Gone are the days when a zombie's speed had to be recorded using a sun dial! Tonight's debate is over the current trend in Horror, where the once sluggish zombies have now picked up tremendous speed. Bill from Radiation-Scarred Reviews will be defending the fast-moving zombies of the past decade, while ratof13 from The World of Disgruntled Monkey will come to bat for the classic slow-moving zombies:
Should Zombies Be Fast Or Slow Moving?
Slow Moving - ratof13:
When I was a little boy going through school I was big, honestly now at 28 I’m still rather big but damn it there are just too many tasty things in this world. Still in school there were two things that kept me going no matter how bad the taunts got, I was actually a fast sprinter that could easily out pace my would be bullies, and secondly in case of a zombie apocalypse I could not only outrun a zombie but leave plenty of food between me and it. Now it’s the present and thanks to such movies as the Dawn of the Dead remake and 28 Days Later one of those comforts are a thing of the past. What am I supposed to do? Eat healthy and exercise so I can regain my advantage? Hell no instead I’m just going to complain that Hollywood has got it all backwards.
The origins of zombie if my research serves me correct, is all about Voodoo and how a Bokor (sorcerer, wizard, etc) would hypnotize a corpse into his or her service to perform various menial tasks. They weren’t the sharpest tools in the shed but they got the job done. The zombie was seen as a horrendous fate, a by product of the real monster the Bokor and as such were never a real threat like the vampire, ghoul, etc. There are also versions in book and movies that deal with zombies as living victims hypnotized, and in this dream state they are slow and unresponsive kind of like the zombies we all know and love.
But to be honest it’s not really the history that makes me prefer the slow zombies to the fast zombies but what the two really represent. The slow zombie in my mind has always represented the inevitable depressing ending of humanity. Zombies were never the real threat but just a background to allow the real horror of human nature take place; if people just worked together the zombies would be taken care of. The slow zombie also sometimes represents a fate that can’t be escaped. Yeah you survive and live till you die a natural death but you become a zombie anyway in the end, sucks to be you. Zombies don’t have to be fast as they are like the ocean, wave and wave will come and in the end it’s the humans who change not them. It’s inevitable and that’s frightening.
Fast zombies seem to really be a response to the need in movies to be more exciting, more fast paced. While I will not ever say that the remake of Dawn of the Dead is a bad movie I don’t really think that fast zombies have added anything crucial to the genre and may have taken away a deeper meaning that older zombie movies have. That’s not to say fast zombie movies are bad but just that they might be the lesser of the two.
Fast Moving - Bill:
So, zombies. Right now, in early 2010, I feel like we're reaching a point of saturation with the walking dead -- they're in our cinemas, our comic books, our parodies of Jane Austen novels. Simply everywhere. Everyone has their favorite take on zombies, be they voodoo-induced, radiation-awoken, or disease-carriers. From what I've seen, however, there's one aspect of zombies that arouses more debate than any others: Whether they move slowly or quickly. Slow zombies are the classics -- WHITE ZOMBIE, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DAWN OF THE DEAD. And those are the original NIGHT and DAWN, mind you, not the remakes! Fast zombies are a more modern take, originating in 1984's NIGHT OF THE COMET and 1985's RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, continuing on into 28 DAYS LATER, ZOMBIELAND, etc.
There's a fair degree of thought on the side of slow-moving zombies -- rigor mortis and decayed muscle would both slow a zombie's movements, for example. However, on the side of fast-moving zombies we have pure primal terror. To take a step back for a moment, back in time...there are a number of sort of primal fears in the human psyche, most of them leftovers from our earliest primate ancestors. Snakes and spiders are two of the biggest -- fearing them and their potentially-lethal bite was a survival mechanism. Fear of death is a big one, on a more metaphysical level, and I think is the primary fear that zombies play on, but with fast zombies we overlay that with an ancestral fear of predation.
Fast zombies combine our fear of dying and our fear of being chased down by wolves.
While slow, shambling undead we could perhaps flee from long enough to find a safe bolt-hole and plenty of ammunition, giving us a comfort zone, fast zombies deny us that. Fast zombies are on you, clawing and biting, before we have time to react, and forget about running. Even if they aren't faster than you (and they probably are), you'll tire before they do. With fast zombies, you have no real hope of survival beyond simply dumb luck. And that's not something you can ever count on.
Excellent contributions gentlemen, thanks for your time and effort in this week's debate! Now is your chance to chime in and voice your opinion on the topic! Be sure to comment below with your thoughts.