Since the advent of movies such as “28 Days Later”, folks in the Zombie community have been arguing back and forth about “Run v/s Stagger”. I for one do not give two craps about how the Living Dead perambulate around the promenade. In the words of Capt. Rhodes: “They are Dead… they are Fucking Dead!” To me the matter is equivalent to bickering about whether the lion is BOUNDING at you or just simply frolicking in your direction before it tears you limb from limb. The idea either way is obvious: YOU are FOOD… RUN!
I can understand the sentimentality of the traditionalist who clings hopelessly to the thought that all Zomblies intrinsically stagger. It is a piece of their youth. The old films like “Night of the Living Dead” and such don’t leave a lot of room for imagination when it comes to the motivation of the Zombie attack. The idea behind a lot of the most spectacular deaths in these films are the ones that come from the characters inability to pay attention to the situation. In the remake of “Night of the Living Dead”, Barbara even points out how slow the living dead actually are. Now considering in the original she was accosted by her dead brother and practically GAVE herself to the horde, you can see where this is going. Take away the threat of the chase, throw in some common sense and the ability to remain calm in a stressful situation and chances are no matter how FAT you may be (sorry Zombieland) you too can survive a Zombie attack.
The biggest problem with citing a film like “Night of the Living Dead” as the end all of Zombie activity is that folks assume the filmmakers were creating THE RULES. However, a lot of those rules had already been made. In fact it would be more accurate to assume that THEY were the renegades, that THEY were the ones changing the concept of the Living Dead. Until Romero’s film came along, Zombies were either slaves of the Voodoo religion or they were indeed ‘infected’ like Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend”. (I should point out that no matter how much the term Vampire is bandied about; the folks in that book were freaking Zombies!) And we all know how that story goes. The living dead accosting Robert’s house on a nightly basis, calling to him to come out and die! So it is safe to assume that movies like Romero’s classic where the living dead meandered around the countryside and snacked on whatever was within reach, wound up being the Johnny-come-lately in the Zombie movement.
Then somewhere down the line, Zombies got mad skillz.
More than likely, the concept of the faster, sleeker, deadlier Zombie arose from the need to be even more frightened, more threatened than before. When we were being bombarded with the atrocities of war abroad, crime in our own streets and violence in our own homes; somewhere along the lines it was no longer just enough that the dead were coming back to life. Nope. We needed something more to show us that in a world where the dead rise or a rage virus infects, that there really is nowhere safe to turn. However, it is interesting to note that most folks turn to “28 Days” when they complain about the beginning of the Zombie revolution. This is an erroneous claim, since Zombies were, in fact, running about for quite some time. Some of them even talked! “Return of the Living Dead” anyone?
I can find great qualities on both sides of the fence, and this is one time where I truly enjoy sitting in the middle and egging both sides on. With the staggering dead you get the tense buildup. How will the folks in the film ultimately fuck up and die? Will little Billy forget that his mommy was bitten and they are hiding it from the rest of the survivors? Will she take his head off before she reveals herself to the others? Exciting! Oh but then there are the fast ones. The kind of Zombie that if you can recognize as one of your own friends you are most likely already DEAD!
I suppose the bottom line is this:
I would PISS my pants if a dead man started getting up from where he died and staggering towards me. Just like I would PISS while I was RUNNING from a rage virus Zombie trying to eat my brains!
They are both threats, they are both scary and I am happy to watch both kinds on the big screen and prey that neither will make their way into my tenuous and pathetic real life.