Bookreviews: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

By Max Brooks: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War [Audiobook]By Max Brooks: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War [Audiobook] by -Random House Audio-
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(contains a section that can be seen as a spoiler: it is at the end and marked as such)

I decided to listen to the audiobook version of this book for two reasons: I have a interest in post apocalyptic settings and like to see how a book is translated into a movie.
The translation of the book into a movie is something that we need not consider here. Although there are similarities between them, they are superficial at best. Unless the sequel to the movie gets aligned to the book, that is.
There are three similarities: there is a zombie outbreak, the storyline plays out all over the world, and there is the same character that we follow: the UN investigator.
But the latter’s role is just totally different. In the book he has almost no personality as he is only used to give voice to the people telling their stories, while in the movie Brad Pitt takes the center of the stage.
The audio book adds an additional layer to story. A book that I read lets me give the voices their own characteristics in my mind. A ‘hero’ is to me something personal that I fill in. I read from various other reviews that many found the writings to be similar voiced. I did not experience that as such as they used distinct voices in the book that gave them color and personality.

Now let’s mention some good points of the audio book.

The stories from everywhere created an interesting jigsaw puzzle that not only pieces together an overall idea of what was going on in the world at the same time, but also build up to unfold the development of the zombie ‘war’. It is an interesting, and certainly fresh idea for a zombie apocalyptic story. The writer tries to keep the pieces fitted together by referring forward and backward to certain key moments, events or ideas, which is certainly helpful at the start of story as the jumping all over the place can also create confusion if not kept in check.
The voices used in the book helped a lot with fleshing out the characters and I was certainly gripped by some of the stories.I saw in the actor list that they used some respectable actors for various roles: Alan Alda,Jurgen Prochnow, Martin Scorcese, Bruce Boxleitner, Frank Darabont.
Some stories stand out for me. The one related by the Chinese doctor Kwang Jinghsu who tells about the first zombie case he runs into and the description is horrifying. The flight of the Indian Ajay Shah to try and escape by ship via Alang, the ships’ graveyard. The one told by the blind Japanese hermit Tomonaga Ljiro who seeks to die in a lone forest, but refinds faith. But I was specially gripped by the story of colonel Christina Eliopolis who is sucked out of her damaged airplane but manages to save herself by chute and lands in marsh full of wandering zombies hundred of miles from safety.

So to the bad points.

The first good point is also the first bad point, because all the stories are separate stories that tells but a moment in the whole war, there is little room for character development. This makes a character rather one dimensional.
There is some kind of attempt to give the ‘grunt’ Todd Wainio a kind of overall binding role as he returns several times and has most of the space in the story, but he is the least interesting of all characters as he is as fake as can be.
I am probably too European to like the way some Americans like to represent their military, and Max Brooks is one of those. Overconfident and smug. He is that guy that flattens your hometown and napalms the surrounding lands and then approaches your with a big smile to say: “So there missy, that should settle it. No need to worry. We got it all under control.. We’ll be heading over the next town now. But I might be around later on, if you feel interested.” Wink.
(Waino tells the interviewer on a side note that he is certain he has some kids fathered by some grateful ladies from the places he liberated. What a revolting man).

As much as there are likable characters -or at least believable characters- in the story there are also totally unbelievable characters.
The prime unbelievable character is General Travis D’Ambrosia, the commander in chief. At the moment the counter attack is ordered he is basically a defeatist and should have been relieved of command. He tells the interviewer some nonsense about three basic rules of war: men must be bred, fed and led. And then he explains how all these rules do not apply to the zombies. And then tells of more advantages they have, totally neglecting to mention all the weakness zombies have and which can be exploited(which they later do).
An almost equal unbelievable character is the Englishman David Allen Forbes. He was introduced as having experience with castles and writing a book about it and then goes to tell some nonsense about European History in which the middle ages are classified as institutionalized anarchy.

Say what?

