What is a zombie?
But most of all, the zombie is in our image. They are another form of us, an evolutionary byproduct, a mutation. That’s the scariest part of all.
Zombies have been singled out as representing a lot of issues or societal fears:
- Disease (a bit of an obvious one)
- Obesity in the Western World
I was discussing on twitter with a mate yesterday about what makes a zombie a zombie. Must they be undead? Must they be mindless? They definitely don’t all eat brains, actually very few do (there is Return of the Living Dead, whose zombie going ‘Braaainnns’ I have as my sms tone on my phone…because I can). Almost all are cannibalistic, and their disease is highly contagious, whether by blood or bite, but that’s not always been the case as zombis (without the e) from Haiti were sorcerer’s minions.
Away from zombies for a moment, what do zombies mean for humanity?
People must forget emotional bonds in order to survive, kill their loved ones if bitten/infected or else risk undeath themselves
People can’t afford to work against each other (which often isn’t the case in many zombie works). Trust is important as people are forced to work together if they want to survive.
People are more equalised during a zombie invasion. Of course, those who can wield a weapon or shoot are of the most important, but other’s can help to scavenge supplies or keep a look out.
Things become so petty. Money, position, power. Of course, not everyone is willing to give those things up.
George Romero has said in an interview that it’s not so much the zombies and what they represent, but what the humans do, how we react, that is what is really important. Humans don’t always do what is best for themselves, and in some cases (not that rare), are actually quite stupid. I’m one of those people who yell at the TV “Don’t do that!” or “I bet she’s going to do X…oh yeah, there she goes, screwing it up.” My sister is worse than me, although her focus is on vampire evolution (and she is the B-grade movie queen).
We can’t always think straight under pressure, and a zombie apocalypse is a lot of stress for anyone, but in a lot of cases it is the society we have at the moment that is the basis for our not surviving well in the future (near, far, wherever….). We’re too comfortable at the top of the food chain, we value that which isn’t essential (gold, money, etc), we are selfish and self-righteous. Some texts even ask: are we worth saving?