March 20, 2004
Fast or Slow?
We went to see Dawn of the Dead, and I have to say that I was overwhelmingly in favor. I’s clear that the Romero paradigm of zombies is no longer the dominant one, as we see faster and more bloodthirsty zombies becoming the norm.
Personally, I prefer the fast ones. But the philosophies of the two are very much different. The Romero zombies were about pointing out the degradation of society and humanity, that we were all reduced to habit and routine. The zombies are completely passive, only reacting to their environment and the repetition of common actions. Add that to the anti-consumer message of the original Dawn, and there’s a definite message about the dangers of conformity. Slow zombies are, if nothing else, more pitiful. In the original Dawn, the slow amble of the zombies and the relatively human-like attributes makes you identify more with them. The scene where Francine slumps, exhausted, in front of the glass door and sighs as she sees a zombie on the other side do the same and stare at her is almost motherly. It was more a sadness that things had come to this than it was an all out war.
And you certainly don’t get that with the running, screaming, snarling, animalistic zombies. The shift is not just because running zombies are more challenging foes, but because the comment on the human condition is no longer that we are thoughtless automatons, but that we are, under the surface, bloodthirsty and angry.