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Zombieland

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zombielandI just saw the most recent zombie flick to hit the silver screen, which I might also add is the first real hit that Woody Harrelson has been in in nearly a decade (Semi-Pro was a flop, albeit an enjoyable one). Zombieland debuted on October 2nd to the untold joy of countless fans of the zombie genre—people whom I’m proud to call my kind. As is to be expected, they arrived at the theatres (at least the one I was at) clad in white face paint, tattered clothes, painted-on wounds, and fake blood stains, in an effort to mimic the undead antagonists of the movies they love. As a diehard fan of certain things that others might find nerdy, including zombie flicks (my favorite celebrity is Bruce Campbell), I myself was no one to judge them.

The setting is pretty run of the mill for movies of this type: a post-apocalyptic America that’s been depopulated by ravenous hordes of diseased cannibals. For whatever reason, the audience never finds out exactly what brought on the infestation. The only clue is given by the main character and narrator, Columbus (played by what can only be called a Jewish version of Michael Cera named Jesse Eisenberg), who says the outbreak began when “patient zero bit into a contaminated hamburger.” The zombies themselves aren’t sluggish corpses a la George Romero, but rather flesh-craving marathon runners who regurgitate blood like in 28 Days/Weeks Later. It is not directly specified whether one has to penetrate their brains to kill them like in most zombie films, but most of the kills in Zombieland involve some form of cranial destruction; guns, baseball bats, cars, toilet lids, and even falling pianos are used in defense of humanity.

Anyways, the film begins with Columbus narrating some of his “31 Rules” for surviving a zombie onslaught. These include having good cardio (after all, “the first ones to go were the fatties” when the infestation began), checking your car’s backseat, and the “double-tap” (shooting a zombie twice just to be sure it’s dead). The next scene opens with a shotgun-toting Columbus trying to find a bathroom at a gas station to relieve his flare-up of IBS (a common Jewish condition) late one night in Austin, Texas. Unfortunately for him, nearby zombies have sensed his presence and begin running after him. In his ensuing battle for self-preservation, each one of his rules is carried out and highlighted for the amusement of the audience.

As he flees the scene on foot, his voice explains through narration that he seeks to return home to Columbus, Ohio to see if his family is still alive. Upon reaching a desolate highway the next morning/afternoon (I’m not sure which, but the sun is out) that’s filled to capacity with abandoned vehicles, he meets and teams up with Woody Harrelson’s comic relief character, Tallahassee. In fact, it’s the latter who suggests they go by the names “Columbus” and “Tallahassee,” as these are the places they are heading to.

It’s eventually revealed that one of Tallahassee’s ultimate goals since the apocalypse, if not his only goal, is to find Hostess Twinkies; as he aphoristically argues, “You gotta’ enjoy the little things.” While on a Twinkie raid at a nearby supermarket, which necessitates the killing of some rather obese zombies, the duo encounters uninfected sisters whom they dub “Wichita” (Emma Stone) and “Little Rock” (Abigail Breslin). The meeting goes cordially until the girls pull a fast one and steal their vehicle at gunpoint.

Stranded, Columbus and Tallahassee begin searching for another means of transportation. With luck on their side, they manage to find a hummer outside a rundown ranch house that happens to be stockpiled with heavy firearms. “Thank God for rednecks!” Tallahassee exclaims, which when I saw the movie caused the audience to explode with laughter (it was pretty funny). After hotwiring the clunker and embarking once again, the boys eventually run into the female bandits again; following a brief standoff, the four decide it’s best to stick together.

As the group continues their trek to their respective destinations (we find out that the girls are headed for a California amusement park rumored to be zombie-free), Columbus and Wichita develop a bond. Columbus becomes so enamored, in fact, that he opts to continue heading east with them instead of parting for Ohio when the opportunity presents itself. Though this is partly because Columbus finds out that his hometown is now a “ghost town,” his narration says of Wichita that “Wherever this girl was, that’s where I wanted to be.” Now I understand the trepidations one might have about this scenario: Eisenberg is the typical pale-skinned, kinky-haired, seemingly neurotic Jew, while Stone is a beautiful, blue-eyed, presumably full-blooded European-American. Even so, his character does not explicitly mention any Jewish origins, and his recurring knightly behavior throughout the film is far from Jewish in character. Thus, I doubt the audience is subliminally reading “Gentiles must intermix with Jews” while watching it. He even undergoes a quasi-Nietzschean self-overcoming toward the end of the flick in order to save Wichita’s life, but more on that later.

