02 Mar

What Makes a Good Zombie Kill?

Zombie Kill

I’m well on my way into the work of my All Girl Pop Band vs Zombies series (temporarily referred to as Girl Popcalypse) so I have written quite a few zombie deaths at this point. That doesn’t make it any easier, however. These days if I’m staring off into space, I’m working to choreograph my next kill. I’m looking for things that are interesting, creative, the best ones are somehow surprising, but the most important factor is that I try to show a piece of the character’s personality in their kills.

I thought it would get easier as I went on. That’s both true and not true. It gets easier in that I’ve thought more about it and have a better feel for my characters. It gets harder in that I have to come up with something new, when I’ve already done so much!

To get my brain going, I do my research.

I am a weird, weird, duck.

Nothing makes me more aware of that fact than when I realize I’ve spent an hour or more on youtube, sizing up zombie kills in popular films.

Here is a great video with every zombie kill in seasons 1, 2, and 3 (up to episode 8) of The Walking Dead. Gotta love the use of the soundtrack.

(In case it’s not obvious, these videos are NOT SAFE FOR LIFE. I do not recommend you watch them while eating.)

What I love about this video is that you get a good look at how the kills on The Walking Dead have changed over time: they use guns less, they grow more confident, and they get faster. The zombies are more decayed over time as well. This is especially clear if you’re caught up on the show and compare season one to the current season.

There are a lot of videos and articles out there with Top 10 Zombie Kills. This video is as good of an example as any, especially since it has narration to explain what’s going on. It starts off with a very intense kill on The Walking Dead.

When you think about zombie kills, you probably think of gore. And there is plenty of gore in these top kills. But! What I think is important to note here is that more gore is not necessarily what makes a good moment. Yes, the top kill on this list is full of blood, and zombie killing isn’t known for being clean and tidy, BUT more gore is not enough to make it a great story moment.

The grossest zombie kill in either of these videos is arguably the zombie in the well in The Walking Dead, but The Walking Dead kill on this top list is the one with the heads. I’m sure we could start a debate on which one is better, but my point is they’re fair competition and the gore level is quite different here.

Also, the nun in Zombieland is about as clean and tidy as a zombie kill gets, and it’s just fantastic. Clever. It’s all you know about the nun, and yet you like her. Plus it’s got that quirky tone of the whole film.

One thing I definitely come away with in all of this research, is that everyone’s looking for something different in their zombie kills, but I think we’re all looking for something to surprise us.

What’s your zombie-fighting weapon of choice? Do you have a favorite zombie kill?