Let's Talk About Killing Zombies
September 28, 2008 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Before even writing The Zombie Survival Guide never mind World War Z, Max Brooks was lecturing on how to survive an uprising by the living dead.

Whole lecture - poor sound quality (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) . Max Brooks at Comic-Con '08 (1, 2, Q&A 1, 2, 3, 4). Max Brooks and George A. Romero at Comic-Con '07 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (31 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Today I:

- Tore off another page of my Zombie Survival Guide day calendar.
- Completed Survive The Outbreak.
- Played a few hours of Left 4 Dead.
- Gave my friend a copy of 28 Weeks Later.

Now this. I am so ready.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:07 AM on September 28, 2008


Hey, you laugh. But when the zombies come, you'll realize how wise he was, and thank him for helping you prepare.
posted by Class Goat at 10:36 AM on September 28, 2008


I like to think he's sneaking in a heavy strangle-our-corporate-overlords-with-their-own-intestines message.
posted by waraw at 11:07 AM on September 28, 2008


Genres" Humor, Historical fiction

More like Genres: Zombie.
posted by smackfu at 11:44 AM on September 28, 2008


I thought the "corporate overloads get what they deserve" theme was pretty explicit in WWZ. The Antarctic base, the Long Island scene, the California restructuring ...
posted by The Whelk at 11:44 AM on September 28, 2008


Hey, you laugh. But when the zombies come, you'll realize how wise he was, and thank him for helping you prepare.

But what if the undead are like Simon Garth -- then zombies are our friends and the book, is like, totally wrong...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 12:10 PM on September 28, 2008


I didn't realize that he's Mel Brooks' son.
posted by empath at 12:49 PM on September 28, 2008


...and Anne Bancroft's, too.

Thanks for this post, fearfulsymmetry! I really enjoyed the videos of his talk, and not just because I'm a "World War Z" fan, but also because he's a funny and engaging speaker and passionate about his work.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:08 PM on September 28, 2008


World War Z is awesome and all, but I'm kind of wondering what he's going to do when this zombie business is tapped out.
posted by Artw at 4:08 PM on September 28, 2008


World War Z is awesome and all, but I'm kind of wondering what he's going to do when this zombie business is tapped out.
posted by Artw at 7:08 PM on September 28


This zombie thing will never die.
posted by lyam at 4:12 PM on September 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


- Played a few hours of Left 4 Dead.

I'm curious as to how you managed that, since it's not out yet.

No, really, that's now snark. Must... have... Left 4 Dead...
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:23 PM on September 28, 2008


What Pope Guilty said. I wanna play that game.
posted by Tullius at 4:33 PM on September 28, 2008


NOT snark, even. Yeesh.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:34 PM on September 28, 2008


World War Z is awesome and all, but I'm kind of wondering what he's going to do when this zombie business is tapped out.


I've been wondering by Zombies seem to be such a ..lively genre and I think I figured out a part of it.


Part of the fun of slasher/pyscho killer flicks are in the inventive ways the villain maim, trap, or trick their victims and in the various ways their victims main, trap, escape, or kill their attackers. We watch "The Strangers" and go "I wouldn't turn on the lights" or "why did they split up?!" or "Go for the crotch! the crotch!". Slasher films allow us to have a"what-if" game with ourselves ..how WOULD you deal with someone trying to kill you in your own particular apartment?

In End Of the World movies, we get the same "what-if" opportunity, but on a much larger scale. The attacks are bigger, they effect everyone. We get to watch various scenarios of Ending The World As We Know It (climate change, aliens, nuclear war, ect) and then think about how we survive in such a catastrophe ..and if the amount of "what would you stock up on?" questions on AskMe are any indication, we've been thinking about this alot.

Zombie movies combine Slasher Flicks with The End Of The World and have a fairly straightforward set of rules that don't require a lot of explaining and don't suspend disbelief too badly.

