What's behind the zombie craze?

I’m trying to understand the ongoing fascination with zombies. I know that some things just get popular for awhile with no logical reason, but I really don’t get the zombie thing.

The popularity of vampires, for examples, rises and falls over time. But vampires can be very interesting: they are immortal, they can fly, they have enhanced senses, they can even by sexy.

Zombies, on the other hand seem entirely one-dimensional. I figured it might be a generational thing. So I tried to discuss this with someone younger. When I compared them to vampires, their response was something like “zombies are more realistic”. That response that did not enlighten me any further.

I searched to see if this has been discussed before, but if I missed it and you have the link, please point me there.

Any insight into this phenomenon?

I would think part of it is that people always imagine themselves as one of the gifted survivors, mowing down an unambiguous enemy. It is fantasy projection.

A variety of possible causes, some Non-PC.

A cultural reaction to large-scale immigration from the Third World?
Hostility by the Millennial Kids, against the elders who aren’t retiring, denying the kids a chance to move up the economic ladder?
Religious millenialism?
A reaction in the collective unconscious, against Global Overpopulation?

There seem to be rather more people than I like to think about who seem fascinated with extreme levels of torture and violence, and perhaps seeing such violence done to (or by) zombies makes it abstract enough to be acceptable by society. Just speculation on my part.

Personally, although I’ve been following the The Walking Dead since it debuted, I would find it difficult to say I’m ‘entertained’ by something so relentlessly gory, bleak and depressing. Yet I’ll be watching the next season when it starts tomorrow night, so I guess I’ve got unresolved issues myself.

Well, they’re terrifying. They eat people. They are everywhere. Eventually, we could become one of them. Some of them are (were?) loved ones and friends.

The survival fantasy already mentioned is a huge aspect. What would we do, how would we react and plan if these scenarios unfolded?

The violence is politically correct. They are an enemy to all humanity. You can shoot, stab, bludgeon, hack, run over, burn, stomp, crush, fry with electricity, blow up, etc without guilt. They are already dead and present an obvious persistent threat to your very existence. In addition, it is not like being attacked by large animals that have a place here on Earth. You do not want to simply kill lions, bears or other predators unless in self defense. Zombies have no reason to exist and must be destroyed. So kill away. It is violence porn.

I sure don’t get it… I’m a comic book collector, and pretty much every month, someone publishes issue No. 1 of some new zombie comic. Nineteen times out of twenty, there isn’t a second issue. The theme is played out! There isn’t anything to say. The genre is as dead…but still walking!

The last time anyone said something new and interesting about zombies was in Ghastly’s Ghastly Comic, where someone suggested that the zombies, staggering and drooling and moaning and eye-rolling, were all in the throes of unending orgasm.

I should have worded it better. There are no morality issues with destroying zombies. See my previous post for the reasons why.

Zombies and other undead are the perfect video game enemies because you can mow down humans without feeling too bad.

Oh, perfect timing.

I’m staying at a hotel in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Just now at the White Castle next door I saw a bunch of young people dressed up like zombies- I mean hard core costumes, bloody torn shirts, fake skin hanging off their bodies, face paint, the works. I asked what the hell was going on and they said that there was a zombie festival outside the town courthouse tonight. Go figure. Redirecting...

Elizabethtown is only a few miles from Muldraugh, Kentucky, which is currently being turned into a zombie computer game called Project Zomboid. http://projectzomboid.com/

Anyone who thinks the zombie genre is played out should see World War Z. Leave it to the son of Mel Brooks to breathe new life into the genre by creating zombies who are more elastic, swarm together in huge piles like freakin’ insects, can jump like goddam grasshoppers, and don’t have to bite someone to turn them into a zombie; not to mention that the whole world is under attack in the movie, unlike any other zombie movie I’ve ever seen. Can’t wait for part 2 and 3.

My hometown is Norfolk, Virginia. One of my high school classmates, Whitney Metzger, organized the largest Facebook event of all time (IIRC it holds the record) when she held a zombie-hunting fest there a few years back. http://hamptonroads.com/2010/10/nobrainer-1700-line-zombie-game-tag-ghent

Way to go, Whitney.

The thing I like about zombies is that, given my current solipsistic beliefs, I see everyone around me as a Philosophical Zombie.

I actually had an original idea for a zombie story once. It was about an outbreak at a high school where kids were becoming zombies. It turns out that the zombie virus is an STD spread by sex, which is why the zombies rape everyone instead of biting or assaulting them, and then they get turned into a zombie.

The best (worst) part? The survivors discover that even blowing one of these zombie’s heads off doesn’t stop them from attacking. The gun-toting survivors eventually discover that the reason the old ‘aim for the head’ trick isn’t working on these guys is because, well, they were aiming for the wrong head.


As brilliantly elaborated by Brandon and Skinny Pete.

Fear factor. Rotting corpses bring out revulsion that intensifies the horror. Starting in the 60s, having pointy teeth or scary eyes just didnt scare people anymore.

The only real thing WWZ The movie and WWZ The Novel have in common is the title

WWZ-TN zombies are based off of Romero zombies, slow moving shamblers, no intelligence, collective or otherwise, and it follows multiple story lines across the globe

Now I admit to not having seen WWZ-TM yet, but from the previews, it looks like the “Zacks” are fast runners with a limited collective intelligence, like ants

(bolding mine)

Just a small nitpick; Brooks made it very clear that his zombies are caused by a virus that can only be spread by exchanging fluids. George Romero (basically invented what we now think of as zombies) avoided any firm explanation as to the cause and had everyone who died with an intact brainstem reanimate.

Ever seen Fido?

Zombies can be fun too!

With most other monsters, the fascination is in the monsters themselves (vampires, werewolves, etc). With zombies it’s about the survivors. I think the real trend is surviving during post-apocalypse, zombies are just one of many ways to get you to that point.

It’s a metaphor for our entire society. That seems so obvious to me. When I use to work in NY and I had to shuffle on off the trains and subways I’d occasionally moo because I felt like a herd animal but in fact I was acting more like a zombie. And if you stop to think about it, that’s what societal norms are designed to force you into.

But you have to stop to think to realize this and do a bit more than think if you want more for yourself. The problem is that the moment you decide to tell society and its norms to go fuck themselves, you create certain problems for yourself. I think the popularity of zombies is a sort of personification of this struggle.

Ever seen Warm Bodies? Zombies can be sexy, too! Basically a zombie rip off of Twilight.

The University of Florida recently added instructions on their website to help students survive in the event of a zombie outbreak. University of Florida Prepared for Zombie Outbreak - Scholarship & Education News - Scholarships.com

According to Scully in that one zombie X-Files episode, zombies represent the deep-seated unconscious human fear that we are simply mindless animals going around killing and eating to stay alive.

I actually own the WWZ Novel, but haven’t bothered reading it. Is it worth a read?

FYI, the movie is worth a watch. The part on the airplane alone sold it for me.

Zombies are not really a part of the monster genre. They’re not used like vampires or werewolves or ghosts.

Zombies are actually part of the end-of-the-world genre. They’re used like a nuclear war or a plague or an alien invasion.

If zombies are a “craze” it’s one that’s been going on for over 90 years.