Tonight was the season premier of the ultra successful the walking dead. And if youve been reading this page you might have noticed that zombies have a warm place in our heart. I have had many conversations with people about their zombie attack plans. Some are much more thought out than others. And I can openly admit that while I was looking for a bike I did at one point have the thought of well when the outbreak happens at least I have wheels that wont require gas.
But why? Why are we so obsessed with zombies? If you look at the main villains of the horror genre you have quite a list of characters. Vampires, werewolves, demons, serial killers, monsters, and zombies. I’m sure there are a few that I am missing but these are the usual suspects.
Now if you take that list and drill it down even further you can group almost all of those in to two groups. Monsters and people. But zombies dont really fit in either group. Yes I know vampires and werewolves were people once to but a werewolf is a wolf when they are attacking and a vampire ( not the teens without shirts. I’m talking Bram Stokers here ) are almost demon like in apearence. So zombies already stand out a little as they sort of have theyre own catorgory. Humans we can stop and monsters dont exist. But what are zombies. Zombies are also generally faceless. Not literally but they are normally shown as a mob. A large group of otherwise strangers. And this I think is where you can really start to dive deep into our relationship With the undead.
If media is a reflection of our time and you can see social trends with in our own pop culture than zombies say quite a bit about us. A zombie is a mindless person that walks around aimlessly and only consumes. They are robotic in nature as they only do one thing ( eat ) and tirelessly work to achieve that goal. Ringing any bells here. We like zombies because technically we are zombies. I’m of course not saying this in an insulting way. But think about it. I’m sure most of you can tell me exactly what your work weeks are like every week. Or describe your morning routine which is probably the same thing youve done for years. How many Mondays have you walked though barely registering on your consciousness? We all are sort of slaves to routine and they are so embedded in our personalities that its basically muscle memory and we could make it to the office and do ( at least parts of our jobs) with our eyes closed.
Zombies also deal with our mortality and social issues as well. As humans we have a different level of thought that animals don’t possess. We are aware of our mortality. And being curious by design we try to understand death. What happens to us when we die? This is the one question that we cant answer and that scares us. Zombies put a sort of softer light on death and allow us to talk about death in the third person. If you brought up say disease or genocide at your office I imagine you would not be to popular around the water cooler. But you say zombie outbreak and people will talk to you for hour.
Then you have the social side of zombies. There are wars being fought, economic crisis, and a technological over dependence all going on today. Zombies are people attacking us in hordes and if you look at any zombie film there is always that shot where hundreds of zombies are walking down the street similar to say an army. And when the outbreak hits critical mass suddenly money and your social network and email no longer matter. Survivors are all on equal ground and we are dropped back to the animal kingdom with survival of the fittest. We like to imagine the zombie outbreak or any sort of end of the world situation as we all wish we could just hit reset and be people. There isnt race, or poverty, or political stances when your face to face with a person trying to eat you.
So the next time you watch a zombie movie or catch the walking dead on tv, ask yourself what would I do if I were in that position. And while the likely hood of the dead coming back to life and attacking is slim. It cant hurt to at least of a plan and a bike.