Survivalist is Just Another Label: Episode 180

Zombie Cliché Lookout: Survivalist

“Survivalist” has become something of a pejorative term over the years. When most people think of survivalists, they think of crazy mountain folk with rooms full of guns, ammo, and toilet paper. They think of anti-government nut jobs with shortwave radios and homemade dental fillings that don’t allow the CIA to listen to their thoughts. They think of people who spent their life savings buying MREs and solar powered flashlights for Y2K.

But that’s not even remotely accurate. Most survivalists, the non-extreme ones of course, are more concerned with being prepared for the worst than fighting post apocalyptic biker gangs and killing thousands of zombies to become king of the wasteland. There are exceptions, of course, but stocking up for emergencies and being prepared to rough it are good traits to have.

Discussion Question: Fast or Slow Zombies

The eternal question for zombie lovers (even Simon Pegg had to weigh in on the topic): do you like your zombies fast, or slow? Why?

Of course there are other ways to approach this. What about when zombies start of kind of fast but become slow as they get injured and decompose? What about where some zeds are fast and others are slow? Variations, buddy.

My preference is probably fair well documented. I loves me some slow zombies. I don’t hate fast zombies per se, I just think they’re scary in a different way. The 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead was a fun movie, and the fast zombies were scary, but it will never have the mood of the original.

Other News:

I’m going to be taking the week off between Christmas and New Year’s (otherwise known as next week). Don’t worry, Bricks of the Dead will return Monday, January 2nd, 2012.

And don’t forget, the 16×16 Challenge is in high gear. Not to spoil anything, but I’m probably going to have a biggish announcement about it very soon. Possibly having to do with more prizes. Possibly donated from a pretty awesome company. Intrigued? Damn straight you are.

54 Comments

Legoman 400

Answer:slow zeds are more of my type cause they’ll be easier to kill.Fast zeds freak me out and i’ll never beat them;I’m a slow runner.

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BrickVoid

Will there be a Bonus features episode on the 23rd? Maybe you could do a Christmas special. 😉 And for the discussion question, a minor typo it should be “do you like your zombies fast or slow? 😉

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Bob

I prefer my zombies slow so I can play games. Fast are too dangerous and they’re just like any other monster at that point. I think slow shamblers can be just as scary and give you time to do a variety of fun things. (Basically I wouldn’t survive the fast ones.)

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Silver Fox

For some reason I read that as Fat and Slow and immediately thought of Zombieland.

If a disease is being used to explain zombies, I’d go with the fast zombies for those newly turned/bitten or risen. And then slow as decay and deterioration of the body happens. And that’s assuming a person is dead or becomes dead. Not just infected, zombie like… cannibalistic, still alive.

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legomiles

Well said, Fantastic Mr. Silver Fox. I’ve been trying to say something like that for a long time now, and could’nt have put it better myself.

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Silver Fox

Ms. Silver Fox to be more accurate.

I hope I articulated that well. The one thing with zombies that makes the idea of an outbreak frightening or confronting them scary is not knowing what the reality will be as so many Authors have different approaches for the rules and laws of zombies. Like one of Romero’s movies, I believe he goes for when a person dies, it doesn’t matter if they got bit or not, they rise up again as zombies. And I think for certain in 2005 Dawn of the Dead, a clean death and knowing a person would stay dead is if they died without getting bitten.

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Dave

Very good call here, Fox. I’ve always liked the “everyone who dies, rises” thing, especially when it’s rolled out slowly. It’s like an extra kick in the ass to the characters.

legomiles

So the guy who got hit by the medical-truck thingy at the start would, in fact, come back because of the big scratch across his face. Watch the movie.

BrickVoid

An interesting point, the dead zombies don’t seem to go after other zombies, but a cannibal zombie, that would be interesting to find out! 😀

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Dave

I’ve seen similar things in some (terrible) zombie comedies. In one, a vegetarian turns into a zombie and then doesn’t eat humans.

Personally, I don’t care for that at all. Being turned into a zombie should change you utterly. Lifestyle choices like vegetarianism should get wiped away just like your love for your family.

