Have you ever noticed that people in movies don’t watch movies? They have no cinematic reference at all, as if they’d never seen a single film in their entire lives.

This may not seem so strange at first, but imagine if the characters in a contemporary movie didn’t know what televisions were, or had never heard a radio.

Imagine if, at a crucial moment in the plot, they couldn’t warn their loved ones that the bad guys were on the way, not because they weren’t getting any reception, but because cell phones just didn’t exist. The audiences would throw up their hands in disgust.

In fact, filmmakers go to great lengths to reflect contemporary culture in their stories. They make sure the right cars are used, the right slang, the right clothes. Still, very few characters in films have ever seen a film.

Of course there are exceptions, mainly in comedies (Throw Mama From The Train) or plots that turn on specific film references or knowledge (Scream). But these are the rare exceptions that prove the rule, and it drives us crazy.

Just once we would like characters on screen to see a zombie walking towards them and yell out, “Holy, crap!  That’s a zombie!  We gotta get outta here before it bites us, and then we turn into zombies too!”

That’s the first thing we’d say.



  1. Or at least see that the person shuffling to them is someone that you might not want near you. But ya, it would be nice to see a movie character to at least see that the zombie looks like a real zombie, and backs off.

  2. If I saw a zombie walking down the street my first words and thoughts would be simpley “RUN!” or “kill it!”

  3. I would completely agree if it weren’t for the fact that when my boyfriend randomly says to me out of the blue ‘ok. There’s a swarm of zombies right here, right now, coming after you. What are you going to do?’, I sometimes freeze up and don’t always have an answer. I obviously am not as prepared as I’d like to be. When you’re watching these movies, you’re not actually faced with the threat and you probably don’t have adrenaline pumping through you. You are sitting at home with the freedom to pause, think, and talk about what they really should have done. But it is pretty stupid if something weird is running towards you and you just stand there regardless of what it is.

  4. I agree that there should be a large population who would say, “Hey, those are zombies, we need to destroy their brains to kill them.” however that wouldnt make for a very good cinematic experience for movie goers. Part of the fun of seeing a movie,especially about the initial outbreak is watching “survivors”(I use quotations because we all know most of them wont make it) figure out how to kill their new enemies, both the dead and the other living, and to work together regardless of where they came from in their pre-outbreak lives. Everyone expects the cop(Walking Dead, Romero’s Dawn of the Dead) or military(Resident evil) in the group to be the leader, but I enjoy watching the former sales clerk(Shawn of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead remake) exert their ability to lead, not by being the most dominating personality, but because they make decisions. Thats what makes zombie movies fun, its not the ability of a group of people to go out and hordes of zombies with overwhelming gunfire, but rather a group of random individuals coming together to either survive, or not. I want to see if the white and blue collar workers, who are thrust into a group with criminals and other persons outcast by modern society, can band together and survive, not by killing every zombie they come across with an unrealistic arsenal of weapons(although in Texas where I’m from aswell in other states thats not an implausible find), but to survive their situation with what they have.

  5. what about shawn of the dead?

    • In Shaun of the Dead they thought the zombie in the back yard was a drunk girl. But yes, you have a good point. In comedies they often use film reference for laughs.

  6. but stupid people are part of the fun, wondering how loudmouth jock will die or prissy prom queen who is mean to the hero at the start

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