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Author Topic: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?  (Read 2261 times)

Straight Faced Customer

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2008, 12:36:13 PM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/10/barack-obama-zombies-running

Quote
Last week Simon Pegg wrote a piece for this paper complaining about the running zombies in my preposterous horror series Dead Set. Proper zombies don't run, they walk, he said. I was all ready to write a stinging riposte until I read his article all the way through and realised it was dauntingly well-argued. So I'll keep this short and combative and hope I get away with it.

Simon: your outright rejection of running zombies leaves you exposed, in a very real and damning sense, as a terrible racist. And if the recent election of Obama has taught us one thing, it's that the age of such knee-jerk prejudice is firmly behind us. Still, let's indulge your disgraceful bigotry for a moment by assuming speedy zombies need defending, and list the reasons why ours ran, shall we?

1) I like running zombies. I just do.

2) They HAD to run or the story wouldn't work. The outbreak had to knock the entire country out of action before the producers had time to evacuate the studios.

3) We had to clearly and immediately differentiate Dead Set from Shaun of the Dead, which had cornered the market on zombie-centric horror-comedy. Blame yourself, Simon: if you'd made that film badly, it wouldn't have been so popular, and drawing a distinction wouldn't have been an issue. Each time one of our zombies breaks into a sprint, it's your own stupid talented fault.

4) Even George Romero, the godfather of zombies, bent the rules from time to time. Witness the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead, which moves at a fair old whack and even picks up a rock to try to smash a car window. Or the two kiddywink zombies in Dawn of the Dead, who burst out of a room and run - yes run - towards Ken Foree. I know you saw these scenes. You know you saw these scenes. And you also know that if this were a trial, this would be the moment where you splutter in the witness box and admit you're completely wrong.

5) Running zombies are, to be frank, cheaper than stumbling ones. You only need one or two to present a massive threat. I love a huge mass of shambling undead as much as the next guy, but we couldn't afford that many crowd scenes. The original plan was to set the final episode six months in the future, by which time the zombies were badly decayed and could only shuffle (although "freshies" would still run), but budget and time constraints ruled this out. Which would you rather see - running zombies or absolutely no zombies at all?

Hmm? HMM?

Face facts. It's time to embrace diversity, Simon. Make room in your heart for all breeds of zombie. Except ones that talk. They're just silly.

wherearethespoons

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2008, 01:06:50 PM »
Thanks for that, I wasn't aware of the Pegg article. It is here for anybody interested; http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/nov/04/television-simon-pegg-dead-set

Fry

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2008, 01:40:48 PM »
I've never understood how a zombie would be able to climb out of a grave, traditionally a zombie is all rotted and shit, so weaker than the normal human.  And we know a normal human couldn't climb out, what chance does a fucked up zombie have?


Also, I agree with the "re-animated dead & long time infected are slow and shuffling, but freshies are faster" arguments. Although I don't think they'd be able to sprint like they do in Dead Set, I would imagine they are jsut mroe co-ordinated and efficient in their shuffling.

wherearethespoons

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2008, 01:43:17 PM »

Jemble Fred

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2008, 01:49:25 PM »
What was the last big hit movie to have the dead actually rising from the grave, rather than some wanky disease being passed around, or just unexplained zombies turning up? It's the churning earth and return of the fully buried dearly departed that really chills the blood, plagues are just dull.

Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2008, 02:27:48 PM »
I reckon this in itself is worthy of a discussion, as it only had a fleeting mention in a few posts of the Dead Set thread…..

Anyway I'm trailing off, my point is there are a few scenes in Dead Set which could have been done a little more tastefully, and for me these scenes all include running zombies. What do you think?

No need to apologise. Attention is attention and (as others have mentioned), good idea for a thread.

Personally, I actually prefer the shambling zombie, but….

It’s not so much that I feel the blueprint laid out by Night of The Living Dead is dated (far from it), but I do feel that film-makers, writers etc. are entitled to creative freedom. As wherearethespoons quite rightly said, this might be a mistake, but people should be able to make them.

