Episode 191: Remember That Character?

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Zombie Cliché Lookout: You Know, that One Character from the Beginning

It’s always fun when a minor character who was around only momentarily at the beginning of the story suddenly and inexplicably shows up way down the road. Of course this is by no means contained just to zombie stories. Sometimes they turn out to be important to the plot, sometimes they become regular characters, and sometimes they’re there just to give fans a quick “Hey, it’s that guy!” before they’re torn to shreds by ravenous hordes of the living dead.

The best example I can think of from a zombie movie is that wife/mother of the main characters in 28 Weeks Later. She’s abandoned by her husband at the beginning of the film, and we all assume she’s killed by the ragers. When she shows up in the second act, everyone is shocked. Of course, he showing up does no one any favors.

Discussion Question: Must Annoying Survivor Decision

People do a lot of stupid shit in zombie movies. Some of that is explainable. Put people in pressure cooker situations and they’re bound to panic and do something stupid. But on the other hand, characters will often do things for absolutely no discernible reason. What’s your favorite example of that, and why?

Mine would undoubtedly have to be from the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. When Steve is exploring the mall he wanders into a sporting good store. He’s armed with only a crowbar, so he looks around for a better weapon before checking out the strange noise in the back of the store. And what does he pick? An aluminum baseball bat? A compound bow? Nope. He puts down his steel crowbar and picks up a croquet mallet. It makes me furious every time I watch the movie. Of course that’s a cool zombie kill that follows, and I assume that’s the only reason the writers and/or director had him do that, but still.

67 thoughts on “Episode 191: Remember That Character?”

  1. Ah yes, I remember mildly wondering at one point if she’d come back.

    And yeah, that was annoying in Dawn of the Dead with the crochet mallet.

    It’s always amusing to see minor characters come back. What I dislike is if you start off with a set of characters, you’re led to believe they’re main characters. the story diverges and it never comes back to them except as minor characters.

    • I think you mean “croquet” mallet! Crochet means literally “little needle” which is a common term for garments made using a crochet hook. 😀

      • Hah, I thought I had spelled it wrong. Even went back to edit the post, and then realized ou were talking to Fox.

      • Yep, I misspelled it. Not a word I use often when typing.

    • @Silver Fox – Sort of like in Death Proof when (SPOILER) the first group of characters get killed off at the end of the first act?

      Or in (SPOILER) psycho when the woman we’ve been following around for the first third of the movie is suddenly killed and the movie makes a complete tonal change?

      • Ah, Psycho is a classic example of such a tonal shift! I think Psycho pulled it off brilliantly, although in other movies I’ve seen it go horribly wrong.

        • Oh yeah, Psycho pulled that off so well it’s crazy.

        • “Psycho pulled that off so well it’s crazy.”

          Haha, nice subtle (or unintentional) pun in there! 😉

        • Believe it or not, that was totally unintentional and I didn’t even realize it until you pointed it out.

        • I suppose comedy just comes naturally to you, then.

  2. Well I know who the reporter is. But wasn’t gene the manager and Jeff was the camera man? And didn’t Jeff get killed off? Unless its another reporter that’s a mess up. We don’t blame you if it is, you could have more on your mind.

    • You’re thinking of Ted, but he’s not a reporter. He’s the news anchor. The reporter is out in the field and has a different camera operator with her.

      • Sorry about that I had confused this story and zombie out brick mixed up. After I posted that post I took a second look, but was to tired to correct myself. That’s when I figured it out was Inez.

        • Ain’t no thang!

        • Hooray for Zombie Outbrick readers!

          Sorry I confused your readers, Dave.

  3. Was this influenced by what I said in the survey? I said I was unhappy with the fact that the news reporter just disappeared one day…

    • Nope. I had planned on brinding Inez back for a really, really long time. I was pleasantly surprised that someone else wanted to see it, however.

      • That someone was me xD Woot so excited to see Inez back in the BoTD world!

        • Hah, glad to hear you’re excited.

          Of course we haven’t actually seen her yet.

  4. OMG!! the people from the quarantine zone thingy. I knew they would be back.

    P.S. Nope, had no idea

    • Hah, doesn’t it feel better to tell the truth?

  5. Honestly, I’d rather have a solid wooden bat for bashing zed heads than a hollow aluminum tube…

    • Yeah? I have no idea which would hold up better. I’d stick with the crowbar, myself.

      • It depends, if the way some people are reported to play golf is true, the zombies would be piling up around the female ambulance officer until they’re so high nobody can get near her! 😀

      • Plus, with a bit of accuracy, golf club + golf ball = cheap long-range zombie killing ownage! 😀

        • For this you would have to be the f** Tiger Woods of the apocalypse!

        • Anyone play Dead Rising 2? You could kill zombies with golf balls in it. Also with baseballs and a bat. Possible a few others. It was silly, but fun.

        • I played dead rising 2, and that game was sometimes just ridiculous.

        • Oh yeah, very ridiculous. But also pretty damn fun. I should bust that back out one of these days.

        • I’m not kidding here, zombies could be risking serious head injury, if they don’t listen to the advice to seek medical attention immediately if they get hit in the head! 😀

          Since they’re a zombie and already kind of dead, this would probably finish them off! 😀 It might be hard to believe but golf balls can inflict serious injury on people! 😉

          Don’t believe me, Google it for yourself! 😀

    • In most things like this zombies are quite flammable so a box of matches would make as good a weapon as any crowbar or mallet

      • Yeah, just the light the darn things on fire. If you can get close enough to touch a match to a zombie, they’ll only take a few minutes to burn away to ashes. All you have to do in the mean time is wait…

        Except they can probably still move while on fire, since they don’t feel any pain… and then you’d not only be mauled by a zombie, but you’d be mauled by a flaming zombie…

        • …boy that zombie must have been really dry.

