I swear I'm trying not to overdo it on the Walking Dead season 4 speculation, but the evil geniuses at AMC keep spilling just enough details to get me all fired up and running my blog-hole about what delicious atrocities we'll be in for when the show comes back on the air in October. The very latest comes from actor Norman Reedus, who plays our favorite varmint-snacking crossbow-toting badass, the only man since Clint Eastwood who can make a poncho look good, Daryl Dixon.
Reedus is of course contractually obligated to gush about the jaw-dropping awesomeness that's coming our way in season 4, but he dropped a specific hint about the show's zombies that has me VERY intrigued. Apparently the "new threat" is going to be "unreal," and fans of the comics might have a pretty good idea about what sort of craziness he's talking about.
(Possible spoilers ahead!)
The scripts this season are just amazing. The sets are crazy. It feels like we’ve shot about three movies already. It’s super intense, and everything’s for a specific reason, and it’s great right now.
That's all well and good, but here's the quote that really caught my interest:
They’ve introduced a way to make zombies scary again, and they’re terrifying. The new threat is just unreal. I can’t of course tell you what that is, but it’s brilliant writing.
Ooooooh. Remember when executive producer Gale Hurd said the show was going to "amp up the threat of walkers, because they’ve started to seem like a manageable threat"? This combined with Reedus's hint makes me think that what we'll be seeing in season 4 are zombie herds.
Herds, as depicted in the comic, are pretty much exactly what they sound like: they're large masses of zombies. Individual zombies come together when they're attracted to a sound, then they wander as a group until they head to another sound. In this way, crowds with thousands of deadly walkers can form, making them MUCH more dangerous than a lone shuffler or two.
In the comics, Dr. Eugene Porter explains the herd concept to the post-prison survivors:
Zombies in a herd are a force of nature. They don't operate on logic or reason. If one of them even so much as brushes a hand against your door [where you are hiding]--and another one sees that, mistakes that as an attempt to get in -- it's over. That one starts trying to get in -- the one who did the accidental tap thinks something's inside all of a sudden--he starts beating on the door with him. They would kill you all.
We've seen herds before, like when Rick encountered the walkers in downtown Atlanta in season 1, or when the survivors had to hide under cars on the highway in the season 2 opener as an undead crowd wandered by.
But I'm thinking season 4 is going to include some extra-horrifying herd attacks -- and those scenes will be related to this hint from props master John Sanders:
My favorite (zombie-killing weapon) will be this season. I’ve been waiting for two years, trying to talk to [producer/special effects make-up designer] Gregory Nicotero about doing this to a walker, and he saw it this year and just jumped on it. I can’t really tell you what it is, but I can tell you it’s going to be the craziest thing on the show, yet. What I can say is that walkers are going to get killed in newer ways this year than any other year before.
So maye we're talking about a crazy weapon that can be used against a roaming herd. Explosive? Gatling gun? Massive flamethrowers? Who knows, but it's all sounding like a gruesomely creepy good time, and I can't wait to check it out.
What's your best guess for how The Walking Dead will be making zombies even scarier in season 4?
Images via AMC