Zombies, deaders, shamblers, walkers, creepers, biters, lurkers, corpses, or just Z’s. Whatever you want to call them, I’m here to tell you why I like them. My favourite thing about them is that they just don’t give a shit.
Seriously, they’re like the Hobnobs biscuits of the zombie world.
Wait, you might not get Hobnobs over there. Hmmm, okay, think Mel Gibson in Braveheart. (Yeah, that’s an image that’ll be burned into your head for days, just don’t look up the kilt!)
“You may take our arms, you may take our legs, but you will never take our braaainns!”
They just refuse to give up under any circumstance, and unlike other supernaturals there’s virtually nothing other than destroying their brain that will kill them. See, they’re just bad-ass. Of course they’re disturbingly disgusting too. Can you imagine what it would be like if they had a conscience? Which they don’t, as I just clarified for you. I repeat, bad-ass motherfuckers who don’t give a shit about anything but eating brains. And possibly the other odd body part too.
Which kind of brings me on to what I’m here to talk about in the first place. Other than a Scottish Mel Gibson in a kilt and Hobnob biscuits of course. (Yeah, I just keep pushing that image of Mel for you, you can thank me later.)
I love zombies. I loathe them too, but let’s stick with point A. for now. I love old school zombies—rotten and slow—George Romero style. I love the old zombie films like Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead etc, but I really just can’t get my head around these new style zombies. You know the ones, fast zombies, clever zombies, super strong zombies. No, no, no! Don’t get me wrong, the writers of these types of zombie books and films are awesome, and the ideas are brilliantly clever, but they’re just not for me. I prefer the slow and shambling variety whose sole purpose and desire in life…errr…death, is to feed on any humans that are stupid enough to get too close to them. AKA. Night of the living Dead. NOT, I repeat NOT, 28 days/weeks later. That shit freaks me out. That’s a good thing, it means the writers did a good job, but I still don’t like it. (If you haven’t seen that film, and love zombie horror, watch it and get back to me.)
I just can’t fathom these new zombies. They don’t seem realistic enough to me, (yes, I know how that sounds,) or maybe they’re more realistic. Either way, I can’t figure out how something that is dead and has no beating heart to pump it’s slowly coagulating blood around its decomposing body, and is therefore stiffening all of its body parts, could be running around chasing people and plotting how to capture and kill us. Hello, rigamortis anyone!
I suppose to me, a zombie is just hungry, slow and stupid—DISCLAIMER—do not mistake stupid for not dangerous. Zombies are extremely dangerous and should always be approached with extreme caution.
A lot of the new style zombies are—to me anyway—not real zombies. They’re a very dangerous and violent human contaminated by something and forever changed. A plague on society, a parasite and a blight on humanity, but they can’t be real zombies. Not if they move that quickly. Seriously, we discussed rigamortis previously. And if they’re zombies, they certainly can’t go using that rotted old brain of theirs to stalk and attack a victim (think 28 Weeks Later.) No, they stumble, they grab, they feed, and they kill.
I guess that’s why I have always been inspired by writers like Romero. They made sense to me, the zombies make sense, well, you know what I mean. I like a book that I can picture myself in, and yeah be frightened too, but hey, I don’t know how to fire a gun, I have no secret ninja skills, hell, I can’t even run very fast. I need the get out clause that maybe just maybe, I would survive in an apocalypse, because these zombies are slow and stupid. After all, that’s what we all look for in a good book. Hope. Survival. A chance at living and not being eaten to death by a crazed zombie horde.
With my writing, I don’t want to put a new spin on zombies, or any other type of supernatural for that matter, I want to put an old spin on them. I want to strip it all back to basics, and take it back to where it all started. Vampires are scary—they will kill you. Zombies are dead, they are slow, but again—they will kill you!
In my own writing, this is exactly what I try to incorporate. Old school horror. Maybe I’m a wimp, who needs to get with the times, but for now I’m happy reading and writing about real deaders. The dead kind.
Claire C Riley is the writer of Odium—a dystopian post-apocalyptic zombie novel, and Limerence—a dark paranormal romance with no sparkly vampires!
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