Yatkuu

This opens the door to huge debate possibilities… how about Gay Zombies, would they have feeding preferences? …and a white guy who was profoundly racist, would he mind eating the brain of a black? Zmag also had an interesting article on Vegan Zombies…

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zombiemutts

Yatkuu thats brilliant…you should write something like that for issue three! Thats exactly the type of creative articles they are looking for.

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legomiles

But who says the zombie virus would even get off the ground? Just about everyone has seen the brood dripping from the mouth and staring eyes zombie, whether it runs or walks they will kill it. The only people who cannot do this are old and disabled people and children. Old people zombies? When they try to bite your arm they would just doing this weird sucking thing because they have no teeth.

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Yatkuu

“When they try to bite your arm they would just doing this weird sucking thing because they have no teeth.”
oh man, that’s sick! Now I’m stuck with this image in my head..

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Dave

Maybe so, assuming people spot and identify the zombie as such. But who’s really going to do that? What if they’re wrong? Then they’re going to prison for second degree murder.

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WJS

Hardly. If some nutter comes after me and tries to bite me, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that he’s a zombie, no. I’d still stop him from biting me though.
There’s a lot of middle ground between caving someone’s face in with an axe and letting them bite you.

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Yatkuu

oh my goodness, that essay by Simon Pegg is a gem, thank you for sharing Dave.
I personally like my zombies slow, at a pinch I would allow them to sprint a little from time to time – only when they get really excited but that’s a far as it goes.

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Digihuman

I think generally I prefer slow zombies. Not that they can’t be fast, but I don’t think they can be coordinated enough to “run” or do much more than stumble. In a real0life zombie invasion, I’d definately want them slow, but I reckon they’d actually be as quick as they were when they were alive, only slowing as time progresses.

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Angelina

I tend to think of fast zombies as smarter than slow zombies.

In my head, zombies suffer brain damage explaining the slow movement, lack of coordination and overall diminished mental capacity. It takes a zombie a few moments to realize you are food and decide to attack. I do think a brain damaged slow zombie can totally work up to a sprint when excited. Can you say feeding frenzy?

A fast zombie can make decisions quickly which indicates that the brain is not as damaged as a slow zombie. That bugs me a lot since they are supposed to be DEAD. It also scares the crap out of me because if it is smart and fast then I am probably gonna get eaten.

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Dave

Really well thought out response here, Angelina.

I’m impressed at the responses these discussion questions are drawing!

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zombiemutts

I asked zombie author Peter Clines about this in my recent interview…his answer was a good one

http://bricksofthedead.com/2011/12/13/zombie-author-interview-peter-clines/

ZombieMutts – You’ve been vocal about your view of what defines a zombie and that one aspect is it needing to be slow. If I am not mistaken your opinion is based on realism; but if realism is the issue why would a zombie who has just risen have the same bio-mechanics of something that has been around tripping over trashcans in a hallway for a long time? I agree a zombie should have sharply degrading abilities but I think a new zombie should have a little bit of intelligence and speed left.

Peter Clines – Like you said, it’s an opinion based on realism. At the same time it’s about a reanimated corpse so there’s a lot of room for other opinions. I am in the slow zombie camp, but I’ve seen some “slow” stories that are just awful, and I’ve seen some “fast” stories that were done very well.

My personal reasoning goes like this—and I was thrilled when I read David Wellington’s Monster Island and saw he had the same thoughts. The limiting factor isn’t the body so much as the brain. It’s a very fragile piece of equipment and it starts falling apart very fast. In the real world, you hear about people who lose oxygen to the brain for eight or nine minutes in surgery and it turns them into a complete vegetable. They don’t even have the mental ability left to breathe or make their heart beat.

