The “Z” Word
For those in the know, the reference of the “Z” word will spark something right away, and for those that know they can have some sort of anticipation for what’s coming in this commentary. Also, in Britain and Canada, the word does begin with “Z” but we more commonly pronounce that Zed, and not Zee.
For those not in the know, here’s what I’m going to discuss; Zombies. I’m not going to be all that kind.
I really, honestly hope that Brad Pitt’s World War Z (because the movie differs so much from the book it may as well be two completely different stories) is the last we see of zombies for a good long time. Zombies (along with sparkly vampires) have been a part of our entertainment medium for a good number of years. Although, the resurgence of Teen Wolf (the television series which is a completely far cry more dramatic than the original, comedic movie with Michael J. Fox) has thrust werewolves into the spotlight.
We’ve had the really good zombie movies and the really bad ones. Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, Warm Bodies and now World War Z. There’s also been the reboots of classic movies such as Evil Dead, and I’m waiting for some shmoe to come along and decide “hey, we need to remake Dawn of the Dead” because that seems to be Hollywood’s style.
Please excuse the following pun.
We’ve used zombies so much in pop culture in the past few years, that it’s really like beating a dead horse. That wants to eat your brains. A large number of video games have their own zombie mods, and that doesn’t even include the Left 4 Dead series. Call of Duty… against zombies. Battlefied… against zombies. Return to Castlewolfenstein… against Nazi Zombies (that’s double the fun).
I know I’ve even fallen into the trap of using zombies in Black Mask & Pale Rider. Heck I even went with what my co-worker called the horror monster trifecta in the book by having vampires, werewolves and zombies. I think enough is enough for a while. There isn’t anything interesting you can do with zombies anymore that some movie hasn’t done. Shaun of the Dead and Warm Bodies did the entire romance aspect (though the latter included a zombie in the romance whereas the former was merely a romance surrounded by zombies), and even the comedic aspect (of which Shaun of the Dead won hands down). Smart zombies we’ve seen, fast zombies, zombies of different stripes. In World War Z, at least in the book, the zombies are intelligent, fast and have tactical ingenuity. Zombieland gave us wanton killing without guilt. I mean, who’s gonna feel guilty after splattering a zombie’s bits all over the place, they’re dead after all.
But now, we’re seeing carbon copy upon carbon copy churned out. Don’t get me wrong, zombies are the only issues here. There’s a lot of crap in Hollywood that’s getting the green light to go out and make. The only problem is none of it takes any risks. It’s all safe stuff, that execs know is going to rake in cash. What they fail to realize is when something comes along that’s original if they’d actually promote it then it’d probably make even more money for them. But no, as one comedienneen said execs are too busy trying to recreate the hit show of the 90’s. Sorry to say, we’re in the year 2013, and we still have this attitude that we can make stuff like in the 90’s. Which is the wrong way to think.
Zombie is apt, considering this is the best description for Hollywood execs as they trudge along through the entertainment wastelands, feasting upon any of the same old thing but discarding something original after a few moments because they don’t know how to approach it. Even something which has been an icon for decades, many don’t know how to approach, including the company that said icon comes from. I’m speaking of Wonder Woman. With DC Comics changing up her story and suddenly making her the girlfriend of Superman, it’s destroying the character. This change isn’t something original and different, it’s a fanboy’s wet dream. It’s the fanboy going off into his room in his mom’s basement to take part in self pleasuring debauchery at the idea that his fantasized ideal is finally coming true. This change ignores two things, while at the same time completely depowering two female characters. That being Wonder Woman and Lois Lane.
But even there in the confines of DC there are zombies who push their agenda along. I just hope that there are some writers and artists within DC who are doing good work who can escape this undead debacle.
So yes, I used the term zombie for more than just a description a genre of movie or book. It’s a metaphor for the entire entertainment industry. There are those fighting off the zombie hordes as they attempt to produce good and original work. In some cases I find it ironic that Marvel seems to be the saviour in the zombie wasteland, but even they are fighting for their lives as they defend from the zombie horde.
Hollywood and modern entertainment media doesn’t just want to tell the tale of the next zombie apocalypse. Hollywood is the zombie apocalypse, and with each movie they release that has no original ideas or changes thing for the worse, the zombie horde is gathering their victims. Us.