I think my reaction to Pegg’s article was also based on the fact that it struck a similar note as when he is interviewed or writing articles for magazines like SFX – he does have a distinct fanboy tendency to see things in black and white (the way I think it should be and the wrong way).

This is why I thought he was being a little dogmatic here. I could be doing Pegg a disservice, but I think in a film, if the ‘fast’ zombie was used well for a specific purpose when a ‘slow’ one would not have been as effective and there was an excellent explanation why they operate this way and not in the stereotyped shambling manner, he would still see it as a massive flaw. In his letter, Brooker raises a couple of decent reasons why the zombies had to be fast – and point 4 is an excellent one.

To be fair to Pegg, in his article, he does say his criticism about Dead Set is “purist grumbling”.

I don’t agree with Brooker in his riposte that Romero has ‘bent’ the rules, but instead merely adapted them. In the Land of the Dead, the leader of the zombies Big Daddy and the way that zombies are developing superior motor skills is quite a different approach – I know people who grumbled about these being ‘wrong’, particularly about the zombies becoming organised, but I think there’s a good case for these being used to benefit the themes that Romero exploring in this particular film.  Which brings me back to artistic freedom.

Take another Romero film, Martin – one of the best films I’ve ever seen. If Romero followed the usual guidelines/rules for vampire flicks, it would have been a completely different film.

Re: Rosemary’s Baby – I do agree that often ‘less is more’, but would say that the success of the film owed much Polanski’s faithful/literal adaptation of the book.
   
I would prefer that that it worked for one person but not for another, dependent on their actual belief in the symbol of the cross. Likewise holy water: it depends on who blessed it. And what symbols or devices work for non-christians? Are atheists totally fucked in the magical world of vampires?

I think this has been touched on in quite a few films and is something I feel that could do with exploring. There has been a few films where the success of wielding the cross depends on the person eventually lowers it on the vampire’s relentless gaze. I think some of the Cushing as Van Helsing in various Hammer flicks were rather like this.

What was the last big hit movie to have the dead actually rising from the grave, rather than some wanky disease being passed around, or just unexplained zombies turning up? It's the churning earth and return of the fully buried dearly departed that really chills the blood, plagues are just dull.

What as in actually see the dead rising? In the Romero’s Living Dead series, it’s mentioned in Dawn, that the dead have risen from the graves but we don’t actually see it - so that would apply to all his zombie films, and arguably the remake of Dawn.

VegaLA

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2008, 04:28:18 PM »
What was the last big hit movie to have the dead actually rising from the grave, rather than some wanky disease being passed around, or just unexplained zombies turning up? It's the churning earth and return of the fully buried dearly departed that really chills the blood, plagues are just dull.

Hm, the last Zombies crawling out of the grave film I can remember seeing was 'Return of the Living Dead', that was 1985. There has to be something since....?

Now you got me thinking, Nags should write up a list of Zombie films and categorize them Virus/Voodoo.

Jemble Fred

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2008, 04:37:44 PM »
I just think it's far more psychologically unsettling to see characters struggling with the return of loved ones who had been presumed genuinely dead, and for graveyards to suddenly spring to life with murderous animated corpses. I know it's not a zombie movie per se, but Pet Semetary sums the idea up nicely, with the cute young son being buried in the cursed ground. There's something truly sick about seeing someone grieve naturally, and then having the loved one turn up as a rotting monster. The whole 'virus endangering mankind' approach is fair enough, but it's a completely different kind of horror, and certainly lends itself better to the action-style fast-paced zombies than the shufflers of yore.

I don't know, I find it hard to explain but since infancy my biggest nightmares came from the idea of the dead as we know them coming back to life, and yet none of these 'viral' zombie movies have ever given me even the vaguest pang of fear, it's all ultimately gross-out shock fodder to me, rather than truly skin-crawling upset. Birdflu+cannibalism doesn't do it for me, and yet you'd think that the believability of having a scientific reason for zombie apocalypse rather than just supernatural hoakum would be far more unnerving. Perhaps it's just this problem of there being too many zombie movies/TV shows/videogames. Everyone watching gets the rules right from the off, and then it's just par for the course. Graveyards suddenly coming to life, however, taps into something more embedded in our collective consciouszzzzz.....

