Can we stop all of the zombie/zombie apocalypse bullshit?
Maybe that was a bit lacking in tact, but so are the ways I see zombies ramrodded into everyday conversation. They’ve been a common subject of jokes for years, the news has mentioned them when describing cases of people gone insane from drug use, they’re commonly talked about by people in the interest section of dating sites and there is even rumors that the United States government has contingency plans for how to deal with a zombie outbreak.
That last one might be a joke, but let’s face it something that was an underground cult movie topic has become a front and center thing. Two years ago when the world was ending and there was people out there talking about what they expected to happen when the Mayan Calendar ran out (this sounds even stupider now than it did back in 2012) the most popular answer seemed to be Zombie Apocalypse.
I’ve watched most of Walking Dead and years before that I played very Resident Evil game I could get my hands on. Hell, I even read the campy tie-in novels for the series. And when I thought that I was done with zombies and liking them Zombieland renewed my faith in the genre.
I’m not saying that I hate zombies. I’m not even saying that something being too out in the open isn’t good. I like it when things are popular and I’m not one of those people who has to have everything they like be some strange niche thing just so that they can feel special.
My problem stems from how people are bringing it up all of the time as if it’s a badge of coolness. Zombies are getting mentioned the same way that people talking about music used to tell you all about the awesomeness of Radiohead even though they never listened to the band themselves outside of a few times. They’re just name dropping zombies and talking about their zombie plan and telling you their favorite type of zombie. It just seems too much like someone’s attempt to force themselves to appear quirky and different.
This kind of behavior wouldn’t be shocking from someone in the middle of their high school career, but we’re talking about people older than me—in their early thirties doing it with regularity and without anything insightful to add to the conversation.
Probably the saddest thing about all of this is that people like this tend to miss what makes the zombie story so interesting. They’re not monsters in the same vein as vampires, werewolves or even Frankenstein’s monster. They’re husks of humanity reduced to the most basic of needs with little to no personality.
What makes the zombie story interesting is the characters caught in that world and the way they deal with it. All of the zombie stories that have been popular have pretty much focused on this. Night of the Living Dead, Zombieland, The Walking Dead and World War Z. Sure there are fun kills and gore some of the time, but there’s also a character piece that can be told in a unique way where the antagonist won’t always just be the monsters and the monsters won’t always be the only antagonist.