“Terrifying But Completely Unrealistic”: Walking Dead & Zombieland Both Critiqued Each Other

By z20z.com 6 Min Read

Summary

  • Zombieland: Double Tap
    took a shot at
    The Walking Dead
    , with a direct reference early in the film, while
    Walking Dead
    creator Robert Kirkman praised the movies, although he believes they don’t compare to
    Shaun of the Dead
    .
  • The Walking Dead
    is known for its bleak drama, while
    Zombieland
    is an action-comedy, resulting in different portrayals of zombies and their interactions with characters.
  • Zombieland’s
    nod to
    The Walking Dead
    is a character’s critique, not the creators’, as it shows respect for the influence of
    The Walking Dead
    on modern zombie stories while still joking at its expense.


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Walking Dead and Zombieland are two of the most iconic zombie properties of the last several decades – and as it turns out, each franchise has shouted out the other, leaving it up to fans of the genre to determine who really comes out on top as the true purveyors of flesh-eating, undead content.


2019’s Zombieland: Double Tap, the sequel to the original film, contained a direct reference to Walking Dead, in what was a definite shot across the bow of the comic book series. Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman was more diplomatic in his analysis of the film, which he offered praise for, while noting that it didn’t quite live up to the high bar set by Shaun of the Dead.



Both series are beloved by fans, and critically acclaimed for their respective takes on the genre – but for zombie enthusiasts, it’s still worth asking who did it better.


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The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman has a zombie film revered above all the rest. And it may not be the classic some fans will expect.


Zombieland And Walking Dead Can Coexist – But Could Their Zombies?

Charlie Adlard, art from the Walking Dead featuring a city street teeming with zombies


The Walking Dead
is known for its bleak, unrelenting drama and tragedy, while
Zombieland’s
central creatures exist in the realm of an action-comedy, naturally making their role in the story and their interactions with the main characters altogether different.”


In the first ten minutes of Zombieland: Double Tap, Jesse Eisenberg’s character Columbus is shown reading Walking Dead #27, noting: “God, this is really terrifying. But completely unrealistic. The joke is interesting, given that many fans would categorize Dead’s undead as more “realistic” than Zombieland’s. More than likely, this punchline was meant to double as a way of setting a tone for the sequel’s zombie-infested world. By having a character declare Walking Dead’s zombies “unrealistic,” it allows the franchise to forge its own vision of zombification.


Fans of the zombie genre are notorious for drawing comparisons between different iterations of reanimated, flesh-eating hordes. While Walking Dead and Zombieland may be able to coexist as iconic zombie franchises; it is less clear whether their zombies would fit in well together. Zombieland: Double Tap does note that Walking Dead is “terrifying.” The latter series is known for its bleak, unrelenting drama and tragedy, while Zombieland’s central creatures exist in the realm of an action-comedy, naturally making their role in the story and their interactions with the main characters altogether different.

Zombieland’s Nod To Walking Dead Is The Character’s Critique, Not The Creators’


Robert Kirkman’sWalking Dead comic debuted in 2003; its AMC television adaptation was in production when the first Zombieland film was released in 2009. Whether or not the success of Kirkman’s comic had a hand in getting Zombieland greenlit by a studio is unknown – but it is clear that by 2019, the franchise was ready to make a joke at its predecessor’s expense. Kirkman, meanwhile, offered praise for Zombieland as recently as 2023, in the letters page of Walking Dead Deluxe #69, calling it “all kinds of amazing.”


“Best use of running zombies, I’d say,” Kirkman went as far as to credit Zombieland with. Still, it “doesn’t come close to Shaun of the Dead,” the writer noted, citing that film as being in league with George Romero’s classics, which defined the early genre. In the end, Zombieland: Douple Tap’s reference to The Walking Dead, if a critique at all, is the character Columbus’ view of the series, in the context of his own zombie experiences. As for how the movies creators’ feel, it seems to signify a level of respect for the influence of The Walking Dead on modern zombie stories, with Zombieland being no exception.

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