking-wall scene certainly looked like they were climbing up one another in a more coordinated way than just "Hey, what's over there, oh good, there's a crush of bodies beneath me." The impressively acute angle of the pyramid made it look much less accidental.
posted by Etrigan at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2013


The ant-like behaviour for wall breaching is a major plot point in the book, and a really cool extrapolation if you figure there are thousands of zombies about. It's not a deliberate strategy on the part of the zombies, but an emergent one, based on their behaviour.
posted by bonehead at 12:53 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake is both his best movie and the most pointless since why the hell did you need to remake Dawn of the Dead?

Suckerpunch is Zack Snyder's best movie as it doesn't ruin anything else.
posted by Artw at 12:54 PM on June 24, 2013 [13 favorites]


Couldn't their lungs just fill with air? Then their density is about the same a water and I don't think the pressure of the deep ocean would do much to them. I mean, that's why fish can exist down there right?

Why would they possibly be faster?

One explanation is that our brains have safety mechanisms built into our brains to keep us from hurting ourselves. The part of a zombie brain that would do that has died so they can move as fast as their muscles will let them, even if it damages their ligaments.
posted by VTX at 12:55 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's where I admit to judging the movie based solely on its trailer

Ah.
posted by yoink at 12:56 PM on June 24, 2013


You can justify the picking up the rock as residual brain activity in the newly undead

In the Romero-verse, residual brain activity seems to increase the longer the dead walked, from the random-milling-and-attacking of Night to the congregating-at-the-mall ("This was an important place in their lives") of Dawn to the Bub-using-a-razor-and-saluting of Day to various zombies using tools in Land. Big Daddy even shows another zombie how to use something heavy to break open a set of glass doors, and of course you have the zombie portrayed by Tom Savini using a machete, not to mention other zombies using guns (albeit with poor coordination -- after all, they're dead; they're all messed up).
posted by Gelatin at 12:56 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


What do zombies eat?

Q: How do you starve a zombie?

A: It's a no-brainer

(ta-dump!)

posted by mmrtnt at 12:59 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The bends wouldn't be an issue unless you have the zombie breathing high-pressure air at depth, then surfacing. It's the high pressure gas that forces extra gas into the tissues, which then bubbles out when the pressure drops.
posted by eriko at 12:59 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey, nitpickers, this is why zombie fictioneers should always talk to Peter Watts first.

The Darwinian Dead
There’s never been any kind of explicit explanation for the zombie apocalypse that kicked off the AMC edition of The Walking Dead, and my understanding is that the graphic canon hasn’t dealt with it either.

This will not stand. And since the series has pretty explicitly described the apocalypse as biological in nature, who better to handle the retcon than the fallen biologist who singlehandedly redeemed the crucifix glitch?
How to build a zombie detector
Zombie brains run cooler than ours. Even if they mimic our behavior exactly, the computational expense behind that behavior will be lower. You can use an MRI to detect zombies!
The Inspirational Undead [It's a Watts' blog entry with pictures. Ick factor = medium-high]
You want a Christmas miracle, kids, here it is: this mutilated bipartite creature connected by sticks and string, waddling furiously into the Cosmetics department in a desperate attempt to keep out from underfoot.
Vampire bonus feature! [Required: 36 minutes and a Flash player in your browser, or 36 minutes, a burning hatred of Flash, and a desire to download some alternative formats.]
posted by maudlin at 1:01 PM on June 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Here's where I admit to judging the movie based solely on its trailer..

Shhh, go back to sleep.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:04 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]




Indeed, thinking about it a bit more, bends are caused by rapid decompression. A zombie strolling from off the Grand Banks to the NJ shore would have plenty of time to decompress safely. I suspect lobsters would be more of a challenge for it. The only zombies who might get the bends are those that climb anchor chains.
posted by bonehead at 1:05 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


-- Simon Pegg, 3 November 2008

Yeah, it's linked in the post.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:06 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It starts with pinkeye and quickly moves to screaming.

This is actually in the sequel to Knocked Up, where the virus spreads by zombies farting on your pillow
posted by Hoopo at 1:09 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


satellite zombies

what
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:10 PM on June 24, 2013


Discussions of what zombies can or cannot do reminds me of theology.

posted by mmrtnt at 1:11 PM on June 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


Fast Zombies don't signify death. They are nature's brutal swift attack. They are the Tsunami, not the plague. They are the bomb on the bus. The bear charging. The bees. Oh god the bees. As more and more disasters occur on live TV, as the water table mounts, and hurricanes wipe out more coastal cities, why the fuck would I dream of a being enveloped slowly? It's happening faster than that right in front of our eyes.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:12 PM on June 24, 2013 [15 favorites]


Zombies don't care about the bends.

Honey Badger don't care about zombies.

posted by mmrtnt at 1:12 PM on June 24, 2013


Discussions of what zombies can or cannot do reminds me of theology.

It *is* theology.
posted by mediareport at 1:12 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's linked in the post.

...The heat has slowed my brain to zombie speed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:16 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It *is* theology.

Identical except for the lack of a credited degree program.

I'm sure to be proven wong on this one

posted by mmrtnt at 1:16 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


As more and more disasters occur on live TV, as the water table mounts, and hurricanes wipe out more coastal cities, why the fuck would I dream of a being enveloped slowly? It's happening faster than that right in front of our eyes.

Exactly, we live in a much faster world now, with an overflow of information. Slow zombies look completely ridiculous to today's population. WWZ somewhat addresses the changed dynamic by having one of its characters call mother nature "a serial killer". But that still implies a level of interest or care that the natural world doesn't have about humanity
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:22 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Slow zombies would be hilarious if they emitted the dial-up noise.
posted by elizardbits at 1:24 PM on June 24, 2013 [24 favorites]


I'd be okay with a zombie apocalypse, I think, because that means there's magic, and magic means WIZARD POWERS.

So as long as I get WIZARD POWERS out of it, we're good.
posted by curious nu at 1:25 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bring back Google Treader!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:26 PM on June 24, 2013


Technological zombies? OMG, you guys, could the Borg just be futuristic zombies?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 1:26 PM on June 24, 2013


Slow zombies would be hilarious if they emitted the dial-up noise.

Moffat Who villain.
posted by Artw at 1:26 PM on June 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


In addition to the zombie using the rock in NotLD, there's also the little girl who kills either her mother or father with a trowel after she turns.

Every book about the supernatural gets to do a little handwaving and invocation of the Rule of Cool, but World War Z in particular among all the works I've read in the last few years suffers mightily once you think about the "rules" it sets up for zombies for even one second.

And I will go to my grave thinking that the Battle of Yonkers is one of the most ridiculous things ever. EVAR.

Slow zombies look completely ridiculous to today's population

Disagree. Slow zombies are frightening because they are inexorable. You might buy yourself some time with some cleverness and preparedness -- years of time even -- but they get you in the end. But, that said, your hero or heroine definitely has a chance to die a natural death in old age in a slow zombie scenario, as long as she or he keeps their cool and doesn't get sold the fuck out by another living human.

