Five Zombie Things for Wednesday, May 12
1. I was asked not long ago whether I thought Zombieland was the funniest zombie movie of all time. I said it wasn’t; I still think Shaun of the Dead is the best zombie comedy ever. My opinion was met with disbelief and indignation, but I haven’t changed my mind. Zombieland is very funny, absolutely; I laughed out loud a lot, enjoyed Bill Murray’s cameo (to a point, see below), loved Woody Harrelson and the Rules. The reason I like Shaun better is primarily the reason why I prefer British to American comedy styles overall. For the most part, Shaun is clever rather than slapstick and over-the-top, a bit more subtle overall. There is something in every scene to notice and store away, because it’ll get referenced later. The people involved aren’t ridiculously gorgeous (typical American movie issue, though), and the whole is a nice, seamless zombie movie that also happens to be funny. My main two problems with Zombieland that knock it from the top spot: fast zombies, and the “joke” Bill Murray pulls that gets him killed. No one would do that to a person heavily armed and in a zombie apocalypse. Again, I get it, it’s a joke, haha, but it jarred me out of the suspension of disbelief I happily had going until then.
2. Other fantastic zombie movies: All of the ones by George Romero. Every one of them. Romero is the Bram Stoker of zombie lore, and to me defines the zombie and what it is. Resident Evil is another one I love, even if some of the zombies are fast, and it’s not all because of Milla Jojovich, although she does help. Planet Terror is great good fun. The leg gun? A little much, but a good movie nonetheless.
3. Zombie movies I don’t love as much include the Dawn of the Dead remake (fast zombies) and Return of the Living Dead, mostly because that movie I blame for the whole zombie-eating-brains meme in popular culture. Zombies don’t give a crap about brains, they are gonna eat whatever they get. No zombie can get to a brain unless it’s helpfully smashed open for them. Try getting through the human skull with your fingers and teeth. Ain’t happenin’. The most horrible zombie movie I can recall was Zombie Strippers which is supposed to be light-hearted and campy and bad by design, but, man, it didn’t have to be that bad. I actually very much like 28 Days Later, for the simple reason that they aren’t really zombies, but neither do I really consider it a zombie movie.
4. The zombie books I’ve most enjoyed are, of course, the Old and New Testament of zombie lit, The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z by Max Brooks. They are on their own plane, far above the rest. Following them for me would be Day by Day Armageddon by JL Bourne. Yes, there are misspellings and grammatical errors, but since it is presented as a diary, they only add to the realism for me. I’d have happily accepted more, since I doubt anyone’s running a spellchecker in the zombie apocalypse. Also good are Monster Island and Monster Nation by David Wellington and Dying to Live by Kim Paffenroth. I do have problems with the latter three, but they are still definitely worth the money and time invested in them.
5. What I won’t waste my time with are the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and that whole related oeuvre. I think Jane Austen is abysmal to read, and adding zombies to it is actually pretty stupid, in my own opinion. I won’t even link to it.