1. Zombies Aren’t Real
I’ve heard all the arguments from people who claim to be zombie purists (whatever that means):
“Zombies don’t fall in love!”
“Zombies don’t have feelings!”
“Zombies are meant to kill people and eat their flesh!”
“Zombies don’t look like that!”
Sorry guys, but zombies aren’t real, therefore THERE ARE NO RULES! You can’t dictate a set of rules for a fictional subgenre based on your perception of what YOU think a zombie should be. Remember, it is your opinion, and as they say, opinions are like assholes, and your opinion is no more than that.
If you want to get down to brass tacks, looking at Haitian folklore, zombies were not flesh eaters. In fact, these Haitian “zombies” weren’t even dead, they were heavily drugged people. Also, in early film incarnations (including Romero’s masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead), zombies had an appearance of ashy skin and wide, hypnotized eyes, something that is actually accurately portrayed by the zombies in Warm Bodies.
Also, it has to be said that rules are bullshit. If there had to be rules in place for the horror genre, then there would never be progression in horror and everything would be generic and vanilla. Breaking the rules is the only way we can ever get anything new and different. I’m not saying that Warm Bodies is breaking rules in a way that is revolutionary, but rules are meant to be broken, especially when there aren’t any in the first place.
2. Most Zombie Movies Suck:
SOME horror fans seem to have this illusion that this one film completely ruins the zombie subgenre. Like, because of one movie, the entire landscape of zombie films will be forever changed and now every zombie movie to come will be just like it. Well, I got news for you: it doesn’t change a thing. One movie isn’t going to change the landscape of the genre. If anything, it builds upon it, giving it more variety.
That brings me to my next point: the zombie subgenre is, for all intents and purposes, totally stale, overdone and filled to the brim with a complete lack of originality. There are waaaaaay more terrible zombie films than there are good ones, and that is a fact. For every great zombie movie that’s released, there are 50 more that are absolutely awful, and to believe otherwise is certainly ignorant. Warm Bodies is the least of the genre’s problem, when the genre itself is in fact its own worst enemy.
3. It’s Not Your Genre:
It’s as simple as that: It’s not your genre and there is nothing sacred about it. You don’t own the zombie subgenre nor any genre of film, for that matter. If think you do, then you will have to explain what you did that makes it YOUR genre and what YOU did that makes you so special that you feel any filmmaker or genre owes you anything.
The reality is, the genre is for anyone who want to enjoy it, and there’s no reason that it should have to always conform to your specific taste. If you want it to be your genre, then pick up a camera and make your own film, your own way, but please, don’t make a zombie movie. There are way too many and most of them suck.
*For the record, horror fans in the 1980s thought The Lost Boys was a lame MTV music video*
4. It’s NOT Twilight, No Matter How Badly You Want it to Be:
Of course it’s easy to compare Warm Bodies to Twilight, but it’s also easy to be completely ignorant about something you haven’t seen. It’s a horror inspired romantic comedy based on a novel for young adults, not tweens. The story is, at its heart, Romeo and Juliet, and much like George Romero’s zombie films, there is a nice dash of allegorical commentary to be found, specifically focusing on individuality, conformity and tolerance. It also takes a very witty stab at the mopey emo generation of oh-woe-is-me sad sacks, where even in the afterlife, an emo teen still finds a way to sulk and feel sorry about himself.
Unlike Twilight, Warm Bodies is not some big Hollywood production. In fact, the film is directed by Jonathan Levine, who helmed one of the best Slasher films of the past decade, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. Naturally, most of the horror fans who have complained about “the people behind this crap” don’t seem to be aware of this, but I guess that would require doing things like research before calling something “gay.”
Lastly, The Twilight Saga hasn’t exactly won over critics. In fact, the series as a whole has gotten mediocre to negative reviews, and rightfully so considering the ineptitude on display. Warm Bodies, however, has gotten good to great reviews. Now, I don’t take much stock in critical performance with movies, but there is a clear difference in quality between Twilight and Warm Bodies, and that is for a reason.
5. It’s Not the First and Certainly Not the Last:
It might be difficult to comprehend, but there have been numerous occasions where zombies and a multitude of human emotions have collided together, and in some of the best films the genre has seen.
Here are but a few examples:
Fido: Besides being whip smart and as equally funny, Fido features an emotional (and almost sexual) relationship between Helen and her zombie pet, Fido. There is also a sexual relationship between one of the film’s side characters and a female zombie sex slave.
Dead Alive: In this Peter Jackson zombie splatter classic, there are two zombies who simply cannot keep their hands off one another. Not only do they copulate, but the zombie couple even have a baby together.
Dellamorte Dellamore aka Cemetery Man: Dellamorte Dellamore is a very dark, romantic horror/comedy that features not one but two full-on relationships between a living character and the undead.
And of course the man who made zombies what they are today, George A. Romero, has more than once dabbled in humanizing zombies in his films, most notably with Bub in Day of the Dead.
So if a zombie can have emotional relationships, sex, babies, play video games (Shaun of the Dead), and remember their past lives, then why can’t some of these themes be featured in Warm Bodies?
There’s a certain level of pretension and insecurity among the horror fan base, and I believe that most so-called horror fans bash Warm Bodies as a way to make themselves look cool. Well, it doesn’t. In fact, it makes you look ignorant, especially if you haven’t even seen it. This piece is going to piss some of you off greatly, and it should. I’m full-on calling you out on your bullshit. But guess what? I’ve been watching horror films for many years, and I could give a crap what anyone else likes or dislikes, because I can judge a film for myself, not based on what I think other horror fans will think.
Now, to be fair, there will be those of you out there who did see Warm Bodies and hated it. That’s fine. You have a right to your own opinion, and I’m not saying you are wrong in that opinion. In fact, I applaud you for at least seeing it before bashing it, unlike 90% of the other knuckleheads who see fit to shit talk a movie they haven’t seen or know nothing about.
Lastly, if you’re concerned with having “horror credibility,” then you sir or ma’am, have none. Warm Bodies doesn’t ruin the horror genre… lame horror fans do.