But it got worse.. Next he mentions that there is a difference between a castle and a palace and he mentions how castles were often turned into palaces so they lost their defensive value.
And that is true enough.
And then he says the most profound stupid thing I have ever heard: ”.. like Versailles, that is why it was such a cock up.”
Did I hear him say: like Versailles?
I played it again: Versailles.
Again: Versailles.
Versailles?
VERSAILLES!!!!!!
%^%^&&**&*&
No student of any level of history of warfare would ever mention Versailles as a defensive structure. Versailles was not a palace converted from a castle. It was build from the ground up as a prestigious object to show off the power and wealth of Louis XIV, the 17th Century king of France, the ruler of the most powerful nation of Europe at that time. Versailles was exactly not a defensive place because Louis had a big army, and big navy to protect him and plenty of forts if he needed them. It was exact the opposite of a castle because he could say: I can afford such a place and do not fear my enemies..
It was never at anytime considered or converted or used as defensible structure, not by the French, not by the Germans when they occupied France, not by the Allies when they liberated Europe..
Nearby Disneyworld Paris is more defensible.
Only an utter clueless guy would mention Versailles or use it.

Another weak point in the story is that the style of story is distant, observational and in hindsight. You know that everyone is basically going to survive. There seems to be seldom any interaction between the interviewed of the moment and anyone else of the interviewed. It turns to matter of fact observations. This is perhaps intentional, but it creates distance. As if you are hovering above it instead of being in the midst of it. It also takes away any uncertainties doubts, or interesting complication. Nobody of all of the interviewed seems to contradict someone else. It is dry, distanced and faultless. Which might make a nice report, but takes away from the story.
But what I often missed is the anguish people would experience when they see one of their loved ones turned or sick. Or even see them back as zombies. Brooks describes that at the start somewhat. But soon enough he the zeds are zeds. That they are your friend, lover, partner, dad, mom or buddy is pushed aside fairly rapidly.

And then there is this.. this -how to tell it- this demonstration of a certain myopic mindset.
When public humiliation and corporal punishment(flogging) are reintroduced crimes are are no more, so we are told by the former vice president of the United States.. I see.
And when American soldiers ‘fight’ they suffer of course less losses than say the Russians and the Chinese man on man.. Of course.
And in Israel a rebellion erupts when the zombies start to show up, because certain extreme groups in Israel rather compromise the safety of the whole nation to further their own cause. Right. Patriotism is only for Americans.
And the Cuban problem is easily solved by having them take in five million United States refugees so that the western(=American) ideas of greed ( oh sorry: free enterprise) and democracy gets spread around and eventual restores Cuba to a democracy.
It is that simple.
And when a German officer(from West Germany) is ordered to abandon civilians by his (former East German) superior, he at first refuses, but when pressured buckles under anyway. without asking an explanation, consulting his staff or talking it through with the civilians. Noo. All he has gained is the benefit of fifty years of western inspired conscience. See how down on their morals those (Former) Eastern Jerries really are anyway, cause that guy kills himself afterwards.
But regardless of west or east: it is the same cadaver discipline of course and the same way out. They never change, those Germans: only their excuses.
At some point I was wondering if this was meant to be satire or that Brooks really thinks that is how you deal with the worlds issues or how the world works?

But the list extends into the story telling.
So the battle of Yonkers shows that the US army is not ready to deal with the dead yet. Mind you, they are shown to be extremely incompetent. Not even using things to hinder the advancing horde with, like say a wall of cars, barbed wire, cheval de fraises, minefields, stakes, ditches, wood fences, wires, fallen trees and anything else the books are filled with. And claymore mines! No Clymore mine. Easy to set up, deadly, shoot balls of metal that go right through you. But noo.. the army has been ordered to be incompetent.
Or has it been written?
For Brooks now tells us that there is a break between refugees and the zombies. Up till now he tells us in all other stories how they were mixed.
But the Battle of Yonkers is designed by Brooks to show of the incompetence of the US army, forced on them by who knows who? The press? The politicians? Their superiors? Why not blame them all!
It is a setup.
We are looking directly at the writer forcing an unbelievable twist in his story. You can see his hands grabbing it, twisting and turning, until it is disjointed enough so that the best equipped army in the world loses the first time around.
Mano-a-mano.
Zombies 1. Humans 0.
It is one of those fake wrestling matches.
They have to lose to have the US overrun, but also to have the army get up for a second round. As if war just consist of a few important battles.

