Vampires are cool. Vampires are popular. Vampires are hip. Vampires are sexy. I do think we have had enough of these neck-loving fiends. From recent shows such as Vampire Diaries and True Blood to the relatively current Twilight series, there’s a lot of vamps and blood to go around. When it comes to the Twilight films, despite having a supposedly sexy cast, these were a critical flop but a box office smash due to teen girls (and boys) going to watch the pale and pasty Robert Pattinson. It goes to show no matter how attractive or popular your cast and books may be, this can’t guarantee a film or TV show will be remembered for the right reasons. There is something about the slick, smooth and sexy ways to the vampire genre (can you call it a genre??) that feels forced and lazy. No real effort into the “what if this really happened”.
This is not the case when it comes to zombies. I must admit that they do all have the post-apocalyptic feel to them but so they should. The world is no longer what we once knew it was, people have changed, places are abandoned and flesh is being eaten. However, they do deal with problems that come with being on the road with people you don’t know, sticking by your family ring in the gritty, dirty undead of zombies. Zombies are, in their own way, more relatable than vampires. These are essentially former humans who like almost as they used to but everything else that made them who they were has gone. They all have a story that they can no longer tell.
Despite the fact that one of the most popular zombie movies came out in 2002 (28 Days Later) it’s taken until now for a big budget movie to be released. World War Z is the first of what I assume will be many made about the undead, it takes the post-apocalyptic world and uses a family man (Brad Pitt) to tell it’s story. It’s great to see a big star on a big set for what hasn’t been the most popular of genres. It comes as the Walking Dead is entering it’s fourth season this year, a show that has been a proven success with both fans and critics alike. And which will likely continue it’s streak of superb episodes that involve not only conflicts with zombies but also other survivors.
Those sorts of mediums have taken the serious storyline route whereas that’s not all we have in this increasingly popular franchise. What I must say is one of my favourite films has done is combine violence and humour so perfectly, you’ll find yourself howling to a piano falling on and squashing one of these so-called death knights. Zombieland came out at a time when there really wasn’t very much about them and it was just fantastic to watch. Columbus’ (Jesse Eisenberg) friendship with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) has the makings of a great buddy comedy but with zombies, Bill Murray and two double crossing girls. The rules for survival, Tallahassee being an unadjusted nut case (something tells me he’s always been like this, even before the apocalypse), the never-ending search for elusive and potentially non-existent Twinkies and (sort of) snappy one liners (Tallahassee: “Here’s the deal: I’m not easy to get along with, and I’m sensing you’re a bit of a bitch.”), it brings the zombie genre out of it’s typical serious shell.
As does Warm Bodies starring Nicholas Hoult. I always find it hard to believe that he was ever the little kid from About A Boy, let that sink in… Anyway! This is another ZomCom (I probably heard that elsewhere but I’m going to claim that as my own little phrase. Zombie Comedy, yeah) in which “R” played by Hoult is part of the undead population, but saves a girl who is live from being eaten. It’s in fact a ZomRomCom. OK I think THAT one is Simon Pegg’s for Shaun of the Dead, another example of a Zombie Comedy, but with a British twist. Warm Bodies is yet another clever genre twist in that the undead start to heal themselves but are still hunted down by the ever-brilliant John Makovich.
With Shaun of the Dead bringing in some home grown talent and British humour into the zombie wasteland, I would say that this is one hell of a genre! It does baffle me that the vampires get all of the attention, perhaps it’s appealing to the young masses by having primarily very attractive people in them because let’s be honest, zombies aren’t the most attractive of people. They do look like they have been physically dug up at some point and set to roam around free. Whatever the reason, it looks like zombies are finally getting the attention they deserve and the genre doesn’t look like it’s about to die at any moment soon.