I have no idea why, but I do tend to find myself pondering the possibility of a zombie apocalypse when one might least expect it, such as in my column pertaining to The Great Toilet Roll Shortage of 2020, for example.
Actually, now I come to think about it, I may be influenced by the fact that I enjoy watching zombie-themed television series. One I really appreciated in the beginning was The Walking Dead, although it started to wear a bit thin as time went on (I also very much enjoyed the original comic book series upon which the TV series was based).
Similarly, I liked the early seasons of Fear the Walking Dead. Perhaps it’s seeing how people are blindsided by the start of the apocalypse and how they handle things that gives me something to think about.
I also enjoyed the first few seasons of Z Nation, which somehow managed to merge action, drama, horror, and comedy in a post-apocalyptic setting. In many respects, Z Nation went where no other zombie series had gone before, such as the zombie baby in the very first episode, for example. And then there was the concept of “suicide zombies” (religious fanatics who wormed their way into a camp of living people and then committed suicide while no one was looking, thereby resulting in a zombie attack from within the compound).
One thing common to all of the aforementioned programs is that, even though the characters in these series experienced “trying times,” as it were, the zombies tended to be of the relatively slow-moving variety that could oftentimes be handled in a firm but fair manner (unlike the high-speed versions in the movie World War Z).
All of which leads us to a series called Black Summer of which I only recently became aware on Netflix. This presents a much more nitty-gritty impression of what a zombie apocalypse could be like, especially if you aren’t in possession of a gun, which seems to be the case for most of our… let’s call them heroes.
Quite apart from anything else, the zombies in Black Summer seem like they are on highly caffeinated drinks and/or steroids. They don’t simply amble around and they rarely get distracted. When they see a live human, they immediately charge forward at full speed screaming in a very disconcerting manner. And they don’t stop coming until you scramble their brains (or they eat yours), which — as we soon discover — is a lot easier said than done.
The first episode was particularly interesting because we keep on cycling around seeing the same sequences of events through the eyes of different characters, learning more on each pass. Subsequent episodes have each left me mulling over things much more so than other zombie-based series I’ve seen. Overall, Black Summer receives a “two thumbs up” from your humble narrator.
Moving on, although not really related, I’ve also been captivated by another series I recently stumbled across on Netflix — Ash vs. Evil Dead. I don’t recall seeing the original trilogy of movies — The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987), and Army of Darkness (1992) — but if they are anything like this TV series, I think I will have to add them to my “Watch List.”
As a quick overview, this all started 30 years prior to the start of the TV series when Ash and friends find a copy of the Naturom Demonto (a Sumerian version of the Egyptian Book of the Dead), that they foolishly activate, thereby releasing a host of parasitic demons called Deadites that seek to possess the bodies of mortals and feast on the souls of living creatures. Now, 30 years later, having failed to destroy the Naturom Demonto, Ash is trying to maintain a low profile working as an aging stock boy in a super market until… well, let’s just say that all hell breaks loose.
I should point out that I’m not a horror fanatic. If something is too horrible or too scary, then color me a cowardly custard because I won’t be watching it. Ash vs. Evil Dead falls under the banner of “comedy-horror” — there are some funny bits, some gross bits, and some scary bits (and a lot more gross bits and quite a few more scary bits, now that I come to think about it), but somehow it manages to keep me coming back for more.
How about you? Have you seen Black Summer and/or Ash vs. Evil Dead? If so (or if not), do you have any thoughts you’d care to share?