—zzzzzz spoilers down here zzzzz ————-

Its a few years later, after this severe defeat the army counter attacks under command of mister defeatist D’Ambrosia via an offense from the rocky mountains. From the west to the east.
Wow.. how many people would that take? Well, they walk side by side, just like how they search for survivors and evidence after an aircraft crash, so we are told. So that’s something like 1400 miles as the crow flies. And assume for every ten yard one grunt. That is 300.000 men. Oh wait they got a second line: 600.000. And then you need replacements, backups, support, perhaps some more men per 10 yard really, certainly in denser area’s. Double that. Triple that. Quadruple that. You need to guard the flanks too, the liberated areas. You need logistics, repairs. replacements. 5 million? 6? And that from a country that has suffered 200 million dead and lost over ⅗ of it’s land. And most of it’s industry and food supplying area’s.
Brooks is basically unable to properly handle this. His stories are basically light weight and interesting, and work as separate instances, but he can’t tie it together in the end. He needs to twist too much to make it work. I assume he does. Because I hope that he does not really belief all these things that he wrote down. It is such an absurd look of the world.
But you got to give him credit for one thing though. Once the United States has won the victory at home, it doesn’t retreat into isolation and let the rest of the world to it’s own devices. Why should they anyway. What would the world do without them! They got a whole world to liberate… or conquer.
It is just the way you look at it.
It is..

—————spoilers end———————————–

One star extra for the great voice acting and the great colonel story. It gave me tears, honest.

View all my reviews

A state of mind 2: who needs the government anyway?

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The Night of the Living Dead has a kind of dark humor for at the end the hero of the movie gets shot by these vigilantes because they think he is a zombie. In the end titling you see vague pictures in the background that show what they do with the bodies. It is a kind of reminiscent of nazi practices as you see the people using meat-hooks to drag the bodies to stack them high to burn them. The corpse of the hero is among them.

In the previous installment of a state of mind we ended we the guys we see above. We see them hunting down the zombies in the Night of the Living Dead. So how about the government? What are they doing?

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Almost any interpretation of the zombie apocalypse has to deal with this. How do you explain away..
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these guys(and girls for that matter)
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or these..
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or this?

Of course anyone who tells a story of a nation like the United State being overrun by undead has to somehow explain how these undead can gain the upper-hand in face of the violence that the United States can bring to bear. Even considering that a substantial part of the men and women of the armed forces and law enforcement agencies are turned into undead themselves.

But an explanation is actually seldom given simply because when one starts to explain, one has then to fight fire with fire, because once one starts to reason one will find that most of what is happening in zombie tales is quite unreasonable. The best solution to this problem is thus to say nothing about it at all and merely mention that the government was unable to deal with the crisis.

And thus one gets pictures like these:

