Monday, August 31, 2015

Wes Craven and Fear the Walking Dead

We've lost one of the giants of the horror field this weekend, filmmaker Wes Craven. The writer/director/producer/actor passed away from complications of a long battle with brain cancer. He changed the game for horror, more than a few times, made us think about it differently, and in the process made some of the scariest movies there are. You can see more of my thoughts about the late Wes Craven and those of the staff at Biff Bam Pop! right here.

I found it ironic that I first heard of Wes Craven's passing while I was watching last night's airing of the second episode of "Fear the Walking Dead," mostly because one of the characters in the show, Tobias played by Lincoln A. Castellanos, reminded me of Craven's work. Castellanos is a young wunderkind on his own, a young actor who also writes, directs, produces, and dances - an amazing man both in front of and behind the camera, both on screen and stage. In the zombie spin-off he is Tobias, a high school student who is hip that the zombie apocalypse is coming.

Now despite the fact that the Z word does not exist in the Robert Kirkman Walking Dead universe, it doesn't take much to figure out by the second episode that the dead are coming back to life and biting on the living, continuing a cycle of infection that in turn kills and resurrects for ill intent. Tobias has it down, he knows, more than that, he is self aware of his universe. He knows what to do to survive in the zombie apocalypse. In other words, he's us.

And that's where Wes Craven comes into the equation. One of his more brilliant turns, and one that, pardon the pun, resurrected the horror genre, was Scream, a self-aware horror movie. Scream was a slasher flick inhabited by characters who were well versed in the horror genre, and knew the ins and outs of the slasher flick - just like Tobias leading the way in "Fear the Walking Dead." I like the kid, but odds are, just because of that fact, I predict his odds of survival are slim. After all, why use a knife, when you could have a sword?

Another aspect that I intimated in my last blog entry about "Fear the Walking Dead" was the Ferguson comparison. In the second episode, police brutality and protest play a huge part in the acceleration of the living turning into the walking dead. People see the police shooting citizens multiple times for apparently no reason angers the mob.

Let your inner conspiracy expert out, because the cops have special suits, are taking headshots, and are hoarding water. The powers that be know the crap is about to hit the fan, and they are prepping for it. This revelation adds a new dimension to the world we have seen in "The Walking Dead." Are the police and the military the majority of the survivors out there? We know Rick Grimes is a cop, but are all the other human monsters we've seen former authority… former good guys? That's the real horror.

And speaking of horror, rest in peace, Wes Craven, without whom, we wouldn't have much of the genre we have today. We have lost a visionary in the field. For a different view of the "Fear the Walking Dead" series, check out my friend and fellow writer Marie Gilbert's reviews over at Biff Bam Pop!.

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