  6. I don’t really have a “most annoying decision” in mind right now… but your question made me think about that scene in TWD where Dales takes all the guns to hide them in a swamp. I believe you had a few things to say about that decision yourself if I’m not mistaken! But this specific example is perhaps more of a scenario error rather than a stupid character decision so I’m not sure it qualifies…

    • Yeah, Dale.. good lord Dale.

      • Yesh, I agree… it’s a zombie apocalypse… is he trying to make everyone lunch by hiding the guns?

  7. (we’ll see if I’m still black and beautiful today I suppose)
    I can’t help but think that for me, the most annoying decision ever in the zombie movies/shows is the cliche of “we were here two days ago, and it was safe then, it must be safe now”. Everytime that someone in those things does that I want to slap ’em, I mean for the love of all, that damned store has NO windows, NO door…yeah, zombie proofed, no one is in there still, lets just go in there and BOO zombie to the face. They did it in TWD with Glen and Maggie at the super market, and I have to say the whole time I was waiting for someone to grab Maggie. It’s even worse in movies where they think it’s safe because the door is closed still…even though there is recent signs of some sort of activity…I mean no one who was bitten would of ever have tried to hide in this seemingly safe abandoned apartment complex right…you know, the one where all the rooms are full of already zombified people?

    • YAY! zombie supes!

      • Awesome new gravatar!

      • I liked the other one better…

        • She was much more attractive.

        • I’m sorry Yatkuu, but my inner black woman, no matter how attractive had to be put away, makes the wife uncomfortable.

        • Too bad tom… she was hot!

    • Oh that’s a great one, Tom. Why do people just assume things are safe despite obvious signs of the contrary? Too dumb to live.

      • And usually the people that assume the place is safe have no right surviving, even temporarily, I mean why does the high school cheerleader survive, but not the gun-toting anti-gun-law badass?????

        • Well, that’s an easy one.

          High school cheerleaders have no brains, you know.

  8. I thought I had posted on here earlier, but not seeing it now, I hate that annoying trend to not check a building just because the characters were there two days ago, and even though the door hangs on a hinge, the windows are busted out and such, there is no way any Zombies got in there during that two day period…but of course, BAM zombie to the face.

    • Sorry. You comments got caught in the spam filter for some reason, even though you post here regularly.

  9. It’s always nice to see characters reappear like this. In a zombie story you generally automatically assume the worst, so it’s something.
    Regarding the discussion question, I can’t really think of an example but this is a pretty annoying thing. Sometimes justifiable in the considerably distressing scenario that is the apocalypse (sometimes still not) but annoying.

    • Yeah, I always try to factor in the insane stress levels, but still, a wood croquet mallet over a steel crowbar?

      • the croquet mallet would have “reach” over the crowbar but I’d stick with the crowbar for resilience.
        I feel that whole scene in Dawn of the Dead was just the set up for “cool zombie kill” no other reason for it!

        • Oh yeah, that was the only point of that entire scene. It needed another draft or two.

          I mean, why not have the zombie knock him down, causing him to lose the crowbar out of his reach. He grabs for something, anything, and gets the mallet. Do the rest of the scene the same way.

  10. Glad to see that Inez is back. Happy to see the Latina represent!! lol

    • She’s not Latina, she’s yellow just like everyone else 🙂

  11. I hate when characters don’t double tap or don’t headshot friends/loved ones when they die. They know they will turn but they don’t take that extra step to make sure they don’t come back. That always comes back to “bite” them.

    • That always drives me nuts too.

    • I agree, although I understand not doing a “double tap.” In a post-apoc world, with a limited supply of ammunition, sometimes one bullet just has to be enough.

  12. Just thought of a good example of stupid move that happens way too often:
    It’s pitch black, we’re in the middle of a spooky haunted Asylum, there is only 2 of us left… why don’t we split up? We’ll cover more ground to look for our lost puppy!

    • Grrrrrrrr! That one gets me too.

    • And why do people keep going to places with names like “Isla De La Muerta”? Nothing good can happen there.

      • Reminds me of a show I watched a few months ago, Ancient Aliens I think it was.

        They were talking about how these 9 Russian hikers/skiiers went up the equivalent of “Death Mountain” in the “Don’t Go There” Mountain Range in the 1950’s.

        Guess what? They found all 9 of them later on, dead, some with missing body parts (one was missing a tongue, I beleve) and inexplicable injuries (fractured skulls with no outward signs of trauma, etc.) There are claims that their skin was an unusual orange-ish tone, and that they found traces of radiation on the corpses. (Of course the show blamed it on aliens, but that’s beside the point.)

        The weird thing is, this is a documented event that happened in real life, not some horror movie. But still, “Isla De La Muerta,” “Skull Island”… “Death Mountain” in the “Don’t Go There” Mountain Range…

        • That’s it, I’m crossing “Death Mountain” of my list of possibly vacation locales right now.

        • I remember that! I saw one once where they recover artefacts from a cave that’s totally underwater. Skulls, tools and the like.

          Another bit in the show sounded like something from a movie. A man discovered a temple deep in a cave in South America, but it was since lost. The things he described sounded like they were made by aliens, and his daughter continues the search to this day.

  13. Anyone remember me? 🙁

    • I’m quite sure we do, Nekro Spike. 😀

    • I remember!

    • Oh yeah your one of the main characters who got kidnapped by those awesome people. Oh wait that was Sam.