I remember the first time I heard the greatest song in the world. Actually, the song was so good I don’t even remember it clearly; the best I can do is simply remember the tribute to it.
If my life were ever to be turned into a movie, I’d like myself to be played by Jack Black. Especially if I end up being caught in a zombie apocalypse and I have to fight for survival with a rag-tag group of friends and allies.
I don’t know where I’m going with this train of thought. It’s been a long weekend and I’ve been getting some crazy shit on Pandora all evening. I’m also pumped from seeing the second half of this season of The Walking Dead, which premiered last night.
Zombies have always been one of my favorite movie monsters, well before the current zombie craze. Yes, I am a zombie hipster – I liked the undead bastards well before they became mainstream, and I shake my fist at all these johnny-come-latelies who have tried to jump on the zombie bandwagon.
There’s just something so chilling about the idea of a horde of mindless, soulless husks with a thirst for human flesh inexorably shambling after you. The sociological implications are profound, of course, especially as evidenced in movies such as Dawn of the Dead (the original, though the remake was a fun move in and of itself), where zombies are seen as an indictment of modern Western culture and its focus on rampant, mindless consumerism, and how the greatest threat to modern civilization as we know it isn’t external but lies deep within ourselves.
The Walking Dead continues this trend, especially since it focuses less on the dangers posed by a herd of zombies but by the human survivors of such an apocalypse and what happens to people once the normal rules of society break down and no longer apply. The biggest threats these survivors face aren’t from zombies but from each other, which is something that the show’s creators carried over from the original graphic novel series, though there’s been a lot of divergence in the original storyline. I actually like that, because it’s like experiencing an almost entirely new story, and while there are many similarities between the original and the show on AMC, the differences are enough to keep me guessing from week to week.
Of course, watching shambling corpses getting shot in the head never gets old. I mean I’ll admit, as a red-blooded American male I’m naturally attracted to firearms, but not for any of the normal reasons given such as having an interest in hunting or for home protection. No, I’m interested in learning how to drop a zombie at 100 feet with a Ruger 10/22 using nothing but iron sights. The whole idea gives me a six foot erection with a cheeseburger on the end of it.
I had actually toyed with the idea of writing some zombie horror fiction once upon a midnight dreary. I’d started something that I’d intended to be part of a novella or even a full-length novel, but while I was working on it, a wave of zombie-related creative works hit the market, and there was no way I was going to try to compete in that environment. The high water mark will most likely be the World War Z movie, and then the feeding frenzy will undoubtedly recede; while zombies may be immortal, interest in them waxes and wanes.
The next genre on the upswing right now is most likely going to be steampunk. Originally just a subgenre of the cyberpunk movement created by science fiction authors like William Gibson, steampunk is now working its way up the cultural consciousness ladder, and it’ll probably reach mainstream critical mass in another year or so. With any luck I can ride that wave, considering that latest short story I got published (I may have mentioned it once or twice) can be categorized that way as well.
Well, maybe in a year or so, after George Lucas has optioned the story for a big-budget feature film and I’ve happily sold my soul for a couple mil (plus merchandising points, of course; I’m not making the same mistake Carrie Fisher made) I can go back to that zombie story and sell it. Hell, if Stephen King can sell yet another novel about the JFK assassination, I can get my Walking Dead ripoff out there, right?