Fast zombies -- what's the point of resisting them? Especially since the fast ones also seem to be indestructible and retain far more of their intelligence than slow zombies. If you're in a world with fast zombies, just go ahead and put a bullet in your own head at your earliest convenience. The only way your hero makes it out of a fast zombie scenario is with Plot Armor and Applied Phlebotinum. Which usually makes for a less compelling story in my experience, though of course YMMV.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:30 PM on June 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


Can someone say in one word whether I should see WWZ or not?

Yes.


Ok, so which word is it?
posted by BeeDo at 1:35 PM on June 24, 2013


But, that said, your hero or heroine definitely has a chance to die a natural death in old age in a slow zombie scenario, as long as she or he keeps their cool and doesn't get sold the fuck out by another living human.

Yeah, one of my favorite things about the zombie genre is that the zombies pretty quickly become an environmental hazard, but the amplified stakes reduce human behavior to its basest impulses. The bad guys in zombie fiction are almost always other humans.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:36 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


It seems to me that the initial victims of a zombie virus would be the slow and enfeebled. The first wave of zombies should always have an average age of 65.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:39 PM on June 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Not sure it helps, but if I remember correctly, the cat wasn't any faster and a bit clumsier after returning from the Pet Sematary

posted by mmrtnt at 1:40 PM on June 24, 2013


NO YOU SAID THE THING AND NOW I HAVE COUCH FEAR
posted by elizardbits at 1:41 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fast vs. slow zombies seems to me to be an example of Hitchcock's Surprise vs. Suspense Thesis:
There is a distinct difference between "suspense" and "surprise," and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I'll explain what I mean.

We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let's suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, "Boom!" There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o'clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: "You shouldn't be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!"

In the first case we have given the public fifteen seconds of surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story.
posted by octothorpe at 1:41 PM on June 24, 2013 [22 favorites]


Fast or slow, as long as they aren't Nazis we're cool.
posted by djrock3k at 1:44 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Disagree. Slow zombies are frightening because they are inexorable. You might buy yourself some time with some cleverness and preparedness -- years of time even -- but they get you in the end.

Well no, because they move so slowly they're easy to round up and kill. It doesn't matter if it's one or city of them, they're easy to out walk, let alone out run, pedal or drive.

If you're in a world with fast zombies, just go ahead and put a bullet in your own head at your earliest convenience.

This reads like a good metaphor of modern life, where its speed wears down even the hardiest of humans. Fastmovers put humans on an almost forgotten level, that of raw animalism, which is refreshingly gritty.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:47 PM on June 24, 2013


Eh it's also worth noting that the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead goes running after Barbara (who They're Coming To Get), crashing through the trees in the cemetery after she goes sprinting through the car. See here.

Such a great movie. I still remember where I was when I first saw that - it was on the late show on tv on Halloween night when I was 15. I had been out blowing up things, and that was such an awesome way to end the night.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:47 PM on June 24, 2013


Eh it's also worth noting that the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead goes running after Barbara (who They're Coming To Get), crashing through the trees in the cemetery after she goes sprinting through the car.

>And used a rock to break her car window.

>>It's not just the rock, he's trying to use the door handle the whole time. This guy's a red herring, I don't think he's even dead.


Also, when he shows up later in the film, he has a different haircut. Guy's fucking with us.

Anyway, there is no canonical zombie. Romero's zombies, which aren't called that, are sometimes grey, sometimes green, sometimes have vestigial intelligence, sometimes don't. And they are a huge break from the created-by-blowfish poison, cured by salt zombies of Haitian folklore and early zombie movies.

Return of the Living Dead zombies in the meanwhile -- and note that these films are, in fact, actual sequels to Night of the Living Dead, albeit a different branch of the tree -- has zombies that can reason and eat brains, and can be pretty darn fast.

In some zombie films, its an infection spread by biting. In some, anybody who dies comes back, and the bites merely cause death. In some, zombies are purely supernatural creatures, in some there is some hand-wavy medical reason for their existence (in Night of the Living Dead, both are hinted at.)

So running zombies cannot be discussed in terms of zombie canon, because there is no such thing. The only question is if it makes sense within the world of the film itself, and if it adds to the film.

Whatever its problems, World War Z has added swarming zombies to the canon, and I felt it was a good additions. The film is all right -- it has more in common with disease-panic film like The Hot Zone and Contagion that previous zombie films, which I thought was an interesting tact. But the swarming zombies were pretty cool, and worked in the film, and so I am fine with them.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:48 PM on June 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ah, zombies. Can't understand the appeal. They're just so boring. Now, a zombie that can talk and reason like a person, that's interesting. A zombie that tries to cover up his/her condition, who can walk and laugh and smile just like anyone else. Which I guess would be kind of like vampires--just switch blood sucking with brain eating. Still....excuse me

/off to write zombie novel
posted by zardoz at 1:48 PM on June 24, 2013


But zombies are supposed to be undead. 28 Days Later isn't mentioned in the zombie article because 28 Days Later has people infected with this stupid "Rage" virus. Yes, zombies in Night of the Living Dead also had some kind of mysterious virus but the virus only affected the dead. So when people bitten by the zombies in Romero's films would become zombies themselves, it was only after they died first. Long story short, running zombies are fucking dumb and aren't really zombies, just infected running alive people.
posted by ReeMonster at 1:48 PM on June 24, 2013


Disagree. Slow zombies are frightening because they are inexorable. You might buy yourself some time with some cleverness and preparedness -- years of time even -- but they get you in the end.

Just one more thing: In most zombie films, it turns out that zombies aren't the greatest problem. In fact, once humans are organized, they do pretty well against zombies. It's other humans that are the problem.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:49 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why wouldn't they starve to death and die out rather quickly?

The finale to The Walking Dead will show a future powered by zombies in giant hamster wheels.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 1:50 PM on June 24, 2013


I know a lot of people are tired of zombies but what I am getting tired of is people calling out the behaviour of characters for not being 100% rational all the time. Honestly, people behave like idiots constantly in real life, even more so when panicking, in shock, or even just stressed out. This is not to excuse every poor decision made by characters in every zombie movie, but that reddit comment linked upthread calling out the character firing a gun at zombies when she's been warned not to instead of using a bat? Come on.
posted by Hoopo at 1:51 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just one more thing: In most zombie films, it turns out that zombies aren't the greatest problem.

More accurately, zombies aren't an unsolvable problem - but the severity of the problem varies greatly.

World War Z, the book, uses relatively slow zombies, and emphasizes that the problem zombies presented during the Zombie War is one primarily of logistics and training: finding the stuff you need to defend against and kill zombies, and knowing how to use them. Superweapons and secret anti-zombie science is expressly pooh-poohed in the book. World War Z, the movie, uses extremely fast zombies, and emphasizes that the problem is so severe that training and logistics aren't enough: humans need anti-zombie technology in order to stand a reasonable chance.

And this is fine. The book works because it's a book and you have more time to absorb all of its varied atmospheres, and because it's a book you're never presented with the fact that slow zombies are visually kind of boring and not really the scariest problem in the world. The movie works (sort of - it's not great, but it's far from awful) because it gives immediacy and early on defines exactly how deadly fast the death-infection process is (it's a brilliant scene, probably the best bit of the entire movie) and how terrifyingly difficult it would be to stop fast zombies even when you have soldiers and tanks and such.
posted by mightygodking at 1:57 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


in the 60s and 70s people were scared of pesticides and drugs and radiation. What hath man wrought! We must change ASAP!

