The dystopian world of the undead is a truly terrifying vision. They shuffle along mindlessly, all grotesque faces and guttural grunts, falling upon any flesh they find and devouring it in an horrific display of terrible table etiquette.
But even if you choose to avoid the big city-centres on any given Friday evening, you cannot help but see where George Romero or the writers and producers of TV’s excellent The Walking Dead series found their inspiration.
We now have a whole new category of accidents becoming commonplace in the modern era: a category that one could well label zombie-related injuries. People roam the streets distracted, their eyes glued to mobile devices, and frequently fall under cartoon-style steam rollers, over cliffs or into piranha-infested rivers. Well, they definitely bump into lamp-posts and trees anyway.
One distracted guy accidentally wandered into the Large Hadron Collider during early tests and ended up being transported to a parallel dimension where clowns are funny, elephants are the size of cats and Swedish is the international lingua franca, except on Tuesdays when everyone speaks Klingon. That will teach him to be more careful in future.
Living in the nightmare world of The Walking Dead (hereafter TWD) TV series would surely be tough. Apart from the ever present threat of flesh-eating dead folks looking to add you to their lunch menu, the lack of Wi-Fi and pizza delivery would be hard to bear. And no more Game of Thrones. The horror.
But ultimately it’s the sheer boredom that would probably kill most modern humans, or at least the younger ones. The notion of having to find a library for entertainment, or sing songs round a campfire, let alone communicate face to face using full spoken sentences seems almost unthinkable to many. I strongly suspect in the early hours of any zombie apocalypse, the older adults would all be out seeking water, food and shelter. The kids and younger adults would be back home, doors barricaded, frantically attempting to augment their communication, utilising home-made message cards and emoticons, made with cardboard and coloured markers, LOL, ROFL, WTF..
It is a testament to TWD‘s writers, producers and cast that it can elicit such strong emotions and send its audience on an emotional roller-coaster for forty minutes of white-knuckle thrills. I may have been scared during a few classic horror movies over the years, but I don’t ever recall crying over the loss of any characters, as I have on more than one occasion during TWD‘s first six seasons.
It shows how a great TV drama can transcend genres and really get it’s teeth into you, regardless of the buckets of blood and gore that usually make horror so forgettable, at least in terms of character or plot.
The show has been pretty fearless in boldly going where other dramas may fear to tread, and one starts each new season wondering who will make it to the end, and with how many body parts intact.
Its lead characters, from the classic tortured-hero figure of ex-cop Rick, to the loyal hillbilly-with-a-heart (and a crossbow), Daryl, and the beautiful badass, samurai-sword-wielding Michonne, give us all someone to identify with, to root for or to swoon over.
Some local administrations and Government departments in the United States are said to have rehearsed plans for a potential zombie-apocalypse: preparing citizens for a post-civilised world of unthinkable chaos. If Donald Trump wins the presidential race and enters the White House next year, those plans will probably come in very handy.
Sadly in the real world, we cannot dispatch the ‘walking dead’ we encounter on a daily basis with a single blow from a razor sharp blade. It would make the streets far too messy and eventually there’d be nobody left to deliver the pizza, re-start the Internet when it goes down or help make excellent TV shows.
Still, I’m not taking any chances and have signed up for samurai-swordsmanship classes at my local sports centre. One can’t be too careful, and I’m hoping to cultivate some of Michonne‘s extreme badass-ness, while I hack at bamboo targets screaming ‘Die muthafukka,’ and thinking of my upstairs neighbours.
If the worst never happens, at least I’ll have something to impressively trim the hedge and chop up salads with. What could possibly go wrong?
© Copyright Jason Lennick 2016. All rights reserved.
Michonne Pic © copyright AMC / The Walking Dead.