• Kat Johnston Sketch: Zombie lab rats... it's really just a matter of time now, isn't it?
  • The other day I sat around playing a nice little game with a group of friends… it was called Zombies. The basic premise of the game is this: you (and a selection of your closest friends) are in need of a certain helipad from which to escape the encroaching zombie hoard. Rather than team up and fight the zombies in a concerted effort towards mutual survival, you are instead pitted against each other in a great game of ‘who can screw the other over the most in order to win’. It is, in short, a very amusing little game. Especially when you play a card to cover the entire board in slow-moving, grouchy, brain-eating zombies.

    Now it also just so happens that I’ve had quite a bit of zombie exposure over the past couple of weeks, and not just from blockbuster hits like Zombieland. There was the kitten zombie apocalypse in an adorable short animated video, my husband’s maniacal laughter as he’s plowed through zombie nazis in Call of Duty, and even an alternative reality in which a universe had all but been destroyed by zombies (save for one dottering priest) in a quirky and fantastic little adventure game, Ben There, Dan That made by, funnily enough, Zombie Cow Studios. Hell, I even went to our little Halloween get-together not that long ago as a zombie cat in a box with a bit of radioactive isotope – a bit of a quirky take on a little Schrodinger experiment, since I was both seemingly alive and dead at the same time.

    Now this got me thinking. Zombies have gotta start somewhere, right? Right? Let’s assume, as most movies do, that the scientists are to blame. Scientists are really the cause of most of our problems in these wonderful movies – they seem to have no end of joy in creating mutants, killer robots and other assorted menacing things… including the biochemical weapons/diseases, etc, that I so often see as the ‘origin’ of these zombie-related outbreaks. The moral is always pretty simple: one day the humans will poke too far in the realms of science, unleashes the end and we all die.

    Pip pip, tally-ho, let’s all try to escape while we can, shall we?

    Well that got me thinking. Scientists (at least not the incredibly over-the-top laughing-maniacally-while-experimenting-without-pants mad type) generally test their things on animals before they test things out on human subjects – and they seem to do so quite often on rats. Well… rats, mice, and other assorted animals, but we’ll focus on the rats for now.

    Why are there no movies about super awesome zombie-rats? You’d think that in all the scientific testing one would do on a killer biochemical weapon, you’d give it a go on the lab rats first, right? I know, I know – they’re in their cages, they can’t escape, <insert other perfectly logical explanations here>, and all that rot. I don’t care. These are zombie-rats, after all. They’re smart, they have a taste for brains, and they’d find a way out to plague the world with scurrying, brain-eating goodness.

    Perhaps the problem is that the moment one nipped at a human, they’d likely become a zombie too,thus stealing the thunder of a zombie-rat based movie… since it would then become a zombie-rat and regular ole human-zombie based movie from there on in. Unless, of course, the zombie-rats had some sort of zombie-brain-control over the human zombies, and kept them as minions. That, ladies and gentlemen, would be cool. They could have little zombie-rat wars, making the humans run around and smack each other with the dismembered limbs of their foes (a joke about ‘stop hitting yourself’ comes to mind right now), until one gigantic Rat King controlled all, and humanity bowed to the superior force that is ratdom.

    Cue the black screen, roll the credits, throw in an obligatory note on how animal testing is wrong, and that no humans were actually harmed in the making of the film, and I think we’d have a blockbuster on our hands.

    Hollywood, here I come.