Well now it's too late. We didn't change, and all we can do is run like hell to stay ahead of the deluge. The Birds is the first fast zombie movie. The only way to survive is if by some stroke of luck the blood tide abates. Beware! BEWARE!!!!! Lol jk yall but seriously fast zombies are my SHIT.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:00 PM on June 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Uh, no. A zombie's body would be fine. Zombies don't care about the bends.

It's all about amnesiac with them.
posted by ersatz at 2:01 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Zombies don't care about the bends.

Honey Badger don't care about zombies.


Zombies don't care about the Pablo Honey Badger.
posted by biffa at 2:01 PM on June 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Long story short, running zombies are fucking dumb and aren't really zombies, just infected running alive people.

If this were the case then they could be stopped the same way a normal human could be. Take out any vital system (heart, lungs, etc) or just do enough damage and they'd be dead. IIRC, this is how they're treated in 28 Days Later. But in other movies with fast zombies, they can get chopped in half and still keep crawling. If the only way to "kill" the zombie is with a head-shot, it's already dead.
posted by VTX at 2:03 PM on June 24, 2013


I wonder if television rights are different from movie rights in that deal. AMC's WWZ anyone?
posted by butterstick at 2:04 PM on June 24, 2013


Return of the Living Dead had fast zombies way back in 1985 and it is a classic.

I'm glad someone mentioned this, it's my favorite zombie movie ever, and if you stop and think about it, the most terrifying. Every other zombie movie has dumb zombies, and only human. RotLD has intelligent, suffering zombies that crave brains to stop the pain of feeling themselves rotting, and they just, can't, die. Nothing you do will kill them short of cremating, but then that will just create more as the smoke ends up in the rain. The "split dog" that comes to life, and the butterflies, was terrifying to me, still is. I forget the writer, but he said something to the effect of "if rats can become zombies, and spread it, we would be seriously fucked, the end." Most zombie movies or stories is just slow humans, and really, not much to fear there. The zombies in RotLD killing the paramedics, then getting on the radio and saying "Send more paramedics.", scary. They wrapped it in humor, but sit down and really think about the rules of those zombies, and what hell it would be.
posted by usagizero at 2:04 PM on June 24, 2013 [14 favorites]


The difference between a fast zombie and a slow one is everything, it's the difference between an action horror and a psychological thriller, and I'm a fan of the latter. A fast zombie is the same as a heavily armored SWAT team armed with knifes coming after you.

The beauty of the slow zombie is time, in every way you should have the wits to survive, you can out think them, outpace them and so there is real hope of a haven but then the danger shifts to food, shelter and other humans, worries that are very relatable to most people-- you might be nice and safe knocking down your staircase and living upstairs, but when the food runs low-- the zombies are still there waiting, always waiting.
posted by Static Vagabond at 2:06 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's other humans that are the problem.

See, there is something about this trend that bugs the hell out of me. All you need to do is look at history, and you will see this is false in the long term. The current trend of "people suck" isn't what really happens when the shit hits the fan. There is a short term crazy spot, but people end up bonding more, and forming tribes, especially in the long term. The isolationist survivalists just end up fading away, with either inbreeding or paranoia, while the ones who form tribes survive to go on. Humans are social animals, and all you have to do is look to the past to see. Heck, i forget the place, but when starvation was bad in eastern Europe (after or during ww2, i forget exactly) there were a few cannibals, but the records or more people willing to share what little they had for the good of the group was even more there.

But that doesn't get butts in seats, or for the Apocalypse fetishists hard.
posted by usagizero at 2:11 PM on June 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Unconfirmed reports that Richard Matheson has passed away - more than anyone he started it all.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


(His zombies were vampires)
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unconfirmed reports that Richard Matheson has passed away - more than anyone he started it all.

That would ruin my goddamn year.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:14 PM on June 24, 2013


Oh Lord. John Shirley posted to his Facebook page that Matheson's daughter confirmed his death. That's good enough for me. RIP.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:16 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


So running zombies cannot be discussed in terms of zombie canon, because there is no such thing.

...

Whatever its problems, World War Z has added swarming zombies to the canon
...

The zombie canon is a Phantom!!!

posted by mmrtnt at 2:17 PM on June 24, 2013


Brandon Blatcher: "Exactly, we live in a much faster world now, with an overflow of information. Slow zombies look completely ridiculous to today's population."

People have been talking about how we live in a "much faster world now" for over a hundred years. Decades before the first zombie movie, people already talked about how we were being inundated with information.

The reason zombies have become faster is: 1) movies have become more action oriented in general, for a variety of reasons (none of which have to do with "society is faster") and 2) slow zombies are no longer new, so people have had much more time to think about possible survival scenarios and find ways to survive slow zombie menaces, which means that viewers wouldn't be terrified of a zombie menace style movie, like they were when the genre was still new.
posted by Bugbread at 2:17 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


usagizero: "The current trend of "people suck" isn't what really happens when the shit hits the fan. There is a short term crazy spot, but people end up bonding more, and forming tribes, especially in the long term."

But that's exactly what zombie movies depict. It's not "you have to be scared of lone survivalists", but "We have a tribe. We just encountered another tribe. Can we work together, or will tribal tensions cause us to kill each other?"
posted by Bugbread at 2:20 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the thing that fucks everything up in Dawn of the Dead is the biker gang that comes and tools around in the mall, letting in zombies and destroying the temporary haven (and complacency) the protagonists had established. Sure, it's mostly zombies that kill folk, but it's tribalism and got-mine-ism that's the culprit.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:23 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not irrationally afraid of much, but I'm damn terrified of zombies. I'm okay with mostly funny zombie movies (Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Warm Bodies) but zombies in general freak me out. Especially fast moving zombies and swarms. And I can't play Left 4 Dead or the Borderlands Zombie Island DLC because half the time I end up button mashing the controller and then flinging it across the room. The swarms man, the swarms. *shudder*
posted by elsietheeel at 2:24 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm reading Colson Whitehead's zombie literary novel, Zone One, and surprisingly I'm really enjoying it. Fast zombies there.
posted by Mister_A at 2:28 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm damn terrified of zombies. [...] half the time I end up button mashing the controller and then flinging it across the room

I am like that. The inexorable quality of them (as someone said above) is what terrifies me. There is no escape. One mistake, one accident, and death is the only possible outcome. Death to the accompaniment of horrible groans.

I was much worse at the zombie levels in Thief than the other levels, because I had to turn off the sound to bear them and even then whenever I saw them I'd be too scared to play very well. Ugh.
posted by winna at 2:29 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fun fact: if we have met irl I have already assessed whether or not you would be on my zombie apocalypse team or left behind as bait.
posted by elizardbits at 2:32 PM on June 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Kenny Powers Zombie Hunter
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:36 PM on June 24, 2013


Brandon Blatcher: "Exactly, we live in a much faster world now, with an overflow of information. Slow zombies look completely ridiculous to today's population."

People have been talking about how we live in a "much faster world now" for over a hundred years. Decades before the first zombie movie, people already talked about how we were being inundated with information.


