Thursday, November 10, 2011

Prepare: Why Do People Like Zombie Stories/Movies?

World War Z is a new zombie movie coming out with Brad Pitt. This comes on the heels of several other zombie movies the past few years like Sean of the Dead, 28 Days, and so on.

Check out the book store and it's clear that zombies are about to replace vampires as the mythical creature du jour in Hollywood and in the publishing halls of New York City.

Why zombies? We are talking about reanimated rotting dead people who wander around hungry for human flesh and blood. How is that appealing to well, anyone? I have a few theories...

Survivalism on steroids - Survivalists love a good story. The problem with the genre is it involves something really bad happening (like a nuclear war, plague, societal breakdown) which makes day to day living difficult. It's hard to wander around examining the effects of a nuclear war, let's say, if there is fallout about making life difficult.

Zombie stories are great because survivalists in the stories are only concerned with a) staying away from zombies and becoming one and b) acquiring nasty ways to get rid of zombies who come their way. The rest of life is not so bad - no laws, stuff laying around for the taking, plenty of normal food that zombies don't want and so on.

Killing is bad, unless they are already dead - I think this is a big appeal with zombie fans. You get to shoot something without the moral implications of killing another living creature. Zombies are dead, no morals or ethics to get in the way!

Everyone's a zombie, including people I know and hate - This is another appeal that zombie fans have. Here's the boss or their worse enemy, or the girl who dumped you in high school wandering around undead, looking nasty and craving a nice arm or leg to gnaw on. What fun!

Personally, zombie stories get old for me. There are plenty of places around where there are no people (thus no zombies) and even if there were, your garden variety zombie is plenty slow enough to whack over the head with a bat or zap with a high powered rifle from a distance.  But zombie stores seem to go on and on as the characters make one stupid mistake after another and slowly get picked off one by one.

Zombie stories are fun sometimes, it's just interesting to me why some people like to read them. Your mileage may vary.

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