Comic Talk and General Discussion *

Why zombies are are stupid monster
ozoneocean at 7:53AM, Jan. 26, 2020
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Zombies have always annoyed me, but I think it goes down to more than just personal preference; they don't make any sense for many reasons:

1. If a zombie is dead then it can't move all ALL unless its magical. No non-magical dead zombies can be animated because a body needs to actively function in order TO move.

2. Magically animated dead zombies can't be rotting because rot is an active function and they would very soon be without enough body cohesion to hold together enough to even stand. You'd have to have them ONLY rotting in certain spots or have the rot magically rewind or something equally silly.

3. If the zombies are alive and non-magical, but only simply demented and not able to feel pain, but only running on “instinct”, then they wouldn't last very long because they've lost all their main survival traits:

a. Pain, fear, experience, and memory are essential for survival. lacking these zombies would be destroyed very fast through simple accidents, infection, and predation.

b. Without the intelligence of a normal human even a flock of angry sheep or a bunch of ducks would outsmart and kill a zombie let alone any non-demented human.

c. The strongest trait humans have is team/group behaviour using intelligence, communication, coordination, learning etc. This would make any two humans equal to many times their number in zombies, let alone a whole community of people.

I can go on. Zombie fiction is the worst usually.
 
ozoneocean at 8:27AM, Jan. 26, 2020
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The other thing is the groups they have fighting the zombies-
Primarily soldiers.

Soldiers are usually always wiped out in seconds but the reality would be completely opposite because they have superpowers that zombies don't have:

They are cool in an attack situation, they have training, they have efficient communication and coordination, they specialise in functioning as a cohesive group, they have tactics, they have fighting techniques and they have all sorts of weapons. Any weapon is superior to a mindless unarmed attack.
The zombies would never even be a threat.
 
bravo1102 at 11:18AM, Jan. 26, 2020
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My biggest complaint is that what the movies insist on calling zombies are actually ghouls and real zombies are quite different.

An undead thing that eats human flesh is a ghoul. A zombie is an animated corpse usually created through magic or chemistry to perform simple labor including standing guard.

Honestly there hasn't been a really good movie about true zombies in a long time, they've all been about the shambling ghouls looking for brains. There was a Hammer movie Plague of Zombies just before Night of the Living Dead.

But the whole thing to remember about what is commonly referred to as zombies is that they're corpses animated by some disease or contagion. There actually have been a handful of cases where someone appeared to have died and then awoke and shambled around in a stupor. That formed the basis of the zombie legends in Africa and the Caribbean. Since they're totally numbed they don't register pain right away which led to the belief that they're invincible.

But of course zombies are just a modern horror macguffin. Need a monster that's hard to kill and spreads like wildfire and will do nasty things to you and it's already dead *poof* the modern zombie. But it's still really technically a ghoul.

I even used ghouls in Sword of Kings. No explanation of what they were, just an undead thing that eats corpses and kill the unwary.

Interstellar Blood Beasts used a variation but it was a specifically designed bio-agent not some random space virus like Night of the Living Dead. The original I am Legend /Last Man on Earth was about a bio-warfare bug gone wrong that turned people into ghoul like things that lived on blood and mostly nocturnal. They were a touch more believable than what George Romero adapted them into for his film because he couldn't get the rights to Last Man on Earth.

Zombies have become an awful cliche in all the worst ways something can be a cliche. Some of the best recent zombie films have gone back to cursed animated corpses as opposed to the alien virus like the wonderful Dead Snowfilms. A horrid curse like that can bend the rules. It's magic. Magic can do anything needed to create a monster and not be fully explained because it might be eldritch THINGS MAN WAS NOT MEANT TO KNOW that bind the soul to a rotting corpse to keep it animated until the curse is broken. That was one definition of damnation. It was rumored to happen if you buried a suicide in hallowed ground. The ground wouldn't accept the body just as heaven would not accept the soul and it'd be doomed to wander.

