Plus I was keeping up on my zombie entertainment. I still haven't watched World War Z because people keep repeating what a horrible movie that is and how far it falls short from Max Brooks' excellent book. I have, however, started watching The Walking Dead. Frankly anyone who is adapting a zombie comic and hasn't watched The Walking Dead needs a kick in the rear... though I will say in my defense that I've been busy.
The Walking Dead isn't really a TV show so much as a movie broken down into hour-long increments. The budget is movie-level. The plot is movie-level. The acting is movie-level. The spectacle each week is movie-level. Frankly, I hope no one makes a movie of The Walking Dead because it's already a movie. It lives as a movie-level TV show. Making The Walking Dead into a movie would be as big a mistake as making World War Z into a movie. World War Z functions best as a book with movie-like imagery. Making it into one big, long, flabby action movie would be a massive mistake. World War Z would make a helluva mini-series though... I hope somebody lights a fire under that!
The Walking Dead functions on so many levels, especially if you're inclined to scholarly-level analysis of the zombie genre. First, on a purely personal level, I love The Walking Dead because it has Norman Reedus in it... and I worshipped Normal Reedus in college when he was in The Boondock Saints.
The zombies in Plague of the Zombies are good if horribly abused creatures. The male zombie above even manages to rescue the female heroine of the movie before he and his fellow zombie slaves die in a fire that destroys the entire tin mill. The zombies weren't really entirely hostile nor were they in any way infectious in Plague of the Zombies.
Nevertheless there are a few kinks in the system. The main characters in the movie are more concerned with not getting killed than with not getting infected. Plus the little girl who reanimates ends up murdering her mother with a trowel. Using tools to kill is a little too human-like for a zombie assassin. Zombies need to lurch pathetically yet creepily to weakly claw and bite at their prey. They only kill in groups because a lone zombie is too sadly feeble to kill. One zombie is solely dangerous in his ability to infect his victims.
Also Night of the Living Dead is a bit old fashioned in the way it portrays the zombie apocalypse. Basically the living dead is anyone who is dead, not just those who have been bitten. The culprit for reanimating the dead is a strange form of radiation from a fallen satellite. Radiation, the B-movie friend, was a common source for horror back in the sixties. The idea of a virus or contagion causing zombie-ism didn't come until a few decades later. Plus, in the end, the zombies are brought under control by a few square-jawed American lawmen and good-hearted vigilantes. The lawmen shoot the stumbling critters within the space of a night. The entire situation is under control in time for Kennedy's America to break for the weekend. The death of all the main characters in the movie are seen as an unfortunate anomaly rather than the inevitable outcome of a world destroyed.
It shows the gloomy state of our nation that zombie films have become more and more apocalyptic. The world was almost destroyed yet in the end saved ably by good ol' American grit in Night of the Living Dead. The world is in the process of being destroyed in later zombie films and- in 2010's The Walking Dead- the world is destroyed. Period. It's not coming back. All that's left is a group of people trying to survive the plague on a day-to-day basis. Re-taking the Earth is the last thing on the mind of the group of main characters in Walking Dead. They just want to survive and maybe- possibly!- raise a family where not too many of their children get munched before their first birthdays.
She was copying the facial expression of someone with advanced Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's patients are like zombies. And, like the zombie apocalypse, everybody alive will probably get Alzheimer's if they don't die first.
When Alois Alzheimer first described "presenile dementia" in 1906 he did so through a case study of a very unfortunate patient who developed early Alzheimer's at the age of 51. The reason why "Alzheimer's Disease" wasn't discovered until the 20th century was because Alzheimer's Disease doesn't really effect individuals until they reach their late seventies or eighties.... and people rarely lived so long in those days. Those few unfortunates who developed early Alzheimer's in the 19th century were probably dismissed as merely being insane or having brain tumors. By the age of 85 one out of two people have Alzheimer's Disease. It only gets worst after that. Alzheimer's Disease appears to be the natural decay of an elderly brain. Alzheimer's Disease is, in some ways, similar to a zombie apocalypse plague. You can't catch it, but you can't really prevent it either in the end. Anyone who talks about "anti-Alzheimer's mental exercises" is trying to take your money. There is no scientifically-proven way to prevent Alzheimer's except to somehow magically not be old.
Of course more than a few people are aware of the real-life parallels between zombies and human disease. Psychiatrist Steven Schlozman recently defined zombie-ism in clinical terms as Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome... or ANSD. It sounds halfway realistic, and I do mean halfway. "Ataxia," the syndrome of a wobbling walk caused by a neurological disorder, is real enough. "Neurodegenerative" is also all-too-real to the health world. Once you get to "Satiety Deficiency" however, it gets stupid. I know of no neurological disorder where eating constantly is a symptom. Oh there may be depression or bulimia but overeating isn't "satiety deficiency" exactly. It's a symptom of using food to mask a psychological pain, not a physical incapability to recognize the stretch receptors in the stomach. The "Satiety Deficiency" of "Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency" doesn't ring true.
Actually, come to think of it, "Neurodegenerative" doesn't ring true either in terms of zombie-ism because zombies don't become more zombie-ish as they continue to exist. There's no degeneration because zombies are already at the end game when they reanimate.
Nevertheless it's clear that the fictional syndrome of zombie-ism and the real life syndromes of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative disorders are weaving tighter and tighter parallels in our society. As Stephen King once said about the secret of effective horror: "It's scary because it's sad."