Saturday, 6 November 2010

Walking the dog and The Walking Dead

Here’s a strange thing: I was up and dressed and out the door with the dog at 7:30 this morning. Quick. Somebody get a doctor. I can’t remember the last time I was up this early on a weekend. I guess that’s what happens when a dog comes into your life.

To call it a walk would be to invest it with a deal of ambition. Bob sniffed lampposts. Then I dragged him on the lead. Then he tried to drag me. I’m hoping one say soon he’ll associate the horrible choking sensation with walking too fast.

Given that the world was such a bright, crisp place this morning I took Bob a longer walk than normal, round the local woods. And that’s when I got to wondering where the body was. You see it on the news on a daily basis dontcha? Man out walking dog finds dead body.

There’s one reason not to get a dog right there. Any parents looking to put their kids off from getting a dog use that excuse. It’s a doozy. Can’t get a dog, kids, you’ll be knee high in corpses before you can get the lead on him.

Which brings me rather neatly to my viewing last night. Anybody else see The Walking Dead?

"The source material for this series is a graphic novel. Wikipedia talk thusly...The Walking Dead is a monthly black and white American comic book series published by Image Comics beginning in 2003. The comic was created by writer Robert Kirkman[1] and artist Tony Moore, who was replaced by Charlie Adlard from issue #7 onward,[2] although Moore continued to do the covers until issue #24.[3]

The story chronicles the travels of a group of people trying to survive in a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse. The series won the 2010 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series at the San Diego Comic Convention. A television series was announced to be in production on August 11, 2009 and premiered on October 31, 2010 on AMC."

If you didn’t see it here’s the premise. The Sheriff from a small town, just outside Atlanta wakes up from a coma - to find the world has gone to the dogs. Well, the dead actually. (See what I did there?)Yes people, the world has gone Zombie.

So far, so blah. Man wakes up from coma to find a world full of horror. 28 Days Later anyone? Zombies are one of the staples of the horror genre, but unusually this is a TV series. What can a story filmed for the small screen do that one for the large screen can’t?

The clue is in the word “story”. Two hours of a movie is enough to give us a basic story with the gore that zombie lovers expect, but if the opening episode is anything to go by in this series we are in for a much more interesting ride. In a zombie movie people die. So what? In this when people die, the director is going to wring every emotion out of you.

The scenes where we see the changed world through the eyes of the cop, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln acting out of his skin) are truly horrifying. Another well considered scene was when Rick is found by a man and his son. They take him in, somewhat warily and hide from the night and the zombies in a house where the man’s wife died. She caught the fever and is now out in the dark with the other zombies. We see her walking up to the door and trying the handle. Is there a real human under that vacant stare? The boy sobs at the state of his mother and you the viewer get your emotions well and truly tweaked. The next day, the father gets his sniper rifle and takes out a few of them from an upstairs room. (The wee fella sitting beside me cheered loudly every time a zombie head exploded) The shooter knows the sound of the rifle attracts more zombies and he is trying to attract the one who was his wife so he can put her out of her misery. She comes in to his vision. He has her in his cross-hairs. You can see she must have been a beautiful woman once. She looks like she is mouthing some words as he curls his finger round the trigger. Could she be saying his name? Is she still in there? Tears sting his eyes. He blinks. He can’t shoot. He tries again.

What do you think happens next?

Would you get that depth in a movie? Don’t think so.

But fear not gore fans. The blood splatter count is high as are the special effects. The production values – he says like he knows what he’s talking about - in this programme are as good as anything you’ll see on the big screen. There’s a particular zombie Rick comes across – cast your peepers across the picture here.

 She looks like she’s been eaten by other zombies from the hips down and drags herself along by her arms. This is as convincing a special effect as I’ve seen. Disturbing and fascinating. Rick follows her to put her out of her misery and again the director takes a moment – a moment he couldn’t have been afforded in a movie – to suggest the human beneath...a look...a grasping hand. What does she want? To eat him? Mercy? Or release from her torment?

Then there’s the final scenes in this opener – as tense as anything I’ve seen on the small or large screen – where Rick is cornered by a mob of zombies, his horse is eaten (awwww) and you’re thinking, how the feck is he going to get out of this one?

There is such a strong canon in this genre that the start up to this series does have a few “been there done that” moments but I was able to see past that thanks to the odd clever touch and the genuine connection I was feeling for the characters. I’m not a giant fan of the zombie genre. I can take or leave them but The Walking Dead gets a big thumbs up from me and goes straight to number one on my must watch list.

Now you’ll understand why I was looking for dead bodies when I took Bob out for his walk this morning.


  1. you probably already read my post earlier this week on THE WALKING DEAD so you know I was also left amazed by the show's premiere. Didn't expect such a great and well paced drama in a zombie series which usually don't go further than mindless bloodshed. I was also touched by the scene when the sheriff returns to put that legless zombie out of her misery :(

    Hope the new episode tomorrow will be great as well.

  2. Hey, Dezmond thanks for that posting - it was your blog that put me on to this series.

  3. I rarely watch TV but my husband had this on the boob tube last week and I managed to peek up a few times...until the Zombies ate the horse. YUCK!

    Too much blood and gore for me. But, yes, I did notice the touching moments.

    Not enough to overcome my aversion to horse-eating though...

  4. Hmmm, I'm not a fan of zombies either but you make this sound intriguing, Michael. Better give it a try. (wanders away, wondering what 'production values' are).

  5. the horse - the guy seduces the horse to help him, and then the poor thing gets eaten - wt 'f' ??? i don't like cursing online...anyway, it was rather slurpy noisy but an interesting story. is it Madmen??? nah

  6. You're right, Thea. Zombies should leave the horse alone. I've heard so many times in creative writing classes that you can do whatever you want to the humans - readers lap that stuff up - but harm any animals at your peril