You really have to hand it to George Romero. Before his 1968 fright flick Night of the Living Dead, a zombie was a dead man raised to life as a mindless slave by a voodoo priest. Here’s the best explanation of it ever:
But after the Romero flick, zombies got kind of mushed up together with ghouls–who eat human flesh–and so they’ve remained in every film and video game ever after.
Enter, as it were, The Walking Dead, AMC’s new horror series about a zombie apocalypse almost as bad as the Obama administration. Based on a comic book by Robert Kirkman, it debuted Halloween night with a 90-minute episode.
Was it good zombie stuff? Yes, it was. The story was excellent, full of thrilling and touching moments. The acting was strong. It largely avoided cheap thrills and went for situational scares. If you’re into shambling half-rotten corpses who eat the flesh of the living, go for it.
As for me… not sure. There was one scene in which the star, Andrew Lincoln as Deputy Rick Grimes, tracks down a skeletal body that’s been torn in half and left to crawl along the earth seeking to assuage its hunger. “I’m sorry this happened to you,” says Grimes with compassion. Then shoots the creature dead. It’s an excellent, intelligent scene, emphasizing the lost humanity of these creatures… but I was left asking myself: “Do I want to spend my evenings watching torn in half skeletons crawl along the earth seeking to assuage their hunger?” Your call, but I may stick to Mad Men.