Irrespective of whether you love or hate the Twilight saga (HATE! HATE! HATE!), you will most likely acquiesce with the idea that vampires are the most prominent mythological/horror creatures in the entertainment industry. Billion dollar movies are made about them, 4000 television shows revolving around them are currently screening on Go!; even the Arctic Monkeys have a song titled “A Vampire Weekend”. But guess what? You’re wrong.
(Well, unless you guessed that they were superseded only by zombies. In which case, bravo.)
Yes, ever since George Romero’s zombie film duo of Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, our fascination with the living undead has grow exponentially. Whereas we once saw them as mere horror movie villains, the domain of zombies has expanded to include such things as music (The Zombies, Rob Zombie), literature (Harry Potter- those “Inferi” things sound awfully like zombies) and food (Zombie Chews, possibly the most teeth-unfriendly lolly ever made. Once it got stuck in your mouth, it was good riddance to the affected teeth.) Even with the rise of Robert Pattinson and his unshaven mug, the Zombie Renaissance has continued to gather momentum, and has actually led to the recent rewriting of a literary classic. The book in question, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, has been given a modern twist with the release of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a look at how Mr. Darcy and his associates would have coped had there been an eminent zombie invasion on their hands. This is quite possibly one of the greatest concepts I have ever heard of- in the near future we could possibly have tomes such as Catcher in the Rye with Cheetahs, or War and Peace and The Abominable Snowman. With the creation of these mashups, Encore/Numb would finally be put to shame.
But why is it that such an affinity for zombies must exist? Well, not to be philosophical, but I believe that it is all due to our inherent wanting to know if afterlife, or perhaps reincarnation, actually exists. Now I know that there are atheists out there who may dismiss this notion, but really, they’re just fooling themselves. No one naturally thinks that when you die, your only further impact is to provide the ground with some nice phosphorus, as that’s just way too depressing. No, we want to know if we can come back to life- and if we can remain as ourselves. Hell, cryogenics has made billions perpetuating this concept.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the original precursor to modern-day zombies, dealt with this through the reanimation of a golem-like monster. The rampant killings and general misbehaviour of the monster (several times, he neglects to flush the toilet after using it) leads us to an interesting philosophical question- if we could indeed come back as ourselves, would we be human? Or in a more theological manner, would we have a soul?
So here’s a breakdown on the attributes of the typical zombie in modern cinema, and how these act as a sort of answer to the aforementioned question.
|Zombie characteristic||Pseudo-Freudian analysis|
|Mindless, unremorseful killing machines bent on cannibalism||We humans have morals. To come back from the dead, we would lose thesemorals, and thus be capable of doing the most unforgiveable act possible, something only a tribe in Papua New Guinea and the 1972 Uruguayan Rugby Team have ever participated in (and only one of those was voluntary)|
|Live, hunt and feast in large groups||Living humans often pride themselves on their independence, with “ability to work effectively on my own” featuring in my resume. If we were to be reanimated, we would lose this skill, and instead be forced to live in a herd- it’s basically downgrading from a mighty shark to a lowly wildebeest.|
|BRAINS! BRAINS! BRAINS!||Zombies love to feast on brains because they want to learn about the human condition. If you don’t have a soul, you will effectively become that student in your tutorial who, despite never asking any questions, manages a high distinction in any assessment AT WORST. And no one likes that guy.|
|They live in the dark||This symbolises the “in the dark” attitude of zombies; they know of little other than a nasty killing mechanism, and are not “enlightened” to the nuances of humanity. It is also possible that by eating brains in the dark, they can at least pretend they’re eating caviar.|
|They’re really, really ugly||Dead people are ugly! They decompose! It’s really difficult to get a date if you do actually come back from the dead. Especially given your propensity to devour your date’s brains.|
So from this table, it can be gleaned that it is indeed impossible to come back from the dead AND have a soul. Which means we have to destroy Walt Disney!