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ARTS ISSUE: Details turn ‘Walking Dead’ into runaway success

Posted on December 5, 2013 | by Laura Wolford

Gene Page via amctv.com

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 entertainment@nyunews.com.

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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

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Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

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Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

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Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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