What is a zombie movie without the heroes that save the world from total apocalypse, or the apocalypse movies without the heroes that survive in the rough terrain of a new world? The only way to really make it through an apocalypse or a zombie invasion is with survival skills, weapons, brute force and courage. I think zombie movies really strive to boost our ego, sort of like pseudo-individualization strives to make us feel special about our individualism.
What is especially threatening to me about zombies is the science of it, it seems almost possible that we can transform the dead into walking drones of flesh-eating terror. With werewolves and vampires it’s all about magic; though you can attempt to explain the mystical phenomenons with science you really have to stretch it (unless they come up with a new serious about how Edward the vampire was created in a lab somewhat like Wolverine from X-men.) And isn’t that what zombies are really about, the true horror of the possibility?
The apocalypse reflects on humanities biggest question: what is the meaning of life? The apocalypse also has a strange reality to it, much like zombies. To religious groups, it is when the messiah comes to claim the people of faith and they will be rewarded while the sinners will rightfully be left behind. To the atheists, it could be our inevitable doom as we destroy each our environments and societies as human nature grows nastier. All in all, it seems like a reality, and the more we put it in our media, the more prepared and comforted we feel, while still laughing it off like in “Zombie Land” but sometimes letting ourselves feel the fear like in “2012.” I don’t really buy into either Zombie or Apocalypse movies or media, I find them both to be a little paranoid and creepy. But I can respect them as one of the most realistic human fears, and perhaps that is what really makes them stand out in popular culture.