That's why you're supposed to bury vampires upside down at a crossroads. They claw the wrong direction and never come above ground and if they do, they won't know what direction to go in to wreck their havoc. And Satan is drawn to crossroads so he'll just collect them up and they won't bother the living.

Whole pile of legends and superstition come in which is mostly subsumed by the whole space virus/bio-hazard walking dead shtick. And it's BORRRING .

A good curse isn't supposed to be explainable. That's half the point behind curses. They're outside our frame of reference. Not natural but SUPERnatural.
last edited on Jan. 26, 2020 11:22AM
El Cid at 3:14PM, Jan. 26, 2020
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Unless they're being animated by magic, then it follows that zombies are powered by some kind of metabolic process, which means they should eventually run out of energy. This is the big problem I see with ‘zombie apocalypse’ narratives: the zombies just wouldn't be able to continue finding food indefinitely. Humans, even healthy non-rotting ones, need to be very clever in order to catch and consume prey consistently enough to keep going. I just don't find it plausible that the zombies would still be ambling about active and dangerous for days, weeks, months, years after the initial outbreak. That makes no sense, and likewise I don't see zombies as a very effective disease vector to begin with. Their disease, as best I can determine, is basically just a ramped up version of rabies. When's the last time you heard of a global rabies pandemic? That's not a thing.

I should acknowledge though that there is a kernel of plausibility to the zombie concept in that humans appear to have evolved as persistence hunters. Our ancestors weren't necessarily faster or bigger or stronger than the animals they hunted, but they could gang up on an animal and chase it for hours until it tired out so they could kill it. Most animals are physically incapable of running marathons the way humans do, so I'll give props to the zombie (or ghoul) myth for tapping into that aspect of our predatory past and turning it on its head. But still, in the case of undead things shambling about with little in the way of higher brain function, I just don't see them lasting long enough to be a serious threat to humanity. They'd be quarantined and hunted down with relative ease.
Ironscarf at 7:27PM, Jan. 26, 2020
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I can't stand ‘em and I can’t decide which part I can't stand most: is it the fact they're not zombies at all as Bravo mentioned, or is it the tedious one dimensional and just plain daft nature of zombie movies. At least Romero and others have played on the humour to some extent, but when supposed to be taken seriously as in some of the zombie plague scenarios, I find more drama in the average gardening show.

Now a real zombie needs someone to reanimate them and a reason for doing so. So much more plot potential than watching a bunch of people trying not to get eaten. I'm not sure ghoul is the right description either though, since ghouls are creatures in their own right, not ex-humans and tend to feed on corpses in most western mythology.
 
bravo1102 at 1:38AM, Jan. 27, 2020
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Ironscarf wrote: I'm not sure ghoul is the right description either though, since ghouls are creatures in their own right, not ex-humans and tend to feed on corpses in most western mythology.

In one variation of the ghoul legend they are damned souls that haunt places of death like cemeteries and battlefields feeding on the remains. That's the one I referred to and used in Sword of Kings.

This version of the ghoul is similar to the vampire except it's a fully carnivorous cannibal like the modern zombie.

The whole curse and possible evil motives of someone making people into zombies or ghouls is more interesting than the usual plague scenario. See the movie Plague of Zombies. There's a mystery to be solved and evil to be fought and decent villains as opposed to ravenous rotting reanimated corpses.

Though that's fun it's own right as the Reanimator franchise shows.

For what it matters I have 3 or 4 scripts in development with a lot of this stuff. Undead, curses, real zombies, ghouls, spectres versus ghosts, demons and so forth. So it's not like I haven't given all this thought as fodder for stories.
last edited on Jan. 27, 2020 6:10AM
Ironscarf at 7:22AM, Jan. 27, 2020
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bravo1102 wrote:

For what it matters I have 3 or 4 scripts in development with a lot of this stuff. Undead, curses, real zombies, ghouls, spectres versus ghosts, demons and so forth. So it's not like I haven't given all this thought as fodder for stories.

I will be subscribing to any/all of the above if and when they appear. :D
 
usedbooks at 2:18PM, Jan. 27, 2020
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Eh. I'm not really into “undead” stories of any kind myself. Animated corpses are especially silly.

