By Rebecca Besser
Zombies are currently the most popular horror creature. Why? That could be anyone’s guess. The popularity of The Walking Dead has definitely pumped up the fan base with people who normally wouldn’t give zombies a second glance. I think that’s partly because of the drama of survival.
People want to see who lives and who dies, and the how for both. They know there’s the threat of a zombie attack at every turn. They know that if someone does something stupid, someone will die. (There’s that death thing again.) So, zombie entertainment becomes about the survivors more than the zombies; it becomes about the people who live and how they deal with those who don’t.
Zombies are also popular because of the apocalyptic element they bring on their…puss trails. People understand and know that once everything gets so bad that something like a zombie plague breaks out that society will evaporate. This lends zombies a political angle.
How many people are happy about the way things are going in the world? I would say pretty much no one. And that leads us to crave a “reset” and that’s why any apocalyptic fiction is of interest. We love the art, we love the literature, and we love the shows/movies that depict what we crave.
We crave change. But we know it would be ugly. Zombies are ugly and violent. They are the perfect vehicle for our innermost yearnings of change.
Everyone imagines themselves as a survivor in the Z-poc, but most of us would be the shambling, rotting corpses that run around being the hardship of those who survive (those crowds of zombies had to come from somewhere). I don’t think anyone imagines themselves as a zombie for real. I mean, it’s fun to pretend to be a zombie at Halloween, but wouldn’t you want your loved one to shoot you in the head if you really were a zombie? I know I would.
Let’s all hope we never have to find out if we can survive…or if we’ll be just one in the horde of deadly change. Either way, we’re likely to die at some point and that terror of possible death lends to the undead horror that is the zombie.
©Rebecca Besser, 2015. All rights reserved.