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Sunday, October 16, 2011


My fascination, and many others', with THE WALKING DEAD

makes me ask,


The undead.

They captivate us.

The appeal to vampires is obvious :

even Bram Stoker, who coined the term "undead," painted Dracula as sexy and seductive (at least in London).

Don't get me started on the "sparkly" ones.

While most vampires are etched as lovely, though deadly, predators, what is up with our fascination with zombies?

They are Id's brought to hungry life : only appetite, no morals or guidelines. And terrible table manners.

Why are we so obsessed with zombies? They are not seductive, not appealing, what with body parts missing or rotting away as you watch.

Zombies symbolize those threats like actual skin-eating diseases,

terrorist bombs,

and natural disasters like the promised California SuperStorm that will someday in the future dump ten FEET of rain over 30 days.

Zombies symbolize our fears of death that will not be reasoned or threatened away.

Does immersing ourselves in zombie movies give us an illusion of some measure of control over death, cancer, and other all-too-real threats in our modern lives?

Seeing teens surrounded in a cabin by milling, moaning zombies, we know that soon those pretty girls will be either eaten or transformed into eternally hungry zombies.

And in a sense, we, the viewer, have become with them Death in our imaginations : unstoppable, forces of nature, unthinking.

But the zombie is never at rest : like a shark, it must continually shamble in search of prey or it will die.

Then, take little Karen Cooper (please, you take her 'cuz me and Victor want nothing to do with the little munchkin), from the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD :

Newly undead, the zombie girl happily starts to feast on her father's arm, then lay waste to her mother with a trowel of all things. There is something deeply unsettling about seeing an innocent child turn to a flesh-eating monster in front of your eyes.

Which is why I used the Zombie Playground picture in yesterday's post :

This, for me, is the worst facet of becoming a zombie : it robs you of your identity, of your sense of self.

Is our fascination with zombies an extension of 21st century Man's self-loathing? Or do we place ourselves in the roles of the survivors?

What would we do in their place? We revel in their violence against those shambling things which are already dead. We can mutilate and destroy with no regret, no remorse.

Or is it that zombies offer us the ultimate crucible : that arena which hones our characters and our souls into something better or into something infinitely worse than zombies -- a knowing evil against our brothers?

I already know what Victor Standish thinks about this. But don't be too sure you know. Remember his "ghoul friend," Alice.
What do you think?


  1. Interesting thoughts... I think we are so fascinated with zombies because it gives the freedom to destroy something that resembles a human without feeling remorse. Dark, yes, yes it is...

  2. Heather :
    I think you are right. We humans love to kill for sport. Humans. We should either kill to eat or to survive -- but never for enjoyment. At least zombies never eat their own like we humans do!

  3. While I'm a fan of The Walking Dead, I am definitely NOT a fan of zombies. Seems strange, I know.

    I much prefer vampires. So long as they don't sparkle.

  4. M J :
    Blogger ate my response. And talking about eating, I am definitely not attracted to ANYTHING that looks at me as FOOD!

    Thanks for visiting and staying to chat. I visited your lovely blog. Fun, cute haiku's. I hope you liked the one I left, Roland