Friday, April 10, 2009

The Quick and the Dead

Has anyone else noticed the latest trend in zombie films? The dirty feckers are getting faster! Used to be you could walk backwards away from them and pick them off with a twelve gauge. Or put a box in their way. They'd be so busy looking at you that they'd trip over it like the brain-mashed gobshites they are. Or you could just sit in your 'jacked helicopter and laugh as they took the tops off their heads walking into the rotors.
Now they all can all cover ground like Linford Christie on nandralone. Allegedly. Some of them have even been seen jumping onto the roofs of cars and adopting a frog-like pose for some strange reason. Anyway, the point is, that you'd never outrun them. Your only chance would be to see them from miles off and start running in the other direction. And the boarded up house would need to be only 30 or 40 metres away.Most people would hold that the fast zombies are scariest of all.
You can't outrun them, and so if you end up anyway near them, one of your party is a goner. At the very least, someone will incur a bite in the arm and turn at the start of the third act.My thesis is that slow zombies are actually scarier, and to find out why, we need to examine the metaphors involved. In short, we must ask: What do zombies represent?
Fast zombies operate in much the same way as gang members or psychopaths. Chase and kill. They play on our fear of a generic 'attacker', intent only on harming us and with whom we can't reason. To be afraid of such attackers is entirely natural and universal. However, it is not a fear that is 'activated' or called to mind frequently. How many times a day does an average person in Western society dwell on their fear of attackers? How immediate is the fear that is subsequently felt? How much does it mean to you in your everyday life?
Slow zombies play on a different fear. They amble around shopping malls or stand on their own in rooms trying to remember what it was they used to do. You can evade them for a while. You can board yourself in, outwit them or cut a path through them as long the ammo holds out. Doesn't seem too frightening on the surface, does it? But they will never stop. They are inexorable, and in the end, will overwhelm by sheer weight of numbers. Whatever you do, the slow zombies will triumph. Therein lies the metaphor. Slow zombies represent the great unwashed, uncaring masses you share the world with. This is a group that is constituted differently for everyone, making the fear individual and immediate.
For some, they are the people who wear tracksuits when they aren't going to the gym, the stoaaarrrry bud shitehawks of Dublin, the Bush voters of America, or the faceless business leaders who do all for profit. Whatever. You've probably just thought of another three groups who fit the bill. Chavs. Jocks. Westlife fans. Shoe-bangers (you'll have to ask me in person who they are!) Yes. Your fellow citizen who knows the world isn't the way it was supposed to be but just got new curtains and is going to pull them and watch Celebrity Roshambo 4? If you like. It is an easy list to populate.Remember: There are more of them than us. They always win.
Isn't that scary?

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