Last year was a good year for us zombie lovers, with a few unique zombie movies such as Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse on the circuit. With the release of Pandemic, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, 2016 is looking promising as well. And the prospect of the release of An Accidental Zombie (Named Ted) and World War Z 2 has me wishing 2017 would arrive sooner.
I clearly love zombie movies, and while it may seem a bit sad I’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming about how I’d react to a real zombie apocalypse. I think I quite like the idea of sitting on a rooftop and picking off zombies with a shotgun. I’m not the only one. There are entire websites devoted to zombie movies. So what is it that makes me love zombie movies so much? Why do I feel both dread and anticipation at the thought of a genuine zombie apocalypse? All this contemplation has led me to the (rather disconcerting) conclusion that zombie movies make me feel safe.
Somewhat surprisingly, some really intelligent people have devoted their time to examining society’s love of rotten corpses that eat living people’s brains. The theories they’ve come up with make sense. It all comes down to zombie stories being metaphors for real-world threats. Since George A. Romero used Night of the Living Dead as a symbol for his dissatisfaction and fear of the world he lived in, zombies have served as a metaphor for our own problems and fears. Many of us worry about terrorism, war, cyberattacks and pandemics. Zombies are the perfect metaphor for those dangers.
It’s not just the gore, terror and occasional comedy that draws us to these brain-guzzling monsters. And for those of us who stream countless zombie movies on Netflix (using a solid VPN to gain access overseas, if need be), this is quite reassuring. It means we’re not a bunch of weirdos who are drawn to violence and gore. We’re just normal (well, sort of) people with normal fears, trying to find a way to cope with them.
Yet how does this explain why zombie movies make you feel safe? Well, mostly because zombies are beatable. They’re monsters that we have a relatively simple solution for. In fact, we have many solutions for zombie infestations. We can whack them on the head really hard, set them on fire or take off their heads with an ax. This lack of invulnerability translates into movies where the good guys usually win (or at least survive). There aren’t always simple solutions to threats in the real world. The good guys don’t always win. And that’s scary.
What this all means is zombie movies are a form of escapism for me. I can immerse myself in a world where I can fix a potentially life-threatening problem with an ax or a match. This makes me feel safe. When I’m watching the latest zombie flick, all is right with the world for a little while. Apart from the brain-eating zombies of course.
“A zombie film is not fun without a bunch of stupid people running around and observing how they fail to handle the situation.” – George A. Romero
Am I the only one who feels reassured by zombies, or do they have a similar effect on you? Feel free to tell me all about it in the comments below.
About the author: Isa is an entertainment and technology blogger who enjoys watching movies and imagining all sorts of different real life scenarios.