Zombie Realism in ‘The Walking Dead’
By MATTHEW BLAIR
Since mainstream introduction in the 1969 George Romero movie “The Night of the Living Dead,” zombie-related entertainment has creepily lurked from the shadows of black-and-white movies and into America’s living room with AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which premiered its second season on Sunday, Oct. 16th.
Based on the comic book series of the same name, the television show is set after the zombie apocalypse has raged across America, and probably the world too, leaving a handful of survivors in a true man-eat-man world. Sheriff Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, leads a rag-tag bunch of survivors as they must cope with the hardship and changes that a zombie apocalypse tends to incur.
The television show has its fair share of scary moments and nightmarishly grotesque scenes of zombie devastation, but does not dwell on them. Mainly, the show focuses on the group dynamics and relationships between the various characters. If the show were simply blood and guts, it would not have had 7.3 million viewers tune in for the 2011 premiere, a 2.1 million viewer increase from its series premier in 2010.
People die. It’s a simple fact. Particularly if you live in a post-apocalyptic, zombie infested reality. During Rick Grimes and company’s trek in search for answers, and possibly a cure, there are zombie attacks, there are deaths, and there are a number of harrowing and narrow escapes from hordes of flesh-eating zombies. Season two continues in the same vein, beginning right where the first season ended, and has the survivors trying to make it to Fort Benning, GA.
The zombies make the show believable, which wouldn’t be possible without an extremely talented special-effects and make-up team. The FX team is lead by veteran special-effects and make-up artist Greg Nicotero, who has done make-up for Romero’s “Land of the Dead”, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”, and has won an Emmy for Best Prosthetic Make-Up in a Series, for the work he did on the first season of “The Walking Dead.”
“The Walking Dead” plays on AMC on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. I’d suggest watching it with the lights off, if you dare.