152: You Are What Eats You

You Are What Eats You

"Just as vampires dominated the last decade of the 20th century, so zombies reign over the first decade of the new millennium. You can tell a lot about people by the way they have their monsters eat them, and the zombie does not dine. It devours, noisily, sloppily, with great haste and, worst of all, with great anger."

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No no no no no!

Zombies are *not* "just sick people after all". Falling into this way of thinking ruins most zombie films for you (although Dawn of the Dead could be used as a counterargument).

The point of zombies is that they are irredeemably no longer human. Their humanity and consciousness has gone, and it can't be cured. "Shoot it! That's not your husband any more". That makes zombies the ultimate excuse for morally acceptable indiscriminate slaughter of humanoids.

In the cheap Irish Samantha Mumba vehicle 'Boy Eats Girl' (spoilers ahoy!), they discover a cure towards the end of the film. Oh. That means the zombie hordes you tore to pieces with a hedge trimmer were your friends after all. Why are you smiling like it's a happy ending.

For zombies to work as entertainment, they have to be considered incurable.

I always thought the point of zombies is to create an artificial pressure scenario. Unlike an atomic bomb or space aliens, there is very little to discuss about a zombie invasion. Everyone who dies comes back to life and wants to eat you. That's it. There's no conversation, no escape, and most importantly of all: no solution.

When zombies roll up, you're just wasting times before the curtain closes.

What a zombie movie does then is show social dramas acted out under this extreme pressure cooker. In 'Night of the Living Dead', Romero played on racial tensions by having the white people in the house refuse to listen to the one black guy who was making sense. 'Dawn of the Dead' is about people hiding behind capitalist consumerism in the wake of their own decaying lives and the horrors of people around them. 'Day of the Dead' is about military control and how meaningless it becomes without a society for it to serve. Huling did a very good job of explaining 'Land of the Dead'.

People + Social Flaw + Pressure Situation = Social Commentary & Satire.

Braaaiiins.

Interesting that Max Brooks's best-selling books "The Zombie Survival Guide" and "World War Z" weren't mentioned..."World War Z" especially explores the psychological effects of something like the zombie apocalypse, and the way it's written, it's hard to remember that it's fiction.

Brooks kind of took George A. Romero's talent for depicting social strife and applied it to the entire planet...spectacular reading.

right I really want one of those zombie backpacks but can't find one for love nor money, this has left me somewhat vexed, ah well the nets a big place, someone's got to be selling them somewhere.

Have to Agree Max Brooks should be mentioned though as he has managed to make the zombie apocalypse seem more real than anyone.

It's interesting to try and understand the set of circumstances that have brought zombie lore to the peak of social consciousness. I think it's some combination of factors: the continued fascination with the supernatural, but simultaneously the idea that scienfitic hubris may have contributed to an epidemic that strips us of our very humanity. Survival of the zombie apocalypse is both a physical and mental exercise, and the fight against them is really a fight against an enemy that is relentless, untiring, and devoid of personality. In some ways, it's the individual struggle against the masses.

Plus, when it comes to using zombies as enemies in games, the AI is pretty simple, and the undead don't sue for defamation.

- Alan

Dude, if I were to take part in a zombie walk event like that, I'd be freakin' scared some madman actually believes the zombie apocalypse has come to pass and starts shooting random people with his sawed-off shotgun.
This kind of event sounds far too dangerous (for the zombies!) in my opinion.

good reading, nice topic, maybe a little too close to the truth..

I used to be terrified of zombies but I grew out of it after puberty. To me zombies represent people who have given up on life, people who reside in the world of the living and yet do not live. Beings who consciously hurt others not as a means but as an end interest me more in general.

L.B. Jeffries:
I always thought the point of zombies is to create an artificial pressure scenario. Unlike an atomic bomb or space aliens, there is very little to discuss about a zombie invasion. Everyone who dies comes back to life and wants to eat you. That's it. There's no conversation, no escape, and most importantly of all: no solution.

I thought the solution was bullets, fire, axe's, and waiting for the bodies to decompose...?

Doug:

L.B. Jeffries:
I always thought the point of zombies is to create an artificial pressure scenario. Unlike an atomic bomb or space aliens, there is very little to discuss about a zombie invasion. Everyone who dies comes back to life and wants to eat you. That's it. There's no conversation, no escape, and most importantly of all: no solution.

I thought the solution was bullets, fire, axe's, and waiting for the bodies to decompose...?

I suppose it depends on the movie or book. In something like a Romero film, it's just a matter of time before the zombies win.

 

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