Thursday, August 27, 2009

To Be (Zombie) or Not To Be (Zombie)

From Blogger Pictures

So this is something that I am putting together since some kid in my class argued with me on what classifies somebody to be considered a zombie. He thinks that the ‘infected’ in 28 Days Later are considered zombies… and I say they are not. They are not dead, they are just lunatics. There is a difference. I am calling on you to help me put this kid to rest because he wants me to do this so that he can prove me wrong… so, my fellow horror fans, do you consider 28 Days Later a zombie movie or just a horror movie?

Below is a small list to classify a zombie by. Now, I know several movies have made different editions of this list and have changed it… but I am basing on what George A. Romero has set in motion since this kid said Romero is the worst horror director ever.

1. Zombies eat people’s flesh

2. Zombies are dead

3. When bit by one, you become a zombie

4. Zombies skin rot as time progresses

5. Zombies (normally) walk slowly

6. They have no brain function

7. Zombies can have missing body parts

8. To kill one, you have to destroy the brain only

9. The zombie virus does not make you aggressive

10. Zombies rule

So use this list and other things that I have forgotten to help answer this question. I will be giving this list to this kid and using it as ‘hardcore’ evidence. 


Not Johnny said...

I have to side with your student on this argument. Though your rules accurately describe the classic zombie archetype in film, the depiction of zombies has changed radically since 9/11. Your rules declare that the creatures in Resident Evil not zombies because they are fast moving and aggressive. I argue that they an upgraded reinvisioning of this classic horror monster.

Vampires have gone through a similar transformation over the past twenty years. Vampires from the Blade series differ greatly from the classic sunken-eyed, large-nosed, slow walking, seductive, anti-semetic characteristics of the original Nosferatu. If you made a list of vampire characteristics from Bram Stoker's Dracula, and declared that every modern vampire film contained no vampires because the description of these monsters didn't match, it wouldn't make you right.

The recent films that comes to mind that contains "Classic Zombies" are "Evil Dead 2" and "Shawn of the Dead", parodies of the Zombie sub-genre. The classic George A. Romero zombie has been reduced to the butt of a joke. Though they were revolutionary at the time, they have served their purpose, and the genre was forced to either evolve, or die. Embrace the new zombies, because they keep interest in the sub-genre alive.

I cannot settle the debate over whether the "28 Days Later" monsters are, in fact, zombies. However, I do urge you to show him or her more respect. Referring to your student as "this kid" seriously undermines your argument, and shows your disrespect for alternative perspectives. Your student is a young and passionate zombie enthusiast.

If you disagree with your student on the boundaries of the genre, then so be it, but I expected more from someone working on their PhD in film and aspired to write movie reviews. Head back and take a few additional genre studies classes, and find out how critics have historically misrepresented large portions of the movie-going populous. In the past, critics have believed themselves to be the voice of authority. Modern film reviews should be subservient to the needs of the viewing audience, regardless of race, religion, sex, or in this case, age. I urge you to look past your own bias, and open your eyes to a culture-driven view of genre in film.


If you'd like to discuss this further, find the Zombie talk page on Wikipedia, where the discussion is in full swing. I, personally, side with the perspective of the historical reference that zombies were based upon:

"There is no such thing as a purist term for 'zombie.' In fact, the whole idea of a zombie being a reanimated corpse can largely be attributed to Western culture's perception of Voodoo practices, when in reality "zombies" in Voodoo were individuals drugged so that they were either in a state of physical suspended animation or in a mental state where they appeared to lack any free will. Neither in reality has a reanimated "zombie" corpse ever existed, nor in mainstream culture has the word been used to strictly refer to a reanimated corpse." --Waxsin (talk) 05:40, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

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