Add the "your friends and family may try to kill you!" element, and the fact that there is an endless number of situations/locations to use (What if..you where trapped on a Cruise? In an apartment? locked in a storage room of a 7-11!" you've got a pretty robust sub-genre.
posted by The Whelk at 4:55 PM on September 28, 2008


Also, as monsters, they're broad enough that they can be light-fearing mutants or rabies-infected super-freaks, or shambling masses of Unholyness, or a stark comment on consumerism ...or ..whatever.

Like Invasion Of the Body Snatchers, they're vague but threatening enough to symbolize anything (The Body Snatchers are commies! or McCarthyism! Or Madison Avenue!)
posted by The Whelk at 5:01 PM on September 28, 2008


Actually, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a good early example of combing "how would I escape?" and "The World is Changed Forever."
posted by The Whelk at 5:02 PM on September 28, 2008


This zombie thing will never die.

Of course it will.

But it will always come back.
posted by bwg at 5:57 PM on September 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


World War Z is awesome and all, but I'm kind of wondering what he's going to do when this zombie business is tapped out.

Well, fuck you too.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:20 PM on September 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


I kid, of course.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:21 PM on September 28, 2008


Lovers of all things undead will be happy to know that Night Shade is publishing a nice big anthology of zombie short stories tomorrow/tuesday, The Living Dead. It was edited by John Joseph Adams who also did their excellent post-apocalyptic collection earlier this year. It's a must-buy for me.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:41 PM on September 28, 2008


I'm prepared. I've been running the scenarios.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:45 PM on September 28, 2008


World War Z is awesome and all, but I'm kind of wondering what he's going to do when this zombie business is tapped out.

Well, fuck you too.


You can't possibly hate me as much as Astro Unicorn, Astro Pirate, Atro Ninja and Astro Werewolves Vs Vampires so.
posted by Artw at 10:39 PM on September 28, 2008


How did the live baby escape from a room filled with with zombie babies?

He ate his way out.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:59 PM on September 28, 2008


Pope Guilty, one of the (only) benefits of working in the games industry: work-related access to early builds of selected titles. It's very, very good. I'll be buying it on both PC and 360, no doubt.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:54 AM on September 29, 2008


You have no idea how happy that makes me to hear.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:00 AM on September 29, 2008


Ah good, another zombie thread. I've got a burning zombie question that some friends and I have been trying to resolve and well...we're just not getting anywhere on this matter and I'd like to put it out to any Zombie-ologists out there who can shed some light. The question is this: Can a regular woman be a carrier for the "Zombie" gene, and have a zombie baby? And when this zombie baby is born, will it immediately eat its mother's brains? Or does it have to wait until it's big enough? Also, do zombies understand maternal love?? Thx.
posted by Skygazer at 9:19 AM on September 29, 2008


Is zombie babby genetic?
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on September 29, 2008


Skygazer,
If you go by the zombification(?) mechanism Brooks uses, it's viral and not genetic, so it's not heritable. Perhaps, like AIDS and some other diseases, a fetus in the womb of a mother who was infected could also be infected, but I don't recall if Brooks ever went into that. However, if so, then no, the baby would not attack the mother because the mother would also be a zombie and Brooks's zombies don't eat each other. Brooks's zombies are also completely mindless (as opposed to Romero zombies which fear fire and seem to retain some traits from their former lives) so they wouldn't understand maternal love.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:51 PM on September 29, 2008


Conversely, the zombification could be transferred during birth, when the blood supplies of mother and child commingle (see Rh factor stuff). Though I can't imagine a zombie uterus would be particularly helpful, I can definitely see a case for the placenta as some mystical zombie bulwark.
posted by lumensimus at 3:44 PM on September 29, 2008


this is all theoretical to the awesome idea of "BURST FORTH ZOMBIE BABY!"

Like Alien, but messier.


And there you go, endless scenarios, a 28-days-later zombie baby, in a crib, super strong and fast and deadly. Scary shit and hits about a thousand theme buttons and leaves Freudians jerkin' for days.
posted by The Whelk at 6:31 PM on September 29, 2008


or a helpless, but still infected, baby in a crib. It works both ways and again, points to why it's such a robust genre.
posted by The Whelk at 6:33 PM on September 29, 2008


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