The Ninjabot

Categorized | Editorial, Featured

Twilight of the Dead?

Posted on September 8, 2012 at 10:48 am by Jeff Mueller

While I threatened the editors here at Geek Legacy with a never-ending avalanche of Top 5 articles, I decided to to keep them on their toes and wax philosophic today on a subject near and dear to so many geek’s hearts. Zombies.

I was getting my weekly Heisenberg fix last night, and as alway AMC was pimping its upcoming programming pretty hardcore (as well as spending a lot of time doing basically everything but urinating on Dish TV). After the 10283nd ad for the upcoming Season 3 of “The Walking Dead” I got to wondering; just how long will the latest zombie craze last this time? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good zombie fest as much as the next guy but how much longer do the shambling hordes of decaying flesh have left in their pop-culture lifespan?

It seems as if every 10-15 years there is a cyclic undercurrent that washes one or two major horror themes ashore. Constantly in rotation are werewolves, vampires, demonic possessions/ghosts and zombies. Its been awhile since werewolves had really had their time in the moonlight, yes they got some play in Underworld but the main focus was the vampires; vampires had a solid hold for awhile, but now seem to be waning a tad; demonic possessions had a good run recently and I think may have done better had the movies spotlighting that phenomena been of higher quality; but still running strong are the zombie zergs roaming through so many fictional post-apocalyptic landscapes.

Shaun of the DeadNot only are they running strong with consistently solid movie and TV showings, but they have broken out of the confines of the local movieplexes and into mainstream culture like no other horror archetype before them. The closest thing that I personally can think of to this would be Twilight-mania, but that was more about the series itself than vampires in a general sense; and with the end of the series I don’t see that cultural overflow continuing.

The brain eating has been rather successful in the world of comics with titles such as the aforementioned “Walking Dead” and “Fanboys vs Zombies“; while vampires have never really been able to take too strong of a hold in that medium. Marvel had lukewarm run in the 70s and 80s injecting vampire mythos into their books, even going so far as to have a Dracula title, and of course there is Blade but nothing as sensational as the zombie books in my opinion. Werewolves and ghosts/demons? Nada worth talking about.

What is surprising though, is not the success at the movies or in the comic book shops, but how the infection has spread everywhere else! From the myriad of cities that see annual Zombie-Walks, to zombie themed races like Run for Your Lives, to books being published on Zombie Survival and college courses being taught… face it, zombies are literally everywhere! Of course we also can’t forget the pretty consistent trend of zombie video games either, those seem to keep coming too. So why is that?

Smarter than a zombie…

I have a theory as to why geeks tend to lean towards zombies. Zombies represent a threat that can be defeated with intellect. Vampires and werewolves simply out attribute a normal human; they are faster and stronger to the Nth degree (not to mention that vampires can just mind control you. Hacks!) and retain their cognitive powers in their relative state of undead-ness/shapeshifter-ey. Zombies on the other hand are (usually) as slow and stupid as a mentally challenged goat. Having said that, it stands to reason that a horde of enemies who can be both out-thought and out-run (by even an out of shape schlub) would be the preferred antagonist in a nerd’s fantasy. Being able to devise well thought out plans and fortifications in a world where he-who-can-outwit-the-zombies is king? Yes please.

This does not explain the mainstream fascination though. What is it about the zombies that have made them such an integral part of daily life? Unless you are at an Amish market you can strike up a conversation with anyone about zombies, and not only will they be dialed immediately into what you are referring to, they will also start participating! 6 out of 10 people have a zombie apocalypse emergency plan devised in their head while only 3 out of 10 know the best way out of their apartment complex in case of a fire (Completely made up statistics FTW!). Can someone explain that to me? Please? I am begging the Geek Legacy audience to help me figure this one out…

Also, any thoughts on how much longer on the zombie clock? I think in another two years we will start to see a slight decline in the fascination due to over-saturation, but I am having a hard time believing they will ever completely go out of fashion. They very well might be here to stay. What do you think???

The Jerd

    • The zombie apocalypse is going to happen. Also, I always believed most people thought zombies were the most realistic and possible of the 'supernatural' fiends (vampires, mummies, werewolves, etc.).

      • thejerd

        That's an interesting point. Not sure how the dead rising, and hungry for brains, is more realistic but I do feel as though it has been covered over and over again to the point where it might seem that way.

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