Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Countdown to Halloween Day 10 -- Zombies


The Zombie sub-genre may boil down to one simple idea -- the living dead -- but within that simple idea is a wealth of variation.  In the pre-George Romero days, zombies were primarily tied up with stories about voodoo, and were usually portrayed as mindless slaves doing someone else's evil bidding.  But, post-Romero, the term began to be applied to a different type of creature: a mindless,shambling, reanimated corpse that hungers for human flesh.  Following Return of the Living Dead and Re-Animator, a few variations on the Romero archetype became associated with the idea of zombies in pop culture, such as a taste for eating brains and limbs that moved of their own volition even when separated from the brain stem.  In the early 2000s, zombie stories began to feature "fast" zombies, which are much more aggressive and coordinated than the slow, shambling creatures popularized by Romero. Increasingly, zombie stories are focused on the idea of a zombie apocalypse, wherein civilization collapses under the strain of dealing with the walking dead.

I have to admit, I don't understand the fascination with zombie stories in general, and the zombie apocalypse stories specifically.  While there are several zombie stories I've enjoyed thoroughly, their suddenly ubiquitous presence in popular culture has driven me to zombie burnout.  While most of my Enjoyment Modifiers affect my positively or negatively based purely on their inherent nature, Zombie stories have become a negative for me simply through media over-saturation.  The sheer number of cookie-cutter zombie apocalypse films cluttering up the horror section new releases on Netflix saddens me.  

But, while it is a negative modifier, it's not bad enough to make me instantly dislike all things zombie.  Instead, it makes any zombie story I read or watch have to step up its game to keep my attention. I find myself drawn towards any zombie story that mines the concept for comedy (Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, AAAH! Zombies) or tries to do something different, such as mashing it up with other genres (Ex-Heroes) or telling the story from the zombie POV (Colin, AAAH! Zombies), or, crazily enough, developing the protagonists into something other than 2-dimensional stereotypes to get eaten. 

No comments:

Post a Comment