Interesting point. But people did not have to "sign" pages of legal documents, possibly several times a day, as a matter of course, just use the intertubes. Nor participant, almost in real time with events going on throughout the world. I hear what you're saying, but the change in speed from when zombie movies originated to the 00s is dramatic, along with population shifts to urban and away from rural life are substantial.

There's probably no one cause, but a mixture of changed elements in society that prompted the introduction of fast zombies.

Has there ever been a zombie film that mixed fast and slow zombies within the same film?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:36 PM on June 24, 2013


Recent changes to Minecraft makes that game's zombie much more like the WWZ ones. They swarm, and from a much greater distance than other monsters. They've made zombies give chase to the player up to 80 blocks/yards/meters away (about 5 times the distance of other mobs), and hitting a zombie in combat has a chance of spawning/creating another nearby.

Put togther, the old safe zombie, the formerly weakest monster in the game, now is a dangerous swarmer (warning, 6-year old cursing).
posted by bonehead at 2:45 PM on June 24, 2013


No one has brought up the game State of Decay yet?

It's available via XBox Live Arcade and soon a PC version will be on Steam. And it's great. It's all about managing your community of survivors after the zombie apocalypse -- you scavenge for food, and ammo, and building materials. You fortify your base against swarms. You gather survivors, who each have randomly-generated traits that can help or hurt the group. You might rescue a cook who can prepare quality food that gives your community a health and morale boost, but he's always arguing with others, sowing strife and dissent. You can talk to him, reason with him, ask him to leave, or take him out back and put a bullet in his head.

But while you're solving the group's problems, the threat outside your makeshift safe zone grows. The game does a great job of balancing the types of zombies it throws at you. Most are shuffling walkers -- they can speed up to a trot when they see you, but they're easily dispatched with a few swings of a machete or baseball bat. There are Big Uns, huge slow freaks that can rip you apart with a single blow and are almost unkillable unless you have a few land mines and a shotgun. They're easy to avoid and run from, though. There are screamers, armless and harmless by themselves, their shrieks draw every zombie in the area to swarm you. There are bloaters, filled with poisonous gas, best shot from a distance, deadly if encountered indoors.

And then there are the Ferals.

Oh God, the Ferals.

Ferals are fast, strong, and deadly. Ferals, unlike other zombies, crouch -- they hide in weedy lots and piles of rubbish. They are faster than you. They are stronger than you. They will rip a door off a car to get to the delicious brains inside. They make a growling noise unlike the other zombies, and hearing that noise, as you loot a house in the dark, running out of ammo and armed only with a rusty machete that's going to break any second.... it's fucking terrifying.

This game gets fast zombies right (at least as an enemy in a video game). There aren't many of them, but they're the scariest thing in the game, by far.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:47 PM on June 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "Has there ever been a zombie film that mixed fast and slow zombies within the same film?"

As far as I know, there hasn't been a mix of fast and slow, but the Walking Dead TV show, if memory serves me, mixes medium and slow. The longer a zombie has been dead, the slower it gets, so just-turned zombies move at human speed.

And, come to think of it, I think the popularity of the Walking Dead, and the World War Z book, are also evidence that people haven't outgrown slow zombies, Hollywood has.

And that possible insight makes me wonder if the shift to fast zombies isn't just the result of trying to get a bigger audience in order to recoup inflated budgets. With slow zombies, you can attract horror movie fans, but that's about it. With fast zombies, you can attract horror movie fans, and action movie fans.
posted by Bugbread at 2:52 PM on June 24, 2013


Another scary zombie is the cop cars in GTA
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:54 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


In general monsters move at the speed the plot requires them to.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Zombies can be harnessed to create a Perpetual Motion Machine. Imagine them fastened to the spokes of a horizontal wheel (like those grain crushing things) . Every second spoke is occupied by some live animal. You can harness that movement and make electricity. The zombies go round and round forever (zombies don't die) and thus you have a P.M.M.

Which is why I don't believe in zombies because in this household we obey the laws of thermodynamics.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 2:59 PM on June 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Has there ever been a zombie film that mixed fast and slow zombies within the same film?

Not that I know of, but I smell a crossover sequel:

Fast and Furious 7
posted by jeremias at 3:04 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Zombies are magic, like time travel, they don't need to obey the laws of physics.
posted by Artw at 3:06 PM on June 24, 2013


Podkayne: I don't think any device that requires a living animal as a component really qualifies as "perpetual motion".
posted by baf at 3:09 PM on June 24, 2013


Jurassic Park IV : Zombie Dinosaurs

Tag Line: 'We brought them back to life - only to kill them again - only for them to come back to life again.'
posted by panboi at 3:14 PM on June 24, 2013


living animal

*Cough*
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


baf: "living animal"

Artw: "*Cough*"

Yes, living animal:

Podkayne of Pasadena: "Every second spoke is occupied by some live animal."
posted by Bugbread at 3:23 PM on June 24, 2013


Ah, zombies. Can't understand the appeal. They're just so boring. Now, a zombie that can talk and reason like a person, that's interesting.

I'd agree. What would be really interesting would be if the zombification process was reverseable, at least in a neurological sense.

The best thing that could be done for zombies would be a movie / series where many (though not all) of the undead are somehow freed of their mindless condition and are now normal again, at least mentally speaking, though they're still stuck with their bodies of rotting flesh.

This would be the sort of zombie movie I could actually love. Imagine scenes of zombie packs viciously laying waste to everything, and then suddenly the zombies are free and seek to return to their old lives. The camera turns to a surviving human family in a boarded up house in the suburbs. There's a knock at the door. The shambling cadaver on the porch says "I'm your sister and I've come home. All I want is to be home again. Please let me in. I've missed you so much." but she gets told to go away, with two or three shotguns pointed at her, and so she walks off slowly into the night.

Later, weeks later, she returns with a group and takes her house back, and the undead begin to form a city of their own in the ruins of the metropolis, and fortify the houses, waiting for the inevitable counterattack by the living.

It's basically the story of the Forsaken in the Warcraft universe, but re-telling it in a modern setting would be quite powerful.
posted by honestcoyote at 3:26 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


That doesn't matter as long as the energy output of the zombies is greater than the energy input to raise and keep the bait animals.
posted by VTX at 3:26 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


That doesn't matter as long as the energy output of the zombies is greater than the energy input to raise and keep the bait animals

This is roughly analogous to cold fusion.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on June 24, 2013


honestcoyote, there's a film that's pretty much exactly that. I think it's called Les Revenants. Very good.
posted by unSane at 3:31 PM on June 24, 2013


panboi: "Jurassic Park IV : Zombie Dinosaurs"

I sort of had this idea a while back.

Necrosaur

Tagline: "They're not that extinct."
posted by brundlefly at 3:31 PM on June 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Anyway, y'all should count yourselves lucky. We didn't have zombies back when I was a kid.

We had to make do with mummies

posted by mmrtnt at 3:32 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Les Revenants. Looks like it's now also a TV series.
posted by unSane at 3:32 PM on June 24, 2013


The best thing that could be done for zombies would be a movie / series where many (though not all) of the undead are somehow freed of their mindless condition and are now normal again, at least mentally speaking, though they're still stuck with their bodies of rotting flesh.

You should probably check out In The Flesh.
posted by mightygodking at 3:37 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


What would be really interesting..

