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Simon Pegg Demands A Return To Traditional "Zombie Values"

Illustration for article titled Simon Pegg Demands A Return To Traditional Zombie Values

Lovable Brit and part-time undead fighter Simon Pegg (Shaun of The Dead), knows a thing or two about whacking the crap out of some zombies. Which is why he is penning his own article, in the Guardian no less, about how he's sick to death of all these speedy zombies. After going to a zombie movie-fest Pegg lets out a little steam about his utter disappointment after watching Dead Set's undead sprinting around the screen, because "ZOMBIES DON'T RUN."What's interesting about Pegg's take-down of Dead Set's villains is that the "journalist" (Krishnan Guru-Murthy) who warned the world of the undead invasion in Shaun Of The Dead also played a "newsreader" in Dead Set, which Pegg called akin to:

seeing an ex-lover walking down the street pushing a pram. Of course, this was a knee-jerk reaction. It's not as if Edgar and I hadn't already pushed someone else's baby up the cultural high street - but that, to some extent, was the point. In Shaun of the Dead, we lifted the mythology established by George A Romero in his 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, and offset it against the conventions of a romantic comedy.


I'm really glad he mentioned this, so he's not just pointing fingers and claiming to have originated the idea of the funny zombie, but moving on. Pegg's biggest problem was in fact that these zombies didn't stumble along, they ran. He pulls upon other monster "facts" to prove his argument:

I know it is absurd to debate the rules of a reality that does not exist, but this genuinely irks me. You cannot kill a vampire with an MDF stake; werewolves can't fly; zombies do not run.It's a misconception, a bastardisation that diminishes a classic movie monster. The best phantasmagoria uses reality to render the inconceivable conceivable. The speedy zombie seems implausible to me, even within the fantastic realm it inhabits. A biological agent, I'll buy. Some sort of super-virus? Sure, why not. But death? Death is a disability, not a superpower. It's hard to run with a cold, let alone the most debilitating malady of them all.


Well said you crafty ginger. Pegg moves on, explaining the evolution of the fast zombie and where we should look to put the blame, and it turns out our favorite red-leather-suited singer needs to take his fair share of the blame.

After three films spanning three decades, and much imitation from film-makers such as Lucio Fulci and Dan O'Bannon, the credibility of the zombie was dealt a cruel blow by the king of pop. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video, directed by John Landis, was entertaining but made it rather difficult for us to take zombies seriously, having witnessed them body-popping.

It's a wonderful post that breaks down all sorts of zombie stories from Haitian folk lore to I Am Legend, and delightfully calling the Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead "effective but pointless," which kind of hits the nail on that zombie's head. Though I'm a little worried about his "MTV-generation" moment, where he claims all the kiddies want their zombies souped up and fast, gets a little borderline grandpa. But still the whole argument is way too much fun to ignore. Check out the rest of Pegg's article at The Guardian.

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Zombies shouldn't run. Once living, now dead things should always be slower than their living equivalents. why? besides the obvious difference between healthy living body and decayed rotting undead body who knows? could be decreased blood flow to extremities? or no functioning nerve endings to tell zombie brain when it's foot has reached the ground? or decayed brains that don't function as well as living brains at giving marching orders? (in which case long dead zombies should be slower than newly dead ones. and don't argue about whether or not the brain is still sending signals to the muscles and limbs or not - obviously the brain is still controlling the body in some way) But regardless of the exact reason why zombies can't run, there are plenty of compelling arguments for why Zombies shouldn't be able to run, I haven't heard any yet for why they should.

Plague/rage/virus/mutants-still-living humans can run all they want. zombie-LIKE creatures can run, actual zombies can't. Undead fast moving zombies just don't make sense. though i will admit they can be scary as hell (ex. dead set).

on a similar note, while i am all for creativity, i think if you are going to change a creature with a long tradition like zombies or vampires you should have some coherent reason for doing so. Another example? The vampires in the world of '30 days of night' are not true vampires, they are vampire-zombie hybrids. In the movie they can be killed by the normal vampire killing methods of beheading and sunshine, but also by a bullet to the head or by being hit by a moving auto or being ground into pulp (ok that one I could see since it does seperate the head from the body, albeit on a near cellular level). As if those weren't transgressions enough, in the online episodic mini-'sequel' to 30 days of Night, anyone who is scratched or bitten by a vampire becomes one - not bitten and 'turned', just bitten - as if the reason that vampires are no longer human is because of a virus. (I wonder if the virus imparts knowledge of that alien gutteral language the vampires speak in 30days?) The virus theory is also reinforced by the method the last of the humans in the movie 30days was turned into a vampire.

I just want my zombies to be zombies and my vampires to be vampires, is that too much to ask?