One of the most terrifying aspects of the zombie genre to me is the idea of the inescapable doom that awaits once you’re “infected”. No matter how small or insignificant the wound might seem, the clock is ticking, and denial of the situation inevitably just ends up making things worse for everyone.

Mind you, this phenomenon isn’t confined solely to zombie fiction, but it’s something that really speaks “zombie story” to me. This is why I can comfortably consider a movie like 28 Days Later to be a zombie movie, regardless of whether the zombies are fast or slow, alive or dead, etc. etc. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean I don’t consider Night of the Living Dead to be a zombie movie, because that would just be silly. So I’ll delve a bit deeper and say that it’s not just the idea of the infection that makes you “one of them”, it’s that the infection makes you no longer “one of us”. It’s the people you knew and cared for turning on you, with no way to stop it from happening except by killing them in cold blood, or at least doing something very bloody to their corpse.

Now it might be pollyanna of me to declare, but in general I’ll say people don’t like the idea of killing other people or defiling their bodies. Particularly when it’s a loved one. Look at how much time and effort and expense we spend on funerals, trying to make a dead relative look as alive and intact as possible. We have huge controversies to this day about the practice of assisted suicide, even when the patient is fully aware, calm, and consenting. Now imagine trying to muster up the gumption to put a bullet in a friend’s head when they’re begging and pleading for their lives. It’s such a small bite. Can you really be sure they won’t recover? Is amputation an option? What if you’re wrong?

So now, if we come back around to Night of the Living Dead, then we have several elements of the above horrors in place regardless of the fact that infection is irrelevant to creating new zombies. We also have a good example in Ben of someone who adapts to the new situation quickly and practically, but because of that is committing acts we might think were monstrous, or at very least worthy of pause or reflection. His desensitized state by the end of the film might even serve as a foreshadowing of his own fate.

Sure, you could argue he’s shooting zombies, but in one case he most definitely shoots a human being. Where do you draw the line? As a non-zombie example, in John Carpenter’s The Thing, one character shoots another, and later the infamous blood test scene reveals the victim was human, leading another of the team to declare “… that makes you a murderer.”

Matter of fact, it’s much akin to the murky borderlines between self-defense and murder that often occurred in the Old West. Anyhow, we’ll see how the folks of the Z Ranch deal with this situation soon enough. I’ve rambled on so long on this I didn’t even get around to talking about any of the new movies I’ve seen, like Dead Snow.

Dead Snow was referred to me a few months back by a visitor to our (as yet still not so very used) forums, but it only recently popped up for Netflix viewing. After viewing it, I can safely say it’s a lot of fun. Mind, you’d have to try really hard to make a movie involving Nazi zombies unfun, and the filmmakers are obvious fans of flicks like Evil Dead and Brain Dead/Dead Alive (I’m a fan, too… an appropriate quote from the latter provided the title of this blog). There’s a flipside to the whole horror of THE BITE where it’s played for laughs, and Dead Snow indulges in not just one but two instances of it. Anyhow, maybe some might find the film a bit too meta since the characters actually talk about those films and one even wears a Brain Dead t-shirt, but whatever. Nazi zombies! Is there anything in creation as killable without guilt as Nazi zombies? It subverts just about everything I laid out in the beginning about hesitation and morality, because… man, it’s an undead Nazi, of COURSE it’s moral to grind its head into a snowmobile intake.

I saw some other flicks I want to mention, but I’ll hold off until next week. And speaking of holding off, last week I wanted to mention something but didn’t, out of respect for the sheer amount of email he was probably already receiving during a tough time. The creator of Everyday Decay announced that he is putting the comic on permanent hiatus, at least in terms of online updates. We were sad to hear of it, but Dawn and I fully respect his reasons for doing so, and the archives will still be up to inspire and entertain. Also at some point in the future, Derrick may finish the story up offline and get a publication together. If and when that happens, I know I’ll be looking out for it.