That is basically a reverse I Am Legend..
posted by mediocre at 3:41 PM on June 24, 2013


The WWZ novel explains that zombie flesh is deadly if consumed, which includes most kinds of bacteria, so they rot very slowly.
posted by Fleebnork at 3:42 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


No one has brought up the game State of Decay yet?

Yep, currently addicted. Lost two playable characters tonight, one to a surprise attack by a Big 'un, another to a deeply unlucky Feral attack that led me to stumble blindly into not one, but two zombie hordes. Descended on by about 30 of them. Used up the ten rounds I had in a 9mm, which of course brought more, then managed to take out five more with a lead pipe before getting fatigued and the rest overwhelmed me. As another character died (Maya, bummer) I heard my base on the radio moaning at me to find more food supplies.

It's like Grand Theft Zombie bolted on to an especially bleak version of the Sims and I love it. Really nails that 'why even bother' apocalypse vibe.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:47 PM on June 24, 2013


Never heard of State Of Decay.. not a big gamer.. is this a game with permadeath? Happy Dave's description makes it sound like that, there are finite playable characters and permadeath rules apply having the player "respawn" as a new playable.

The lack of permadeath, or at least a significant respawn time, is the primary flaw of Day Z IMO.
posted by mediocre at 3:53 PM on June 24, 2013


I know it's not well liked, and isn't Romero's best, but Diary of the Dead is one of my favorite zombies movies. The change in reality that characters have to go through when first waking up for work is replaced with bludgeoning their next door neighbor is easily justifiable because zombies equals axe to skull no questions. Although, i think that is the easy math for the audience, but confronting them, or us, with the real problems of alienation that comes with axing your shambling, sickly-looking, gurgly-sounding neighbor isn't easy. I thought making the audience directly take part in everything was a great attempt at allowing the effect of that alienating feeling to come through. Romero also put the spotlight upon the shifting idea of how and what we consume from Dawn with a mall full of goods to Diary with an over saturation of media ready to be consumed. His satirizing of many of the tropes and cliches in these films, some of which he came up with, was also a lot of fun.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 3:56 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


American Zombie is another "undead rise to resume a normal life" movie, but is a pseudo-documentary filmed by a real documentarian.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 4:11 PM on June 24, 2013


It's like Grand Theft Zombie bolted on to an especially bleak version of the Sims and I love it. Really nails that 'why even bother' apocalypse vibe.

Yay, I am happy people like it. One of my dear friends (and ex-bosses) is the community manager for it. I saw it at PAX and it looked super cool, and I'm currently impatient for the PC port.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:12 PM on June 24, 2013


mediocre: Regarding "State of Decay"(class 3) the game has no voluntary saves, only autosaves. The moment a playable character dies, it autosaves. Resultantly, the only way to get that character back is to restart the whole game.

It is very fun, although I find that (like the GTA franchise) it's a bit of a time sink, I'll start playing, and then look around to realize it's 4 hours later.
posted by Megafly at 4:16 PM on June 24, 2013


Never heard of State Of Decay.. not a big gamer.. is this a game with permadeath?

Yup. And not just permadeath. Characters become playable as you befriend them, and each one has individual traits. Maya, for instance, is ex-Army and a crack shot - a really useful person to have on your watch tower. And once she's dead, she's dead (Sorry to rub it in Happy Dave). You may not have anyone left good with a rifle.

I've never played an open world game that manages to keep the tension cranked up so high. Do I play as Marcus, my most valuable and highly-skilled character? He's effective, but he's also maxed out his leadership skills - losing him would be a huge blow to the group. And I desperately need to find a doctor - some of my people are sick and if they don't get better, well....

Such a fun game.

I've read that the single-player version was sort of a test run for a planned MMO. And since the game is breaking all kinds of sales records for an XBLA release, that could happen. Can't wait to play it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:18 PM on June 24, 2013


This is roughly analogous to cold fusion.

Well yeah, or regular fusion for that matter (heh). The difference is that with fusion, you're turning matter into energy so the thermodynamics of the whole thing still work.

That isn't the case with the zombie powered turbine. The bait doesn't actually get consumed and the zombies don't die and don't stop walking so as long as they generate more energy than it takes to maintain the bait, it's free energy.

Heck, why bother with bait animals, just rig up a platform suspended from the wheel and put a desk on it. Then have the power company's HR department use it as office space.
posted by VTX at 4:22 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The popularity of Zombie Media is a symptom of the loss of brain function in the audience.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:41 PM on June 24, 2013


Someone mentioned that in North Korea, in the movie they pulled everyone's teeth in order to avoid spreading the plague.

The problem is, given the zombie biology in the movie is that it's actually a really good idea. In fact, it's such a good idea that it's kind of absurd that the rest of the world didn't do it as well. And if not pulling teeth then why not put everyone in a Hannibal lector mask that they can't remove? (you could make it look less creepy, obviously, like just give everyone something that looked like a space helmet)

I think people would be willing to go with it if the alternative would be the destruction of the human race.
posted by delmoi at 4:42 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Romero: "They’re just lumbering oafs that are easy to dispose of unless you make a mistake."

This is important. In a slow zombie movie, you're safe unless you screw up. And you will screw up, eventually. So when you die, or your family dies, it's your fault.

Now that's horror I can identify with.
posted by straight at 4:46 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


oneswellfoop: "The popularity of Zombie Media is a symptom of the loss of brain function in the audience."

You're right, we enjoy zombies because we're so stupid.
posted by Bugbread at 4:47 PM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Guys, if Sister Cynthia Knickerbocker can get zombie kill of the week, I don't think we have that much to worry about. Just no one kill Bill Murray, OK?
posted by Ber at 5:23 PM on June 24, 2013


i was gonna mention to my writer mentor who is a hater that World War Z was relatively enjoyable, and then my writer mentor, who can be a serious Hater, mentioned that she Hated Downton Abbey because the scenes were so quick-cut

so I imagine my writer mentor is on team I don't know 18th Century Monsters of the Deep, or something, but also maybe team slow zombie
posted by angrycat at 5:30 PM on June 24, 2013



Fast or slow is one thing, but if they're doing anything besides "advance toward humans, eat humans," then they're not goddamn zombies. An accidental corpse pyramid? Sure, fine. But this was clearly a swarming behavior, and that's not zombies, so fuck you, corrupters of World War Z.


I was at a Gallows show where the lead singer tried to organize the moshers into a pyramid of death, and it didn't quite work.

anyway, fuck 'realism'. they're monsters. my problem with zombies is that they're too PHYSICAL, they don't have much supernatural menace to them anymore. i reckon the new horror will be brain parasites... see Last of Us/Upstream Color
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:37 PM on June 24, 2013


World War Z, the book, uses relatively slow zombies, and emphasizes that the problem zombies presented during the Zombie War is one primarily of logistics and training

Ha. Now I realize why the beginning of that book especially strained my disbelief suspension.

