Well, summer is coming and trends are changing. Swimsuits that match and flip-flops have become passé; wide-leg pants and platform wedges are currently the hot thing. Changes are sweeping through literature and media forums as well: vampires are so last year, the creature du jour is now the zombie.
Vampires gained traction throughout the seventies and eighties with novels like Stephen King’s ‘
Yet, a change is in the air. There has been a fascination with the walking un-dead throughout the years, from George A. Romero's 1968 cornerstone film Night of the Living Dead to Michael Jackson's Thriller video of 1983, to the Evil Dead trilogy directed by Sam Raimi (culminating in Army of Darkness in 1993) but it seems that in the 21st century, stories concerning zombies are reaching critical mass. Resident Evil (based on the popular video game) and 28 Days Later were crafted in 2002. The year 2004 saw both a re-make of Dawn of the Dead (based on Romero’s 1978 release of the same name) and the release of one of my favorite movies of all time: Shaun of the Dead (Shaun’s tagline is “A romantic comedy. With zombies.”). More zombie films have followed, but a recent zombie film has already become a cult hit, Dance of the Dead, that combines the zombie genre with a high school coming of age story.
The recent trend has bled over into books as well. World War Z by Max Brooks, Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Brown, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s latest installment of the
Why does it matter, you ask? Well, this entire zombie hullabaloo is merely social commentary. We as a society tend to pay more attention to ubiquitous television screens or personal communication devices than we do in developing relationships with one another. While people seem to be drawn to the vampire’s sensual struggle between vulnerability and power that seems to exist in another (previous) age, zombies represent the numbness of today, of us going through the motions of living, without really doing so. The apocalyptic plague aspect of these stories of the living dead is also a warning. It represents the bleakness of a future where we kill our own planet through pollution and negligence. In the movies and books, zombies are often unavoidable; in real life, they show a present and a future that we can avoid by taking care of ourselves and our environment. So go out, don’t be bitten by intransigence, but put your soul into everything that you do!