Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hey Hollywood - Get The Gun Thing Right In Those Zombie Flicks Already!

Yeah, I know, Zombie movies are works of science fiction.  Still though, you would think at least one screenwriter or on-set technical guy would try to get it right when it came to the firearms that the human wanna-be survivors use to try to fight off the always ravenous zombie hordes. They pretty much get other weapons right – it is just the guns and gun accessories on which they always seem to screw up.

The humans who are fighting for their lives usually use whatever they can lay their hands on for weaponry. So, in any really good zombies movies, you are apt to see people wielding rocks, clubs, bats, pipes, hammers, sledge hammers, hatchets, axes, knives, swords, machetes, spears, spear guns, bows and arrows, crossbows and bolts (they shoot bolts, an arrow specifically for a crossbow), power saws like chainsaws, revolvers, pistols, shotguns, rifles, machineguns, hand grenades, grenade launchers, rocket propelled grenades, mines, mortars, bombs all the way up to nuclear weapons. Heck they even use their cars and trucks as weapons. The most frequently used weapons in zombie movies seem to be firearms, bows and edged weapons. I would have to give the nod, as the most used weapon, to firearms.
In recent years (like the last 5 to 10 maybe even 15 years or so) zombies have been portrayed with attributes they never had early on in zombie stories and films. They used to move slowly and were clumsy. Now some of them move fast and are agile. They used to be mindless but now some seem to have vestigial intelligence. The used to wander aimlessly but now sometimes seem to group with purpose. They used to have very limited sensory perception but now too many of them can smell live humans and are attracted to the scent, hear gunshots and other noises, are attracted to those sounds, seemingly can live for extremely extended periods without eating, have super strength regardless of the fact that they are almost always presented as being partially rotted but never rot away to non-functionality, are often missing body parts but have super strength often have eaten in way too long to maintain an semblance of stamina yet, they seem to go on forever. I don’t have a bone to pick (no pun intended but it was funny) with any of that because I know they are works of science fiction. Yet, the screenwriters, technicians, special effects crews, costume designers, directors and all the rest of the crews go out of their way to make many of these movies look as real as they can get. They try to make the zombies themselves as real as real can be and that is some feat when dealing with what are supposed to be such a farfetched set of horrific characters as postmortem, living again, people munching, disease ridden, soulless, rotting remains of walking corpses!

If they can get them to be so convincingly realistic that ammunition manufacturers currently market real, shootable and lethal, anti-zombie ammunition, why is it that they cannot realistically do the same with the choice of weapons, chosen by those who are fighting these ultra-realistic sci-fi fantasyland reanimated dead sacks of pus? This applies to all weapons that the human characters choose to use, to combat these undead postmortem antagonists, but mostly to guns. Remember that gunshots supposedly attract zombies, shooting a gun is akin to ringing the dinner bell. They show up by the scores and every one of them is hungry. Now, the humans learn this quickly, at least that is so in most recently produced zombies movies and series. So they use other methods like crossbows, bows and arrows, edged weapons, clubs or whatever else does not make a loud noise to kill one of these heinous freaks of nature – that is when the script calls for using a quiet weapon to fit in with the gunshot equals dinner bell theme. Of course, there are exceptions. Whenever they, the screenwriters, story tellers, directors or whomever, want to use a gun because it looks cooler to do-in a zombie with by blasting its head, instead of using a another weapon, in any given they just go right ahead and do it and all of a sudden there must be no other zombies for miles because that gunshot dinner bell doesn’t attract them. In other words, bang, bang, bang and the zombie or three are dead and no other zombies come out of the woodwork looking as if they are in withdrawal since their last flesh fix. I guess what I am getting at is that one minute the gunshot is the dinner bell, the next minute the zombies seem to be totally deaf or not within miles; it just is not consistent.

