Zombies vs. Other Monsters
By Jessica Robinson
Recently, I was surfing the channels looking for something to watch, and I noticed that Tremors (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100814/?ref_=ttloc_loc_tt) was on. I haven’t seen this movie in years, so I decided to watch it. It’s still one of my faves.
One of the things I really like about the film is that the location they are in looks a whole lot like Wyoming. It was filmed in California, but the desert with the mountains is the same terrain we have around here. As kids, we used to run into the desert by my parents’ house and play Tremors. We had so much fun!
The other thing that struck me as I was watching the film was how isolated the characters are. The town they live in is tiny and far away from others. There are only a few of them that the underground creatures can target.
And that made me think about other horror movies. The vast majority of them take place in secluded locations and affect a relatively small group of people. Zombie films are really the only ones that take place on a global scale.
Seriously, think about it. In Friday the 13th (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080761/?ref_=nv_sr_2), the vast majority of the deaths occur at Camp Crystal Lake, and the teens have to venture there to die. Jason and Mrs. Voorhees don’t often leave the area. In the one film when Jason does, Part 8 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097388/?ref_=nv_sr_4), it’s not like he goes after everyone in New York. If they get in his way, he takes them down, but his focus is still on the teens who came through his home.
In A Nightmare on Elm Street (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087800/?ref_=nv_sr_1), the murders take place in a slightly larger town, but it still only affects a small percentage of the population. If Freddy can interject himself into the dreams of the teens, surely he can invade the dreams of anyone he wants anywhere in the world. But he doesn’t.
Same goes with Halloween (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077651/?ref_=nv_sr_1).
And what about vampire films? These creatures live eternally and travel the world, but they keep their feeding to a small area. I’m sure if they really wanted to they could take out a vast majority of the population—they have super human strength and, in some cases, magic powers—but they don’t. They usually try to stay hidden. Which, honestly, isn’t a bad plan since they could easily be overpowered by an angry mob and killed.
Zombies are the only monsters that completely wipe out the vast majority of the human race. For a zombie film to be truly scary, it has to take place in a highly populated area and it has to wipe out the vast majority of the population. There has to be lots and lots of people around who could become potential victims. There’s no tension otherwise.
As I was watching Tremors, I tried to imagine what it would be like if the creature was a zombie instead of an underground worm. And it just wasn’t the same. First of all, if it’s a traditional Romero zombie, it’s going to be super slow moving. The characters would be able to see it coming from a long way away and take care of it with a sniper rifle. Boom. End of story.
Even if there happened to be more than one zombie, the terrain isn’t exactly zombie friendly. It would get tangled in a bush or caught in a barbed wire fence or trip over a rock or fall into a ditch, then they could kill it when they wanted. End of story.
Even if it was a fast zombie, there would be too many obstacles that it needed to get around. It just wouldn’t work the same.
I have to say, though, that I think it would be fascinating to see if someone could make it work. I mean, Dead Snow (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1278340/?ref_=nv_sr_2) happened in a remote location with a small group of victims, and that was a damn fine movie. I think it can be done, but it would be a challenge.
What do you think? Can you think of other zombie films that happened in a remote location and were good?
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