Monsters of various types, as depicted in fiction, can represent the fears and uncertainties of an audience by giving physical form to a threatening idea. Dracula, written in late Victorian times, may have represented the notion that unbounded sexuality could suck people’s lives out. Space Aliens in mid-century fiction and cinema clearly stood in for fears about unstoppable wars and technologies. During the Cold War, giant radioactive insects and lizards were visualizations of the enormous destructive potential of nuclear weapons.
In the early 21st century, the zombie is clearly the monster of choice, lurching its way through movies, TV, books, and computer games. But what is the motivating force that drives zombie-related productions forward? What fears and insecurities does the zombie represent? What is the meaning of the zombie?
Is the notion that mindless technology is in charge? Is the eating of brains a parable for the gradual destruction of our intellects by endless online garbage?
Is the image of the undead lurching mindlessly across the landscape a metaphor for bureaucracies and decaying social institutions that persist without any clear purpose?
Do large crowds of zombies merely stand in for large crowds of stupid people? (ahem)
What is the symbolic significance of the zombie?