THE WALKING DEAD walks into Dumb Movie Land

Movies make people dumb.

Not the people watching movies, unless that movie happens to be TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN PART 5 or whatever, in which case yes, your LSAT scores will never be the same.

No, I’m talking about characters in movies.

Characters in books sometimes do stupid things, but not usually. Put that same character in a movie and they turn into absolute idiots.

This is true for romantic comedies (bumbling fools in love!), action movies (no henchman can shoot, and no heroine or sidekick can avoid getting kidnapped by the villain) and especially horror movies, which deserve a post all their own.

If a person with a functioning brain cell rattling around their skull wouldn’t go into the spooky abandoned house where people keep disappearing, you can bet the movie character will march right in. Does the hot young teenager know that a serial killer is chasing down and killing hot young teenagers? Well, she should definitely wear high heels and fall down six times while the psycho chases her.

There are websites dedicated to listing the stupid things that movie characters do.

However: I want to pick on THE WALKING DEAD, a zombie shebang that’s on the Glowing Tube.

As a fan of zombies, I am aware of this show, and though I haven’t watched every flipping episode, I kinda keep track of things by recaps and reviews and such. It’s a good show and not at all stupid.

So why did a smart show have their characters get so idiotic in the big series finale?

Here’s the setup: the non-zombie hero peoples are holed up at some farm, and the big finale is a battle that happens when the zombies show up, en masse.

What made me want to throw things at the YouTube clip is how the zombies happily marched across the fields and surrounded the farmhouse.

No, no, no.

If you or I are hanging around a farmhouse during the zombie apocalypse, the zombies won’t ever march up on us from every direction. Why? Because we’ll get busy, real quick, using all the tools and equipment that any decent farm has the second we arrive there and take inventory of the place.

First thing we do is fire up the tractor or backhoe and dig a long ditch around the farm.

Second thing we do shove the dirt we dug up into a berm, a rough wall. So they fall in the ditch, and if by some zombie magic one of the undead gets out of the ditch, he’s gotta climb a wall.

Third thing we do is put a barbed wire fence on top of that berm.

Fourth thing we do is find some fuel and make Molotov cocktails.

If there’s a working tractor, this sort of thing takes a day or two.

And it’s worth it, because now a single Farmer Joe type with a flipping .22 rifle can stand on top of that berm and pick off zombies all day while he sips moonshine. Because there’s no way a horde of zombies is magically getting past the ditch, the wall and the barbed wire. It’s not happening.

Zombies can’t climb.

Instead, the heroes of THE WALKING DEAD go on foot (to get nom-nom-nommed) and drive around in cars trying to blow away zombies. Which isn’t smart, either. Shooting from a moving vehicle may look cool, but you have a much better chance of hitting a moving target when you’re not bouncing around, too.

Bottom line: If you really want to survive a horror movie / zombie apocalypse, please use your noggin first and your trigger finger second.

###

This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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13 Comments

Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, The Glowing Tube, Zombie apocalypse

13 responses to “THE WALKING DEAD walks into Dumb Movie Land

  1. Pingback: DECAY, a zombie movie made by real scientists | The Red Pen of Doom

  2. Thanks for the Twitter follow – I’ve found your blog now and you’ll have to shake me off if you want rid!

    God yes, as much as I enjoy the Zombie Stupid, it does infuriate me. Pits of fire, with cattle gates the only way in, motte and bailey fort construction (these are rednecks though, without any experience of invasion tactics unless us the Brits) I remember the Triffids, where he built massive fences and checked them daily (book not film) to keep the Triffids out. I dare say the film would have them living in a greenhouse and staying there.

    Falling Skies is a little the same. I can think of loads of ways that the aliens would be trapped, killed, reduced but all they do is run around on foot shooting at them. Also – RELIANCE ON CARS. hello? do we not remember horses?

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  3. She Started It

    I couldn’t make it past the very first episode. Had nightmares for days afterward. So I’m glad for this recap, since I won’t be watching it anyway.

    Like

  4. Judy

    Love TWD although they went stupid long before the finale. I watch it to learn what not to do in the ZA. Like George Costanza, I will do the opposite.

    Ditto, Julia.

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  5. My friends and I often ‘joke’ about contingency plans should there be a real zombie apocalypse. Needless to say, though I enjoy the show, lots of their decisions would put them in the ‘left-overs bin’ — tough decisions must be made in order to survive . . .

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  6. The Walking Dead writers seem to only know of one source of tension: making the characters do incredibly stupid shit.

    It’s the worst cliche of horror movies, every single episode.

    Lori flips the car. Andrea shoots Daryl. The women seem hit especially hard by the Dumb Stick, which irritates me with the other sexist undertones (and some glaring overtones) in the show.

    Yet, for some reason, I can’t stop watching. Maybe because it’s the only zombie show on television.

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  7. deb

    I do enjoy The Walking Dead, but as a farm girl, I would have started up the trusty old tractor and happily mowed down zombies while drinking moonshine in the comfort of the air-conditioned cab. Problem solved.
    Shane rocked, and I’d do Daryl in a heartbeat. The kids is more trouble then he’s worth.

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  8. Somewhat in defense of The Walking Dead — if you mapped out the farm there was supposedly a cliff taking up 1/3 of the perimeter and an impassable swamp taking up another 1/2, leaving a smidge for the road in. (Not that I spend my time doing things like drawing maps of imaginary TV show lands. I’m a busy person.) The zombies (theoretically) only attacked en masse once the weather got cold enough for the Swamp of Doom to become firm enough to shamble across. Not in defense of The Walking Dead, everyone save Darryl is an idiot. ‘Course as my kids point out, in a real-life zombie apocalypse you’d probably find yourself surrounded by idiots, so it’s totally realisitc.

    The question you leave unanswered: why is Carl never in the fucking house?

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  9. juliabarrett

    As a humongous Walking Dead fan, I have to admit I both loved and hated the finale. From the time Herschel accepted the ‘fact’ of zombies, trenches should have been dug, filled with water, mud, manure, razor wire, wooden stakes… whatever happened to be on hand.
    They had to know that swamp would dry up eventually…
    My additional issues-
    1. Shane was the only one speaking the truth, but instead we had to agonize over saving that stupid kid– even though Rick had already saved him from the zombies and therefore should have manned up and accepted responsibility for the kid.
    2. The weekly assassination of my favorite character’s character… Shane. It is going to be very difficult to watch the show without Shane. He was spared his original demise (in the graphic novel) and he actually made most of the tough decisions and saved much ass from zombies, most especially Lori’s.
    3. The death of the group conscience, Dale. Not always a good idea to eliminate characters, regardless of how annoying, regardless of whether or not they die in the original book, graphic novel, short story. (See #2.)
    4. Morphing go-it-alone Daryl into Rick’s go-fer.
    5. Can anybody, other than Shane, keep that damn kid in the house???
    6. Lori – TSTL.
    The one bright spot in the finale – Kick-ass Andrea. I will continue to watch for Andrea’s sake if for no other reason. I adore her character.
    Sorry for the long-winded post. I am quite passionate about TWD.

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  10. If everyone caught up in a zombie apocalypse used their head… That’s saying a lot, you realize. ;)

    Strangely, with all the excellent movies, manuals, and books available to them, it makes you wonder why the survivors in almost every zombie story are so goldurn stupid when it comes to protecting themselves. It’s not like this situation hasn’t risen in pop culture before! :)

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