Monday, 13 June 2011

Enough With Zombies, Please!

Sacred cows are a bugbear of mine, particularly when they’re undead cows that won’t fuck off; I’m now unable to go into HMV without seeing zombie movies, zombie comics, zombie games…I can’t help but feel like there’ll be a zombie musical before too long. Don’t get me wrong. Zombies can be cool when used properly, and with a little bit of moderation in how much they’re used in the media options, but all too often I find myself getting frustrated with the sheer wealth of zombie material at the expense of other scary things. Here, then, are my reasons for wanting a reduction in the focus on zombies.

We’ve got enough material to last a while

Looking through the list of zombie comics alone yields a lot of graphic novels which bear the undead seal of approval. A look at some zombie comic books available yields such results as Highschool of the Dead, a Sherlock Holmes trade paperback including zombies, and a comic book adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, not to mention staples of the genre like The Walking Dead written by friend of the site Robert Kirkman.

Alright, let’s look at the games side of things. Looking through the upcoming releases shows two Resident Evil arcade re-issues, a full release Resident Evil game entitled Operation: Raccoon City and Deep Silver’s intriguing Dead Island, a zombie melee combat game set on a tropical island. Bearing in mind that there are already a number of games including zombies across retail and arcade-based games, such as Dead Rising, the Left 4 Dead series and a number of casual games such as Zombie Tycoon and a couple of zombie-themed Facebook games.

Of course, there are plenty of zombie movies, with Romero’s series a prime example, as well as the Resident Evil series, which seems to have taken a pretty regular release schedule as it carves out a new fan base unfamiliar with the source material and just hoping that Milla Jovovich gets her kit off. Not that I’m against that idea, by any means. Nevertheless, it’s clear that there is plenty of material out there already. The point I’m trying to make is simple: we’re not short of zombie stuff, and when you look at the amount of material in other horror media recently (one Wolf-man movie? Really?) comparatively, it’s clear there’s a balancing issue.

Interest in zombies has gone too far

What do I mean? Simple: the prevalence of zombie media, which has now increased to television, has caused people to go a little bit stupid. “Wait a minute, Rob, you’ve gone too far here. I demand an example!” Well, entitled voice of the Youtube generation, you will get your wish, in a little mini-Newsfalsh! Enjoy.

Leicester City Council ‘not ready’ for zombie attack

A worried member of the public has forced Leicester City Council to admit it is unprepared for a zombie invasion. I have never seen quite such an interesting use of the word ‘forced’ as in this sentence. It conjures images of people having their thumbs broken while tied to a chair by a ‘worried member of the public’, who at their peak are more terrifying than a dinosaur comeback. I use ‘comeback’ with the same sort of level of seriousness as ‘forced’ in this article.

Anyway, a ‘concerned citizen’ (which is a term that I use loosely, as I suspect the actual description reads ‘first year film student’) has written to Leicester City Council, citing the Freedom of Information act, enquiring about their readiness to cope with the undead. The letter reads as follows:

Can you please let us know what provisions you have in place in the event of a zombie invasion? Having watched several films it is clear that preparation for such an event is poor and one that councils throughout the kingdom must prepare for.

What’s more frustrating to me is how much interest this has garnered from people, being shared on Facebook among a number of my friends. I don’t blame those friends for the sharing, as it’s quite an unusual thing to be written to a local council, particularly as there are arguably more important things than preparing for a highly improbable (and I use the word ‘highly’ as somewhat of an understatement) outcome.

See, there are more important things to prepare for. However much faith you put into the effects of climate change and the severity of it, one must concede that the potential downside of climate change is *far* more likely than a zombie invasion. See, what the person who wrote this letter fails to realise (which is probably why they’re unlikely to get past first year, or will graduate with a Third) is that the idea of a zombie ‘invasion’, as they put it, denotes that the zombies are going to come from somewhere other than Leicester. In reality, the likelihood is that those who will be attacking the citizens of Leicester would actually be the council workers of whom the request is being made.

Now, the idea of a zombie attack, while unlikely, is not impossible, given the nature of zombies, but actually the language suggests that the zombies are going to be from another country. I’m guessing that when ‘CC’ or ‘FYFSW’ went through their course syllabus and watched all their movies, they only looked at the title of Zombieland and thought “Shit, there’s a fucking COUNTRY of them?!” Maybe this is what forced their worthless hand to write this letter, because I sincerely doubt that the objective was to make me shoot small amounts of bile from my ears every other hour.

It’s important, also, to put this letter in the context of other requests made to the council under the Freedom of Information requests, which include paranormal activity records and LISTS OF HAUNTED BUILDINGS! Whatever your feelings on ghosts and the like, my feeling is simply this: if you leave this Earth, you might leave in violent circumstances but your anger does not go with you. If ghosts exist (and I’m not saying either way whether I feel that they do or don’t), they don’t exist in an angry form and thus pose us no threat whatsoever. Much like Zombieland, which has some serious economic issues to contend with first, being as nobody works and the benefits bill is astronomical.

Robots are awesome

The amount of robot-themed media available nowadays is distinctly lacking compared to the availability of zombie media, if you ask me. Now, granted, I’ve reviewed a few books on the subject, but they’re mostly aimed at younger readers, and there seems to be precious little aimed at more mature readers, unless it’s steampunk, which has its place but isn’t broad enough to encompass all levels of robot-loving.

Again, most of the movies involving robots are aimed at the younger viewer, with The Iron Giant one that sticks in my mind. Why aren’t more people interested in robots in a grown-up film? Have we reached that sad stage of humanity where people won’t go to see a robot movie unless it’s coloured white and has an Apple logo on it? I mean, the most iconic robot movie of recent years was fucking called I, Robot! You can’t tell me that the Apple influence hasn’t got into….what, Asimov did a book with the same name, you say? Fucking hell, Jobs’ cult even got their influence into history!

And don’t tell me that the tech isn’t there to make some awesome robot video game action beyond Transformers (the most recent game of which does look awesome, don’t misunderstand) and those games with the Japanese mechs that make me die a little inside every time I see one advertised. The technology in L.A Noire is enough to motion capture someone to that degree of quality, so the idea that they can’t make a good quality robot game is a little unusual. I’ve seen movies ruined by people that look like they’ve been done poorly in CGI, so I imagine that just making those characters available in new video games would be a start.

A heroic crusader (Nicolas Cage - Knowing, Drive Angry) and his close ally (Ron Perlman - Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy) return home after decades of fierce fighting to find their world destroyed by the Plague.

Believing a witch to be responsible for the devastation, they are commanded by the church Cardinal (Christopher Lee) to transport the girl to a remote monastery where monks will perform an ancient ritual to rid the land of her curse.

But they soon discover the girl's dark secret and find themselves battling a powerful and destructive force that will determine the fate of the world forever.

Thanks to our friends at Momentum, we've got five copies of Season of the Witch to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to before midday on Monday 20th June, making sure to put "Season of the Witch" as the subject. The first five entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Season of the Witch" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.


1 comment:

  1. Its not the Zombies you need to worry about its Vampires. There are just wayyyy to many vampire films and TV series... enough to suck your blood dry!!