A nightmare come true – hooray! Darabont’s Walking Dead arrives at Halloween


It’s nearly here! And we finally have an official trailer!

Wow.

I first picked up Robert Kirkman’s ongoing survivial horror back in 2003, and it spoke to me and probably every horror and zombie fan out there. Here was someone who got why we liked the zombie apocalypse, and wanted to explore it’s survival horror allure right along with us.

The trailer brings up every memorable image I remembered from the first volume of the comic. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln, AKA Egg from ‘This Life’ and hapless teacher in Teachers!) is a sherrif, injured and sent into a coma during a shootout. In true John Wyndham (Triffids) style, the poor guy wakes up to find the world has literally gone to hell, and the dead are walking the earth. The good news is that at least they do it slowly. Any similarities to 28 Days Later are merely in the John Wyndham wake up scenes. For a start, these traditional, slow moving zombies mean you can dodge for a while until there are too many, and then they may well eat you – as delightfully shown in the final scenes of this awesome, promising trailer.

Rick heads into the scary new world to find his wife, Lori (Prison Break’s Sarah Wayne Callies) but trust me, the pockets of surviving humans can be almost as deadly as the walking, mindless monsters.

This has so much going for it, and already it does what the best comic book and short story adaptations seem able to do (Midnight Meat Train and 300, for instance). It builds up on what you recognise, it gets the point at the core of the story, but at it adds to and improves (possibly) on its source to become something you haven’t quite seen or read before.

This may well be me exploding with premature joy and the show itself could be just godawful. However, director Frank Darabont can excel at telling this sort of story, as one of the only directors able to ‘get’ how make a decent Stephen King movie, his adapation of the Mist was outstanding, as was Shawkshank Redemption. He doesn’t shy away from showing humanity at its worst, but also at its best, and he’ll need both to make a show about the last vestiges of humanity fighting to survive into a compelling, terrifying journey we’ll want to stick with until…whenever the comic finishes. So, forever, basically.

A particularly pleasing thing about the Walking Dead in the involvement of the steely Gale Ann Hurd, who won my loyalty forever for producing not only Aliens and the Terminator – proving she can stand up to James Cameron when required – but also the sublime Tremors! I have a lot of faith in her too. Also it was filmed in Atlanta, on location, so it’s authentic and came with a built in tax advantage, apparently.

It’s thrilling to see this fantastic comic series getting recognised by the small screen at last, and let’s hope Preacher finally gets the showcase it deserves. AMC – who also gave us the fantastic and equally gritty Breaking Bad – may well deliver the most accurate version of a (yeah, ok, it’s totally fictional and impossible)  zombie outbreak we’ve ever seen.

It’s a drive into hell, and it’s coming to America on Halloween, and reaches the FX channel, in the UK, a little after that. Guess where I’ll be? Wishing my life away for the blu-ray box set release, hopefully!

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