Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Diary of the Dead

I'll admit it; I love zombie movies. Actually, I love any movies or books that involve a virus or plague (or vampires or aliens) that could potentially wipe out humanity. I've read The Stand by Stephen King at least six times. The Omega Man is one of my all-time favorite flicks, and I watched I Am Legend with a sort of terrified glee. It's not the mass destruction of human life that fascinates me, but the tenacity and ingenuity of the survivors. It's amazing what one will do to survive, even when faced with the possibility of being the only survivor. I confess to having spent way too much time thinking about what I would do if faced with a pandemic or a swarm of flesh-eating undead. The reality is that I'd probably be one of the first to die, since I'm so out of shape I probably couldn't outrun a zombie, and I'm usually the first one in my house to succumb to a cold or virus. Besides which, I'm a total wimp and just the thought of being alone in my own house at night gives me the heebie-jeebies, never mind being alone on the planet! But having an overly active imagination, I can't help but wonder, "What if...?"
So imagine my surprise and delight when my daughter found this book in a used bookstore in Salem, MA! It's called The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead. If you've ever wondered how to protect yourself against zombies, this is the book for you. Not only does it give you great tips on how to survive, but it also explores the origins of zombie-ness, and details the behaviors and characteristics of zombies so that you can anticipate how they will react in any situation, providing you with the necessary information to either kill them, or escape from them. For example, I'd always thought if the world was overrun by zombies, I would escape in a boat. Perfect, right? You're isolated and safe. But did you know that zombies can walk on the bottom of a riverbank or lake or even the ocean? So keep a spear or harpoon handy for when they try to sneak up on you from beneath the water!

Last night, the girls and I were surfing for a good movie, and they wanted to watch The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I knew it was the story of a girl who becomes pregnant, and thought it might provide a good moral lesson, so we switched it on. Hello!! In the first five minutes, there's a scene where a 16-year old boy is asking his 15-year old girlfriend how long they'll have to wait before they can have sex, and she replies when they're married. So then he asks if oral sex counts. The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop, about a second before I leaped up and changed the channel. Who writes this stuff?? Bill Clinton?? No way were my girls watching that instead, we changed it over to Diary of the Dead. Yep, I'd much prefer they watch a movie based on someone's twisted fantasy about zombies, filled with gratuitous violence and plenty of gore!

The movie was filmed in the same style as The Blair Witch Project -- as if it was a documentary. It started out slow, and I was sort of kicking myself for having paid $4.99 for it on Pay per View. Initially, it seemed that the only redeeming feature was that it starred hot Canadian actor, Shawn Roberts, as one of the would-be survivors. However, fifteen minutes into it, the girls and I were glued to the screen, watching the horror unfold about a group of college kids trying to get home. At one point Caitlin said, "Okay, I am now officially sketched out!" It was pretty gruesome and about as realistic as a zombie movie can get. On a positive note, not all the characters died; three of them ended up locking themselves in a panic room inside a mansion, as the house itself became overrun with zombies. I can think of worse fates than being holed up with someone as adorable as Shawn Roberts! So I say, "Zombies?? Bring 'em on!" I have my survival guide...


Katie said...

if you liked the survival guide, read max brooks's 'world war z'. its a totally brill take on the end-of-the-world genre.

Karen Foley said...

Thanks, Katie!! I'll definitely look for it; who knows...maybe someday I'll try my hand at writing my own end-of-the-world story!