Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Walking Dead

I guess I should weigh in on AMC's new horror series, The Walking Dead. From a zombie perspective, it was very good. All the hallmarks were there. No big surprises really, just good old-fashioned Romero-styled zombie antics. I have a feeling it could be quite good as the series progresses. One thing I was impressed by was the inclusion of flies. It was a nice touch, however it also raised questions.

Voodoo zombies are typically the very recent dead and only hang around to accomplish a task. Romero zombies, or plague zombies if you prefer, are forever. Voodoo zombies are not infectious, where their plague-born counterparts are. The inclusion of flies in the AMC teleplay caused me to think, why are the typical bugs that plague your everyday corpse not plaguing your everyday zombie?

If you have ever watched Bones or CSI you are likely familiar with beetles and other insecta feasting on the flesh of the dead, and the rapidity at which they do so. Fly larvae (maggots) will live on living creatures. There are many reports of the morbidly obese (extreme cases) having maggots living in skin folds. Certainly beetles that live off corpses generally would also eat you and I alive were we locked in a crate with a few buckets-full. I would think that in any plague zombie occurrence, the air would be thick with flies, and the zombies being annihilated by beetles and larvae, much faster than in a typical environment because of the volume of dead flesh and the mobility of the zombies.

Now, I am sure that there is an argument that the "zombie fever" protects the zombies from bugs. In The Walking Dead we see a zombie with no flies killed, and is suddenly swarmed by them. There could be something to that, but really these type insects can eat most anything, and there are plenty of past cases of maggot riddled zombies in film. Personally, I think the insects would save us from a zombie plague rather quickly, however their sheer numbers would then be highly detrimental to us in other ways. They'd harass us more, as would their predators and their predator's predators.

All in all, however, I think The Walking Dead shows great promise. It is hard to be too realistic when your subject matter so-defies reality, but it is the little things that count, and they seem to be trying there.


Wings said...

I liked it, too. Looking forward to more of it. The love triangle isn't so thrilling, but they have to have some extra drama I suppose. I just took an instant dislike to the cop's wife, for some reason. She just annoyed me. Oh well!

Lisa said...

"There are many reports of the morbidly obese (extreme cases) having maggots living in skin folds." < This made me think about my uncle and also stop thinking about my dinner.

And once again I could not see it yet, because I live in Europe. If the series is successful in the US we'll have it in 1/2 - 1 year.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Wings - I did not get too into the characters. I was just kinda watching while on the 'net. I hope they don't try taking it to too many seasons, like, oh... LOST. ;-)

@Lisa - I imagine it will make it your way. Sucks waiting for shows to cross the pond. The IT Crowd seemed to take forever.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Lisa - Sorry about your dinner, by the way. :-(

Jamdin said...

I enjoyed the pilot movie and will be tuning in for future episodes.

TS Hendrik said...

I was thinking over something similar. It just seems to me that eventually the bodies of the deceased would have to decompose to a point where they would be no more and thus all one would really have to do would be to wait out the epidemic. It might take years but I don't think it would be that difficult to setup a fortress of sorts.

I'm thinking in terms of Day of the Triffids (not zombies I know) where they had a sort of fortress that they could protect that was still large enough to grow their food.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Jamdin - I will be watching it. I hope it stays good.

@TS - Between decomp and being eaten, a zombie virus might be a lot like Ebola. Viruses that strike fast and kill quickly also burn out quickly. There has been no Ebola epidemic because (particularly in Africa) outbreak locations are sealed up. The virus goes through the population until it cannot spread any longer and then with proper handling it is over. Until it emerges again. ;-)

If you can find it, "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston is a really cool book about an Ebola outbreak in the D.C. area in the '80s. Preston is a science journalist but a great storyteller as well.

TS Hendrik said...

I've read The Hot Zone. I never considered zombies in term of a quick burn before but that makes sense.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Of course, with zombies the disbelief lets them spread mixed with the time it takes to turn from a bite and the distance you can travel... I do think if properly quarantined it would behave the same way.

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