Thursday, October 08, 2009

The One Thousand and Fifty Sixth Dragon of Creativity...Or Why I Love Zombies

I'm lying..I'm not posting about dragons. Not now...probably not ever. I may post about creativity at some future point, but hell...wouldn't you rather talk zombies? Of course you would.

I'll assume people visiting here have already seen Zombieland. If you haven't, and if you consider yourself any fan of horror, then may I suggest you do so..immediately. Zombieland is a rollercoaster that at once lampoons this subgenre and at the same time celebrates it. Don't think about Shaun of the Dead. This is an entirely and different and equally enjoyable animal.

That being stated, why do we enjoy the undead reanimating and chomping the hell out of us? Where's the attraction? Vampires are charming. Werewolves are powerful and savage. And Zombies? Well...they sort of ooze stuff all over the place and leave bits and pieces of themselves in their wake.

Perhaps we might find the solution to this question in the success of George Romero's classic, "Night of the Living Dead". Let's think...what was going on in the late sixties? Hmmm....the Vietnam War, riots in our urban areas, and a shifting from fifties culture that left many people feeling left behind. As a result, the apocalypse became an attractive theme for some writers and film makers. From this perspective, the zombie represents the world gone wrong, the upheaval of the natural order of things. In the zombie apocalypse, all the institutions of authority that we have trusted since childhood are powerless to help us.

So how is it that with such a bleak canvas to paint a story upon that zombie films seem to be such a strong niche? Well, if we first push aside the gore, we are left with the triumph of the individual. What? Think about it. Cut off from all help and support, the survivor of the zombie apocalypse must rely on his wits and personal attributes. Let me argue that the zombie apocalypse is actually one of the most hopeful of all horror subgenres.

I know..I know...almost every zombie film ends with the heroes dying. However, I would argue that there is still triumph, that although the flesh may be consumed, the hero fights to the end against overwhelming odds.

Below find a clip from the rather delightful LOST ZOMBIES, a delightful online community to help people deal with the plague that has spread through the country.


Natasha Fondren said...

I just can't figure out where you got your inspiration for your title, LOL! :-)

What I don't get about zombies is that they are supposedly the "next big thing" in paranormal romance. Can I say that again? Paranormal ROMANCE. And erotica.

Although, I bet you, if anyone, could pull off an erotic story about zombies.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Natasha...he inspires me in so many different ways. And as for them being big in paranormal romance, that's just disturbing. Of course, it brings to mind the old Alice Cooper song..I LOVE THE DEAD

Charles Gramlich said...

I've always loved post apocalyptic stuff. In my young days it was always nuclear war and mutations. Now it's zombies. The basic fun of the genre remeains.

writtenwyrdd said...

Zombieland starts in my tiny town next week. I plan to attend. And while I'm not a fan of Dawn of the Dead and movies of that ilk, I do like me an occasional zombie movie, especially the spoofy or humorous kind. Sean of the Dead is my fav so far. But from what I hear, Zombieland might upstage it in my heart.

SQT said...

I've never been a fan of the genre (ducks) but having just read a great book featuring zombies, I have to rethink. I've had a pile of the newest zombie romance fiction sent to me, but I haven't had the resolve to pick it up yet.

Steve Buchheit said...

I think it's mostly that zombies are a political allegory about the dispossessed and that no matter how many times a populist falsehood gets smacked down, they rise up in due time to have to be smacked down again. Eventually, because of their shambling numbers and doggedness over one trivial point of discussion (the ever present "brainz"), the zombies overwhelm the opposition with their mindless stumbling forward despite being shown to be unable to progress (like pointing out to a bumble-bee that they can't fly) eventually win.

Christina said...

"Well...they sort of ooze stuff all over the place and leave bits and pieces of themselves in their wake."

OMG that was funny! Saw Zombieland the day it came out! I wanted to see it so badly. I loved it! I couldn't stop laughing and I did scream a lot.

Natasha! I know what you're talking about. I just saw two advertisements for paranormal romance based on zombies. I'm not sure about reading those yet, though I am mildly curious what that would look like in romance, but not so in erotica.

Erotica and zombies is not a valley I'd want to cross.