The Whether Report
Zombie apocalypse 2012?
By Jacques CormeryPosted Jun 6, 2012
A few months ago, I was having a conversation with a stranger online when she asked me what my favorite zombie movie was. My response was Danny Boyle’s zombie masterpiece 28 Days Later.
The conversational stranger responded by telling me that 28 Days Later was an epidemic movie rather than a zombie movie.
I was flabbergasted by that response. Even moreso because she abandoned the conversation as I was feverishly typing out an explanation delineating why she was so wrong.
For starters, a worldwide outbreak is a pandemic, not an epidemic. Semantics aside, I guess I should at least give that internet stranger some benefit in that she’s not totally wrong about conflating a zombie outbreak with a pandemic. After all, the underlying cause of all fictional zombie outbreaks is some sort of virus that’s passed on through blood and saliva.
What made 28 Days Later so brilliant, in my opinion, was the fact that it was the first movie I saw that made an earnest attempt to create a forensic history of the disease, called “the rage” in the movie, and to depict the psychology of the zombie, most notably in the epic chase scene through the military compound where a zombie stares into a mirror for an extended period, implying that it was either recognizing itself as a zombie or as its former pre-zombie identity.
Current television darling The Walking Dead took the forensics of a zombie virus a step further by showing a time-lapse depiction of the virus turning someone into a zombie by first initiating via a rapid fever, followed by the cessation of brain activity shortly before the reanimation of the lizard portion of the brain.
I like The Walking Dead, but they seriously should pay Danny Boyle royalties for totally ripping him off. Both movies’ main characters wake up from a coma after the zombie apocalypse had begun??? I’ll bet Boyle was totally pissed when he saw that.
And if you’re thinking, “but The Walking Dead is based on a graphic novel” in your most whiney voice, implying that the graphic novel pre-dated 28 Days Later, just shut up. The Walking Dead graphic novels debuted in 2003 and 28 came out in ’02.
What makes 28 so transcendently great when compared to the hokey zombie movies of the 80’s, which were great in a different way, is the fact that it made the zombie threat realistic, as if it could happen at any time.
In the past few weeks, it would appear that maybe the zombie movies of late were too realistic.
We’ve all heard the story about the Florida nut-job who (allegedly) got so tweaked out on bath salts that he stripped naked and began eating the face of a homeless man on the side of a highway.
Note to self: never snort bath salts.
Then, a week or so later, a Morgan State University student admitted to killing his roommate and eating parts of his brain and his entire heart. You read that right: his ENTIRE heart.
The latest incident involved a Canadian porno actor who did some pretty nasty things prior to cannibalizing his victim.
Please don’t get the wrong impression: I would never, ever be in a porno vid – I wouldn’t even consent to having a picture taken of myself in a tank top. But, if you put a gun to my head and gave me the choice between eating a human’s flesh or getting paid to have sex on camera, I’d probably go with the second option.
I would be curious about what a human tastes like, though.
The Internet has, predictably, gone into a frenzy over these recent “zombie” attacks. Just today, I watched a video of a kid dressed like a zombie chasing scared people around the streets of Miami, and I viewed a Google map displaying the locations of each reported zombie incident within the continental US.
Case in point: When I Googled “zombie attack” just now, I got 65,700,000 results.
Amongst all of the meme-tastic enthusiasm, I did not expect that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) would release an official statement declaring that there was no threat of a zombie pandemic.
Coincidentally, the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response began an ad campaign based around the idea of “Zombie Preparedness” last year.
Dr. Ali Khan, the Director of the Office of Public blah, blah, blah, stated that the perspective of creating an official CDC zombie survival guide is that, “If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack.”
Now, though, I’m sure the CDC is receiving daily calls about zombie attacks and maybe rethinking using zombies as a clever marketing strategy.
I also expect that, in the coming months, we’re going to hear about even more zombie attacks.
Bath salt zombie attacks, that is.
But maybe the real zombie apocalypse begins not with a virus, but with memes and movies. Maybe this is the real thing.
This is almost as bad as the time that hockey team in Anaheim named itself after the “mighty ducks” from that stupid Disney movie, unleashing Joshua Jackson upon the world and relegating Emelio Estevez to guest appearances on Two and a Half Men.
I’d say that a zombie outbreak would be the lesser evil compared to that.