I finally remembered what I had to say about zombies! It took a while but it all came back to me in horrifying techni-color.
See, I really don’t like zombies. Not personally and not in movies. They are bad, zombies are. I used to be ok with them. In fact, I used to like all kinds of horror movies. I have pleasant memories of seeing a triple feature at the drive in: Nightmare on Elm Street (loved it), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (thought it was boring and gross in a boring way) and The Re-animator (I think I loved it but all I really remember is that it seemed to use the same squelching sound effect over and over again). But there was that one zombie movie that totally freaked me out. And it wasn’t even really the zombies, per se. AND it was supposed to be a funny zombie movie too!
I think it was Return of the Living Dead that did it to me. That’s the one with the half-dog, right? And the zombies that say “Send more paramedics!” right? Ugh. That’s the one that did it. I don’t remember much of the story, all I remember is the scene that turned me off zombies forever and actually made me queasy enough to leave the room. Somewhere in the story a zombie is cut in half by a window and then tied to table for questioning. As they question the zombie (who, if I remember correctly, was female, but that really doesn’t matter here) she writhes and twists and the end of her spinal column wiggles about. It made me ill. I don’t know why. I do ok with gross stuff pretty much but this made me run out of the room for fear of vomiting. Yeesh.
So, when I first read about 28 Days Later and thought “This sounds awesome!” I then thought “What the hell are you thinking? You hate zombies!” But there was so much to love about this idea…fast zombies? That was a new one to me and so much more intimidating than the slow old lurchy ones. Danny Boyle directing? He did Trainspotting! I loved that movie! And A Life Less Ordinary! That one…well it was interesting anyway. But he always worked with actors I like. That’s gotta be good. And Christopher Eccleson! C’mon. This has got to be good, I thought. And then I had another long debate with myself about why I could ever think a movie about fast moving zombies wouldn’t make me cry. But still…
When the movie finally came out in the states, I had a bit of a dilemma. The husband was out of town for a month on a shoot. Some friends invited me to see this British movie that I had been so stirred up about for almost two years. I wanted to, I really did but…I would have to come home from this zombie movie to an empty house. And then I would have to come home to an empty house for several more weeks, all the while contemplating my demise by zombie attack. I was scared. That one zombie, all those years ago had thrown me off my horror movie game.
I accepted the invite and went to Santa Monica to see the movie with friends. The theatre in which 28 days was playing was underground. My internal debate lasted the entire escalator ride down. I could back out, surely there was something else I could see. Or maybe I could just go to the bookstore for 3 hours and my friends could pick me up on the way out. Jeez, it’s only a movie, you big sissy, there are no REAL zombies! But that’s not the point!
Just before the movie, I decided to go to the bathroom. The entire time I thought, I could just leave now. I don’t have see this movie. When I got back to the theatre I told my friends that I wanted the end seat in the row and that if I disappeared during the movie and didn’t come back that I would be waiting in the lobby.
It’s just a movie, I know. And now it’s one of my very favorite movies. For me, that movie does not have a wasted scene and it’s got Brandon Gleeson and the ninth doctor for heaven’s sake! And my fear all goes back to this one zombie spine in a bad movie in the eighties. I went home alone after the movie and had no zombie dreams at all (I did, however have zombie dreams after Shaun of the Dead but they were warm and fuzzy zombie dreams so that was ok).
I am still on shaky zombie ground. I love me some vampire movies, I like the mummy movies. I am ok with werewolves. Don’t ask about any water monsters. That’s a whole other thing. A lot of zombie movies have come out in the past few years. I have seen two and I have loved two (and really, 28 days later is that truly a zombie movie? I don’t know) but I am scared to see any others.
So that’s my pathetic little zombie story. But this zombie story is far more entertaining.