Apocalyptic horror films are a real hot topic right now. From humongous aliens attacking Manhatten (Cloverfield), bloodthirsty zombies chomping their way through London (28 Days/Weeks Later), and mysterious circumstances wiping out the home of the brave (The Road), Hollywood is right in reckoning that end-of-the-world drama is what really gets cinema-goers tingling with fear. But will apocalyptic horror work on the small screen?
If you ask me, the small screen is in need of a genuinely horrific drama series. Some might argue that True Blood has established itself as a horror series but lets face facts; True Blood is essentially soft-core porn. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.
American television channel AMC, who produced the hit series Mad Men, have attempted to bring terror to your televisions with with their new zombie apocalypse series, The Walking Dead, that premiered appropriately on Halloween night. Thanks to the wonders of tinterweb, us folks across the pond can watch it too.
The Walking Dead is based on a comic book series of the same name and directed by Frank Darabont, who was responsible for The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Set in Atlanta, Georgia, the first episode follows policeman Rick Grimes (strange choice of casting here, he’s played by Love Actually/Teachers British actor Andrew Lincoln), who wakes up in hospital after being shot to discover that the hospital has been deserted, trashed, and littered with half-eaten corpses. Sound familiar?
It is impossible to ignore the parallels between the opening of The Walking Dead and that of 28 Days Later. The only obvious difference is the vision of the zombies themselves. The Walking Dead’s zombies who roam the streets of Atlanta are more old-fashioned than Danny Boyle’s bloodthirsty creations in 28 Days Later. They stumble and lurch slowly, but that doesn’t make them any less terrifying. The makeup artist is clearly to thank for this one. Talk about Southern Gothic.
In predictable form Rick finds a father and son duo who house him for the night before he begins the inevitable search for his family. For the sake of those who haven’t seen it yet, I’ll hold back on any spoilers.
My annoyance with the pilot’s obvious similarities to a certain film aside, The Walking Dead definitely has potential. Andrew Lincoln does an impressive performance (not to mention accent), and the visual impact of the grotesque zombies is nothing short of disgusting. Particularly when they’re chowing down on horse intestines.
Apocalyptic drama and flesh-eating zombies let loose on society have become somewhat outdated in the film world, often featuring cliched storylines and irritatingly unsubstantial conclusions. But perhaps incorporating them into a tv series is just what is needed to bring them back to life.
Check it out for yourself on your preferred online streaming site and see what you think.
Tags: The Walking Dead