Things like this happen a lot, really, but of course you don’t see it in most zombie movies. For the movies, they just take footage of those zombies that manage to unearth themselves without hitch – the many who run afoul of the weight of soil/brittleness of decaying body relationship usually never get their place in the spotlight.
Seriously, though, it’s a real challenge to get this (obligatory) “raising dead” bit right in a movie, even if the masses of earth involved are usually strategically thinned out beforehand. If everything fails, you’ll notice a rather sudden cut in the finished movie, as classically demonstrated in “Plan 9 from Outer Space”:
The scene in question starts at 01:40 into the clip. In his defense, Tor Johnson weighed 300 pounds, much more than an average decaying zombie.
A similar problem exists for vampires climbing out of their coffins – there’s just no way to do that in a suitably dignified and elegant manner, since those things aren’t constructed for easy egress, usually. If you don’t want your Dracula to come over slightly clumsy, you’ll just have to do a clever cut or two – or you could go for the spooky ‘Nosferatu’ version, and have him raise out of his coffin vertically.
Panel four features another case of lightening added for emphasis – scenes like this one absolutely require it, even, or perhaps especially, when they take place on an otherwise bright, sunny day.
Today’s new voting incentive continues the slightly macabre theme of today’s episode, by the way. More on Thursday.