Wednesday, 11 March 2015

After watching iZombie, a terrible thought occurred – It’s Twilight all over again

As I watched the trailer for the new tv series iZombie, I quickly realized this could mean the end of the zombie genre. It’s officially headed into the Twi-hard zone, where vampires glitter and zombies are sexy medical residents. What?

I'm not saying iZombie won't be fun to watch. Maybe it'll be like 'Dexter', taking a complex look at a character driven to channel their evil urges into something positive. I'm saying iZombie is a sign that zombie movies are headed into territory that has been exhaustively explored by a recent slew of vampire movies - making the monster the hero.

What Happened To All The Monsters?

I think most vampire and zombie movies are, at their core, monster movies. And at the heart of any good monster movie is the chase, where some creature relentlessly pursues its innocent victims. The chase is where all the movie’s thrills and chills are found because it taps into an archetypal fear of pursuit - of becoming prey. Or in the case of zombie flicks, of becoming consumed by death itself.

So when it comes to Twilight, and now iZombie (the tv series, not the comic book), I feel we’ve gone off the rails a bit into a different kind of story. We’re no longer afraid of the monsters – we want to be like them. Who wouldn’t want to be a Cullen? To have super speed and strength, to glitter awesomely in the sunlight and be sexy forever?

Heroic Zombies?

Just as vampires have transformed into superheroes we all aspire to be, we’re now witnessing zombies headed for the same fate. In 'Warm Bodies', a zombie rom-com that turns a brain-dead zombie into the hero, we’ve seen the first volley into humanizing the zombie. The hero even transforms into a human at the end. Don’t get me wrong - I enjoyed the movie for its humour and its poking fun at the genre. But it opened the door to evolving the zombie into something it’s not.

Enter iZombie. I’m sorry, but just because the lead eats brains, she’s not a zombie. She’s something else. A ghoul maybe? But not a zombie.

I don’t mean to come off as a purist fanatic, as I’m all for pushing a genre’s boundaries to craft a great story. But if you market something with zombie in the title, it better have hordes of freakin' zombies relentlessly pursuing innocent victims.

Calling A Zombie A Zombie

The story I’m trying to tell in 'Heroes Rising' is a zombie story. I make a clear distinction between the ‘supernaturals’ (people who gained superpowers from the zombie virus) versus the zombie horde, who are, through and through, re-animated corpses out for human flesh. I wouldn’t market my story as a ‘zombie’ story if I weren’t going to include the monsters the audience expects.

I’m hoping iZombie doesn’t spawn some sort of zombie Twilight. That would make me sad. I didn’t like the glittering vampires. But as long as we still have 'The Walking Dead', 'Z-Nation' and 'Zombieland', I’ll be happy. Frightened, horrified, and happy.

But don’t get me started on the 'World War Z' movie.



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