Whenever I watch a zombie movie, the very first thing I notice is the sounds emanating from those vile beasts. If I hear cricking and cracking, then I know I have a winner on my hands. It’s those movies where the undead lurch but remain silent that I think why hadn’t the director thought of what real corpses sound like and insert those effects into the picture. Monday Mayhem is all about zombies, and today I want to spend some time on zombie sounds. Sounds weird, doesn’t it?
In my previous posts Rising from the Dead and Indestructible Zombies I detail the various states of human decomposition. One of the phases that a body goes through once it dies is Rigor Mortis. In this state, the body stiffens to the point of rigidity whereby muscles harden and become difficult to move by an external force. Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy depicts a perfect example where someone attempts to compel a body to do what it can no longer do due to stiffening. In Frenzy’s case, the murderer attempts to retrieve a lost object but then has difficulty doing so because of the body’s inability to bend like it did when alive.
That’s why the movie The Mummy has a certain appeal. Throughout the entire film, the mummy, which is nothing more than a glorified zombie, cricks, cracks, spurts, and oozes all sorts of noises toward its transformation to becoming human again. Why don’t all zombie movies sound like that?
Imagine if you will a horde of the undead giving chase. You hear the dragging. You hear the hauling. You hear the moaning. Wouldn’t it be all the more terrifying to hear their bones snapping back and forth on their way to making their victim their supper?
There’s a saying: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. What if the saying went: Where there’s cricking and cracking, they’re zombies. Wouldn’t that be something?
I suppose the sound of zombie cartilage readjusting is impossible in a movie where a virus takes over the victim. After all, depending on the virus, the victim hasn’t really died—at least not in the traditional sense of the word. They’ve only changed to become movable corpses. And if an antidote exists for zombies in the form of changing them back to their former selves, then by all accounts, they never really died in the first place.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
If they never died, there’s no opportunity to make the sounds I wish they could make. The only way that could happen is if zombies rise three hours after death just when Rigor Mortis had set.
Then again, zombies could rise during that sweet moment after death with bodies unaffected by the decomposition phase. In that instance, you will not hear them coming. In a sense, they could appear and eat you while you’re still alive.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather hear them coming.
What do you think? Should future zombie movies have the undead sounding like an army of breaking bones as they march for the attack? Or would you fear them more silent?