Grateful Undead

11 Feb

I hate zombies.Billy Idol zombies

My family thinks I’m afraid that they’re hiding under the bed, lying in wait for me. (Of course not; that’s where the Blob lives.) I know that zombies aren’t real and never will be. However, if I’m wrong and there is ever a zombie apocalypse, I’m sure all of us Literature majors will be locked in a corral with a big sign saying, “EAT THESE FIRST! They use books for hammers and can’t help us rebuild civilization … besides, their brains are so cultured!”

I just find them gross. Visually they’re all splatter and gore and rot. Aurally, I cringe at the groaning and crunching. I can’t be in the same room as my partner when she’s cutting up a chicken, so needless to say I get no joy in the skull-cracking, bone-shattering brain munching of the typical zombie story. Also, the stories are so dang hopeless: humanity might soldier on but without coffee, who cares?

Darn tootin'!

Darn tootin’!

But then came Warm Bodies, the zom-rom-com starring Nicholas Hoult as R, the hottest member of the undead ever and perhaps the first zombie hipster in film history. He met his demise in a hoodie, skinny jeans and Chuck Taylors, and he trudges around with the bad posture and bed head he probably sported in life. He has a crate of vinyl, scavenged from the pony-tailed used record store owners he devoured, no doubt. His living love interest comments approvingly on his being a purist, choosing a turntable over an iPod. Circling his cold hand in the air, he said he liked records because they were more “alive.”

R might be a zombie, but he’s no poser.

(Then again, beggars can’t be choosers. He salves his lonely, unbeating heart by playing John Waite’s “Missing You” at full volume.)

I liked the songs selected for the soundtrack.  In addition to some 1980s standards that were sort of tongue in rotting cheek (Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” for instance) it featured a nice mix from alt rock to Bob Dylan. What I thought interesting is the song chosen to play over the final images of hope and sunshine: “Runaway” by those masters of dreary bleakness, The National. Did the director listen to the lyrics before selecting the song?

Of course, if R truly was a crate digger with eclectic taste, director Jonathan Levine missed an obvious choice … and no, it’s not Thriller:

Go see Warm Bodies, the feel-good zombie romance of the year, and let me know what music you’d need to survive the zombie apocalypse.

See you on the flip side … 

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