The eagerly awaited Walking Dead Season 5 premier was bloodier, more adrenalised and altogether grosser than ever, if possible, says die hard fan, Nikki Temkin.
In case you’ve remained uninfected by the cult addiction of TWD, well know this, it’s not for sissies. Hideously ugly zombies who are also fairly dim (and quite slow but dangerous in herds) reign supreme in a forlorn post-apocalyptic world. A portion of every episode is lovingly devoted to offing the ‘Walkers’ in various gory ways. They can only be killed via the brain; otherwise they remain alive, maggoty skeleton jaws clacking away into eternity.
Ex policeman Rick (played by half-South African Andrew Lincoln), arguably the moral centre of the show, leads a band of motley survivors. If Rick’s shaggy beard grows in proportion to his stress levels, then he’s really in a pickle this season as his group attempts to stage a coup against a bunch of cannibals whose credo is “you’re either the cattle or the butcher”.
This is no sanitised World War Z Pitt project – here, the terror comes mostly from other human beings. Last season’s Guvnor was a terribly frightening, if not sexy, villain. The rather silly zombies are so revolting and damned one can’t help but feel sorry for them. And this actually is the premise: in a world where monsters rule and the survivors are bigger monsters than the actual monsters, do you ‘turn’ into one too?
Despite being inexplicably snubbed yearly by the Golden Globe Awards (perhaps horror isn’t considered a credible TV genre) it’s a cleverly scripted, tightly –directed show offering authentic 3D characters. Rick, who lost his wife in childbirth, suffers with precarious sanity and spent much of the ‘The Prison’ episodes either talking to a ghost on the telephone or planting veggies. But, who can blame him for being a bit fey when life is about smearing zombie entrails over yourself just to stay alive? Anyway, shotgun Rick is back now.
Included in the merry band of Walker killers is Carol, who BZ (Before Zombies) was an abused wife who has now morphed into a knife-wielding badass — someone you definitely wouldn’t want to mess with in a biter-infested forest; Redneck Daryl, free from the clutches of his awful brother has evolved into a caring softie yet a menace with a bow; Michonne (Danai Gurira, a Zimbabwean who attended UCT) has dulled her bitterness but not her Samurai sword while Glenn and Maggie have found love.
You see, even amongst all the death, there is sweetness. It’s really just a universal tale about some peeps trying to find food, shelter and connection. But, don’t bother getting attached to the main characters as they tend to die with a blade through the eye, guts spilling out. Yes, the viscous gore is gratuitous but it’s offset by such a compelling narrative that it doesn’t matter. Plus, isn’t that why horror fans watch horror?
In this season we’re getting closer to what caused the zombie epidemic — possibly a biological warfare agent. Perhaps the most frightening thing about TWD is that it’s actually much closer to real life than we may realise. See, The Walking Dead are actually the humans, not the zombies. In a petrified nutshell, it’s about survival in a war-torn country — take your pick. Plus, if it came down to it and Ebola spread to affect most of the world population, how many of us would be able to hang on to the shreds of our humanity? Let’s hope we never have to find out.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com.