Now, reality is much scarier but the mechanics are different. Real “zombies” in the animal kingdom are caused by parasites or viruses affecting the brain and nervous system. As Oz pointed out, the “lifespan” of the host isn't long, but it isn't supposed to be. A parasite's goal is reproduction and continuing its life cycle. This usually turns its host kamikaze.

Real examples are a fungus that makes its host ant climb high to be seen by a predator. There's a worm that infects small fish and makes them attracted to shadows (such as those cast by herons and other fishing birds). And toxoplasmosis alters a mouse's behavior to be attracted to cat urine. The “zombie-causing” parasites have to enter a different host to continue their life cycle. They brainwash their host to get eaten. (Or to move to a good location to incubate eggs/larva and then become babies' first meal.)

Another brain-altering thing would be meningitis such is caused by rabies or mad cow disease. In the case of rabies, the virus sometimes causes the affected to become aggressive, and the virus spreads through a bite. Viruses are not as complex as fungal or animal parasites, but they are the product of adaptation themselves, so the survival of the virus was made possible by its nature to make the affected organism spread it.

Again, it is not a genre I am interested in, but if one wanted to do more of a sci-fi slant rather than fantasy, a parasite or infection would be the way to go. The zombies couldn't be long lived, of course, but it could still be pretty scary if there's a pandemic situation and/or some kind of zoonosis. A zombie parasite with humans as part of their life cycle could make interesting horror. Mind-controlled individuals doing something suicidal that would allow the parasite to move to whatever the next stage of life is would certainly be an interesting and horrifying tale. And humans basically being “tricked” into becoming hosts (or not knowing the source/vector) rather than passing it directly to each other would be a spin on the Hollywood trope. (Maybe even blaming the wrong sources and making the situation worse. Like was done with bubonic plague.)
last edited on Jan. 27, 2020 2:20PM
BearinOz at 6:17PM, Jan. 27, 2020
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usedbooks wrote:


A zombie parasite with humans as part of their life cycle could make interesting horror. Mind-controlled individuals doing something suicidal that would allow the parasite to move to whatever the next stage of life is would certainly be an interesting and horrifying tale. And humans basically being “tricked” into becoming hosts …
I fear my nightmares will have shifted focus, now I've read this…
[ must keep off the codeine…must keep off the codeine

B-)
 
ozoneocean at 7:08PM, Jan. 27, 2020
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@UB- yeah, those are more interesting ideas. Focussing on the “zombie” rather than the “survivors” is may more interesting with more realistic zombie stuff.

People always use zombie fiction as an excuse to slaughter humans without consequence and write a tried tale about how survivors are horrible because of their human nature and that really in the end people are the “real” monsters.
- well F**K those writers. You're not clever, you're not saying anything clever, new or profound. Your insight is adolescent, boring, and irrelevant, and does not accord with reality. You are a tit.

@Bravo and Scarf -
You're right, ghouls or some other mythological thing is what they are… maybe even the older version of vampires (the non-sexy bestial ones).
The I am Legend story took more of that tack- the infected people believed they were vampires.

@El-Cid
I think the current fictional zombies would only be a threat initially- before people knew what was happening. After that they're only a threat to themselves. Any thinking human can survive, hunt, and kill better than an unthinking husk.
Humans are superior to the strongest, fastest, most venomous, and biggest predators that exist because of our intelligence, learning, communication and teamwork. The fact that writers think humans without any of those advantages would be much of a threat speaks more to the zombie-like traits of the writers.
 
ozoneocean at 7:18PM, Jan. 27, 2020
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Here's another thing:
How to kill a zombie?

For the magical ones it's more about destroying the curse that animates them… you can put that on the head and make it accord with current zombie lore I suppose, but it could be anywhere. You could even just destroy an object or the zombie master.

