Love of the Dead

February 13, 2010

For Dawn of the Lead’s Valentine’s Day special I was thinking of writing an article called “How to get your significant other interested in wargaming”. The only thing that came to mind was “By lying”, so I decided to change the subject a bit.  So…

How to get your significant other interested in zombies?

This is probably a problem a lot of zombie fans run into every now and again. For some curious reason, many people – girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives et al – are not in love with zombie culture. They might even not want to pick a zombie movie for Saturday night’s feature. You might hear such comments as

  • All zombie movies are the same. BRRAAAIIINS, BRAAIIINNS and then they just eat people.
  • I just think it’s silly. You know, walking corpses and all. Vampires are fine, though. Especially the sparkly ones.
  • Couldn’t we watch a movie with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock instead?

Familiar? It is for me. So, here’s a bunch of tips on how to trick guide your loved one into enjoying the one thing you hold dear.


In all honesty, zombies aren’t really cool or hip. Except if you make them into cool and hip clothing. Such as these examples (click on the pics to enlarge or the names to buy):



Games are a good way to bring a sceptic into the fold. If it works with kids, it should work with spouses. Now, Dead Rising, Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead might not be the most suitable. They’re all pretty deep in the whole zombie apocalypse scenario. Let’s try something a bit different:

Plants vs. Zombies is summed up brilliantly by the developers:

A mob of fun-loving zombies is about to invade your home, and your only defense is an arsenal of 49 zombie-zapping plants. Use peashooters, wall-nuts, cherry bombs and more to mulchify 26 types of zombies before they can reach your front door.

An excellent blend of cartoony zombies and addictive gameplay will bring your significant other just a bit closer to the world of the undead.

Infectonator! is a simple Flash game. The idea? Cause devastating chain reactions by launching a zombie infection into populated areas. Destroy civilization in 60 seconds. Highly addictive, with a notable “one more try” factor.

Zombies!!! (what’s with the exclamation marks here?) is a light beer & pretzels kind of game, where survivors try to get out of an infested city by reaching a helicopter. Only one can survive, and it quickly devolves into backstabbing and tripping one another. Great fun, in other words.


The two categories above are a good way to start, but when you really want to reel someone in – which you do – then movies are the way to go. Now, instead of just telling what movies to choose, I’m going to suggest different tactics to use.

  • Director familiarity: Honey, do you remember Trainspotting and The Beach? Danny Boyle actually directed this one movie called 28 days later, too. Want to check it out?
  • Actor familiarity: I can’t believe it, Zombieland has that girl from Little Miss Sunshine in it! And Bill Murray!
  • Theme familiarity: You liked the movie Outbreak didn’t you? This movie’s pretty much it, but the disease is just a bit worse.
  • Zombie factor playdown: Shaun of the Dead is not really as much a zombie movie as it is a romantic comedy, you know. And despite the gore, Braindead is actually a story of a young man’s struggle in today’s society.
  • Intellectual challenge: As a matter of fact, Romero’s original Dead trilogy is a nihilistic view of mankind’s incapability to work together. Night of the Living Dead had a black leading character, which was remarkable in 1968. Dawn of the Dead is a scathing critique of consumerism, while Day of the Dead mercilessly attacks the flaws in the military-industrial complex. Oh, and the remake of Night replaces the black lead with a strong female one.
  • Pop culture challenge: Well, zombies are THE pop culture phenomenon of the early 21st century, you know.
  • Conditioning: Remember the night we went dining, got a bit tipsy, watched Resident Evil and made out in the theatre? I’ve got RE: Apocalypse on DVD.
  • Guilt: I just wish you could share my enthusiasm. Note: Use at own risk, don’t repeat.

And the common and very functional, mentioned at the start of this post:

  • Lying: No honey, there are no zombies in this one, I swear. What I did with [Rec] was a mean thing, I know. Look, this one‘s about Norwegian teens going camping. Note: Stable relationships only.

I also cannot stress once piece of information enough: Unlike in cuisine, keep away from Italian. While there are some classics, the Italians pumped out amazing amounts of zombie schlock in the 70s and 80s, that can be best described as gorenography. Blood, entrails and softcore nudity were the operative words here.

