How is that possible? Even thinkable? One could experience horror, disgust or at best pity for these wretched creatures all while either running away from them like hell or hacking at them- the head, you have to destroy the head, isn’t it?- lest their bite would turn you into one of them.
Terror, yes, but love for a zombie?
Well, I guess it is possible if he’s Nicholas Hoult’s R. in “Warm Bodies.”
Because R. is a Corpse (that’s what they’re called in the movie) who hangs hard onto the flicker of humanity that’s somehow left in him. His interior monologue is humorous, mostly of the self-ironic kind. He is a keen observer of his new world and, while he does obey the primary impulse of hunger, he also tries to transcend it. (I suppose in this he also represents the teenager trying to surpass awkward bodily and emotional limits.) And how does he do it?
By trying very hard to stay connected with what it means to be human. Companionship, music, dreams and memories (even if they are not his and the way he acquires them is… well, yuck!).
Love. Love can thaw a frozen heart. Love can save you. (Love does conquer all, I guess.) And that simple gesture of holding someone’s hand suddenly shows its very complex significance.
I loved, loved, loved the movie! (It’s been filmed in Montreal!) It is a wonderful mix of romance, comedy and suspense, and all the actors are doing a very fine job to convey them. Besides Nicholas Hoult (R.) there are Teresa Palmer (Julie), John Malkovich (General Griggio, Julie’s father), Rob Corddry (M., R.’s friend) and Analeigh Tipton (Julie’s friend, Nora). Jonathan Levine, as director and writer, has also done a great job.
Watch here the first four minutes of the film.
I went to see “Warm Bodies” on Saturday afternoon with my oldest daughter (not yet a teenager) –the youngest stayed home with my husband- and while I was not at all surprised that females made up for the vast majority of the audience I also found it amusing. I guess the few guys present were boyfriends or husbands dragged in there by their YA loving (better) halves. LOL
This makes me think of how most of the YA literature is directed at girls. Which reminds me of another zombie one can fall in love with…
Bram from Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel by Lia Habel.
I got this book from the library but halfway through it I decided I liked it so much that I wanted to buy it. (Long live Amazon!) Steampunk, romance and zombies in the same story might seem like a strange mix, but Lia Habel succeeds in a fascinating way. It is 2195 and the world as we know it has been destroyed. What remains of it has rearranged itself into a high-tech society with Victorian manners. But this world is conflicted and Nora, the high-society girl more interested by military history than debutante balls, finds herself right in the middle of it. That’s how she meets Bram, the young soldier, brave, handsome, noble… and dead. He has retained his humanity even better than R, with the help of medicine, yet theirs is a star-crossed romance for he is… dead and his decay inevitable…
You can read an excerpt here.
Finally, it’s funny that after all these thoughts on romance, I can’t help also thinking of Minheer Vanderhausen. What about him, you say? If you don’t know who he is or if you’ve forgotten, I invite you to (re)discover him in Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s short story, Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter. You can read it here or here. Let me know what you think…
P.S. I just realized that I haven't mentioned at all the book upon which the movie is based, "Warm Bodies" by Isaac Marion. I cannot comment on it since I haven't read it yet...but I will... soon... :-)