I don’t like horror movies. I don’t like the news. In fact, I dislike violence of any kind. So my fascination with AMC’s ‘the Walking Dead’ has taken me completely by surprise. I got hooked watching the season one finale and was utterly compelled (almost against my will!) to follow it from the beginning. To say this in writing is like admitting that I get up in the middle of the night to eat, or that I like the Lawrence Welk show. Damn you to hell, blog, for making me reveal my dirty little secrets.
I’ve been trying to figure out the appeal of this post apocalyptic drama. Its not the zombies, that’s for sure. Its not the suspense, which actually makes me a little crazy. Would you lie down in an abandoned pharmacy and have sex on the floor if there was even a remote possibility that a dead person (who is biologically programmed to bite you) might be lurking in the dark? No. Me either.
I couldn’t sleep last night, which was bad. But I figured out the appeal of the show, which was good. Its this. The people who are still themselves, ( ie: not dead, yet still walking around) have one job to do. Stay away from the Zombies. Sure, they still need to forage for food and supplies in dark abandoned stores. They need medicine, and sometimes even sex (or a combination of the two, as previously mentioned.) But that’s about it. There are no dentist appointments. Maybe even no dentists. Nobody shovels snow, or goes to see their lawyer about making up a will. There are no parent teacher interviews. Instead, parents huddle under their cars, hands clapped over their children’s mouths as the zombies trudge by. They’re all just running for their lives.
The characters don’t care about global warming. Nobody is trying to track down organic food. They just don’t want to be food. Nobody mentions getting a hair cut, or highlights. Supposedly no one wears make up, though they all look great. It’s easier to be thin and fit when you’re running all the time. In the middle of all the horror and fear, there must be some comfort in that.
Besides a plan, a post apocalyptic survivor needs a gun or a bat. (Only a direct head shot takes out a zombie.) A car is also important, though a convoy of cars is best. My heart is in my mouth during the whole show, though the parts where they’re all driving is when I feel safest. You know where everyone is. And zombies can’t run that fast. On the other hand, you never know if one has hitched a ride on the roof. I sit on the sofa, a pillow conveniently close by so I can use it to block the screen from time to time.
The unspoken question posed by the show is this. How do people behave when the world as they know it ends? When we’re all in survivor mode, which one of us will shoot a guy in the leg so that he has to remain behind, thereby drawing all the zombies that have previously been dragging themselves in your direction? Who among us is a hero, bravely rescuing others and putting themselves in harms way? I have a sneaky suspicion that its not me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a nice person, but in this case, I think I’d be more than a little self serving. In other words, bang! Here, Mr. Zombie, have a serving of him.
We’re probably all better people when we’re not running for our lives. Fatter. Maybe more self indulgent. But most likely, a lot nicer to our neighbors.