Whether you’re already in a relationship or looking to get someone hooked on zombies (and thus admire you for your knowledge), this should get you started. In true Valentine’s Day spirit here’s a thematic poem to send you off:

Roses are red

Violets are blue

If I’m ever a zombie

I’ll make you one, too


  1. I agree about clothing being a good introduction to zombies. I bought the “Zombie Food” t-shirt for my girlfriend. I’ve previously bought the “Zombies make better boyfriends” t-shirt http://farm1.static.flickr.com/26/90523621_ecd2d7bcd4.jpg?v=0

    She’s a teacher and she actually wears them to work. This makes me so proud.

    She enjoyed Shaun of the Dead very much (great comedy), Residen Evil was great, Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days later was OK. 28 Weeks later was too much for her (bad timing, tv dinner…). I might get her to watch Zombieland if I skip the slowmo introduction, which I think might put her off.

    She claims that an occasional movie with walking zombies, ala “Braaaains!” is OK, but rage zombies freaks her out.

    I can say from experience that boardgames works to. She plays Last night on Earth and likes to use my painted zombie minis. Zombies!!! unfortunately have too much information on the cards for her.

    I don’t wanna push the envelope any further on this one, I’m just grateful for her understanding attitude towards my interests. 🙂


    • It’s good to have some real life experiences from readers, Tobbe! Sounds like your girlfriend’s a real keeper.

      I’ve noticed the same thing about rage zombies. They lack the comical aspect of slow, dumb, shuffling traditional zombies. Instead, they replace it with lots of adrenaline, jumps and scares.

      Hadn’t thought about the Zombies!!! card art at all. It IS very graphic, isn’t it…


      • I don’t find them to be too graphic… Some are them are actually very funny, but perhaps in a gruesome way. “Butterfingers” is an all time favorite, a cop fumbling with his gear with fingers slippery from donuts. 🙂

        My girlfriends problem is that she don’t know when to use the different cards and how to use them. It’s part a language problem and part a strategy problem. She doesn’t really understand the cards strategic value, but I love her for trying.


  2. My long suffering and patient wife has officially had enough of zombies for a while: she told me as much last week.

    The process of my zombie related miniature projects has involved a lot of “research” into the project since Xmas.

    What this means from her perspective is that she has had to endure quite a few crappy zed flicks lately, inevitably acompanied by my long-winded dorky commentary about the pseudo-science/make-up/pop-psychology/blood colour etc etc.

    She has had enough for a while…and I dont blame her.

    She does like vampires though, whereas I usually cant stand their “Me, me, me!”, “Oh the eternal anguish!” gothy whinging. Maybe that balances the books a little. But I doubt it.

    Such are the swings and roundabouts of geek l’amour.

    I had better wait a few weeks before I ask her opinion on which of my newly converted 28mm L4D style Jockeys is best however. Maybe the day that the Zombieland DVD is released…


  3. Tobbe, now I get it 😀 I thought it was about the cards being too gruesome! It’s sweet that she’s trying, anyway. Maybe you just need to translate them. Or organize special Zombies!!! lessons. Or something.

    Paul, I know what you’re talking about. Too much of even a good thing can be bad for you, and if you’re not too hot on it to start with. Have you watched 30 Days of Night? I think it pretty nicely bridges a gap between zombie movies and vampire movies.

    I think waiting a bit on the Jockeys is a nice idea indeed. Share them with the rest of us, though!


  4. 30 Days of Night is great, one of the most noteworthy Vampire movies for years, probably since Blade really (I know that Blade is a bit trashier, but it definitely brought the modern techologically capable vampire into the mainstream significantly earlier than Underworld).

    Some of the miniature parts left over from the upcoming Jockeys are to be pressed into service as parts of modern vampires for Buffy/30 Days games (unarmed vamps, rather than the Underworld type guys that you have been working on and that I have waiting in the wings).

    They might be a while coming though, lots of other stuff going on. I will put up some photos eventually one way or another.


  5. […] from Dawn’s history, you could go see some zombie commercials, Aliens & Predator humour, my tips on hooking a loved one on zombies, or even the post that started it […]


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