Zombies or Vampires?
I had always thought of myself as a vampire girl (thank you, Stephenie Meyer for the term), not a zombie fan. I was picky about my Dead, it seemed. I liked the elegance of the vampire brand of the Undead, typified by the classic Dracula movies as well as the more recent Twilight series.
Sure, there are zombie movies out there that I like, including the 1968 version of Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, and 28 Days, among others.
But I hadn’t read any zombie novels, and only a few zombie shorts stories.
That changed in 2013. I had preview tickets to the movie Warm Bodies, so I read Isaac Marion’s novel in the days just prior. I loved his book, which featured vibrant language, characters with a depth I had not expected, and original settings.
During the previews for Warm Bodies, I saw previews for World War Z. My friend mentioned that her husband had read the book by Max Brooks, and he found it interesting, so I gave it a try. After all, I had just read Warm Bodies.
In his novel World War Z, Max Brooks took a journalistic approach to a zombie apocalypse, using the narrative technique of having survivors tell their stories in an interview format. The book contained a kaleidoscope of characters, with such speakers as doctors and priests, privateers and smugglers, and most surprisingly, astronauts and deep sea divers.
The transition from Page to Screen, novel to movie, is a fascinating process for me. What elements of the novel will the director and screenwriter bring to their film version? I loved the charming movie version of Warm Bodies, where the characters of R and Julie were brought memorably to life by actors Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer, and I looked forward to World War Z.
My reaction to World War Z was mixed. Parts of the movie were very exciting, and Brad Pitt gave a solid, likeable performance. But in his book, Max Brooks had created these memorable characters with a startling variety of backgrounds. Brad Pitts’s character in the movie didn’t seem to have a compelling story. The zombies he fought in this movie could have been almost any kind of villain. What were they fighting? Rabid dogs? Sharks flung from a tornado? It seems these villains might have worked as well as zombies.
But much as I enjoyed these zombie books and movies, in the end, I still favor vampires for my own personal undead encounters. One of the thrill of these protagonists is the possibility of ending up being transformed into one of them. And that might not be all bad, as series including Twilight have shown.
So while I’m not yet a Zombie Girl, I’m certainly more open-minded in my reads about the war on the Living by the Dead, those fiends who lead with their arms stretched out in front of them.
Stagger on, my new Dead Antagonists, and I’ll keep finding books and stories to read for the thrill of watching the struggle of my kind against yours.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite type of horror movie antagonist?
, Warm Bodies
, World War Z