…It’s not like anyone really likes zombies, but I happen to find them particularly disturbing. Just seeing the preview for 28 Days Later was enough to give me nightmares. What really gets me about zombies rather than their other notable monster counterparts (vampires, werewolves, etc.) is the hopelessness that surrounds them. You can hunt and kill a vampire with a stake to the heart or protect yourself with garlic, crosses, and holy water. You can kill a werewolf with a silver bullet, and limit any midnight strolls to nights without a full moon. Zombies aren’t vanquished or avoided quite so easily. With no clear way to kill them other than hacking them into tiny pieces, and their propensity for traveling in large groups, there is really no escape. Hopeless. Since they just keep coming it seems inevitable that they will catch up with you no matter what you do, and it gets worse.
If you’re attacked by a vampire for example, you would either be killed outright or turned into one yourself. Sure you’d be a monster, but immortality has its perks. If you managed to survive a similar encounter with a werewolf, you would simply turn into a beast once a month, which, although unpleasant, could be worse. But to be turned into a zombie? That has got to be by far the worst option. With their slow but relentless attacks, their superior numbers, and the near inevitability of becoming one of them, they truly are the most hope-dashing of all the monsters out there, and therefore, in my opinion, the scariest.
But why are they so popular lately?
Surely zombies have always had some popularity, but recently they seem to have become more ubiquitous (big words >.<). These days you can’t seem to go very far without running into some mention or representation of them, and I have a theory as to why that might be…
Vampires in the media over the years seem to have slowly been losing their edge. They’ve gone from something terrifying to something romanticized and forbidden to being completely de-fanged altogether, starting in the mid nineties with shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its sequel Angel, and most recently with the sparkly vampires of Twilight. Now I’ll admit, I loved Buffy and Angel, but Twilight has taken the brooding, not-so-dangerous, vampire to a whole new level, and dragged werewolves along with them. I’m not trying to bash Twilight here, it’s just that it seems to have made our favorite monsters a bit too cuddly…and that’s where the zombies come in. I feel that the seeming resurgence in zombie popularity is largely a backlash to the enormous fandom Twilight and presumably other books like it have generated. People are trying to reclaim their monsters, and you can’t really blame them for trying.
So, are you a huge zombie fan? Preparing for the zombie apocalypse perhaps? Or maybe you’re a Twilight fan who just wants me to shut up about sparkly vampires? Whatever your opinion, share it in the comments! (You can even leave comments if you don’t have a WordPress account.)