Man-made reanimating viruses are the usual impetus of a zombie apocalypse, and the stuff zombie cult films are made of. This decade witnessed the birth of the first zombie cult classic television series which has proven highly successful in America. Jill Stark writes about our obsession with blood, guts and walking corpses in her piece for the Sydney Morning Herald.
But what does this insatiable appetite for rotting corpses say about us? Are we just fans of blood and gore who love to be petrified? Or is something more complex at play?
Symbolism of the undead
Depending on the period, the depiction of zombies is often a reflection of a challenge that is confronting society at large. In the 70s classic “Dawn of the Dead”, zombies were seen as a metaphor for the horrors brought about by the war in Vietnam, as well as mindless consumerism.
Pop-culture experts believe that beyond its escapism and entertainment appeal, the zombie genre attracts us by shining a light on our most challenging social issues and making us confront our deepest fears.
Movies like “Zombie Wars” with an apocalyptic or end-of-days setting serve to make the more sensitive among us reflect on how far our humanity would last in no-win situation. The sad reality these movies present is that mankind could possibly become as bad, or even worse, than the zombies scourging the land purely to survive. The savagery of zombies highlights the importance of humanity, which separates man from the menace.
Beyond the cinema
The preoccupation with the undead has already reached fever-pitch in America where there is talk about converting the ruined parts of Detroit, Michigan (which fell during the car industry meltdown) into a zombie theme park. In Melbourne, corporate team-building has levelled up with the use of zombie themes by a business called zombiehire.com.
Could it actually happen?
Doomsday scientists say it is possible but unlikely for a zombie pandemic to occur. Unlike vampires and werewolves whose origins are based on mysticism, the origin of zombies is based on microbiology. However, it would take some kind of miraculous chemistry to re-animate dead organisms. We’re much better off watching that happen on the big screen, or better yet, on sites streaming cult movies online for free, like Viewlorium.com.
(Source: Zombie invasion: why we’re obsessed with the undead, 02 February 2014, Sydney Morning Herald)