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An abandoned tank in the street. The mighty power of the army culled. A block of useless steel. There is a corpse of a soldier on the tank to underscore it even more.. it will be shown in close up with birds picking at it.. Just in cast you do not get it.
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and there is one inside… but this soldier is not quite dead though.
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Rick is actually a police officer himself.. and when he enters the city a burned out police car and a downed helicopter symbolize the inability of the government to maintain control of the situation. The movie makers love to scatter helicopters about.
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Another picture to show that the government was unable to deal with the crisis. It is curious that the building seems to be blackened as if it has been shot at. One wonders who would have the temerity to shoot at the United States army in the United States? Did you notice the helicopters?
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The law in State of Decay is represented by these guys. Sheriff Carl and judge Lawson. The sheriff seems a bit out of his depth, but then.. it is the zombie apocalypse!
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The courthouse  in Marshall is where the last remains of the local government is holding out. Which is about the only representation of the law enforcement agencies in the game. Incidentally it gets attacked during the game by zombies and the two leading figures, sheriff Carl and judge Lawson, die during the attack. The powerlessness is illustrated by the fact that the two guard towers never seem to be manned throughout the game and you can get attacked even right in front of entrance of the building and nobody comes to your aid even though there are two heavily armored guards  inside the building right behind the entrance.
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The US army is in most movies and stories often just ineffective..but in State of Decay its role is even nefarious.  In addition to throwing refugees out on the street without offering protection, the game almost suggest that the US army was actually the cause of much of the nastiness in Trumbull Valley.
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While it is not exactly told, it is laid on thick that the army was actually aware and probably let this happen. I can not recall the US army being depicted this black(but see below: the stand). A new trend maybe?
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Erik Tan, disillusioned soldier, tells us that the US army blocked off the pass leading out of the valley. Not only are we told about this, we are also told that they left many of their men behind unattended and uncared for. Something which is quite strange for an army that got drawn into a extended battle in Mogadishu because it did not want to leave behind men who were in a helicopter that got downed. In fact there seems to be a point with the US army to not leave (their) people behind. Might just be politics though.. as nay-sayers would say.
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In zafehouse diaries, a text based zombie apocalypse game, the military makes one appearance and is defined as a threat. “New dilemma — Outpost. Players of No Survivors have a new threat to watch out for. A group of ex-military troops may set themselves up inside a location in town, along with a nice cache of weapons and equipment. “
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In the stand the military is responsible for the extermination of humanity by failing to contain a tweaked version of the flu. During the story the army gets to be a symbol of oppression as it goes to extremes to contain the disease and citizen unrest. Eventually the government disappears because they are no longer needed for the story and we are left to watch a rag-tag band of religious fanatics fighting it out with another band of religious fanatics. One is ‘good’ and the other is ‘bad’. The good guys are the ones we see the most, oh and they have the pretty women. Just so you know. Personally I like the bad guy better when he was this black bird.
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In the crazies it is actually cops versus army as a plane-crash turns everyone in a village into crazies, except for the handful of survivors of course. The army tries to contain and remove any evidence of the disaster by any means, including using Apache Longbow choppers. This one fails to spot the police car in full daylight.

Basically the governments  sucks. If they do not cause the disaster, their might is usually ineffective against it  and often more directed against the rest of the population and survivors in particular. Cops seem to be a bit in between, but regardless of their attitude, they are simply ineffective as a force. Instead they become often survivors, if they do not turn into zombies. This climate, this state of mind pervades almost all movies, books and games. It even contaminates political thinking.  But if you think companies are any better….

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The mighty Umbrella Corporation in Resident Evil can not control the outbreak of the T virus despite using soldiers, poison gas en a nuclear bomb. Well, the bomb is actually dropped by the government in the game, but in the movie it is the corporation itself that deploys the weapon.

But do not fear! We are about to reveal a secret.

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Irony is that the biggest adversary of the zombies and other rotting undead is never mentioned. It is mother nature.. and in particular this little critter. Producing itself in the millions it will have a field day with all the rotting flesh around.
In a warm sunny climate a rotting body will be gone in a month. The best way to survive the zombie apocalypse is just to sit it out and have the flies do their work. provided the zombies stick to the rules! Of course they don’t.

A state of mind 1: show time

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Zombie stories have been crawling out of the woodwork with impunity this last decade or so(yeah, I know cheap line). The appearance of the Walking Dead series shows that the zombie apocalypse has even intruded into the mainstream mindset. I do not know what makes zombies so popular nowadays and your guess is a good as mine, but perhaps it is all about the economy. It usually is..No doubt someone in the future will be far more able to define the reasons why.

There are many interesting sides to this type of end to civilization as we know it.  When our neighbors turning into unreasonable flesh eating creatures we can simple shoot  them down without any remorse.  Shoot them down? My, we can bash their heads in, burn them at the stake, impale them and do anything else we can think of. Things that in any other context would pass as crimes against humanity, but then zombies are not humans.. well not any more. Which is great because you can do all kinds of things you always wanted to do to that pesky annoying neighbor: Homo homini lupus est.. But this post will be not about wolves.

