14. Warm Bodies
I’m going to come a little out of left field here and tell you to watch the film version of Warm Bodies. It’s not as if the book of the same name by Isaac Marion isn’t good. The novel is actually pretty entertaining if a little dark in places. However, if you’re looking for a slightly cheerier tale with just a touch less death and destruction (though with plenty of the undead), I urge you to go for the movie.
Warm Bodies follows R, a zombie who only just manages to remember the first letter of his name. He makes his home in an airport, which has become a hive of zombies. Along with his “friend” M and other zombies, R goes out into the nearby city to feed on surviving humans. On one trip, they encounter a group of teenagers searching for medical supplies.
There, R pounces on Perry, a young man and boyfriend of Julie, another human on the team. Julie catches his eye and so, after snacking a bit on Perry’s brains, he decides to rescue her from the other zombies. Eventually, however, it becomes clear that R must help her get back to the human enclave and regain his own humanity.
What’s most interesting about this entry in the seemingly endless succession of zombie pop culture is R’s journey. He begins as a practically mindless undead corpse, shuffling aimlessly around the airport and snacking on brains. However, thanks in part to memories contained in Perry’s brain that are somehow transferred to R, he begins to become more and more self-aware. His slow and steady back to humanity is by far the most hopeful, if mysterious, part of both the novel and the film.