Bless his genre-loving heart, Simon Pegg is a bit sad these days about the new, swift-footed model of zombies that are all the rage. (No "28 Days Later" pun intended.) He wrote a wonderful lament on the subject for the UK's Guardian newspaper. He writes:
I know it is absurd to debate the rules of a reality that does not exist, but this genuinely irks me. You cannot kill a vampire with an MDF stake; werewolves can't fly; zombies do not run. It's a misconception, a bastardisation that diminishes a classic movie monster. The best phantasmagoria uses reality to render the inconceivable conceivable. The speedy zombie seems implausible to me, even within the fantastic realm it inhabits. A biological agent, I'll buy. Some sort of super-virus? Sure, why not. But death? Death is a disability, not a superpower. It's hard to run with a cold, let alone the most debilitating malady of them all.
I whole heartedly agree with Pegg on this matter. I don't like it when my mythical monsters evolve. It takes me out of the moment when I'm watching a film. Even something as ridiculous as the vampire movie the Cinematic Titanic crew riffed on at the live show a few weeks ago was getting to me when the vampire stood looking at himself in the mirror -- hello, vampires don't have reflections!
They may just seem like child's play, but the classic monsters -- wolfmen, vampires, zombies -- all represent metaphorical fears. Changing their dynamics moves them away from that metaphorical role they're meant to fill.
Plus, monsters exist in their own fictional world. Messing with that world and its attributes just throws everything off kilter, like if the U.S.S. Enterprise was suddenly fueled not by dilithium crystals but with kittens or if the Force turned out to be just another tai chi move. Fiction is a tricky, gossamer-like entity in the best of times. Disturbing that delicate balance just makes the job of both the creator and the audience even harder.
So, zombies, let's just slow down a little, okay? Let's go back to the good old days of shambling, one unsteady shoeless foot sliding in front of another. It's easy and it's fun!