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02 May 2009 @ 11:30 pm
Theatrical Muse: Week 281: Question 281  
Name: Dr. Sid Hammerback

Fandom: CSI: New York

Word Count: 1053

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what would you do?

A zombie apocalypse? What fun! I suppose, not so fun, on the inside of the matter, if you are being pursued by the brain hungry un-dead, by beings intent on your imminent destruction and recruitment into the legion of mindless wanderers. While I can’t speak from personal experience, harking to the actual nonexistence of the living dead, from my varied reading and watching of horror and science fiction, I feel that there are several varieties of zombies. This comes more from the development of the zombie genre, I think, as opposed to any direct sort of correlation between science and the possibility of actually bring long deceased people back to a mindless living state.

First off, there are the zombies from my childhood, and from the increasingly ancient literature before that. The zombies of childhood tales were slow and completely without great cognitive abilities. You could raise them, I suppose, with spells, and they would walk off under your command in that slow stiff stumble associated with zombie kind, the result of what I assume would be the remaining stiffness of rigor. These un-dead held their arms out, maybe for balance, were very stupid and mostly useless. In fact, if I remember correctly, most of them could be destroyed with salt, and damn it all if by that time all their arms had fallen off, and their eyes as well.

The second kind of zombie is what I call the mildly intelligent and more durable zombie. By the time I was in my twenties, or so, I remember a number of local filmmakers had found interest in those delightfully awkward slasher films. Remember, this was before the time of really astounding computerised special effects, so the blood was corn syrup mixed with dye, and all the injuries looked predestined because of the bags of such stuff kept under shirts. When the heroes and heroines were injured, the plastic limbs that such victims kept losing gave the whole film an air of cheap backyard sheen, which was exactly where most of these classics were made, I think. At this time, I also believe that someone got the idea that the state of being a zombie could be transmitted to someone else just as a diseased could be. If not by being covered in zombie blood, then you were certainly doomed if you were bitten by zombies. Ah, what a reverie, but I remember so clearly, these films, with people being bitten and ripped apart everywhere. Then there was that whole good and evil debate about whether you killed your best friend, lover, potential lover, roommate or favourite stripper once they had been infected and before they wanted to snack on your brains for lunch. This stage of zombie development was where horror really got a chance to shine, because the only way you can destroy zombies, of course, is to blow them up or stab them with something very pointy, indeed.

Now, the zombies in backyard slasher films were mildly intelligent, but they are nothing compared to the zombie of today. In the perfection of the zombie race, we have the highly intelligent, more indestructible zombie. They still may lose limbs and walk around with parts of their brains hanging out, but they have lost that very stiff walk and now just move around like they have a case of mild arthritis. The makeup of the modern day may make them a little more realistic, but that isn’t all that makes them so great. Being that I grew up with so many supposedly substandard kinds of zombie, I am a little resistant to this kind of un-dead, because to me, they just seem a little too animated and a little too full of it. In my day, the un-dead could be killed outright, but in these kinds of movies, the zombies bite people, they put things into the waterways, and it spreads like an infectious disease. For the lover of action though, modern day zombie movies promise a more packed punch, because along with increased mobility, it seems whoever directs these zombies also found out how to make them more intelligent. Nowadays, not only are the mobile, but they can think, they can open doors and they can lurk, waiting to bite people. Because they are now more threatening, the heroes and heroines who could normally defeat a zombie apocalypse with a shotgun and several rounds of ammunition, now need tankers and flame throwers and lots of giddy weaponry that is bound to appeal to any thrill seeking move goer. Of course, you still have to shoot the infected people after they are bitten but before they turn. As any good zombie fan knows, once you are bitten, you always have a very short time to say goodbye to your friend or your lover before you have to blow their heads off with that inevitable shotgun.

In the case of a zombie apocalypse affecting me, Sid Hammerback, directly, I would prefer that it be an apocalypse of the very stupid and easily destroyed zombie. Being that I enjoy living, I wouldn’t mind coming out of such an unfortunate occasion unharmed, with the likelihood of not only continued living, but also the complete eradication of zombie kind. By which I mean, I would very much like the stupid zombies in the case of an apocalypse, because making them extinct is really, only a matter of a large bag of salt and some fast running shoes. In the case of the mildly or highly intelligent zombies, they need larger, bigger, more powerful weapons, and they are more mobile and largely more intent on destruction, thereby making them harder to destroy and creating a very bothersome situation in terms of complete eradication. See, when zombies are simply brought up by other means, it is rather fine, because there is a certain number of them, but when the zombie plague is an infectious one, well, it spreads like a disease, and, it is that much more difficult to wipe out. Also, if you had to fight the horrible, smelly, walking un-dead, in a zombie apocalypse battle of zombie versus human, wouldn’t you prefer the business of killing them be easily and swiftly completed in a very short amount of time? Yes, yes you would, and so would I.
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