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If you're here, it is probably because you share my obsession: you love anything apocalypse, post apocalypse, or dystopian. And what better apocalypse than a Zombie Apocalypse?
Have you ever wondered why so many adore the mindless, gory, shambling flesh-eaters? Why do we love Zombies so much, in literature, film, and on Halloween?
Below are the 10 reasons I believe Zombies hold such a special place in our hearts, even though theirs may not still be beating. In no particular order...
10 Reasons We Love Zombies:
1. Terrifyingly impossible.
Attacks from terrorist, catastrophic natural disasters, and the slow destruction of our natural world… These are all terrifyingly real things that threaten mankind. But Zombies? They’re just pure entertainment without the genuine fear that comes with these other apocalyptic scenarios.
We all logically know a Zombie Apocalypse is a scientific impossibility. Don’t just take my word for it. Cracked wrote an entire article about the scientific reasons that a Zombie Apocalypse would fail.
I’ll summarize for you:
While books like Max Brook’s World War Z (which was made into a much-less convincing movie) might make the impossible sound probable, we all are quite aware of how unlikely a Zombie apocalypse really is. Which is why we can enjoy our Zombies, Undead, Walking Dead, Lexers, or whatever we’re calling them today, without an uncomfortable underlying fear that hey, this might actually be mankind’s fate in the near future…
2. Killing them is guilt-free.
As an author, it is my job to make sure the bad guys or girls are really bad, so when I off them in the end, we can all cheer together. But often, we still feel a bit of uncomfortable pity or guilt for the death of another human being (and least I hope you do, you sociopath, you). Zombies remove this guilt, because they are already dead.
We can all cheer on the machete-wielding, crossbow bearing survivors that are madly stabbing, decapitating, or shooting the undead. Did he just stab a child? It is ok, because he was actually helping to free her from the horrible fate of zombieism. It is sad, it is terrible, but we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that they really aren’t killing sentient beings, but rather an already-dead monster.
No guilt, no sorrow, but plenty of gore. Booya, motherf*cker.
3. Society gets the punishment they deserve.
How many times have we seen people doing shitty things that we pray karma will pay them back for? Like that jerk who cut you off on the freeway, or the asshole who treated you poorly at work, or the really bad server at the restaurant who you’re pretty sure spit in your food, and maybe even urinated in your soup.
What better punishment for a entitled, ungrateful society than ZOMBIES. It is basically karma for our destruction of other species, our planet, and crappy driving habits.
4. Zombies give us an enemy to fight.
In many apocalyptic scenarios, like a natural disaster or the disappearance of natural resources or a nuclear holocaust, we don’t have anything to fight except nature. And there is only so much running from flood waters or shaking with fear while a earthquake destroys entire continents that is entertaining. We like to have a clear enemy to face. In a Zombie Apocalypse, the 'bad guys' are all around, and killing them is guilt-free (See #1 above).
Zombies are the perfect enemy because they are mindless, non-sentient beings to decimate without remorse. They are also terrifying, disgusting, and just dangerous enough to keep us biting our nails in anticipation of the next surge that will always, ALWAYS appear unannounced at the most inopportune moment.
Thank you, Zombies, for stepping up and being the enemy horror fans really need.
5. The great equalizer.
At the end of the world, we’re all equal. It doesn’t matter what kind of sports car you drive, or how big your mansion, or what brand of clothing you’re wearing (unless it is Kevlar, and then you might have an advantage). We’re all at risk for a bite, and nobody gives a shit about your money; it is basically fire kindling at that point.
The only people with an advantage are people with guns, survival skills, or a secret bunker underground equipped for years. (Since apparently the undead do not decay. Ever.) And even these folks usually meet a bad end. No one is safe. No one is superior. In the event of a Zombie apocalypse, we’re truly all equal in the eyes of the hungry hoards. They’ll eat anything.
6. Gore, gore, and (I can’t look away!) more gore.
It’s the train-wreck phenomenon. We hate to see the horror, but we can’t look away. Something about humanity is fascinated by terrible things happening to others. Perhaps we feel better knowing it wasn’t us. Perhaps we need the pure emotional response that comes from viewing tragedy. Or perhaps we’re just a really f*cked up race… Whatever the case, something about gore, violence, and tragedy calls to us on an emotional level that we just can’t look away.
Zombies give us the gore and horror in buckets. By the mouthful. And at the end of a machete. So get your eyeful, and rest easy knowing it was all stage-makeup and superior acting.
7. Zombie apocalypse breaks past society’s barriers and reveals humanity’s core.
Yeah, I know, now I’m getting a little philosophical for a fun little “listical”. But even the shoot ‘em ups need a moment of gravity.
My favorite part of writing post apocalyptic / dystopian fiction (or whatever the hell we’re calling it these days) is the chance to really consider the human psyche and how we as individuals and as groups will react to such harsh scenario. When faced with tough choices, like kill or be killed, what would a mother do? A sister? A husband? What would I do?
Zombie literature and movies allow us to glimpse the dark or good side of humanity when put to such tests.
At our core, are we all just animals, trying to survive? To procreate? To feed? Or can even the animals the live inside our humanity show love, give mercy, or endure the end of the world?
8. Zombies can be amusing.
At the end of the world, we all need a moment of levity. And if we can’t laugh at the shambling, moaning, and limbless monstrosities, what can we laugh about?
If you've ever seen a Zombie movie or read a book, you already know the scariest thing at the end of the world is OTHER HUMANS, not the undead. So go ahead and giggle a little watching the antics of the walking dead.
9. Zombies never get old.
See what I did there? We never get sick of Zombies, and they also don’t age. Because they’re dead…
Ehem, anyway, Zombies have evolved over the years. We’ve seen the fast running rage zombies, shambling undead, mutated creature zombies, even animated Zombies our children can enjoy. And we’ve loved them all.
10. Zombies make great Halloween costumes.
Do I really need to say more? What is more fun than dressing up (or down), smearing some blood all over ourselves, moaning like a mindless ninny, and wandering aimlessly down the street?
I can’t think of anything else better, either. Enjoy your Halloween!
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