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Why Fear The Walking Dead Will Be Even Scarier Than Its Predecessor

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AMC

Ever since we watched a grown-up Voldemort (a.k.a. actor Frank Dillane) fleeing in terror from a church full o’ zombies in the Fear the Walking Dead trailer, we’ve been totally ready to feast our eyeballs on this new entry into the TWD universe.

But even as the buzz keeps building for the show’s premiere later this month, there’s also been some skepticism about one key element of the spin-off.

Basically, as longtime fans of The Walking Dead, we’ve all gotten used to a certain quality, quantity, and flavour of undead terror in our zombie dramas. Can a prequel set in the first days of The Walking Dead epidemic, before the walking dead as we know them even come on the scene, be scary enough to satisfy us?

In an interview with EW, showrunner Dave Erickson was the first to acknowledge that yes, there are some key differences between the world of Fear the Walking Dead and the one Rick Grimes and company live in—and no, the zombies won’t be the desiccated, decaying, gooey corpses that the cast of The Walking Dead has to battle every week.

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But actually, that might be the thing that makes Fear the Walking Dead scarier, conceptually, than the original.

“The reality is this: We’re so early in the apocalypse that when people are infected and walkers turn they seem, for all intents and purposes, human,” Erickson explained. They haven’t broken down and atrophied, they don’t look monstrous. So we’re dealing with people who are confronted with their friends, their family, their colleagues—people they have a cup of coffee with the day before—and they have to process, ’Is this person on something? Is this person sick?’ Their go-to is not ’This is a zombie and I have to put this person down.’ It’s to try and wrap their brains around what the hell is going on.”

Even though plenty of The Walking Dead characters have had to cope with the death and zombification of their loved ones, they all know what they’re dealing with; add in the part where nobody realizes yet that they’re in the midst of the zombie apocalypse, and we’re talking about a whole new kind of terror.

Plus, says Erickson, there’s also the part where, unlike the cast of The Walking Dead, this cast is going to be total noobs at the whole “surviving in a world gone crazy” thing.

“The reality is many of them don’t know how to defend themselves, they don’t know how. Their inclination is not going to be to beat down if it’s a walker coming at them. It’s not going to be to kill them,” he said. “And when they get to a place where that has to happen—as it does towards the end of the pilot—what is the weight, and shock, and trauma that that causes.”

Fear the Walking Dead will premiere August 23.

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