The Walking Dead-Carrying the Zombie Torch
It all started in 1968, when George Romero shocked audiences and fans all around the world with the Zombie film. Night of the Living Dead, in which the word zombie is never uttered, set the standard and archetypes all other zombie films or media have copied since. I don’t say copied as a bad thing. It’s just difficult to imagine any zombie film (or show) to not take some kind of something from what Romero set down in that movie.
There have been ups and downs over the years but to be honest, it has never been a better time to be a zombie fan. There are more films around today then ever before; it seems everyone is making a zombie movie. Some are great, some less than great, there are parodies like Shaun of the Dead, video games, video game movies like Resident Evil (about to release the 6th film in the series in 2014) and all kinds of novels and even awesome board games that feature zombies.
Whew. So the success of The Walking Dead is no surprise. Zombies are cool and for me, they never get old. Not only do I own many of the films out there that feature zombies but I’ve also played many of the video games, including every single Resident Evil game, plus I own four separate board games with zombies as the focus. So believe me when I say I know my zombies.
With The Walking Dead, we have a show that is based on something written, in this case a series of comic books. This is always superior, as films based on novels at least have that going for them, even if they aren’t as good as the source material. With The Walking Dead, we get a sophisticated, adult drama that happens to have zombies in it.
It is a tough balancing act but the show never forgets what it is; a show about zombies and the human reaction to it. At its center, it is a show about people and because the characters have the comic book foundation from which to draw inspiration, they have a certain depth to them already out of the box.
The Walking Dead has taken up the mantle of the Zombie Story well and there is no telling how high the form can go.