Slink up the street and enter the dusty bookstore. Upon opening the door, carefully adjust your tinfoil hat. Give another furtive glance behind you as you step over the threshold and flee to your inner sanctum: the zombie apocalypse survival manuals.
People have been interested in the living dead for centuries. One need look no further than Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In their day, these books contained some of the most frightening stories ever told. Even now, Shelley and Stoker’s works are beloved classics in the fear department. However, over the past few years, a new trend has emerged. Instead of tales of brave folk vanquishing the undead against all odds, this new generation of horror lit seems to focus on a more ghoulish aspect of the genre. These books, whether jovial or serious in tone, seem to focus mostly on the idea of zombies taking over the world, leaving only a few survivors to fight back with little more than wits, chicks, and a bunker full of shotguns and chainsaws.
The theme of zombies suddenly running the world (often thanks to a faulty science experiment) has appeared in many different media. From Zombieland to You Might be a Zombie to Call of Duty: Zombies, the idea of a zombie apocalypse has spread to many levels and is no longer considered occult.
The million dollar question here isn’t what this obsession is, or how it came about, but why our culture has taken such an interest in it. Is living in a tiny bunker with people you may or may not get along with really that appealing? This writer certainly doesn’t think so. However, that does not mean I represent the majority of people my age, nor does it mean I have no interest in finding out where this concept emerged, because I have a couple of ideas about where it stemmed from.
Perhaps our slightly morbid interest comes from the fact that we witness mindlessness on a daily basis, from screaming fangirls to vapid Miss America contestants, that our reaction to the undead has been nullified.
Or maybe we have just finally accepted the fact that the human race is going to kill itself off somehow, and that being mass-murdered by the undead is far more appealing, and would make a far better story, than being killed by Global Warming or a massive flood. I admit this theory makes very little sense, because who cares about whether it would make a good story to tell or not? If everyone is dead, who can tell the story? Unless the zombies tell tales of their victories as bedtime stories to their children…
This whole craze may have just started as good fun. Maybe a group of kids got really into their Halloween costumes and things got blown insanely out of proportion.
Another theory could be that we want to feel better about ourselves, so we turned to zombies for the same reason people watch Jersey Shore. It’s insurance that, no matter how badly you fail a test or how stupid it was to climb that fence with barbed wire on it, you will never be as brainless as the undead.
Yes, all of these ideas were quite fun to think up, and I for one certainly do not believe our world is about to be overrun with the undead. However, that fear is alive and screaming in others who are so worried about zombies taking over that they have built emergency shelters and are stock-piling canned foods. Far be it from me to laugh at those who believe in this ghoulish fate though, because, hey, maybe they’re right.