For the “virus” zombies destroying the brain makes no sense. It's like it is because it HAS no brain function. Wouldn't they be controlled by the brain stem or something? Basically those creatures could lose the whole front of the head and not slow down.
But an injury to the heart or enough holes to drain blood or destroy lungs etc would do it, just like for any human. Cutting off leg or an arm would do it too. Without blood they will die.




OK, not all zombie fiction is bad. The original “humans think they're dead but they're really just controlled by a zombie master” is clever. And the webcomic I featured the other day, Shrouded RD has a good take on them.
 
DeanZeeks at 12:40AM, Jan. 28, 2020
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I wouldn't say “stupid” as much as they are “overdone” or “cheap” the fact that they're aimless wandering undead deprives them of any personality and they're usually reserved to create cheap tension by overwhelming the protagonists with sheer numbers
bravo1102 at 1:23AM, Jan. 28, 2020
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As far as zombies go–

Every problem in human existence can be solved with the right amount of high explosives.

Mass of zombies? Artillery. Large caliber automatic weapons don't always make holes they often shred flesh. Hand grenades. Mortars.

There are recipes and instructions for home made mortars and ammunition.

Sean of the Dead got it ruder. The whole thing is how to survive the couple of days it takes the military to take charge.

I had a take on it with Interstellar Blood Beasts I didn't use a fungus but a designed phage bacteria. But the blood Beasts were anything but shambling dimwits.
ozoneocean at 2:23AM, Jan. 28, 2020
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You don't have to worry about dangerous things like explosives. They have no mind. They just shamble or run towards you when you make a noise or the see you, so…
Stand on one side of a little river and wave.

That's ALL you have to do. Nothing else.
Unless you don't have a river, then use some other environment feature: train tracks, a busy highway, get on a boat on a lake or the see and do it, get on the other side of a deep hole…
 
bravo1102 at 2:48AM, Jan. 28, 2020
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ozoneocean wrote:
You don't have to worry about dangerous things like explosives. They have no mind. They just shamble or run towards you when you make a noise or the see you, so…
Stand on one side of a little river and wave.

That's ALL you have to do. Nothing else.
Unless you don't have a river, then use some other environment feature: train tracks, a busy highway, get on a boat on a lake or the see and do it, get on the other side of a deep hole…
Or up a tree.

But the water thing is beaten by the zombie that doesn't breathe or can hold its breath for long periods. But they still can't climb trees.

Always wondered how the mindless shambling zombies managed stairs and ladders. Just go up to the second floor and watch them parade by down below and throw high explosives at them.
El Cid at 9:12AM, Jan. 28, 2020
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If zombies can't breathe, then they can't metabolize. That requires oxygen intake, and unless they have gills, they can't draw oxygen from water. Unless they're magic zombies, then submerging them in water should absolutely kill them.
bravo1102 at 9:58AM, Jan. 28, 2020
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El Cid wrote:
If zombies can't breathe, then they can't metabolize. That requires oxygen intake, and unless they have gills, they can't draw oxygen from water. Unless they're magic zombies, then submerging them in water should absolutely kill them.
A couple a ways to come up with a BS science answer:
1. They hold their breath
2. The disease organism making them a zombie is anaerobic and supplies the host bodies' needs.
3. The disease can take oxygen from water and supply it to the body.

One forgettable movie had submarine zombies created by the Nazis to man U-boats. The process was also supposed to make them invincible so they couldn't die. It also left them cannibals and psychopaths and shambling zombies.

Bunch of other movies borrowed ideas from this one, but outside of Peter Cushing was very disappointing.
ozoneocean at 4:11PM, Jan. 28, 2020
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You don't really have to worry about the breathing part (El Cid is right though), because they'd just be swept away downriver and things in the water would have a little feast.😁
 
damehelsing at 4:21PM, Jan. 28, 2020
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…. I read through some of these… so forgive me if I repeat anything anyone has said.

But I agree, I think zombies are stupid but I sure am scared of them… even though for some reason I really love watching Zombie movies, I don't know why.
But I just feel like if zombies do indeed die, once the sun hits them and the exposure they suffer to the surface would make them decompose even quicker than if they were in the ground.

