On Zombies

I don’t get it.

What is the big freakin’ deal with zombies?

I’d gone for years being completely unaware of zombies. Not my style of horror film. No real interest. The walking dead? Didn’t really care. Give me the classics. Give me Universal and its rip-offs. Zombies? Universal didn’t do zombies.

At work, though? I’m writing up solicits and articles on zombies left and right. Everybody and their mother has zombie products it seems.

What’s the big freakin’ deal? How can all of these products survive in the marketplace? How many more angles of the zombie apocalypse are there to play? What cultural touchstone does the zombie hit, anyway? Vampires speak to forbidden sexuality. Werewolves speak to the beastly side of human nature. The Frankenstein monster is symbolic of science run amok. But the zombie? What the fuck, people? What cultural norm does the zombie offend?

And who coined the phrase “zombie apocalypse,” anyway?

Don’t get me wrong. I liked 28 Days Later. I liked Shaun of the Dead. The movie coming up about the 1950s where zombies are pets and servants looks like it could be stupid fun.

But seriously.

I just don’t get the zombie love.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

2 thoughts on “On Zombies

  1. I think the zombie phenomenon kicks the “death should be dignified” notion in the nuts. It’s one thing to be surrounded by friends and family or heroically meet your end but it’s another thing entirely to be a barely living shell of your former self.

  2. Not to be pedantic, but 28 Days Later isn’t a zombie movie. It features humans infected with a rage-inducing virus. It does, however, fall under the category (I would say) of “survival horror”, which I think most zombie movies/stories do as well.

    I love zombie stories, as long as, within the framework of the story, the zombies are scientifically caused as opposed to magic/demonism. Those types (such as the film City of the Living Dead tend to have have strange logic that cheapens the drama of the story (“Look! A zombie just materialized out of nowhere, at that guy, and vanished!”). Regular zombie horror, such as the classic Dawn of the Dead, are disturbing on the the familiar level (they’re people, but not anymore… familiar but deadly), but also the psychological horror: one bite and you’re done. And they could be in some unexpected places waiting for you. And the fact that, despite them being slow, shambling creatures, they will never get tired of of pursuing you, makes them even more scary.

    Hey, it’s not for everyone. 😎

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