What makes us love zombies? Maybe love is too strong a word, but what makes them interesting to us? Why do we continue to patron movies, watch TV shows and read books with the theme of the undead?
I think the answer to this question is simpler and may be more sinister than people think. Zombies as opposed to other horror subjects like monsters, aliens or out of control animals, are us. Whether it is people who are reanimated due to toxic waste or hordes that are transformed by a virus that produces blinding rage, they are human beings.
The fact that they are human makes it closer to home. It becomes a possibility, something to think about. Something we can’t distance ourselves from. Even more than that, the fear of them becomes the idea that somewhere lurking inside of us is the capacity to be that way. We recognize their plight as being one that we can relate to, even if we don’t want to admit to it. Zombies and their relentless, blind need to consume, gets to the base of so many of our fears and insecurities about ourselves and the rest of the people around us. It forces us to ask questions like, what makes us different?
While we have cognitive thought ( although, some zombies do as well, like in my book Zombie Seed or Bub in Romero’s “Day of the Dead”), breathe and most of us don’t eat human flesh, we also have to admit that we are social creatures and often trudge around somewhat mindlessly, following behind one another in an endless grab for resources.
The fear that so much of what we do is not actually an independent process built on rational thought, but rather something that is being controlled by programming at the baseline of the human animal, is a real thing. We already know through psychological studies that much of what we do and how we behave is largely tied to instinct and imprints that are buried in our subconscious. We hate that. The idea of not being in immediate control of ourselves scares us and intrigues us at our core. It is the crux of books and movies from other genres as well, like Fifty Shades, subjects on mind control and cults. We don’t like to think that somewhere in those murky depths, we are hiding all manner of unspeakable acts.
There is a constant attempt to separate ourselves from the darkness of what it means to be human. When people in our society commit heinous acts or crimes, we often refer to them as monsters in an effort to remove ourselves from those things and set ourselves apart. In truth, all humans have the same capacity for good & evil. It was Golda Meir who said “…nothing human is alien to me.” Each of us has the means to be incredible contributors and forces of “good” and each of us has the same potential for creating real life horror. This knowledge is what forces us to condemn those heinous acts. In a way, by condemning those acts, we are attempting to distance ourselves from those traits within us. At the same time, we can’t help but be drawn to those horrible things that are on the extreme edges of our experience. We are moved to spectate and chastise those that do the bad.
It’s hard to admit, but on some level, we are comforted just to know the beast is there…in case we ever need it. And of course, the beast has its purpose, just like all the other components of the human condition.
We are naturally drawn to zombies because they are that beast incarnate and the embodiment of what we all fear about ourselves. They are the anarchy that we are trying to hold at bay. That is why we can’t help but read the Zombie Seed’s or watch the TWD’s and Dawn of the Dead’s. We wait, balancing intently on the edges of our seats, breath held, trying to see a glimpse of our inner evil, shuffling around on the streets.
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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!
Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!
#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!