Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Feast of the Dead

So, I picked up a book, I'm about halfway through, and I don't really have much interest in picking it back up. Now, I don't mean this as anything bad about the book. It's decently written, with some nice cover art and a combination of elements I haven't quite seen yet. It's just those elements don't interest me much anymore. It's almost like they've (dare I say it) been done to death.

I think it's fair to say at this point, that the zombie has jumped the shark.

Or something like that.

Some of you may not be familiar with that term (I knew it, but didn't know what it meant until recently). So I'm going to explain it.

The term means something that was once popular, but has now crossed the line into a decline of quality that is beyond recovery. Originally, it was applied to tv shows at the point where the writing fell apart and the shows started relying on cheap gimmicks and rehashed gags to get ratings as opposed to, you know, good writing. The term has since caught on and is open to mean anything that once popular and is now so overdone that people are getting tired of it.

Shaun of the Dead came out in 2004, and almost ever since, we've been inundated with zombie this and zombie that. We now have zombie conventions, zombie weddings, and even zombie strippers! A movie even came out this past year that was a zombie romance! I mean, everyone is entitled to their own fetishes and fantasies, but at this point you might as well say that we're actively promoting necrophilia. (Though I guess you could say Twilight did that already).

Now, granted, the fears that zombies represented when they first became somewhat mainstream are long gone. The idea that we're all "zombies", working through the paces of our lives with nary a thought in our heads as we go one by one down our list of daily tasks, isn't compelling anymore. If anything, we've accepted that role.

The evolution that the zombie has undergone in recent years, changing from the slow, lurching, reanimated corpse it started as, to the agile, running, cannibalistic predator, is due in part to directors recognizing that the older versions of the zombie don't scare us anymore. We're just not afraid of the walking dead at this point, so they try to switch up which fear they're playing on by aiming for the more primal fear of being hunted, chased down, and eaten, as opposed to the unnatural fear that something dead is up and walking around. I mean, at this point, you might as well be using aliens, werewolves, vampires or even just human cannibals. 

That's not even touching on the whole zombie apocalypse that people are waiting and HOPING to happen. The CDC even put up a page giving details on what to do to prepare for such a thing. I mean, we're not getting any smarter here people, a few generations down the line, our kids are likely to think a zombie apocalypse is a real threat that they live under on a daily basis! (If you want to argue the intellectual point of that with me, I advise you to look up the phrase "Lord of the Rings rips off Harry Potter" and "Stupid things girls do for Justin Beiber" on Google. Trust me, you will fear for the future of the human race.) 

At this, the point where the zombie has infiltrated every aspect of society in just about every way one can think of. I think the time has come to re-bury them. With this last image, I hereby cast my vote to eject the zombie from the list of horror monsters. 

Yes, this is a My Little Pony zombie. 

~ Shaun


  1. You are right, just like any other thing that has mass interest and therefore gets copied to make money, zombies have been overdone. In fact, the movie Shaun of the Dead is a tribute to many previous reanimated corpse movies, which I like alot. Also the term 'jumped the shark' is from the show Happy Days, in which The Fonz performs a ridiculous stunt where he jumps his motorcycle over a shark in the water, thus signaling the end of the shows originality and imagination. I think it is up to the new writers to come up with next big scare.
    P.S. I think zombies work well as versions of already known characters ie. My Little Pony. :-)

    1. It was actually water ski's, not his motorcycle. Either way though, it's fairly absurd.

  2. I have never thought zombies were either a) compelling or b) scary (the one notable exception would be something like Frankenstein). There's a conversation in NCIS about this whole phenomenon... that slow-zombies just are NOT scary, and that fast-zombies are NOT zombies... which I completely agree with, so there you have it. Zombies just don't work for me on any level and never really have.

    But, based on the zombie-mania sweeping the world, I appear to be the odd-one-out.

    1. Only one time can I ever remember actually being afraid of the slow zombie. In 7th grade, the SyFy channel had the original Night of the Living Dead on as their 5 am movie. I had just enough time to watch it before I had to go out to the bus stop for school. In the cold. In the dark. I was freaked out like you would not believe.