Would The Walking Dead be nearly as scary if it took place in a colder climate?
Being from a place like Massachusetts, notorious for its winters’ brutality, I have a complicated relationship with winter. Back home, winter is long, with snow sometimes starting as early as Halloween and happening as late as April Fool’s Day (My parents have even told me of snow in May when they were kids…), but, at the same time, blizzards also brought on snow days, often a reprieve when one failed to finish a project on time, or just a break from the drudgery of having to go to school at six in the morning, in half a foot of snow, while the temperature was at a balmy twenty degrees Fahrenheit. Go through that for sometimes close to four months straight, and you’ll come to love seeing a foot and a half of the white stuff every so often.
With it being January — A time one is inclined to think about cold, snowy winters — it got me thinking: Would The Walking Dead have ever been nearly as frightening of a show if it were set in a place with heavy winters?
Yeah, we’ve seen that one episode of The Walking Dead last season that had snow, but let’s get real for a minute here: With the show mostly being filmed in Georgia, and Fear mostly being filmed in California and Texas, none of which are notorious for their snow, we’ve never really seen how the zombie apocalypse played out in cold, snowy regions.
What we did see of winter…made the walkers far less intimidating than they have been throughout the rest of the show. Frozen, immobile walkers trapped in snowbanks? Yeah, that’s not nearly as scary as the walkers we’d seen up that point, is it?
So, my question is: Would The Walking Dead (Or any other Walking Dead series, for that matter) be as frightening if it were set in a region with extremely cold, snowy winters?
Thinking about it, I’m inclined to say…no.
Speaking from experience, places at latitudes that have the sort of severe winters I’m thinking of can have weeks of temperatures at or below freezing. Some places, like upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Canada (Weather reports back home always included these places, hence how I know…), can reach days of temperatures below zero.
Any walkers that weren’t in a place that sheltered them from the cold, of which there would be extremely few, would like freeze in place. Sure, it wouldn’t kill them, but…they wouldn’t be walking anywhere any time soon.
So long as the characters had the means to keep themselves from walking into any zombies buried in a snowbank, went out during the day, and were properly equipped for the weather, they could probably have destroyed any frozen walkers they found with little more than hammers, hatchets, or pickaxes! All they’d have to do is walk up to them and shatter their heads, not a tall order when their blood has frozen and they can’t move.
If a Walking Dead series were set in such a place, it would either have to have no episodes set during the winter or, it would have to focus on the people in the show trying not to freeze to death. If there were episodes during the winter, the characters could probably kill nearly every walker for a five-mile radius around them, which, while funny, would really take the teeth out of the premise of the show (No pun intended).
I suppose it’s a good thing that the series has been set in warmer climates because, if it wasn’t, I think there’d be a huge logical gap that would be too big to bridge.
Now that I think about it, maybe this is why the Civic Republic is so large: Maybe they were able to hold out until winter in New York or Philly or whatever city is their capital, and then wipe out every walker in the surrounding area systematically. Hmm…
But what do you think? Do you think The Walking Dead would be nearly as scary if it were set in a colder climate? Would the show even work as a zombie series if everyone could wait until the dead froze and shatter them? Or, do you think they’d find some way around this logical hole? Let me know, I’m curious! If you enjoyed this and want to learn how to keep yourself alive in a zombie apocalypse, why not pick up a copy of my book, The Rules: A Guide To Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse! You can also get it at Amazon here, on iTunes here!