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Overthinking A Plate Of Brains

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I have written about zombies and velocity before but I haven’t written as much as Christopher Thorne. He’s just published ‘The Running Of The Dead’, a 9,000 word essay on the political philosophy of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, Zack Synder’s Dawn Of The Dead and fast zombies. Admittedly, the first 2,000 words of this essay is a rather sloppy introduction to Hobbes but then we get to his moment of epiphany after watching Synder’s remake of George A Romero’s 1978 classic:

I was completely wrong. It turns out that up-shifting the zombies from slow to fast changes everything; it entirely re-frames the zombie movie as a genre. I find this utterly fascinating. It seems like a small change, little more than a tweak, like defragmenting your hard drive. And it leaves nothing untouched.

To condense his argument absurdly: slow zombies are about the fear of the state and society whereas fast zombies are about fear of the absence of the state and society (hence Hobbes). Over the final half of the essay, Thorne then contends that 28 Days Later deliberately subverts this:

the movie that for all intents and purposes created fast zombies, was already the movie that demystified them. The subgenre stands permanently indicted by its own author and source. Boyle’s movie is not the progenitor to [REC] and Quarantine and the Dawn remake and Justin Cronin’s vampire-zombie novel The Passage; it is their accuser, the one that calls them out on their despotism and aufgehobener race-hate.

It is an enjoyable if strained and rather hasty essay. (Via MetaFilter which has additional discussion.)

Written by Martin

7 September 2010 at 16:12

Posted in criticism, films

Tagged with ,