Now, there would be a way to shoot all the zombies you wanted to shoot without ever attracting any due to the sound of gunfire and yes I do mean by shooting them with guns. Yet, I have never, not once, seen that method of shooting used in a zombie movie. Actually, it is not so much a method of shooting as it is the use of a firearms accessory. I simply do not understand, when these movies show almost every type of gun, known to mankind, being used as zombies stoppers, why are none of them ever suppressed (as in why do none of them have silencers on them)??? Are the movie making types so far removed from reality (yes I know this is science fiction) to not know about silencers. Perhaps that is it but I tend to doubt it, there are just too many spy movies, cop flicks, and other films out there portraying shooters whose guns wear silencers on their muzzles, for them not to know about them. So if they know about them, why not make use of them, in the movies. Are they just that friggin dumb or is there another reason? Maybe it would make too much sense, much more than some guy with a crossbow, who seems to have an endless supply of bolts that miraculously appear to almost always be in sufficient number every time they are needed. Bolts and larger arrows take up a lot of room and are heavier in comparison to bullets. Think you could carry a full complement of arrows in the quiver of your compound bow or crossbow and also have another 500 of them in your backpack? On the other hand, several fully loaded magazines, and a spare 500 rounds of subsonic .22LR rounds, could be carried easily on your person even if you were lugging other gear. A few more bricks (a 500 round box of 22LR ammo) could be left in your vehicle or stashed away.  A guy could even reasonably carry at least 10 to 20 fully loaded mags of 9mm ammo at all times with at least a couple hundred extra rounds of it in his pack or vehicle. Both of these calibers are easily suppressed. Silencers can be commercially manufactured, or high end homemade ones could easily be made in a do it yourselfer’s machine shop, and other less desirable but fully functional ones can be made, within an hour, from PVC pipe. Then there are the really improvised ones that you can make in only minutes from things like soda bottles or cans and duct tape.

How cool would it be to see a troop of survivors who have equipped there handguns with suppressors! Pretty cool, or so I think, but then I suppose we would miss all those arrows to the dome, swords hacking off heads, pokes into eyeballs with metal pipes or spears and all those other spectacularly gory ways to achieve zombicide that we see so often. Perhaps though, it would be pretty neat to show at least one character who is a firearms aficionado among the survivors. Not one who is a cop or correction officer or Marine or hunter but an out and out gun guru who knows his guns, how to accessorize them and how to shoot on target and tactically. What the heck is wrong with all of you Hollywood types that you have not gotten this figured out yet? Give us a character portrayed as an honest to goodness uber gun nut firearms enthusiast that actually knows something about guns, how to accessorize them to maximize their potential as a stealthy but lethal weapons, and who knows what he is doing when it comes to getting the lead downrange for the best desired effect without ringing that darned dinner bell! While you are at it, why not arm him with a suppressed Heckler &; Koch MP-5, with red-dot sight and a light and maybe a suppressed Beretta 92FS.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Once you get a real gun guy worked in, one who knows how to suppress his weapons; you may also want to think about optics. Something along the lines of a 4-12x44 variable power scope atop a bolt action rifle in .308 or maybe a big high end scope sitting atop a Barrett in .50 caliber. You know, something that can reach out and touch someone (or somezombie) from a distance - "because long distance is the next best thing"! Picture it like this, the group takes the high ground, scopes out an area they want to enter, see some flesh eating zomboids in the distance and have their sharpshooter take aim and whack a dozen of them, with his high power and scoped rifle, before they move into the area. Sure you are gonna make sure there are more zombie surprises waiting for them on which they can use swords, bats, axes, crossbows and close in guns - even silenced ones.

Accessorized and practical guns like that, in the hands of a character who portrays a firearms loving all American, NRA life member, who knows his or her guns and accessories in and out, would sure add some reality oriented zing to the shooting scenes and to zombie movies in general. Just think of  the counterbalance he would provide against the usual characters, portrayed as cops, correction officers, government agents, military types, security guards, and hunters, that are all too often portrayed as the ones who know guns and how to handle them in zombie flicks. In other words, for once, why not give us your average American gun owner and the guns and accessories he can and probably does own in a free state! 

Oh yeah, if you are in need of a firearms instructor and weapons consultant, I am available. 

All the best,
Glenn B