ARTS ISSUE: Details turn ‘Walking Dead’ into runaway successPosted on December 5, 2013 | by Laura Wolford
Blood, guts, gore and violence are the norm on a show like “The Walking Dead,” as characters fight for their lives in a world where the zombie apocalypse has arrived.
Despite the show’s emphasis on zombies, there is rarely any backlash from the audience concerning the show’s ability to convince them of this reality. The “Walking Dead” crew puts a great deal of effort into making their world, plot scenarios and characters authentic and realistic. To keep viewers engaged and make the apocalyptic world believable, the special effects require an extreme amount of imagination — for the audience and the creators.
The most obvious special effect is the appearance of zombies roaming the land. The makeup is the key, and because there are at least 100 zombies per episode, a different look is required for each zombie. The makeup must be flexible to endure the constant activity of the zombies.
This intensive process makes “Walking Dead” success because each zombie is a different individual. Although they all crave human flesh, each zombie used to be a living, breathing, unique human being. This season even introduced a walker — the show’s name for zombies — bleeding from his eyes, a distinguishing special effect that almost humanizes the zombie.
The show also does not shy away from the extravagance of its zombie brawls. The gory fights are loaded with small details that are not overtly apparent when initially watching, but that make all the difference to the aesthetic of the scenes. For example, the burst of spilled guts frequently makes scenes become all the more effective.
Because of the production crew’s attention to detail, “The Walking Dead” does not look as ridiculous as many zombie-related stories often appear. The crew makes a seemingly minute detail — the placement of a scar on a zombie’s face or a zombie’s weight — and gives it meaning and relatability, allowing viewers to easily place themselves into this unbelievable word.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Dec. 5 print edition. Laura Wolford is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.