A Reply to The Zombie Appeal
In our never ending pursuit to scour the internet to find zombie news and information, we came across a very interesting article titled The Zombie Appeal at a blog called The Cost of Community. This article blends our two favorite subjects: the undead and theology! In it the author, Jamie, is trying to figure out what we are all trying to figure out: why do we love zombies so damn much? He has a couple of ideas:
- “[T]he idea of having a tangible problem that could [be] solved with a blunt object is deeply appealing.”
- “On a darker note, the zombie threat also provides us with a guilt free way to live out our violent impulses with impunity.”
In the article he goes more in depth into each of the points and the value of knowing why we are drawn to the things we are drawn to. I largely agreed with Jamie’s points, but wanted to also throw out a few other ideas. The following is my response to Jamie which I left in his comments, but thought you all might enjoy reading too.
Please feel free to join this discussion either here or at The Cost of Community. Why do we love zombies so damn much?
Awesome post! Thanks for bringing up the undead, especially in this context! Our culture’s interest in zombies is something I have thought quite a bit about, and something I find pretty interesting.
I think the reasons for our culture’s love of zombies are as numerous as the zombiephiles themselves. I’ve heard many people postulate on why our culture is obsessed with the undead. I’ve heard and given several reasons myself, but maybe zombies are popular because they have so many different ways to appeal to viewers. Maybe they connect with our fear of rejection (one vs. many), maybe we just like blood and guts, maybe we like to think about the end of the world, what comes after everything ends, about what we would do to survive, how we would treat others without social structures and government, about life and death, about man and the relation between spirit, body, and mind, maybe we want to comment on racism, consumerism, government oppression, being a fringe group, maybe we see parallels between zombies and those lost in sin or maybe those trapped in religion… From God to gore, zombies have an appeal to everyone.
One thing I would differ in opinion on is the idea of violence against loved ones appealing to some fantasy of the viewer. Almost every story in the zombie genre has the living struggling with having to kill a zombie that used to be a loved one. This reaches us with the moral dilemma the characters are placed in, the difficulty of separating the loved one from the zombie, knowing the loved one is dead. Many characters have died because they couldn’t pull the trigger in that situation, and those who do go through with the kill must deal with severe internal guilt over their decision. Only the hardest and most emotionally dead can, without guilt, kill zombies that they once knew as people. These characters are not typically considered heroes or the people the audience can connect with. Typically their lack of emotion is connected with something broken or wrong with them. It is not praised, but pitied.