Another stupid thing is the dead rising from their graves, dude, you've got what? 5-6 feet of dirt on top of you AND you're in a casket? The dead, like the walking dead type of zombies have been proven to be super weak, especially if you've been dead even longer so you're already decomposed most of the way… so… how on earth did you break that casket and get through ALL of that dirt??

I see in some games/stories/etc they do it where there's a virus, reanimates the brain but only what's needed for the zombies to move around, either way, they're incredibly dumb and I feel like zombies should actually be easily killed off because of their lack of intellect.

I do think that Dying Light portrayed zombies incredibly well.

But to me it is all still BS and I just don't believe it's possible. The closest thing that I could think of being possible is a rabid/crazy cannibal. But they're still alive… so… *shrug*
Ironscarf at 5:01PM, Jan. 28, 2020
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damehelsing wrote:

But to me it is all still BS and I just don't believe it's possible. The closest thing that I could think of being possible is a rabid/crazy cannibal. But they're still alive… so… *shrug*

That's similar to The Crazies, made by George Romero in the early seventies. Not cannibals, but some kind of biological weapon gets loose and is turning everyone into psychos. I remember enjoying that movie and it didn't seem too far beyond the realms of possibility.

Turns out there's a 2010 Crazies remake, naturally. Has nobody done a remake of I Walked With A Zombie? I don't suppose people would pay to see it anyway - nobody gets eaten.
 
last edited on Jan. 28, 2020 7:51PM
damehelsing at 5:06PM, Jan. 28, 2020
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Ironscarf wrote:
damehelsing wrote:

But to me it is all still BS and I just don't believe it's possible. The closest thing that I could think of being possible is a rabid/crazy cannibal. But they're still alive… so… *shrug*

That's similar to The Crazies, made by George Romero in the early seventies.

You're absolutely right. I completely forgot about that movie.
bravo1102 at 1:06AM, Jan. 29, 2020
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Ironscarf wrote:
damehelsing wrote:

But to me it is all still BS and I just don't believe it's possible. The closest thing that I could think of being possible is a rabid/crazy cannibal. But they're still alive… so… *shrug*

That's similar to The Crazies, made by George Romero in the early seventies. Not cannibals, but some kind of biological weapon gets loose and is turning everyone into psychos. I remember enjoying that movie and it didn't seem too far beyond the realms of possibility.

Turns out there's a 2010 Crazies remake, naturally. Has nobody done a remake of I Walked With A Zombie? I don't suppose people would pay to see it anyway - nobody gets eaten.
28 Days Later with its “rage” infection.

Even had the whole rage zombies dying of hunger because they don't eat.
PIT_FACE at 6:43PM, Feb. 19, 2020
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It always makes me chuckles a little bit when people try to list off the “rules” to zombies. That being said though, I agree that zombie-based media has really not been very interesting for a long time. or maybe I just lost interest and have missed some releases.

As someone who used to GUZZLE zombie-based media as well as create it, There are some very striking and memorable adaptations out there. They CAN be used to inspire true fear as well as thought. When handled well, they are certainly NOT stupid monsters. I find them to be some of the most effective if you can just get past the oversaturation at the moment and really consider what they are.

They ARE us, afterall. but not. Whenever I think of the concept of a zombie– as just the slow, shambling thing limping aimlessly down the street I can't help but wonder why it feels so intrinsically WRONG. Maybe the idea of such a thing has already been coded as dangerous because of all of the zombie based stuff I used to consume but I'm not sure.

I can sit here and think, “there's a vampire outside”, or “there's a werewolf outside” and there's no reaction except maybe, “meh, that'd be silly.”
but If i sit here right now and think to myself, “there's a dead man outside,” my blood naturally runs a little colder and i can feel the hair at the back of my neck stand on end. A sense of “that shouldnt BE there.”

Sure, maybe zombies will eventually decay away and become innocuous once they arise but until then, you have something horrible to deal with on multiple levels:

In the “cannibalistic undead” sort of thought, you have to be faced with the trauma of being attacked and the possibility of being brutally consumed by your own friends, family, and neighbors. That on its own is terrible.

