By Kaylalynn Egan:
What has inspired this obsession with us and zombies, especially the zombie apocalypse? People are already gathering supplies incase blood thirsty, brain hungry, monsters come and take over our world as we know it today. After much research I have noticed a trend, media and popular culture has quite a big influence on this.
If we begin by looking at the origin in which these fascinations of apocalyptic “take overs” by so called monsters began, we would have to give much credit to Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend, which released in 1954. I Am Legend, is a novel about a survivor, alone, named Robert Neville, who fights against a human population transformed into blood thirsty vampires. This novel was then transformed into many big screen films, this including The Last Man on Earth, released in 1964 starring the lovable and amazing actor Vincent Price. The Omega Man in 1971, starring Charlton Heston, I am Legend starring Will Smith, along with Night of the Living Dead, were all influenced by this novel.
After taking a look at the literary context of a zombie apocalypse, it tends to mean civilization is fragile in the face of unexpected threats or chaotic, life changing events, in which most individuals cannot be relied upon to support the greater good if the personal cost becomes too high. Many also feel that zombies allow people to deal with their own anxiety about the end of the world. Kim Paffenroth, a religious scholar, states that “more than any other monster, zombies are fully and literally apocalyptic … they signal the end of the world as we have known it.”
Based on many of the influences of these movies there are many themes that create a zombie apocalypse. The first being, initial contacts with zombies are extremely traumatic, causing shock, panic, disbelief and possibly denial, hampering survivors’ ability to deal with hostile encounters. Secondly, the response of authorities to the threat is slower than its rate of growth, giving the zombie plague time to expand beyond containment. Both of these then result in a collapse of our society and Zombies end up taking full control while small groups of individuals try to fight for survival, while many die.
These influences come from many types of media, those being; films, television, video games, comics, literature, role-playing games, and music. Many examples of popular media are as following; Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Zombi 2, 28 Days Later, Resident Evil, Fido, Planet Terror, Deadworld, The Walking Dead, Warm Bodies, Left 4 Dead, Dead Nation, Zombie Panic, and many, many more. This was just to show you, how many different medias use zombies as a topic, which then shows the influence media has on our reality.
Zombies have also influenced events such as Zombie Walk to happen. I have, a avid zombie follower and fan, have participated in 4 zombie walks, most recently Comic Con in San Diego, where the event was “Zombies vs. Geeks,” where many individuals dressed as brain hungry zombies, attacked fellow nerds attending Comic Con in the Downtown District. Zombie Walk is an annual event that takes place in many cities and countries, and has become a phenomenon.
Zombies, as scary as they may be, have this welcoming, yet human like charm about them, we find a relation and fascination in them, that we take a liking in. Yes, movies, music, literature, and more media types have had a great influence on us in taking a liking to these “creatures,” but really maybe we either want a zombie apocalypse to happen, due to that fact it could be exciting and thrilling, or maybe we all have an inner zombie inside of us, just waiting to get out…..Braiiiiiiiiinnnnns.