Don't worry, the "A World A Week" topic will be back, just haven't had access to a scanner lately. Paul 2.0 and I have since mid-October been formulating Zombie Zigzag for TACK. One of the by-products has been some great discussion on the zombie movie/entertainment sub-genre of horror.
Why I Hate Brad Pitt , or why fast zombies are dumb
By Paul Cooper (AKA Paul 2.0)
Recent big screen films have features fast moving, running zombies,
or what I like to call "ZOOMBIES". I hate ZOOMBIES and you, as a GM
Here are some "facts" to consider:
The recent notion of "fast" zombies is a conceit to the ADHD, video
game generation. It defies all suspension of disbelief. Never tiring and
feeling no pain results in disaster for such creatures. The hip, knee,
and ankle joints of the reanimated were not designed for the continual,
sustained strain a "fast" zombie puts on it. The lack of pain, which
discourages or stops a human from surpassing the design parameters of
these joints, is not present in "fast" zombies. Thusly, these joints
would fail quickly in a "fast" zombie, reducing them to either
immobility or the slower movement of the more "traditional" shamblers.
This is further supported by the laws of thermodynamics, which govern
all but the "supernatural" origin of zombies. The question must be
asked of all other varieties, "Where do they get the energy to run at a
sustained rate for such long periods?" If zombies do not consume humans
for their caloric content, but due to some sort of primal urge in the
active regions of the reptilian brain, the question remains. The energy
must come from somewhere. The bodily reserves of energy would be quickly
consumed in a "fast" zombie, rendering them immobile in a relatively
short period of time.
Thus, the conclusion is that "fast" zombies are nothing more than a
ridiculous way to startle and excite the jaded video game generation.
The main reason why you, as a GM, should hate ZOOMBIES. No suspense.
Slow moving zombies allow you to build the tension of the story. First
encounters of single zombies, that the players can kill off, starts the
fun, but as the number of zombies increases, and their groups grow in
size, your players will start to feel the clock running out. The tension
will build in your stories as the players have to figure out how to
survive the increasing numbers. It's the dramatic slow doom that allows
you to build up your story to a dramatic, high intensity climax.
Your players wouldn't last more than 5 minutes in a world of
ZOOMBIES. How the Hell is any group of survivors going to last against
things that can out run an Olympic runner? That can quickly form ramps
of bodies large enough to breach any wall, no matter how high? How on
Earth are you, as a GM, going to build the tension in your story if all
of your players are slaughtered in the first 5 minutes of the story?
Good Luck with that.
So let idiots like Brad Pitt keep their ZOOMBIES. GMs of Crawlspace know how to tell a better story than that jerk.
My own reaction is similar, but, in the end, I still like Brad Pitt's World War Z.
The folks that are recognized Zombie-Media gurus have been struggling with the false problem of popular relevance. Where does the genre go once it's gone beyond the viewer's vicarious joy at seeing his daydream of shooting everyone who he doesn't like in the head played out on screen about a dozen times? Shows like The Walking Dead have totally proven that there is not much point in making a zombie movie beyond a group dynamics flik. Throw in an interesting weather or engineering phenomena every once in a while, like Z Nation, and you have a serious basis for gamer interest.
When it comes to
zombies in Crawlspace, I tend to fall back to how I learned from the
earliest zombie movie that I wasn't so scared of that I could listen to
the pseudo-scientific reasoning going on. The movie that scared me,
excuse the language, "shitless" was Night of the Living Dead and the first zombie I watched with youthful enthusiasm was Return of The Living Dead. When
a coroner was dealing with a trapped sample of the zombie invasion
going on around him, he told others, paraphrasing, "It can't be any
stronger than it was in life."
I still like Pitt
not because he is a superstar, but because he is a dork despite his
success. This dude who is most likely a billionaire and acclaimed to
have as much talent as he has looks, as well as the woman he's chosen
for his wife, is as caught up in zombie mania as George Romero and Max
Brooks. As a person that suffered a headache reading World War Z, I remember that I was so disappointed with various movies leading up to and including Romero's Day of the Dead, WWZ's army ant zombies weren't a surprise. I had already watched zombies hop along ceilings and Resident Evil already negated any sense of physical limitations long before.
So when it comes to Crawlspace, I want the GM/Director to really feel free to work things through to make the 13-Hour Clock dynamic work for him, or her.