The thing I have the most trouble believing when I’m watching movies or television shows about zombies is not that the dead are walking the earth. For some reason, I can accept that as a mystery to be solved, or a situation to be gotten out of. What I have the most trouble believing is that I have to pretend that all the people who are not zombies have never watched a movie or television show about zombies. Pre-George Romero, it was easy to believe that nobody would be able to wrap their brains around the horror unfolding around them, but after forty-four years and who knows how many dozens, maybe even hundreds of zombie movies, well, I’m sorry, but I just can’t accept that there’s a single living person left anywhere who doesn’t know what to do in the event that the zombies attack.
A man wakes up in a hospital bed and calls for the nurse, but nobody comes. The lights are off. All the machines that go *ping!* are silent. After a long struggle, he manages to get out of bed and stagger into the hallway where he finds loose papers and other junk strewn across the floor. He pushes past a gurney parked askew in the middle of the hall, turns a corner and there, to his disbelieving eyes, is a chewed-upon corpse. Blood is spattered across the walls. Ceiling tiles are missing.
The ceiling tiles are missing! I don’t watch a lot of zombie movies, but even I know that’s one of the top ten signs of the zombie apocalypse. I’ve never heard a good explanation for all those missing ceiling tiles. There never seems to be an incidental scene of zombies chewing on ceiling tiles when the supply of brains is getting low. Nevertheless, missing ceiling tiles equals zombie apocalypse. Make a note, because you never know when you’re going to wake up from a coma in a hospital after the zombies take over. You want to be prepared.
Also: Don’t go wandering off alone; that one will get you eaten every time. If you do go wandering alone, though, and you hear what you think might be somebody sneaking up on you, you should assume it’s a zombie and act accordingly. Would you go looking for a zombie that wants nothing except to bash your brains out and eat them? No, you wouldn’t. So, if you’re dumb enough to go wandering off alone and you find yourself in that inevitable scene where you hear footsteps nearby, don’t pretend that it might be one of the other survivors you stupidly wandered away from. Don’t call out a name in a shaky voice, or go looking for whomever or whatever is following you. Assume it’s a goddamn zombie! Get out of there as quickly as you can, or at the very least keep on moving. Don’t freeze. And never, ever back up. If you have to back up for some reason, you might as well bash your own brains out and serve them up to the zombie who is without a doubt standing right behind you.
All this to say, we watched the first couple episodes of The Walking Dead last night. It was okay, but the people in it did a lot of stuff that only people who had never watched zombie movies or even heard of zombies would do. Like when Deputy Dawg rode his horse into the city past the long line of broken-down, burned-out cars. Who does that? Who wakes up in the middle of the zombie apocalypse and thinks it’s a good idea to head into a city? Stupid people, that’s who. There are millions of people in cities; therefore, there will be lots of zombies. It’s not brain surgery. Har.
The one big thing they did different was, the survivors somehow survived even though they were living in tents within eyeshot of the big city. I’m almost interested in finding out how they managed to pull that off without getting eaten in their sleep. Almost, but not quite.