Hasslein Blog: Do Zombie Films Exist in the Walking Dead Universe?


Hasslein Blog

Monday, October 22, 2012

Do Zombie Films Exist in the Walking Dead Universe?

by Rich Handley

I came across a cartoon today based on The Walking Dead (the only TV show currently on the air that I make a point of watching, other than Red Dwarf), which had me chuckling:

Very funny, indeed. It would be like watching the Airport films, Cast Away, Final Destination, Con Air, Die Harder, Passenger 57 and the pilot episode of Lost while flying across the Atlantic Ocean. But putting the humor aside, it also got me thinking about something:

Before the apocalypse, did zombie films exist in the Walking Dead universe?

Did Shane and Rick ever make a nice big bowl of popcorn, open up a six-pack and enjoy themselves a Night of the Living Dead film marathon? Did Dale and Jim have any DVDs of the Resident Evil movies in their R.V.? Did Carl ever read old issues of Fangoria magazine under the covers, wide-eyed from images of Tom Savini's award-winning makeup work? Did Rick and Lori go see Shaun of the Dead on date night? Did Hershel, as a young man, go to see any of the classic undead films of the 1950s?

Was Rick, at this moment, thinking, "Dangit, I've 
seen Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, both 
Dawn of the Deads and the 2012 U.S. presidential debates,
but I still have no goddamn clue what these things are!"?

Or did the very notion of the dead coming back to life NEVER occur to anyone in that reality, even as fiction, before it actually happened?

Either way, the Walking Dead universe ends up faring pretty badly. Think about it: If zombie films DIDN'T exist, then in that reality:

• George Romero might have failed to become a horror cinema legend since none of his Dead films would ever have been made... which would be a 50 percent loss to the genre.

Night of the Creeps would never have been filmed, which means that no movie poster would ever have featured this brilliant tag line:

• Bela Lugosi would never have made White Zombie—which, unlike the Romero Dead films, would be a 100 percent loss.

• Jeffrey Combs would never have starred as Dr. Herbert West in the Re-animator films, which could have prevented him from becoming a cult icon. Shran the Andorian, on Star Trek: Enterprise, might have instead been portrayed by Kevin Bacon, skipping two degrees entirely.

• Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi would never have become big names for their work in the Evil Dead trilogy, possibly eliminating the creation of Brisco County Jr., Burn Notice, the Spider-Man films, Darkman, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, Spartacus: Blood and Sand and The Quick and the Dead.

• The Return of the Living Dead parody series would not exist, resulting in no one ever saying "Braaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiins!"

And, really, who would want to live in a world in which 
the above image hadn't made its way across the Internet?

What's more:

This movie title would not exist.

• Film goers everywhere would not have nearly pissed themselves in terror while watching 28 Days Later alone at home... at 2:30 a.m... in a pitch-black basement... trembling like a hurricane-buffeted leaf... afraid to get up and go to the bathroom... ahem.

• Michael Jackson's Thriller would never have been recorded, which would have been a huge blow to both the TV and music industries, not the least of which because Vincent Price would have had one less reason to cackle maniacally.

• Rob Zombie would have had to call himself Rob Vampire, which just wouldn't have had the same ring to it.

• Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, having never made Shaun of the Dead, might have found their careers stalled, and would thus have likely been working stand-up in a dimly lit nightclub when the Walkers showed up, instead of making Hot Fuzz, Paul and The World's End. Furthermore, someone else would have played Scotty in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek films (OK, admittedly, that last change might not have been such a bad one, since Paul McGillion might have gotten the job after all).

Bloody hell!

On the other had, if the zombie film craze DID exist in the Walking Dead universe... if Rick, Lori, Shane, Daryl, Merle, Glenn, Andrea, Amy, Jim, Dale, T-Dog, Ed, Carol, Hershel, Maggie and Otis were ALL well aware of the concept of zombie films, having grown up in a world in which Romero, Lugosi, Pegg and others had perfected the genre... if even a third of those characters had actually watched a single zombie film in the course of their lifetime... or even just seen a commercial for one... and if they were still somehow confused as to what was going on when the apocalypse struck, with no idea how to kill the armies of undead consuming mankind, and not even once ever saying, "Hey, you know, this reminds me of what happened in Dawn of the Dead... so maybe we should try this"... then that would mean that the Walking Dad universe would be entirely occupied by people brain-dead long before the dead were trying to eat their brains.

"Zombie? What's a zombie? Never heard'a that.
Zomnn-beeeee... hmmm... nope, no idea."

To sum this all up: I really hope Lori's Walker-baby finally does Rick (and all of us) a favor this season, and consumes its mother from the inside out.

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At November 4, 2012 at 5:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would imagine that their universe was identical to ours up to the point when the infection began...then the two universes headed down different paths. So the idea of zombies probably was real to them. Still it's an interesting thought but if you assume they didn't have zombies then the whole idea of any supernatural beliefs in their universe would be called into question. Humanity goes hand in hand with fear of the unknown and in all societies and all cultures throughout the world and over different time periods these types of belief/fantasy have existed so as human beings they too would have had those beliefs.


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