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The shuffling dead. They are very easy to recognize. And when they are like this we can show no remorse. These came crawling out of the burned coach on the left. Did they decide to return to their seats after it burned out? Odd.
Anyway.. what would the guys have done before they became undead? Does not look like they were from the same background. Undeadness is the great equalizer.. every zombie is the same..
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Rick in an episode of the Walking Dead sees a former colleague shuffling towards him. Lucky he used to be some kind of asshole… so…
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have a nice day, buster.
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And in Stake Land the protagonist Martin discovers this sleeping beauty in a house devoid of life because everyone inside is either dead or…
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…undead.
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Sleeping beauty does not turn int a rabid dog like creature unlike many others of her kind.. instead she approaches the hero as a curious innocent child. She is not evil yet.
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A touching moment almost when she reaches out for Martin but actually her hand goes to the dagger that he is clutching. As if..
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she senses what is about to happen?
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Once you are undead there is no mercy for you. Rick in the Walking Dead has to shoot this child zombie dressed in pajamas and a robe. Now go to sleep, already! See the cuddly bear fly away. Interestingly.. when played backward slowly one sees that the splash of blood is already on the ground. So.., no they did not shoot her in the head really. It is just a movie..
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In Stake Land the destruction of the undead is almost a casual affair. When the protagonists enter this rest stop along the road they pass a group of men who are busy tying a female vampire to this contraption. She is burned, almost like a witch was in days gone by.
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The next day, when the two heroes drive away they pass in front of the rest stop and we see this girl who sang in the bar the night previously. She is young, pretty and pregnant (as we later discover)… in the background to the left is the burned corpse of female vampire  An obvious glaring contrast..And behind the scared remains what appears to be the United Sates flag, much more visible in the daylight.
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Car meets undead. In Stake Land the vampires resemble zombies. In almost all movies, games and books cars are a humans best friend against the undead. If they get them to work that is. In Stake Land zombies do not seem to die as easily by being driven over as in other tales. This walking dead just scrambled to her feet after being run over by the heroes. They are giving it another try.If you do not succeed the first time.. try and try again.
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Fire works great to get rid of pesky undead regardless of how strong they are. It is also a bit dangerous for actors who play them. So you won’t see many Molotov cocktails being used in movies.
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I would say.. missed.. but those actors would have thought.. drat, that was close. Molotov cocktails are great crowd control weapons. Burn baby, burn.
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Tools of all kinds are used against the kind of undead that feature in those early zombie movies. They work well against the kind that are slow and alone. The faster ones that come in groups are much better dealt with with firearms.. or flamethrowers.. or by just hiding and pray that they have forgotten about you.
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The Night of the Living Dead has a kind of dark humor for at the end the hero of the movie gets shot by these vigilantes because they think he is a zombie. In the end titling you see vague pictures in the background that show what they do with the bodies. It is a kind of reminiscent of nazi practices as you see the people using meat-hooks to drag the bodies to stack them high to burn them. The corpse of the hero is among them.

Being undead means you are the great enemy. These stories allow us to clearly define who is the enemy and kill it with any means available. We do not have to feel remorse to kill something that is already dead and is hunting us and the job is a simple straight forward task. Kill, kill,  kill. No more complex society.. just you, it and a weapon. Perhaps that is what we miss. And that is it for part one and in part two we will talk a bit more about the guys you see in the last picture in the next post about A state of mind..

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Zombie movies often contain only a few touching moments like this one. In the first resident evil movie Alice goes through some strong emotional moments when she thinks Rain is about to die and turn zombie. It is curious as in the whole movie there are actually no moments of bonding between them. Later in the movie when Rain does turn zombie and Alice has to shoot her, Alice breaks down and cries. Yet this behavior might actually be very plausible for people who are under a lot of stress.