(Modern states/armed forces are mostly really really really good at logistics and training. Like, certainly compared to a post-apocalyptic trans-Rockies rump state of the US, even counting factor of surprise.)
posted by PMdixon at 5:40 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd agree. What would be really interesting would be if the zombification process was reverseable, at least in a neurological sense.

wasn't that the plot of Warm Bodies? i liked Revenent, a movie with zombies who are used as soldiers in Iraq that i don't think ever got a wide release. they also work as disposable enemies in videogames, but again, there isn't much novelty. except in Stubbs the Zombie, where you can detach parts of yourself to control things.

zombies are so SOLID, so EMBODIED, and they lend themselves too much to weird survivalist fantasies. they're walking targets and uncomfortable racial metaphors, not true monsters with psycholocial and superntatural force
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:52 PM on June 24, 2013


@emjaybee - cracked.com's 7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak would Fail. Pretty fun read and somehow sufficient to calm my zombie worries.
posted by mapinduzi at 5:54 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


cracked.com's 7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak would Fail. Pretty fun read and somehow sufficient to calm my zombie worries.

Most of those don't apply to Mira Grant zombies, which are the most scientifically plausible ones I've encountered. Really, they're too varied a monster for a cracked.com list to cover with any sort of authority.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:02 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Slow zombies look completely ridiculous to today's population.

Wow, really? That's your take on slow zombies? I appreciate the post, Brandon, honest, but when you write such a dumb cliche, it's hard for me to believe that you've spent much time with modern zombie culture. That's the kind of thing a hack non-zombie-fan TV critic would print after searching for something to say. For what it's worth, 7 of the top 10 most popular graphic novels from last year were slow zombie stories (DC got 2, Marvel none), and the 100th issue of the series was, in fact, the top-selling comic of 2012:

Diamond Comic Distributors has released its list of the top 500 selling graphic novels of 2012. There are a few surprises, but there is certainly one constant: The Walking Dead. The collections of writer Robert Kirkman's ongoing zombie series grabbed seven of the top 10 spots, and 13 of the top 20. Further, The Walking Dead #100 was the top selling comic of 2012.

The TV series the comic spawned has not only significantly increased its ratings each season, but the third season finale in April delivered its largest audience ever and was the week's top program on television (beating the season premiere of Game of Thrones):

The Walking Dead has been a ratings phenomenon this season, averaging a 5.6 rating among adults 18-49 — higher than any other show on television.

I dunno, maybe I take zombie culture too seriously (as if you can take grim metaphors for the inexorable approach of each of our own horrifying personal deaths too seriously), but when you assert that what is arguably the most popular show on television and inarguably the most popular comic book series in the USA are somehow out of fashion and "look completely ridiculous to today's population," it's kind of hard to take the pronouncement seriously. You might want to issue some sort of Official Retraction.
posted by mediareport at 6:54 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, really? That's your take on slow zombies? I appreciate the post, Brandon, honest, but when you write such a dumb cliche, it's hard for me to believe that you've spent much time with modern zombie culture.

Has geek culture got so insular that we can't critsize things unless we're up on every part of them? Zombies are just another storytelling tool, and I think they've been completly overused and lost much of their metaphoric potancy. I don't need to experiance the 'canon' to know that, since between seeing Night of the Living Dead in a cemetary and playing videogames I know what zombies are.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:57 PM on June 24, 2013


Sorry for not being clear; it's the 100% certain pronouncement from on high that modern audiences find slow zombies ridiculous that I'm taking issue with. The evidence is quite clear that the exact opposite is true: popcult audiences continue to find slow zombies to be a relatively compelling story.

Given the certainty with which he made the pronouncement, I couldn't help adding the little poke at Brandon's familiarity with the genre. I probably should have helped it.
posted by mediareport at 7:06 PM on June 24, 2013


If a zombie is a physical organism that obeys the laws of physics, then it has dissolved gases in its blood and body fluids. Under compression, the solubility of these gases will change, with corresponding effects on the physiological function of the zombie on a chemical level. This is why marine organisms that live near the bottom of the ocean generally can't survive at the surface, and vice versa. It's also close to freezing on the ocean bottom, which puts severe constraints on zombie metabolic activity.

If zombies are supernatural then anything goes; the only real question concerns how many can lumber across the head of a pin.
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:07 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]



If a zombie is a physical organism that obeys the laws of physics, then it has dissolved gases in its blood and body fluids. Under compression, the solubility of these gases will change, with corresponding effects on the physiological function of the zombie on a chemical level. This is why marine organisms that live near the bottom of the ocean generally can't survive at the surface, and vice versa. It's also close to freezing on the ocean bottom, which puts severe constraints on zombie metabolic activity.

If zombies are supernatural then anything goes; the only real question concerns how many can lumber across the head of a pin.


If something is in a story or a work of fiction, it obeys the laws of narrative, not the laws of physics.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:12 PM on June 24, 2013


If something is in a story or a work of fiction, it obeys the laws of narrative, not the laws of physics.

Yeah, but when that narrative appeals to the laws of physics and biology to attempt to make it more realistic, I think it's reasonable to point out where the laws of physics and biology would defeat their assertions. See: rot slowly because toxic to bacteria, able to run fast because brain no longer registers damage to tissues, etc etc.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:18 PM on June 24, 2013


My bean plate is undeterred by common sense appraisals.
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:19 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]



Yeah, but when that narrative appeals to the laws of physics and biology to attempt to make it more realistic, I think it's reasonable to point out where the laws of physics and biology would defeat their assertions. See: rot slowly because toxic to bacteria, able to run fast because brain no longer registers damage to tissues, etc etc.


who actually thinks about that in a compelling narrative, though? hell who actually knows those laws of physics and can apply them on a daily basis? the only thing that matters in a zombie movie is your username: Existential Dread. and many zombie movies fail at evoking that now BECAUSE they're too concerned with physics and fantasies about building the perfect zombie proof structure. but no amount of planning can stop the inevitable death and decay that are our lot
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:21 PM on June 24, 2013


I should mention, too, that the book version (i.e., the slow zombie version) of World War Z hit the million-copy mark at the end of 2011.
posted by mediareport at 7:30 PM on June 24, 2013


djrock3k: "Fast or slow, as long as they aren't Nazis we're cool."

Forget that and see THIS.

Also, my urge to see WWZ approaches zero. How they can take a wonderful book detailing zombies and their role in cataclysm around the globe, and turn it into another Brad Pitt action flick escapes (and nauseates) me. It totally misses the point in the movie. If they had Pitt flying around the globe, talking to survivors and hearing their stories and seeing the tools and methods they used to stay alive would have been awesome and to the point.

Instead, we get this. The name of the property is World War Z, not Brad Pitt Versus A Bunch of Fast Zombies.
posted by Samizdata at 7:38 PM on June 24, 2013


Charlemagne In Sweatpants: "who actually thinks about that in a compelling narrative, though?"

I do...kind of. That is, I understand that in fiction, you have to suspend disbelief, and some genres require more suspension than others. Zombies are pretty goddamn high on the "suspend that disbelief" ladder. And I can manage it and enjoy zombie stuff sometimes, but I have to say that if some writers sat down and hammered out a totally internally consistent zombie movie that required only a single point of disbelief suspension, instead of multiple points, I would probably love it.
posted by Bugbread at 7:47 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "NO YOU SAID THE THING AND NOW I HAVE COUCH FEAR"

The couch is also zombies.
posted by boo_radley at 7:57 PM on June 24, 2013


boo_radley: "elizardbits: "NO YOU SAID THE THING AND NOW I HAVE COUCH FEAR"

The couch is also zombies.
"

Couches are especially full of zombies. That is why I don't use one, and my cat never goes near the cushions.
posted by Samizdata at 8:00 PM on June 24, 2013


Silly. Couches are Autons.
posted by Artw at 8:01 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Heck, i forget the place, but when starvation was bad in eastern Europe (after or during ww2, i forget exactly) there were a few cannibals, but the records or more people willing to share what little they had for the good of the group was even more there.