But what REALLY gets me is the distortion of the self that comes with BEING a zombie. Think about all the times you've seen a character in a movie get bitten by a zombie and slowly become one as it goes on. There's always something so gut-wrenchingly sad about it and I think it's because the fear of zombies (besides the violent aspect) is synonymous with the fear of death. A character starts off as alive and vibrant. They have goals and personalities. They enjoy jokes. they have a favorite food. they have a past with complicated lovers and family road trips and nicknames and experiences which only they have known and hang onto. All of these things and a myriad more which make them a sentient, unique individual. but once they descend into zombism, all of that is gone. They become grey husks that don't do any of those things anymore. They thoughtlessly groan or bump into walls and that's all.

I think that that's what makes the zombie so effective (again, when it's handled well). Out of all the monsters, it's the one that is MOST confronting about death and what is death but that thing that we ALL will face one day. And I know for myself at least, if it's anything like THAT, that complete loss of self, then it terrifies me. And I think that's why zombies terrify me, too.



last edited on Feb. 19, 2020 7:06PM
hushicho at 1:09AM, March 3, 2020
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DeanZeeks wrote:
I wouldn't say “stupid” as much as they are “overdone” or “cheap”

Very much agreed, here.

Though I have to say, I do enjoy some zombie stories. I got very tired of all the modern hot takes on zombies, which were done to (un)death a few years back and have persisted in various media since, though in lesser numbers. For a while, you couldn't turn around without bumping into a dozen different-but-the-same takes on zombies.

I do remember enjoying Plague of the Zombies, though.

Honestly, too, sometimes you do have to give concessions to a work, in order to enjoy it. If it sets out with a certain premise and you can't accept that premise even conditionally, you probably aren't going to be able to enjoy the work building off it as a foundation. But I'll also concede, here, that even having said that, there are assumptions I just refuse to make and things I can't banish from my mind. Every story will not be for everyone, and that's okay.

Part of the horror of the zombie is that here is a creature that resembles someone you knew; it walks around, it makes sounds, and you might think that there is something of them left in there, something that you could bring back out. The tragedy of the zombie is that it is only superficially alive. It is an imitation of life, and that is also its horror. If there is any part of the person you knew in there, they are experiencing unimaginable horror.

The tragedy is that although it is a seeming triumph over the very force of death, it is instead a trick, a fake out, and it is all the more cruel for that teasing of a loss. The existence of a zombie is a bleak, very downcast tone, and it has to be.

They do not stop until they are stopped. They do not get tired, like humans do. There are also many, many more of the dead than there are of the living. These are all factors that I think should be a part of any narrative of the undead like the shambling masses that zombies have become.

However, I usually find that the most interesting zombie stories are ones that have the zombies quite formidable. I have always enjoyed stories where zombies are hard to lay to rest permanently and must be destroyed outright. This is more of an older-fashioned perspective now, but I still think it's an interesting angle to take, especially since now zombies are generally regarded as disposable en masse minion-level monsters.

I also do tend to enjoy genuinely novel looks at a zombie-like situation. For example, in David Cronenberg's Rabid, it's not really zombies, but they are essentially walking symbols of disease and corruption, and the story is presented accordingly as a chilling tragedy. Similarly, John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness has horrors that resemble zombies somewhat, both in their qualities of unlife and their tendency to spread their condition.

Even dealing with the modern zombie, Return of the Living Dead, to name one film perfectly in the genre, presented zombies as extremely formidable even individually, making the group of zombies that eventually congregated in the course of the film look like a tidal wave of doom. Some of these zombies could even speak and articulate their thoughts and feelings, which made it even more horrific.

In many ways, zombies tend to embody many of the things wrong with, or which plague, human society. In that sense, I find them still relevant and interesting, but I do always tend to dislike it when something just saturates all media. I certainly did get very tired of zombies for quite some time, but I think there are still some interesting things that could be done with them.
last edited on March 3, 2020 1:12AM

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