Now, bipedal running is a very complex action. You need to be very aware of your immediate surroundings and be able to think ahead to where you’re going to be in three or four steps. You need to coordinate all four limbs. Your posture and balance both shift. It’s one of those things loaded with “transparent math” that drives engineers nuts. It’s hard to suspend disbelief for a mindless corpse staggering around, but without those higher functions, it’s really tough to rationalize someone running, jumping, climbing trees, and all that. And if I’m saying a zombie has those higher functions, then a lot more of the conscious brain’s functioning and it becomes tough rationalizing violence, murder, cannibalism, and so on.

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BrickVoid

With everything being so complicated when someone’s alive, I tend to think of zombies as having either a parasite or chemical imbalance that renders their ability to think for themselves null and void but leaves certain motor functions mostly unaffected, and slightly alters their eating preferences to seek out the living.

I was thinking of making a few LEGO zombie scenes myself, I really want to know how far does the zombiefication bend where infection and turning into one is concerned?

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Dave

Zombification bends as far as the creator decides it does; but what your fans will accept is a whole other discussion. Personally, I don’t like to hew far from the Romero mold.

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zombiemutts

A good writer can make anything work. The greatness that is Kim Paffenroth has zombies that can read and speak. And let’s not forget…I still say “Romero’s zombies” are a distorted concept that fans point to.

You take the definition of “Romero’s zombies” and then go watch all his movies and its two different things.

ZQFMBG

I am a big fan of the movie, I am Legend. In the beginning of the movie some lady supposedly comes out with a cure for cancer. They tested it on 10,000 people and their cancer was cured. But unfortunately they were infected with some terrible virus caused by the cancer “cure”. They are not really zombies, just infected people. They do try and eat humans, but they will eat anything edible they can get their hands on (livestock, deer etc.). The thing I really love about the movie is the realism of it. It provides a very possible case for an infected world takeover. I really suggest you guys watch it if you have not already.

Anyway, the zombies in this movie are fast. This is one thing that makes the movie extremely scary. But they can not come out at day time because the sun burns their skin and kills them. I do like fast zombies. But I do like slow zombies too. But it really depends on what type of zombie it is. If it is like I am Legend and they are not zombies, just mad infected people then fast is fine. But if it is like The Walking Dead and they are decayed bodies then slow is fine. But I guess the question is what do I myself prefer. I actually prefer medium speed zombies. They walk and shamble around, but when they see possible food they don’t go too fast but they do a kind of a quick jog thing. I don’t really like super slow zombies all that much (like in The Walking Dead when they just walk towards their dinner to be). I think that when a zombie sees food (like a human) it wants it bad because there isn’t much food to eat. So the zombie might try to go as fast as it can even though they are decaying. Like in real life, usually when your life is in danger, you would get an adrenaline rush. But really, if it has zombies in it I don’t care much. But I do like medium zombies.

In case you are lazy and don’t feel like reading the above text that I put a little work into, here is is:

MEDIUM SPEED ZOMBIES

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Dave

Have you read the book? I’d highly recommend it if you haven’t.

I have mixed feelings on the film. The first half, or maybe even the first 2/3rds are fantastic. But the ending (both of them) was really unsatisfying to me. I also hated the CGI vampires/zombies. Completely unnecessary IMHO.

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Nekrospike

Funnily enough, there are many very likely ways a zombie outbreak occur, for example: A slight variation (which could happen) in Mad Cow Disease that affects humans…Bingo! 28… later zombies…..oh and GOOOD NEWS EVERYONE! There will be a 28 Months Later!

WJS

You do realise that BSE already is transmissable to humans, right? It’s called variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, and doesn’t make zombies. (never mind ones that can infect you by biting)
People have been arguing that a zombie outbreak is just around the corner for years now, and while some of the “living zombie” theories are almost plausible, nothing is going to produce Romero-style “headshot” undead monsters.

Nikolai

Ah, there’s always that one asshole in the group who never, ever allows for anything that’s not vital to survival. But as for the question… I always find slow zombies a lot more realistic. Slow zombies (or Shamblers) always seem to be fairly stupid. They’d walk into traps, walk towards guns, and basically just never use good judgement. Fast zombies somehow have enough knowledge to run, but don’t seem to realize that fire = bad. Except for the zombies in Dead Snow. Damn Nazis.

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