What Makes a Good Zombie Apocalypse Story?

With the amount of zombie movies, fiction and computer games now almost at horde proportions in itself, I'm wondering what you think makes a good zombie apocalypse story. Which stories are your favourites? Which do you dislike? Is there something that you feel makes one zombie story better than another? What makes one tale rise to the top of the stinking, oozing mass and what causes others to rot quietly at the bottom?


For me, Romero's original trilogy is the benchmark of Undead excellence. Dawn of the Dead was the first "X" film I ever saw in the cinema. I was fifteen and I stuffed newspaper into my boots to give me a little extra height so the box office person might more likely accept that I was 18. Fortunately she was either blind or she didn't care; I got in, and it scared the crap out of me. Afterwards I began wondering (fearfully) what I would do if a zombie apocalypse started in my neighbourhood. Where would I go? What would I do? etc. Obviously I wasn't alone in wondering that, as there are now thousands of stories that have come from others who must have wondered too.

I don't know about you, but when I watch these movies, I'm often muttering to myself "that wouldn't happen" or "ooooh, good twist" etc. Actually I do that with all movies, but I do it more so with horror movies (and Doctor Who, but I'm usually just muttering negatives there because like most of my generation, I think I should be in charge of that show). But what makes you mutter: "that wouldn't happen" or "oooh, good twist" and so on?


Am I going to write my zombie apocalypse any time soon? I don't know, maybe. On the one hand, it'd be fun, but on the other, you could say it's a bit like flogging a dead (or undead) horse: as a genre, it's pretty much completely tapped and is now repeating itself ad-nauseum - and yet there's the thing: it does so to the delight of countless millions including myself. We don't mind, indeed, we enjoy seeing the same story again again, as long as it's suitably different and has more of the elements we enjoy and less of those we don't.

So tell me, Listener, what are those grisly undead elements for you?