Episode 737: Time to Strike

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Gratuitous Violence

One thing that people tend to really love about the zombie genre is the amount of violence and gore it features. Generally speaking, more is more when it comes to gore in a zombie story. People love it, and the more over-the-top, the better. That’s the reason people get upset when a new zombie movie is shooting for a PG-13 rating instead of an R. That means the gore is going to be limited, or perhaps even non-existent.

Knowing this, a smart storyteller knows to not go too long between outbursts of violence in their story. Sure, you have to move the plot along, develop the character, explore the setting, and establish the theme, but in between doing all those things, you’re also going to need to spill gallons and gallons of (fake) blood.

About this Episode:

One of my biggest complaints about The Walking Dead has been the way characters so easily dispatch zombies by stabbing them in the head, particularly with folding pocket knives. It’s as if the zombie skull is made out of cardboard when you consider how easy it it to penetrate it with a small knife. So how do I act on these complaints? By doing the same damn thing in my comic, which is purposely ridiculous.

Discussion Question: Gore in the Zombie Genre

I made some pretty broad declarations in the Zombie Cliche Lookout, particularly that people love gore. I did that for the purpose of outlining that particular trope, knowing all the while that it is more certainly not a universal belief. After all, I know several commenters here have expressed their dislike for gore on multiple occasions in the past. This naturally leads to a good discussion question: what do you think about gore in zombie stories? Is it a must have? How much is too much (can there be too much)? Do you like things to be more realistic, or over-the-top?

8 Comments

BrickVoid

Typo alert”Generally speaking, more is more when it comes to gore in a zombie story.”

The “more is more” needs to be replaced with “more is better”, I reckon. 😀

Or fixed, anyhow. More is more doesn’t make sense. or maybe you meant “gore is more”.

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Steam Powered Spam

That said about gore, have you ever tried to make gore with legos for your web comic? (Despite all my rants about it some how mass lego-cide is hard to push passed my threshold of violence xP) I remember one time you put a red bush peice on a zombies head after it got shot and it was actually quite creative.

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Dave

I’ve used a couple of techniques. In the early comics I used trans-red pieces for blood. The red bush shows up every now and then. And I have a few custom blood pool pieces from BrickForge (not LEGO, strictly, but closer than digital effects).

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Dave

“More is more” is probably an idiom that doesn’t cross cultures well. It’s a rejection of an old maxim that says “less is more”, which is cautioning that the more of something you add, the less impact it has.

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Steam Powered Spam

As one of the commenters mentioned in you post my opinion is already known xD

So I wont harp on the issue this time but I will get semi ranty near the end so for warning 🙂 I will say that there is this love afair with TV and gore, especially when it comes this or other monster genras. Which is…limited because there is more than one reason why people are interested in such genras.

Reason 1. Violence. Peeps want to see people blast zombies. Enough said moving on. :3

Reason 2. Horror. Zombies actually stem from the fear of crowds. They are everywhere, there is no escape and they are pressing you in. If you live in a large city, you may relate on a subconcious level.

Or you might just find the idea of being stalked by hordes of infected monsters to be well and truely terrifying.

Reason 3. Survial in Post Appocalyptic settings. There is something darky facinating about ruins. Especially modern day ruins. A part of your brain says, “this is horrible, Im alone in an abandoned city. People used to live breath and work here and now its all rubble and unlivable,” and yet a part of you wants to explore it. Everything is suddenly new, mysterious. What will you find around the next block? You home? Something else that now resides in it…

And so on and so forth. The point is that you could make a good story with just ONE reason to focus on. Many of which we will never see because Media is fickle. Right now Gore sells, Gore is profitable, Gore brings in movie tickets and even though you could easily make a story with out it, why take the risk and lose money on something new when the old formula still works? XD

Thar be me two cents. In short, yes I believe you can have a zed story with out gore.

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Dave

“Reason 3. Survial in Post Appocalyptic settings. There is something darky facinating about ruins. Especially modern day ruins. A part of your brain says, “this is horrible, Im alone in an abandoned city. People used to live breath and work here and now its all rubble and unlivable,” and yet a part of you wants to explore it. Everything is suddenly new, mysterious. What will you find around the next block? You home? Something else that now resides in it…”

Man, you nailed this for me. This is a huge part of why I love the zombie and post-apocalyptic genres.

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pi3rk

Honestly, I don’t see the point of using gore for gore purpose only… Except to satisfy some urge for extrem violence or some voyeurism. Gore alone is to violence what porn is to sex. Extrem dramatisation. Should I add this is just my opinion. No judgement here.

That said, it’s a powerfull tool in a story if you use it wisely and in the right situations. It’s not easy because sometimes the best way to put the audience in the right “mood”, it’s better to let the people imagine for themselves, they’ll put their own limits and still enjoy the film/book/show.

Negan crushing Abrahams with Lucille is, I guess a good example of this. Surge of gore, we all got the picture, no need to show it.
On the other hand, Glen’s death had to be shown because Glen was a good guy, and the audience had to feel disgusted by the way he died… Violently, relatively slowly. But the point wasn’t to show gore, it was just a mean to make the audience feel even sadder. No voyeurism here.

I fear that the point in using gore is that it has to be new, it has be something people never saw, it has to be more brutal than last time to get the expected reaction of disguss from the audience.

We’re getting used to awful stuff… Everyday a bit more.

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BrickVoid

Now comes the tricky part: Barb’s got her three prisoners down, what about the rest of the horde? 😀 She seems pretty lucky to get three so far without attracting too much attention, but is she going to have to kill the rest of them, too, or will she attempt looting the ones she’s dispatched first?

For myself, if I were in her shoes, I wouldn’t want those zombies that just left coming back so would be rather wary of looting too soon, before things settle down properly. Barb would therefore have to be really wary of looting anyone right this minute! 😀

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