From World War Z to The Walking Dead (graphic novel and TV series), zombies make their presence known in books and on the small and big screens. While watching zombie movies and reading books in the genre, I became a little overly infatuated with the undead. The family would say I went through a “thing,” attending comic cons and watching, rewatching, and revisiting certain movies featuring animated corpses.
These movies are some of my favorites. They are gross, grossly funny, and engrossing, and in doing so both scare and entertain me. More importantly, they teach lessons. My love of zombies started with watching movies such as Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978). Soon after, I moved on to films such as 28 Days Later (2007), Shaun of the Dead (2004), Resident Evil (2002) and Zombieland (2009). My feelings on Warm Bodies (2013), still undecided. Recently, I loved Girl with all the Gifts (2017) and Train to Busan (2016) is one of my all time favorites .
Why do we love zombies so?
- Zombie movies and books provide commentary on society. We all have days when we feel like the walking dead, overwhelmed with work and stressed with life. Zombies help remind us that we need to put negative feelings behind us, break away from complacency, and live for the moment.
- The zombie genre often combines humor and horror allowing viewers to laugh at their fears and learn lessons. While each story is unique, there is often a deeper meaning behind all the hoards of brainless undead roaming the streets and eating the living. We just need to figure it out. The process to do so is often as fun as the results.
- The fears played out on screen and in books are universal. While movie stars battle and kill hordes of zombies, most individuals have little control over global warming, economic downturn, or school shootings.
- Similarly, zombies provide some catharsis over the problems people hear about or have to face in daily life. Reading or watching as others overcome their fears and survive unbelievable situations provides escapism and hope. If protagonists can create a happy ending in fiction and film, maybe we have a chance to conquer whatever problems come our way.
- Zombies reflect the best and worst of humanity. The zombie genre movies and books shed some light on what it means to be human. Do we fight for ourselves or for others? Do we turn to each other for comfort or destroy one another to survive? While no clear answer emerges, zombie movies and books offer different scenarios about humanity at its best and worst.
Now it is up to you. Start reading and watching today.
3 thoughts on “Why Are Zombies Popular?”
Good post! I find myself most interested in #5, though. I’ve long maintained good zombie fiction, whether print or TV/film, should be more about the people and how it all affects them, their society, their family/friends, enemies, how they survive, how they interact, and what they build. The whole “doing what you have to in order to survive without losing your humanity” thing.
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The subject of ‘zombies’ is general enough to be taken in any direction imaginable, be it comedic, dramatic, or political.
I think the “Walking Dead” graphic novel gets into the whole idea of surviving with your soul intact a lot more than the television show. I loved the Walking Dead TV show at the start, but lost interest when it became a routine of one group against another. It’s interesting to consider if relationships would be possible and if people would try to rebuild or live by fight or flight.