Henry and Kristl survived Resident Evil: Apocalypse

“You might say bigger, but can we say better? What do you think?”  Henry turned to Kristl.

 

Kristl was  hanging slack jawed in the corner of the couch. She was wearing grungy  jeans, tank top, sleeveless jacket everything in dark grey, black and white colors. Her Jacket was adorned with button pins of music bands from the eighties:The Cure , Violent Femmes, New wave, London Calling,Beastie Boys. He felt awkward because under the angle she was lying he noticed the shape of a breast. .

“Hey, wake up!” He shook Kristl’s arm.

“Hmmm?”

“So?”

“What?”

“Resident Evil. Apocalypse? You know the movie we have been watching?”

“Oh yes”,  Kristl veered up, “I bet a lot of people will make funny jokes with that.. Like Apocalypse for the senses. Or Apocalypse for the brain.”

“So you didn’t like it?”

“It tries very hard to be unliked. As much as it tries to be liked.”

“I thought the more bangs and babes worked well. That female cop was a cool and hot chick. Also I liked the supporting cast more. That soldier Carlos with his russian sidekick. They seemed to have a little bit more personality. Albeit that black american was too much cast as the comic relief. ”

“But the whole movie is ramshackle in it’s consistency. The plot is a major problem.  They know about the t-virus, but they open the hive with a few armed guards. The SUV gets hit by a truck without any explanation, so the kid is stuck in the city. It was just a weird accident. The dead in the graveyard animate. How? And why exactly at that moment they are there? The whole church scene. The zombie dogs in the school. The wall around the city.

The worst is the epilogue. Umbrella detonates a nuclear missile above the city and passes that off as a nuclear meltdown. You can’t pass one off for the other because the explosion pattern is completely different.  And if they want people to believe it was a nuclear meltdown of a power plant, there had to be one there, so why did they not blow that one up?”

“Basically. the movie is sequence of action scenes. Personally I liked those and that is why people should watch them,but it simply lacks everything that makes the matrix good: a well developed plot and characters you care about. Even underworld has more likeable characters and a better plot.”

“Yeah, the plot and the acting was just put in as an afterthought. A shame really as the games actually seemed to have much more consistency. At least from what I read.” Kristl said, “Maybe they should just stick to those plot lines instead of making their own.”

“You know. That Jill Valentine. I liked her better than Alice. Not because she is prettier but because she is a human that can be hurt unlike Alice. The thing is I liked everyone more: Carlos L. J. the news person.  They are all humans and all lose people and all can be hurt. Unlike Alice.”

“Personally I have had it with all the cool chicks that have hardly any personality. This includes Jill Valentine. What person walks into a police station and starts blowing away people like that.. People might have thought that was cool. I thought it was cringeworthy.

And I am tired of the same old tricks: like whenever someone approaches a person from behind that person is ALWAYS a monster that turns around suddenly and lunges at you. And always when they kill one monster after a desperate struggle and you think it is over, the next one or two appear.” Kristl said.

“So you didn’t  like Alice?”

“Nope. I didn’t care for her one bit and I was baffled those people, Carlos, Jill and L. J. came to save her. I could not believe why they would do so. And even more: how come that umbrella organisation that is so highly effective in covering up the zombie outbreak, is unable to stop three people that are wanted from taking Alice away. And don’t say Umbrella wanted that, because this is only shown when they leave. And why? No explanation given.”

“Curiously.  I somehow feel you are right. If she had a little bit more personality and was less the super being that is cool. Then maybe, yeah.“

“That is probably the best way to describe the movie.”

“Huh?”

“Maybe, yeah.”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318627/

Henry chases Kristl after seeing Dawn of the Dead(1978)

“Gaggagagaggaglglglglglg” 

“Talking about Dawn of the Dead with you as a zombie is not going to work.” Kristl remarked. She was sitting on the couch in the garage they had turned into a movie theater.

Henry was shuffling towards her with outstretched arms. He was covered in light grey makeup, dressed in ripped clothing and dripping some glowing red liquid. His face was smeared with what looked like lasagna left over from yesterday’s dinner.

