Monday, March 23, 2015

Why Zombies?

“What in the world is people’s obsession with zombies???”

When my best friend asked me this question, I felt like I should have an answer. I read several books a month. I love movies. Beyond the Trope talks about trends in pop culture all the time. I can explain vampires (sexy immortals duh) and chick lit (basic desire for love and romance). But zombies? Heck if I know.

To try and answer this question, I first wrote out a list of the zombie things I’ve consumed (ba dum psh). It’s pretty tiny:
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Warm Bodies (book and movie)
  • Zombieland (actually…didn’t even get through the gory credits)
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Alice in Zombieland
  • Generation Dead

Then I looked at the list and laughed, because all of the zombie things I’ve read or watched are comedies -- yes, I count P&P&Z as a comedy. I’ll bet that tells you something about my tastes. Honestly, I already have an overactive imagination. The last thing I need is to walk around my house at night thinking that the old creaking of the heating system is a zombie waiting to rip my throat out*.

You’d think we’d be tired of zombies by now. They’re gross. They rip people to shreds and eat the remains. But when it comes down to it, I think I would rather watch a scary zombie movie than a regular horror film. My reasoning: At least I know the zombie is pretend.  

Last year, Beyond the Trope moderated a Denver Comic Con talk by Max Brooks, the author of World War Z (the book). Of all of the people I know, he has the best explanation for why we choose to watch movies about being torn apart by former human beings: it gives us a place to explore our fears.

Zombies are highly unlikely**, and books and movies about them let us think about terrifying issues (such as the apocalypse, mass genocide, or pandemics) with the knowledge that it’s just fiction. And fiction makes it easier for us to handle tough subjects and things that scare us.

Why do you think the world is so obsessed with zombies?

*This is also why I flat-out refuse to watch horror movies. Nope nope nope nope nope.

**I’d say “impossible”, but…. well…. you never know. Dum dum dummm!

Since you all now know that she hates horror movies, all that's left is the knowledge that Michelle likes to use her Batman voice to talk about her love for lasagna. 

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