Yeah, but what happens when it's bad everywhere? When there is no safe place? Can't help but think of the Easter Islanders who ended up eating each other in the end. It's what I find most haunting and terrifying about apocalyptic fiction like The Road and The Last of Us. There's no more room for society. It's the war of all against all.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:04 PM on June 24, 2013


Samizdata: " If they had Pitt flying around the globe, talking to survivors and hearing their stories and seeing the tools and methods they used to stay alive would have been awesome and to the point.
"

There is actually a bit of this. Not as much as I would have liked, but he has to piece things together, and winds up not really answering any "big questions", much like the book. The movie was OK. There are larger themes that mirror the book, but you don't get the personal stories that the book told.

I'm not sure how you'd do that in a decent way outside of several shorts interwoven.
posted by boo_radley at 8:04 PM on June 24, 2013


Artw: "Silly. Couches are Autons."

I did not say couches ARE zombies, just that they have zombies IN them.
posted by Samizdata at 8:06 PM on June 24, 2013


Charlemagne, have you not met the Internet? Cause taking apart the possibilities or impossibilities of narrative devices is basically an Olympic sport.

Not that you have to give a shit about it or let it ruin everything you love, of course.
posted by emjaybee at 8:06 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


boo_radley: "Samizdata: " If they had Pitt flying around the globe, talking to survivors and hearing their stories and seeing the tools and methods they used to stay alive would have been awesome and to the point.
"

There is actually a bit of this. Not as much as I would have liked, but he has to piece things together, and winds up not really answering any "big questions", much like the book. The movie was OK. There are larger themes that mirror the book, but you don't get the personal stories that the book told.

I'm not sure how you'd do that in a decent way outside of several shorts interwoven.
"

Do it just like I said it...

UN Dude: Brad Pitt, we need you. Go around the world and find out how survivors survived.
Brad Pitt: Sure, UN Dude. I can do that.
Cut to South America.
Brad Pitt: Hey, crazy South American surgeon dude! I am Brad Pitt on a special mission from the UN. Tell me your story.
Cut to operating theatre...
posted by Samizdata at 8:09 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Samizdata: "Do it just like I said it..."

Yeah, go see the movie.
posted by boo_radley at 8:12 PM on June 24, 2013


boo_radley: "Samizdata: "Do it just like I said it..."

Yeah, go see the movie.
"

I suppose I will have to, although all the advertising and everything I have read seems to say just the opposite.
posted by Samizdata at 8:13 PM on June 24, 2013


I think the one area where the movie deviates most from the book is time: The book had stories that were a season or two, or a year from the initial infection. The movie's closer to T+1 hour. It's still action-y, but there's the character trail you're looking for, and you'll see the books ideas play out in the background when they're not front and center.
posted by boo_radley at 8:18 PM on June 24, 2013


If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead (totally NSFW trailer) is truly the high point of scary zombies combined with pooping.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 8:21 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]



Charlemagne, have you not met the Internet? Cause taking apart the possibilities or impossibilities of narrative devices is basically an Olympic sport.

Not that you have to give a shit about it or let it ruin everything you love, of course.


i get that, but it just feels like missing the point so much when its much better to take things part on a metaphorical level
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:32 PM on June 24, 2013


The couch is also zombies.

NO THE COUCH THING IS THE EVIL BABBY WITH THE SCALPEL UGH DNW
posted by elizardbits at 8:48 PM on June 24, 2013


All I know is that at the LARP, when the 19-year-olds taking their turn playing monsters wanted to run like in the 2004 Snyder Dawn of the Dead, I knew it was time to hang up the boffer-sword. Our Monster Manual defined zombies as a quarter-speed monster, and the kids didn't understand the direction, "I want shuffling and groaning like in Night of the Living Dead." It makes you feel old twice.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:11 AM on June 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


ob1quixote: "All I know is that at the LARP, when the 19-year-olds taking their turn playing monsters wanted to run like in the 2004 Snyder Dawn of the Dead, I knew it was time to hang up the boffer-sword. Our Monster Manual defined zombies as a quarter-speed monster, and the kids didn't understand the direction, "I want shuffling and groaning like in Night of the Living Dead." It makes you feel old twice."

This. This is why you drive 16 hours one way with a friend just to get an extras gig.

An extras gig in DAY OF THE MOTHERFUCKING DEAD! So, the pay sucked. So, the craft table sucked. So, not having anywhere but a small car to sleep in with another person sucked.

I WAS A ROMERO ZOMBIE, BABY!

I did not fuck off and I spent the two days channeling my inner undead and giving George the most excellent zombie extra I could, as he deserved it.

And, yeah, given my joint issues, I am a slow zombie fan. Their sheer inexorability, coupled with the fact I couldn't run if Godzilla was chasing me, makes me want them as my undead apocalypse.

(BTW, is anyone else's first place to go in a zombie apocalypse a motorcycle/Harley store like mine? I figure leathering up first would be a good start, as would helmets, while all the wannabe Rambos slaughter each other at the sporting good stores and WalMarts.)
posted by Samizdata at 12:21 AM on June 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


And, no. We were NOT an item. If we were, the small car could have been fun.
posted by Samizdata at 12:23 AM on June 25, 2013


All you need to do is look at history, and you will see this is false in the long term. The current trend of "people suck" isn't what really happens when the shit hits the fan.

This may seem a bit of a derail, but I believe Bunny's point wasn't the myth that civilization breaks down in a crisis, but the basic, Aristotelian conflict in narrative storytelling wherein the differing points of view, experience, or desires of separate characters or groups becomes an obstacle to generally successful outcomes. See: World War I, World War II, climate change, etc. Zombie movies are a microcosm of, and metaphor for, these complex, intractable intrahumanity problems.
posted by dhartung at 1:29 AM on June 25, 2013


For what it's worth, 7 of the top 10 most popular graphic novels from last year were slow zombie stories (DC got 2, Marvel none), and the 100th issue of the series was, in fact, the top-selling comic of 2012:

Just thought I'd mention that that list was fascinating, thanks. If you looked at the comic books you'd have thought that only two publishers mattered - DC and Marvel, with there being literally only one issue in the top 200 that didn't belong to one or the other (admittedly it was #1, but...) If you looked only at the graphic novels you'd have thought that only two publishers mattered - DC and Image. Marvel doesn't have a single graphic novel in the top 30 (Thanos Quest #1 - 142 on the dollar amount), and has two others that scrape into the top 50 which puts it about on a par with Dark Horse and little ahead of IDW or Top Shelf.

Possibly comics are returning to one of their natural genres and the one that was destroyed by Wertham and Seduction of the Innocent - Horror comics.

