While I’m no expert in the genre, I’ve been watching The Walking Dead from the beginning and seen a few examples of zombie movies. Over-thinking things way to much here, I just gotta say that I prefer the “slow zombie” aspect of The Walking Dead over the “fast zombies” that are depicted in most of the movies. Why?
In a fast zombie show, the entire story is about the surviving humans surviving against the horde of zombies, that are often quite intelligent and not really unlike the Aliens movies when you think about it. They have superhuman abilities and can rely on cunning and even teamwork as they go after the human protagonists.
In a slow zombie show, the story is more about the surviving humans interacting with each other. The zombies are a very real danger to them, but more than that they are trying to survive without the supports of society. Medical care, rescue teams, police, grocery stores, all gone. And you have to make survival decisions for the good of the self and the group.
In a very real way, zombie shows are today’s version of a western. The hero/group is surviving in a hostile frontier world. There are dangers all around, from wild animals, from humans native to the landscape and from other survivors who may see the main characters as a target to obtain resources or to join their lawless exploits. And it is lawless. There is no legal structure whatsoever. Oftentimes, it is a survival of the fittest story and the characters must make horrible decisions to continue on to the next day.
Slow zombie shows are conducive to character development. And character development creates emotional investment among the viewers. And emotional investment keeps the viewers watching week after week. That is why I love “The Walking Dead” so much. The lack of emotional investment is why I am unable to suggest “Fear the Walking Dead” so far. I’ll explain how this may or may not be a fair assessment in a future post.