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Braaaaiiins

Tasty brains tempt the undead in "28 Days Later"

I have grown partial to zombies in the past few years. I never really got into the earlier, dare I say “campy” classic zombie movies. As a kid they terrified me. I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen Night of the Living Dead. If I did, it was when I was little and I’ve since blocked it out. I did see some other zombie flicks as I got older. The Resident Evil movies were okay, I guess. That’s probably mostly because I’ve had a crush on Milla Jovovich since first seeing her on screen in 1997’s The Fifth Element. The Resident Evil movies were cheesy, but fun, I suppose. The video games were better. At least the one title I played was fun. Furthermore, I encountered some zombies in the original Xbox’s version of the classic 3-D shooter, Wolfenstein. There’s something pretty satisfying about delivering unforgiving head shots to Nazi zombies, I’ve got to say. Not to mention the sound effects. Disgustingly accurate, I assume. The Halloween episode of the NBC comedy Community also featured the cast turning into zombies. Luckily, it was just a brief food-poisoning-type illness that subsided when their fevers broke. There has been a surge of zombies in literature as well. The Zombie Survival Guide has sold well, as well as Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. I haven’t read it yet, but my wife thought it was great. Stephen King tackled zombies as well in his recent novel, Cell, in which everyone using a cell phone at the moment in which a certain “pulse” hits becomes a murderous cannibal, or zombie.

Photo by bowwowmeowmeow, featured in City Pages

Photo by bowwowmeowmeow, featured in City Pages

Zombies are alive and well in popular night life as well. There is a Zombie Prom back in the town I used to live in, and the Twin Cities host an annual pub crawl. People love zombies, it seems. There’s apparently something relatable about mindless, stumbling, undead cannibals.

My current interest in zombies came first from the film 28 Days Later and its sequel 28 Weeks Later. In this British film, a twenty-something dude wakes up in a deserted hospital and emerges into a completely deserted London. He wanders around London aimlessly, wearing a hospital gown, looking for water and food and picking up money he finds in the street in the financial district. Oh, but then he’s set upon by zombies. Long story short, he meets up with a small band of survivors that are fighting against the undead. In this universe, being a zombie is a result of a viral illness referred to as “The Rage.” The zombies aren’t sluggish and slow. They can run pretty damn fast, but their coordination is horrible. And they are hungry. If they bite you, it’s all over. If you get their blood in your mouth, or in your eye, you’re infected. It’s scary stuff. But this concept of the zombie-ism being viral is very intriguing to me. It makes sense, it makes it relatable, and it makes it scary. You think that this could conceivably happen to you if such a horrible disease came into existence.

The zombie genre was greatly enriched recently with the premiere of the new AMC television series, The Walking Dead, based on the graphic novel series of the same name. I don’t know if this is actually the first ever zombie television series, but it’s the first one I’m aware of. And it is awesome. If you like zombies, you must see this show. The writing is solid, the directing and cinematography are crazy good, and the makeup design and application is phenomenal. A small-town Georgia sheriff awakes from a coma to find his hometown in shambles and zombies walking about. He sets out to find his wife and son and ends up in Atlanta, which is overrun by the walking dead. It’s incredible. Watch the sneak peek of the season below.

What do you think? What are your favorite zombie flicks? What is it about the modern zombie that you do or don’t like? Will you be following the adventures of our hero on The Walking Dead?

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