And slow zombies aren't themselves scary. They are the framing story. If you have direct problems with slow zombies either someone fucked up or you're about as well prepared as they were in Shaun Of The Dead (IMO the best zombie movie ever but it's not my favourite genre).
posted by Francis at 3:25 AM on June 25, 2013





If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead yt (totally NSFW trailer) is truly the high point of scary zombies combined with pooping.


Okay, zombie pulling down pants to get at the delicious butt candy was pretty good.
posted by angrycat at 4:01 AM on June 25, 2013


BTW, is anyone else's first place to go in a zombie apocalypse a motorcycle/Harley store like mine?

A friend of mine actually seriously has decided on a "place to go in an apocalypse" locale - a museum which has an extensive arms and armor collection. Because, he argues, once you lock all the doors and barricade the low windows, it is a very defensible building, and - look, weapons.

I would probably head out to Governors' Island in the harbor, because it's got the natural water barrier, and two fortresses on it. And for the next few months it will also have bulldozers and explosives from the construction they're doing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:50 AM on June 25, 2013


[Let's not make this thread about people's previous comments. You can have that debate over MeMail if you like. Further metacommentary is always welcome at the contact form or in MeTa.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:10 AM on June 25, 2013


A friend of mine actually seriously has decided on a "place to go in an apocalypse" locale

So have I, actually--I live two doors down from an elementary school that is so fenced and gated that it's something of an educational DOOM FORTRESS. My zombie apocalypse plan is to go into the back yard, climb the neighbors' shed, then vault over the fence and lock myself in.

Of course, this is contingent on the apocalypse happening on a weekend. I wouldn't want to risk getting trapped with a couple of hundred (possibly literal) ankle-biters.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:24 AM on June 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I want to apologize for personalizing my defense of slow zombie culture. It was Zombies Are Serious Business stupidity to be mean like that, and I'm sorry for not having the brains to remember to focus on the arguments and not add aggression and attacks aimed at other users. Brandon, I apologize. Again.
posted by mediareport at 6:46 AM on June 25, 2013


And sorry to everyone else for dragging a fun thread down.
posted by mediareport at 6:47 AM on June 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm clearly late to this discussion, but I'm guessing I'm not going to see an infantry square shooting zombies at steady one second intervals while a chain swarm piles up around them over the course of three days, am I?

Rat-bastard fast zombies..
posted by Ahab at 8:01 AM on June 25, 2013


Honey Badger don't care about zombies.

Zombie Badger don't care about honey.
posted by zippy at 11:10 AM on June 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: "BTW, is anyone else's first place to go in a zombie apocalypse a motorcycle/Harley store like mine?

A friend of mine actually seriously has decided on a "place to go in an apocalypse" locale - a museum which has an extensive arms and armor collection. Because, he argues, once you lock all the doors and barricade the low windows, it is a very defensible building, and - look, weapons.

I would probably head out to Governors' Island in the harbor, because it's got the natural water barrier, and two fortresses on it. And for the next few months it will also have bulldozers and explosives from the construction they're doing.
"

Oh, yeah. One of my best buddies in town and I have our whole plan mapped out. Where to go and what to do at each stage. No islands around here though, but some lovely defensible buildings.

And his girl friend's pretty cute and wants children, so there's that when it comes to repopulating mankind. I know it was wrong, but I had to say it. I'm a stinker, ain't I?

Speaking of buddies, I am afraid my cat is such a terrible homebody and so loudly protests leaving the apartment that I suspect he would end up a casualty. Which would make me terribly sad.
posted by Samizdata at 11:56 AM on June 25, 2013


I really think defensible buildings aren't nearly as important as getting to an area of low population density. High density areas will have more zombies and more people picking over the remaining supplies. Additionally, anyplace you can think of that would make for a good place to hold up, someone else has probably thought of (or will stumble upon) and will get there first. They might not let you in, they might take whatever you have and send you on your way, or they might let you in and find out that there are already too many people for what limited supplies they have to support.

Get out to the sticks as soon as you can and then find a place to hold up and/or some people to hold up with. This would be true for just about any apocalyptic calamity you can think of.
posted by VTX at 6:19 PM on June 25, 2013


I live in the sticks and we have gamed out what happens when the hordes come out from the city in search of refuge from the zombie menace. I should point out that we have a lot of weapons, clear sightlines, and are used to shooting things dead.

However, this is Canada, so we will welcome you and ask you to help with chores in return for some nourishing food, and possibly a singalong to some Tragically Hip tunes.
posted by unSane at 9:26 PM on June 25, 2013 [1 favorite]




A friend of mine actually seriously has decided on a "place to go in an apocalypse" locale - a museum which has an extensive arms and armor collection. Because, he argues, once you lock all the doors and barricade the low windows, it is a very defensible building, and - look, weapons

I'd be very wary of museum firearms. More often than not they are de-weaponized, either by removing the firing pin or some other vital part.
posted by Gungho at 9:36 AM on June 26, 2013


That's a great plot beat though. Finally, we got guns! Oh, shit, wait...
posted by unSane at 9:39 AM on June 26, 2013


Swords don't run out of ammo.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


True but I'd rather not get potentially infect Zombie juice all over me.

Even if you could get the guns in a museum to work or if they just haven't been de-weaponized, there won't be any ammo there and there is a possibility that the rounds they fire are really rare.
posted by VTX at 10:44 AM on June 26, 2013


How to Love the Zombie Apocalypse
So the core anxiety of the Zombie Apocalypse — the nerve-jangling narrative that makes the story a true myth — is the recognition that this global high tech culture we've thrown together seems like a house of cards. Those terrifying scenes of fast-moving "flocks" of zombies exploding through cities in World War Z are a recognition that we've gathered forces we don't seem able to control or even contain (slow moving zombies are just a different form of these energies).
posted by gladly at 2:05 PM on June 26, 2013


I'd be very wary of museum firearms.

--

Even if you could get the guns in a museum to work or if they just haven't been de-weaponized, there won't be any ammo there and there is a possibility that the rounds they fire are really rare.

You're both assuming that by "weapons" I mean "guns" as opposed to things like halberds, glaves, quarterstaffs, broadswords, claymores, katana, tanto, onos, bardiches.....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:49 PM on June 26, 2013


Not really, Gungho was making that assumption, I'm just building on his point (about the firing pins).

I don't think the medieval weapons are a good idea, though it depends on the rules of the zombies you're dealing with. For all you know, if you get spattered with zombie gore, it's just as bad as being bitten.

The armor could be helpful though. Maybe if you could figure out a way to put some armor over a hazmat suit, you'd be fine. I'd go with the Goedendag myself. Use it as a club to knock them down then use the tip to pierce the brain or just use it as a spear to go straight for the brain if you don't have time. Though my choice is likely influenced by my Belgian mother.
posted by VTX at 6:50 PM on June 26, 2013


Hey, I was the one that was contemplating the island with two forts and some explosives and trucks. It was my friend who was thinking of the medieval arsenal. (I think his envisioned apocalypse was more of a human-scale riot, though.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:36 AM on June 27, 2013


unSane: " I should point out that we have a lot of weapons, clear sightlines, and are used to shooting things dead"

But are you used to shooting dead things?
posted by straight at 10:35 AM on June 27, 2013


We usually nail 'em a couple of times afterwards to be sure.
posted by unSane at 4:26 PM on June 27, 2013


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