By: Henry Newell
Zombies have been, for a long time, a human future portrayed in movies, books, television, etc. But how are we understand this? Is this for mere entertainment purposes, or is there a larger context that we must consider? I think that zombie’s represent our culture’s fear of self-destruction, or our environment becoming increasingly harsh and unlivable. For the purpose of exploring this idea, I’ve chosen the movie 28 Days Later – in which experiments on animals cause an outbreak of the disease RAGE, which turns people into blood thirsty, raging “zombies”. This idea that we will cause our own destruction is not a prophecy, by any means, but rather a commentary on today’s culture. I would argue that movies like are saying: if we continue to live as we do, the destruction of the human race is immanent. (An interesting thought: are we the only thing powerful enough to destroy us? No animal can hunt us, we can live in almost any climate. A meteor might wipe us out – but there are “horror” movies about that too.) This could be exemplified in the way zombies eat people. Zombies are people, just a little undead, and they are eating normal people. This cannibalistic trait in zombies is therefor quite interesting to me. The way in which zombies destruct is often ripping apart something in order to consume it – isn’t that a bit like capitalist society? This constant consumption that we Americans take part in is only possible because of the resources we consume. Zombies could possibly represent capitalism in that way – capitalism is an extension of man (like zombies), capitalism needs to constantly eat (like zombies), and capitalism will probably be the death of us one day (like zombie movies). But, to me, it seems strange that an industry like Hollywood would be showing us movies that harshly question the society that keeps the machines running. Are they trying to instill fear? Actually, they are probably making those movies because of the money they make. But the idea that Hollywood is taking something that is, in essence, defiant of the industry and turning it into a cultural product completely relates to Gramschi’s ideas of resistance and incorporation.