Yeah, sorry, boring myself there.

NoSleep

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2008, 06:43:54 PM »
Hm, the last Zombies crawling out of the grave film I can remember seeing was 'Return of the Living Dead', that was 1985. There has to be something since....?

Now you got me thinking, Nags should write up a list of Zombie films and categorize them Virus/Voodoo.

There were lots of the dead rising from their graves in Army Of Darkness (Evil Dead III) in 1992.

Jemble Fred

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2008, 06:46:43 PM »
Come  to think of it, I'd say perhaps the single most terrifying 'zombie' in all fiction for me is the son in 'The Monkey's Paw'. And you don't even see him.

Little Hoover

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2008, 09:40:38 PM »
I just think it's far more psychologically unsettling to see characters struggling with the return of loved ones who had been presumed genuinely dead, and for graveyards to suddenly spring to life with murderous animated corpses. I know it's not a zombie movie per se, but Pet Semetary sums the idea up nicely, with the cute young son being buried in the cursed ground. There's something truly sick about seeing someone grieve naturally, and then having the loved one turn up as a rotting monster. The whole 'virus endangering mankind' approach is fair enough, but it's a completely different kind of horror, and certainly lends itself better to the action-style fast-paced zombies than the shufflers of yore.

I don't know, I find it hard to explain but since infancy my biggest nightmares came from the idea of the dead as we know them coming back to life, and yet none of these 'viral' zombie movies have ever given me even the vaguest pang of fear, it's all ultimately gross-out shock fodder to me, rather than truly skin-crawling upset. Birdflu+cannibalism doesn't do it for me, and yet you'd think that the believability of having a scientific reason for zombie apocalypse rather than just supernatural hoakum would be far more unnerving. Perhaps it's just this problem of there being too many zombie movies/TV shows/videogames. Everyone watching gets the rules right from the off, and then it's just par for the course. Graveyards suddenly coming to life, however, taps into something more embedded in our collective consciouszzzzz.....

Yeah, sorry, boring myself there.
I think what you're saying is all understandable, the thing with all the modern virus idea of zombies, is if anything it's more science fiction, with horror I think it's more effective to put it down to some kind of unexplained evil power. In fact isn't generally the worst thing you can do with horror is give a rational explanation, which is where the idea of viruses kind of fails.

Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2008, 11:35:39 PM »
I just think it's far more psychologically unsettling to see characters struggling with the return of loved ones who had been presumed genuinely dead, and for graveyards to suddenly spring to life with murderous animated corpses...

There's a Billy Connolly black comedy, Fido, which features a 50's style Cold War society - and all dead people can rise as a zombie. So from a young age, citizens are brought up ready to deal with a loved one who becomes a zombie . There's also talk of the first zombie wars and it's clear that many of the survivors did have to kill raised family members - this has clearly traumatised one main character, the revelation of this suddenly shows his earlier behaviour in the film in a much more sympathetic light.

Anyhoo, I rather liked it and it featured Tim Blake Nelson as a Hunter S Thompson-type neighbour, how can it fail?


Lee

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #42 on: November 11, 2008, 09:40:08 AM »
There were lots of the dead rising from their graves in Army Of Darkness (Evil Dead III) in 1992.

I was about to suggest that, then I thought "nah, that can't be the last film to do that". But actually...

Wadded Bliss

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #43 on: November 11, 2008, 05:25:43 PM »
What was the last big hit movie to have the dead actually rising from the grave, rather than some wanky disease being passed around, or just unexplained zombies turning up?

Dance of the Dead, although I'm not sure that it's out over here yet. In fact, the zombies in this film explode out of their graves.

Here's the imdb link http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0926063/

Shoulders?-Stomach!