Before his reappearance as corpse Henry had walked out of the room, saying he would be back in a short while. He had also turned on ten screens with ten different stations blasting a stream of images and sounds at her. She had not seen those screens before.

She had waited for ten minutes while the screens showed her news without emotion, soaps with fake emotions, reality television with even faker emotions and a fat guy telling others how to live.  And when the corpse appeared she had to suffer another five minutes of it advancing slowly while various television channels entertained her at the same time. Her eyes kept moving from the screens to the zombie and back again.

“Gosh, this is so.. tedious!.”  Kristl picked up a cup filled with popcorn and ate some of it while watching Henrys ponderous approach, “I can finish this cup before you are halfway.”

Henry shuffled onwards.

“Oh hell.  Do I have to do this on my own?”

She threw the popcorn at Henry. Showering him with it and then threw the cup.  It bounced of his head, making Henry flinch. Kristl laughed because some of the popcorn had stuck to his face.

“So dawn has these four people, three guys and a girl, in a huge mall trying to sit out the zombie apocalypse.. A huge mall. A world in itself. They won’t make another  movie like this one. I mean it sparked a huge sequel of similar movies that developed the genre and tried to outdo each other by upping the gore element and removing the satire element.”

Henry gurgled loudly.

“You might say that this is even more the father of the zombie movies than Night of the Living Dead.Or would that be the mother?Not that it would be flattering to be the parent of a series of movies that seem mostly to revolve around mindless cadavers eating clueless people..

At this point Kristl stood up and moved around the couch, keeping it between her and the oncoming zombie. The living dead lurched at her,  but she was too quick for it, although it almost caught her hair for it somehow had been much closer than she had estimated.

“It surprised me that it wasn’t as gory as I imagined it to be. Most  is at the end. It’s as if they added it as an afterthought. But maybe it is because the decades in between birthed such fine upstanding movies as Saw and  Saving Private Ryan. It took me some time to find the courage to see this one, so I might even be able to see Saw one day!  Maybe I can see it when I am undead too?.”

The corpse had moved around the couch to get at her. Kristl backed off to the other side of the couch. She grinned at the lumbering corpse, the corpse moaned..

“At first I had a hard time to connect to the characters, but eventually they sort of grew on me. Even that dumb helicopter pilot Stephen, who in the end messes up the plan to use the zombies against the gang that raided the mall.  All the careful plans go wrong in the end. That Roger guy gets to cocky and ends up being bitten. And Stephen eventually starts shooting at the gang because he gets angry that they loot the place. He forgets that almost everything they steal is worthless. Like one gang member says to that the other when he picks up a television set: what are you going to watch?”

The zombie had moved around the couch again, as had Kristl, but in the opposite direction.

“God Henry. Look at the mess you made. There is red stuff and lasagna all over the floor.” Kristl exclaimed, “Such a waste of good food. And I am the one that is going to clean this!”

Suddenly the garage fell silent as the screens stopped their cacophony of sounds and images and showed the face of Henry. All ten of them.

“You know there might be a gun in the  room under the stairs at the end of  the corridor.” Said the face of Henry.

“You are on television!”

“We all have guns here. You keep saying that. So if I had one, it might be there, but you have run down that small corridor and the lights are out.”  At that moment the few lights in the room turned off as well. Now only the televisions illuminated..

“It might be that there is another zombie there. Maybe two.Who knows? And maybe there is no gun. Or no ammo for it. Or the wrong ammo. Can you actually handle a gun?  You can always try to use it as a club. Or use the fire extinguisher. If there is one.”

“ Is there a point to all of this?. This running around in the darkness is not much fun. And what is with the televisions?.I do hope I am not paying for my own anxiety?” Kristl shouted.

“No worries: I am paying and that is all that counts.”  Henry grinned at her ten times.

And the zombie moaned loudly when Kristl set her steel-tipped combat boots to work; they were relics from days gone by.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077402/?ref_=sr_3