While traveling through Hollywood, the four make a pit stop at actor Bill Murray’s house at the behest of Tallahassee. Murray makes a brief cameo, the mere occurrence of which is funny in itself. He comes out to greet Wichita and Tallahassee while wearing zombie makeup because “You know, zombies don’t mess with other zombies.” Unfortunately, Columbus later mistakes him for one and ends his life with a shotgun. Despite the grimness of the event, Murray manages to make his death comical.

I’ll zoom to the ending, as the stuff in between would be tedious and unimportant, plus I don’t want to completely spoil every last second of the film. The group ultimately makes it to zombie-free Pacific Playland, where a final showdown erupts after the lights, music, and movements of the Ferris Wheel attract legions upon legions of the infected. In the ensuing battle, Columbus is forced to face a zombified version of his biggest fear: a clown. “Of course,” Columbus says, “it had to be a clown, and it had to be her that I was saving.” After a moment of contemplation there in the amusement park, standing before a battle-ready and hungry monster, he grabs hold of a game mallet and bludgeons his fear to death, literally. The group then mops up the rest of the park, Tallahassee finds a single remaining Twinkie, and they depart for an unknown destination.

As a racialist and Traditionalist, there are a few important reasons why I found this film highly enjoyable and healthy for white consumption. Firstly, there are no nonwhite characters of any significance. The only ones are either zombies or zombie victims with appearances no longer than a minute or two. Again, Columbus is played by a Chosenite, but the audience generally doesn’t pick up on this sort of thing. What the audience does see are four white people who are forced to cultivate their primordial instincts to overcome a society that is completely overrun and turned against them, which is a feeling that more and more whites are beginning to experience (and will continue to do so) in Western nations.

Another important theme is the need for group cohesion for the collective good. On two occasions the girls dupe the guys out of the conviction that it’s for their own best interests. As events unfold and the two groups keep running into each other, it is ultimately realized that none of them have a chance if they don’t cooperate. By wielding guns, trekking west, and taking pit stops along the way that usually require a zombie extermination session, they almost begin to resemble a little nomadic Indo-European tribe that conquers a small region, instills order, then keeps moving in search of greener pastures. The importance of family is also highlighted. We learn that Tallahassee has a particular hatred for zombies because they killed his toddler son, who happened to be a handsome little Nordic boy. By the end of the film the four main characters become a sort of family, which Columbus himself states through narration—a family that is willing to take up guns and melee weapons in defense of its members, as all families should be.

Unlike horror flicks by Rob Zombie or Eli Roth, Zombieland manages to invoke a sense of horror without retarded amounts of violence. There are scenes of zombies vomiting blood and guts, men and women having their entrails consumed by the rampaging infected, heads being caved in with bats, and other gore-dripping elements, but they are not gratuitous to the point where you feel debased for having watched them. Of course, a zombie film would not be such if there isn’t a gallon or two of giblets flying around! Also, the sexuality is not taken to a modernly excessive level. The only real nudity takes place in a funny scene where an infected stripper chases a suit-and-tie patron through some city streets, her blood-spattered breasts flopping around.

The most important thing about this movie, however, is that it portrays an American future that is not too far removed from us today. The rapidly declining economy; the continuous influx of foreign hordes that bring gangs, antediluvian diseases, and other dangerous elements; the gradual breakdown of law and order that’s occurring in the hearts of the cities and will eventually spread; all of this is foreshadowing of an America that’s teetering on the brink of implosion. We will not have sprinting cannibals roaming the streets, but it’s highly possible that we’ll have machete-wielding African immigrants, African-American and Hispanic gang members, mercenary military officers who’ve become disgruntled at the discontinuation of paychecks, hostile policeman who’re out merely to make their ticket quotas, food shortages, power outages, water shortages, starvation, depopulation, disease, and other characteristics of a post-apocalyptic society. In a way, the director inadvertently warns the viewers to go and prepare for the collapse: practice your damn second amendment right, get into good physical and cardiovascular shape, and have a loyal clique of friends and family with whom you can brave the horizon’s hardships. Oh, and don’t forget the Double Tap!

TOQ Online, October 7, 2009

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