Monday, January 3, 2011

Running Vs. Shambling: The Endless Debate

I used to jump into arguments with reckless abandon every time someone would spurt the words “‘28 Days Later’ is so awesome … those zombies were actually frightening!”
The running versus shambling/shuffling/slow zombie debate may never reach a satisfactory end.
But, if you know me, or have read this blog for the past several months, you know I have opinions.
Lots of them.
I am taking myself into a deep, dark cavern in order to examine this topic, which I will not be able to fully address in a single post. What I hope will happen is this post will spurn a heated debate.
As my counterpart has done with his reviews, he has made a case for and case against zombies or wannabes while kicking the crap back into the flicks he has suffered through. On several occasions, I have relented on the debate: “The Return of the Living Dead” and the aforementioned “28 Days Later” are two of my all-time favorites when it comes to not only zombies, but horror films overall. And the fricken undead/rage victims in both run like madmen.
Yet, despite my hatred for running undead, I enjoy them to the fullest.
For what reason? Great directing, a solid script, characters I give a rat’s ass about, a purposely fast-paced storytelling angle, and limited directorial masturbation — and by that last statement, I mean the directors of both films kept the film moving along while not boring the audience with incessant details, shoehorning stupid plot points into the narrative, and bogging the whole movie down.
While praising those two films, I think my real hatred for running zombies came with the remake of “Dawn of the Dead,” which has yet to be reviewed on this site, but it will get its due.
I despised that remake. Absolutely despised it. On second viewing, I thought it was alright. On the third viewing, I hated it again.
Yes, your humble reviewer watched that fucking thing THREE TIMES to decide my ultimate decision on it. And, the biggest problem I had with it boiled down at the base level to the fricken running undead. Make no mistake, I have enormous problems with the film, with plot holes large enough to drive a ridiculous RV through, terrible acting, a moronic attempt at a sympathetic “rooftop buddy” for Ving Rhames, zombie baby, etc.
But. The. Fricken. Running. Zombies. Not only running, but the fuckers are so mobile, agile, and smart they pose a nearly supernatural/super-powered threat in the film.
OK, I get that slow zombies seem dumb to modern audiences. “You can just run past them, el oh el! Dum zombees! Twilight roolez!” (posted on twitter by some dipshit teenage girl with a tramp-stamp, nose ring and emotional/self-image issues … allegedly).
But the slow, creeping-up-on-you impact of a horde was always the frightening point up until “Return of the Living Dead” made those suckers run (and, arguably, there are several lesser known films that beat ROTLD to the punch, including a yet to be reviewed Andrew-bashing-hall-of-famer).
The zombies in the gold-standard “Night of the Living Dead” nearly literally showed up one at a time. One was enough of a threat; 50 were a nightmare. And even slow-moving, they managed to kill seven people in less than eight hours. People, mind you, who were armed, watching television updates, getting a good idea of what they were up against. The original “Dawn” upped the ante with two trained SWAT team members. And one of them was dispatched by the slow munchers. As was a dimbulb member of the group. Trained marksman and pilot both get killed by making human mistakes. Fast or slow, the shuffler zombies/rage victims/running pussheads capitalize on human error. Human error. Nothing more. In my book, it is worse to be killed by an enemy that you, on paper, should be able to outrun, outgun, and outsmart, than to be chased down and defeated by a group of superhuman maniacs.
So, discuss amongst yourselves, run vs. walk; there is not a cohesive point to be made with this post. This is simply to provoke the discussion. I will tackle that argument with teeth in future posts. To be continued…



  1. This isn't a great comparison, but zombies that run are sort of like vampires that twinkle... it just ain't right.

  2. i'll take both. i don't want to choose..

  3. no mention of simon pegg's rant on the subject?

    a major oversight.

  4. Andrew, you jerkface...I told you that was on the way...Not a major oversight, a purposeful oversight...My plans foiled yet again!

  5. Might I mention Population Reduction's two cents on the issue?

  6. they also believe zombies should be punched in the face.