I’m requesting an intervention.
The next time someone wants to write a story, do me a favor… don’t include zombies.
If you have the urge to type that “z” word, stop yourself. Think long and hard about what you’re about to do… and then don’t.
It’s been done. It’s been done to death, raised, killed again, and then had a dozen boring variations on the theme brought out to try and make it seem cute, much like these “done to death” cliché lines.
Now, I understand your fascination with zombies. You can do SO MUCH with your story, using zombies as a metaphor for something else.
Zombies are symbolic of the human condition, and very tempting to use to make your point.
If you want to talk about how a person can feel alone in a crowd, few things represent it quite so well as having that someone running around surrounded by mindless, unresponsive, hostile zombies that just don’t ‘get’ you, no matter how hard they try. A sea of faces, blank or hostile, that are all around you, but no matter how loudly you scream for help, you are still all alone in a cold, threatening world that sometimes seems to hate you.
But here’s the thing. It’s been done. It’s been done, the point has been made, it wasn’t even a point, it was a massive sledgehammer of brutal obviousness ramming the entire concept down your throat.
Zombies do NOT equal subtlety.
So why is it people will not leave zombies alone? Why do we keep getting zombie movies, books, comic books, video games all in seemingly endless derivations?
Does someone out there think that there is still some untapped reserve of zombie goodness, some secret well that, once found, will gush forth with a fresh perspective that adds something new?
Here’s a secret for you. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.
IT’S BEEN DONE!
I don’t have to be more specific. Whatever the hell it was, if you were thinking about it plus zombies, it’s been done.
If your idea was, just pulling something out of my butt, literary fictional classics and zombies, I bet it’s been done somewhere.
I’m sure if you looked, and I’m not even going to bother, but I’ll bet you could find a version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and even Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, all done with added zombie.
Zombies in Space? Oh, please. There’s even been Jason Voorhees in space, for the love of memes!
Oh, are your zombies from a plague, the main characters are isolated and alone and fearing infection, and you’re making a witty statement by having the healthy be the minority, hurting and alone, and the sick be the uncaring, unfeeling masses? No, we missed that you inverted things to make your point. We are completely incapable of grasping your intended statement about aids or other communicable diseases, and how terrible the isolation feels, without the addition of zombies.
Oh yeah. You’re a freaking genius. Our silence stems from stunned admiration. Or a cowlike obliviousness. You pick. You will anyway.
Does your special zombie breed come from some alien cause, and part of the horror is being alone in a world that is not just hostile, but is unknown and unknowable, something you will never understand or be able to deal with, where all you can do is try and survive and keep ahold of your sanity, and find hope amongst the hopeless even when it seems there is no possible future to be found?
Well, just so long as it’s done with zombies.
Just, yes. We get it.
Funny zombies, scary zombies, adventure zombies, mercenary zombies going into war torn regions of the world to rescue political prisoners, a world of the living dead where humans are long gone and all that is left are zombies versus vampires, I DON’T CARE!
Just stop it.
Just… stop it.
We keep seeing the same cycles. New zombie story is very, very serious business. Next zombie story is a variation on the theme, playing on some popular small bit the fans of the serious movie liked, like special forces vs zombies. Then the humorous take on zombies comes out, poking fun at the ‘serious zombie’ story. Then the self-conscious ironic take on the zombie story comes out, lampooning the whole thing, tongue sticking out of rotted cheek.
Then, a new serious zombie story comes out to remind people what a serious zombie story is, and is acclaimed as revolutionary, revitalizing the genre.
And it starts all over again!
Just say no.
If you still feel the urge, that primal drive to write or direct something that has zombies in it, if you feel that your message, whatever the hell it may be, can only be said through the use of the shambling undead, then prove it to yourself.
Take a moment of private time to contemplate Edward Hoppers’ painting, Nighthawks. Don’t think about it, don’t try to analyze it or break it down, just contemplate it. Let it seep in.
Now, while you’re contemplating Nighthawks, in the back of your mind, just let this thought seep into view…
Could I improve this by adding a zombie?
Think about it. Then go write a screenplay featuring cartoon characters from the ’80s in our modern world. You’ll display the same creative integrity, but aren’t they so cute.
If you’re a bitter nihilist, you’ll make the cartoon characters be zombies, just to spite us.
Zombie Smurf has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
At this point, straight up, I’d rather see just about any other damn thing than a new zombie story.
I won’t specifically name which zombie ‘thing’ was the inspiration for this post, I’ll leave it to your imagination to come up with the possible culprits. I’m sure you won’t be lacking possibilities. If someone somehow does guess right, I’ll say so, but I won’t confirm what type of media it was. Well, I’ll narrow it down for you. It was either a movie, book, comic book or video game.
Yeah, that narrowed it down. At least you won’t be wondering which music video set me off.
I will say, for the record, that it wasn’t “They Live“, only because, well, it was hilarious, I love Rowdy Roddy Piper, the alley brawl is legendary, and I feel like giving it a pass, even though you could use it as a freaking textbook case of what I’m talking about.
Oh… and psych! If you made it this far, smile. I’ve been having some fun with you. What’s the point of doing Aprils Fools posts on Aprils Fools Day when everybody expects it?
You’ve been Bearwalled!