The Rise of the Zombie

MeghanT's picture
The Rise of the Zombie

The Rise of the Zombie

The undead have completely invaded our culture. While zombies aren’t trudging around chewing off faces just yet, they have been one of the trendiest obsessions for more than a decade. Zombie culture truly refuses to die.

Zombie tag with water guns
Earlier today while walking to the supermarket, I overheard a group of kids no older than 7 playing zombie tag, screaming, “Look out! Anthony is a zombie and he’s going to catch you and eat you!” Later, at the grocery store, an elderly couple was stocking up on provisions. I asked them if they were getting ready for the forecasted blizzard. The gentleman looked up and chuckled as he told me that they were preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

Zombie walk and make-up
I love zombies as much as the next horror freak in search of a good scare, but I’ve started to wonder why zombies are so popular now. I understand why everyone loves vampires. They’re dark, powerful, and downright sexy, but zombies are just clumsy piles of rotting flesh moaning and stomping about. Perhaps the old man wasn’t joking. Maybe legions of undead are slowly closing in on society ready to devour us all…

The fun of zombies is partly in their grotesque and graceless ways. When I was really little, I used to watch horror movies with my grandmother. She had a not-so-secret crush on Vincent Price, and seemed to enjoy my little shrieks and all the spilled popcorn. Most of the movies truly terrified me. Night of the Living Dead, on the other hand, was almost comical. I found myself giggling more than screaming as I watched the mindless monsters lumber about.

In many ways, Night of the Living Dead infuriated me, too. The only person clumsier than the bands of zombies was that silly girl who insisted on running through a field in heels. I always screamed at her that of course she was going to fall, but even with all her trips and tumbles she could still outrun a zombie if she would just try! I remember feeling so sorry for the heroine because, as dull and mindless as the zombies were, she was even worse. I shuddered at the thought of becoming a zombie, but I was more terrified of becoming that insipid and airheaded girl. I think that little lesson was why we watched Night of the Living Dead more than the other movies, even without the beloved Vincent Price. Or perhaps my grandmother really was bothered by the spilled popcorn.

In a world where individuality is even celebrated by mainstream media, and everyone is urged to express themselves and make their mark, the zombie stands for everything we don’t want to be. Zombies roam in packs, they conform, and they only survive by mindlessly cannibalizing independent individuals. The modern zombie genre just keeps growing, and from films like World War Z to network dramas like The Walking Dead, the human heroes are fighting conformity with every zombie they decapitate.

Of course, then everyone gets together sometime before Halloween to dress up like bands of zombie prom queens and doctors, roaming the streets en masse in Zombie Crawls. Perhaps we long for more esprit de corps than we like to admit. Perhaps it’s our way of mocking conformity for just one day. Or maybe it’s just fun to glue bits of fake rotten flesh to our faces, rip up our clothes, and practice our stiff zombie walks, roaming from bar to bar until we really are staggering.

By: Meghan Throckmorton

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zombiechick's picture

Staggering around as a zombie sounds like fun!
A zombie-pub-crawl! Great idea!

I just hope too much of one thing (zombies) doesn't bring on the death of it!

Admin's picture

It is fun to dress up as zombies and put fake bits of rotted flesh on our faces!
Don't need it to be around halloween for me! Anytime is good!
Zombie-Pub-Crawl sounds great too!