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2008, 06:35:53 PM »
The recent trend for running zombies coincides nicely with the complete farcical deterioration of the entire horror genre.

Chalk me up for the shuffling kind. It works best because there's a sort of morbid relentlessness about the groans and the slow march of the undead. That's a million times scarier than stupid sprinting idiots and the flashy camera work and lazy BOOM! type shocks that the genre goes for now. Adding pseudo-science to try and justify running zombies won't make them any scarier or any more plausiable.

Now having humans addicted to a drug than induces that kind of behaviour, and them still being human, talking and think. Now that would be shit scary.

Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2008, 06:38:00 PM »
I was about to suggest that, then I thought "nah, that can't be the last film to do that". But actually...

Dellamorte Dellamore was 1994.

Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2008, 06:52:15 PM »
Dance of the Dead, although I'm not sure that it's out over here yet. In fact, the zombies in this film explode out of their graves.

Here's the imdb link http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0926063/

'Noun' of the Dead - I was all excited until I read the plot synopsis:

"On the night of the big High-School Prom, the dead rise to eat the living, and the only people who can stop them are the losers who couldn't get dates to the dance"

I almost gave up at 'night of the big high-school prom'. Now I wish I had.

Nik Drou

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2008, 08:42:19 PM »
Now having humans addicted to a drug than induces that kind of behaviour, and them still being human, talking and think. Now that would be shit scary.

You might want to check out Crossed, a new comic book series by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows.  It's essentially a zombie story only, rather than the undead, the afflicted become irrecovably (and creatively) evil.  I think it's sort of in the ball park of what you're referring to, though I haven't been that impressed with what I've seen of it so far.

Wadded Bliss

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2008, 09:28:26 PM »
'Noun' of the Dead - I was all excited until I read the plot synopsis:

"On the night of the big High-School Prom, the dead rise to eat the living, and the only people who can stop them are the losers who couldn't get dates to the dance"

I almost gave up at 'night of the big high-school prom'. Now I wish I had.

It's really not as bad as it sounds.

Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2008, 10:01:58 PM »
I'm really sorry to interupt with such an inane question but if I don't ask it now, I never will and it will just keep on bugging me.

Can someone tell me if the word "awkward" has been given a different meaning over the last couple of years or are people just misusing it?

Last year I noticed that I had been seeing it used much more often that I normally would and each time it was being used in a way that would not normally fit or make sense.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has noticed this and if they know anything about it. Or could it be that I have just forgotten what the word means?

Is it just a trendy, bendy word that the youth have taken up?

Sorry Nags, you are probably using it correctly (I'm not too sure what you meant by it but using "awkward" as a description gives me some idea) but it just got me thinking and I have been meaning to ask this for a while now, so thought I better had while I remember. I hope you don't mind.


Just to add my bit. It has to be shuffling for me. I have to know that they are dead and really understand that was is coming at me is a real, dead person.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2008, 10:41:58 PM by Huzzie »

Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #50 on: November 12, 2008, 01:15:35 PM »
Last year I noticed that I had been seeing it used much more often that I normally would and each time it was being used in a way that would not normally fit or make sense.

Being used awkwardly you mean?

Little Hoover

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #51 on: November 12, 2008, 03:00:59 PM »
Can't you give any more examples Huzzie? It's a bit awkward if you don't.

Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #52 on: November 13, 2008, 12:44:55 AM »
Hmm. I will when I see it but as it is, I've forgotten how people have been using it.

I suppose if no one else has noticed that has pretty much answered my question anyway.

alan nagsworth

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Re: Zombies: Shuffling or stampeding?
« Reply #53 on: November 13, 2008, 03:41:53 AM »
If you're referring to my use of the word in the opening post, I meant that the scene made me feel awkward, that it stood out from the rest of the episode and that it kind of temporarily killed the mood for me.

It wasn't awkward like the zombie stopped chasing him and said, "Ooh, you know what? I've totally forgot why I was chasing you. It's completely slipped my mind! Oh, wait... it'll come to me, just wait here a second... hoo-boy..."

Er, if that helps.