Friday, 5 March 2010

Guest post from NextRead

And now for a male perspective! We have asked a number of influential bloggers, fans and journalists to write about anything they want - as long as it is zombie related! Gav from NextRead is the first up and takes us through his cultural history with the undead. Read his article below:

It’s taken a while but zombies have managed on mass to drag, limp, and crawl their way into the printed page.

So what’s the fascination with zombies and are they going to be as scary without all the disturbing visuals?

I am not a big horror fan. By horror I’m thinking along the line Nightmare on Elm St and The Ring. Films where reality and the imagination mix rather than gore-related horror where the horror comes purely from trying to show the goriest imagery you can. And thinking about it I have seen a fair few versions of zombies.

They seem to come in two forms: slow lumbering animated corpses as shown in Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead and the faster more ferocious kind as seen in 28 Days Later and the remake of Dawn of the Dead.

I’m not sure which version I prefer. The ones that you can see coming and coming and coming but are unstoppable when they do arrive or the ones that tear you apart without warning? Both have been know to upset me in their own way.

Zombies aren’t always seen as something to fear as can be seem in Shaun of the Dead when Ed is throwing records at an approaching zombie but has time to decide if he wants to keep or throw it. It’s that slow.

The more I think about it the more places zombies seem to be. They are in graphic novels like The Walking Dead that’s on 70 issues and counting.

The Resident Evil games - that I find really hard to play I’m more into House of the Dead where you get to shoot them or Left 4 Dead which isn’t something you should be playing with lights off, especially when you hear the gagging sounds of a Boomer. I had most fun in Dead Rising. I don’t think I’d be that brave trapped in a Shopping Centre.

In terms of novels the one I’ve always avoided is Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite even though I loved Drawing Blood and Lost Souls, it’s probably the first time I’ve seen full blown zombie novel. Though there is something about Brite’s writing that is so intermit that I’m not sure I want to read a love story with a zombie as a main character.

The most recent and highly successful novel has to be Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It seems to have worked for a lot of people but I’m not sure it’ll work for me I just can’t see think of that mash up without laughing.

I must admit to starting but not finishing Cell, Stephen King’s take. I think it lacked the tension I’d expect from a world where humanity is turning from order to chaos.

There is a collection of zombie stories just out called Zombies: An Anthology of the Undead with stories from including Mike Carey, John Connolly, Kelly Armstrong, Tim Lebbon, and Joe Hill to name a few. So there has to be some legs in the concept if it inspires these great writers.

This isn’t a promotional article for The Living Dead A Novel by George A. Romero but it would be rude not to mention it’s imminent arrival. And it seems that he has moved the idea on to examining how different groups of people try to survive. I wonder how they’ll do and what the grandfather of zombie movies will bring to the table? I guess we’ll find out in July.

If there was something that caused a zombie outbreak I’d choose the Shaun of the Dead version in the only hope that I’d have some fun before I died rather than worrying I’d become the semi intelligence of the zombies in Land of the Dead.

1 comment:

  1. I'm relatively new to horror over the past few years. I've always read paranormal stuff with vampires, werewolves and ghosts anything like that since I was titchy but proper horror I've shied away from. I used to be terrified of Silence of the Lambs which is what I term 'real' horror because it could actually happen but when you end up with an Anthony Hopkins super fan you become a bit numb to it. Because of my OH I now love zombies but prefer there to be a bit of humour like with Shaun of the Dead and Dead Set so think I would probably love Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for that reason *g*

    That anthology sounds good, I'll have to look out for it.