I get a kick writing about zombies. Unlike their vampire horror counterparts, I find the whole zombie genre fascinating. However, I dare not draw a direct comparison between zombies and vampires, even though at times one would be hard-pressed not doing so. Perhaps one day I can write about the transformation of the vampire genre in our modern age. But not today. Today, I’d like to add to my Monday Mayhem series the immortal nature of zombies.
When I think of zombies, I think of them as these non-stop, eating machines. In a past post, I’ve compared them to sharks. They hunt and feed. Nothing else. Their makeup is of the design of wanting to fulfill the emptiness felt within. They lurch back and forth, hauling their limbs from one caustic kill to another. Their only enemy being us, humans, who also happen to be their main meal.
Before zombies grew to become these grease-lightening, run-for-your-life, all-consuming creatures, as seen in World War Z, zombie fans only had George A. Romero’s biblical-like telling of how zombies should behave.
They had to drag. They had to moan. And they had to appear as if a truck ran over them. Several times, in fact. Their head tilted to one side became their trademark.
Yet, in all this, what does it mean? Every so often, I’ll add my two cents to the zombie coffers in an attempt to demystify the legends from fact. I’ll give an opinion regarding zombie origins, diseases, curses, events, possible apocalypse scenarios, and the like. I’ll delve into the science behind today’s zombie blitzkrieg, the whys and wherefores. The question remains though, what does it all mean?
If you will, allow me a few moments to lend you my take of what zombies represent in our culture. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I believe my opinion is ready for some good ol’ fashioned primetime critique.
I believe zombies represent humanity’s desire to capture the idea of wanting to live forever. This is not a new concept in the zombie genre. It’s been around a long time in the vampire realm, but for zombies, no one really talks about it. Who wants to? Do you want to see a zombie live forever? Uh-uh, not me. Not in my backyard. But, the implication is there. Zombies and humans have a limited shelf life. Both eventually will die and return to dust.
You might ask how can I know this? Look around. We have spas for rejuvenating vitality, convincing ourselves we can reverse the process of aging. Oils and lotions to keep our faces from losing collagen, so our skin won’t sag to our chest in our retirement years. We run, swim, bike, walk in hopes we can keep the heart pumping to an optimal level in order to avoid a massive coronary or fatal aneurysm. Our commercials tell us we’ll lose twenty pounds from our figure if we consume their products. It’ll make us look young and we’d be able to attract those much younger than us of the opposite sex. How young do we need to regress? Will we be satisfied if we have a magic cure-all to find ourselves back in our mother’s womb?
It’s a craving we have for youth similar to a zombie’s craving for human flesh. In a zombie’s case, no matter how much meat it eats, it will continue to rot until it dies a miserable death. Not much different from humans, really. We can shoot a man to the moon and back but we can’t find a cure for aging.
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Do you think zombies represent humanity’s plight against getting old? Can you think of anything else zombies might represent?