The new Edward Cullen.
The new…Christian Grey? (*googles*) Yes. The new Christian Grey.
Or were they the new Katniss Everdeen?
Who knows, but boy did they become popular!
With the Seventh Generation of home video game consoles ushering in successful titles such as Capcom’s Dead Rising, Valve’s Left 4 Dead or Deep Silver’s Dead Island series, the undead also pushed their way onto TV with the hugely successful Walking Dead series (which to this day I still haven’t watched because it just deviated too far away from the comics for my liking).
As its new sibling-series Fear The Walking Dead lumbers in, along with TV3’s NOW On Demand service bringing us Dead Rising Watchtower (based on the aforementioned video game), it’s a good time to look at my top reasons on why zombies are still FANTASTIC! (Killer Dead Rising reference)
The Pack Mentality
As is often the case with situations where zombies are involved, not only do the undead roam in packs, but the survivors find themselves doing the same.
And this makes for good storytelling as humanity crawls through the pack, with leaders attempting to find the best path of survival while others who may or may not have the best plan in mind fight back.
As bias loops itself around the neck of the last bit of humanity, its this unraveling that makes you question whether the more dreadful thing is the zombies breathing down their neck or that they’ll kill one another before the zombies have a chance.
Zombies Will Always Be Terrifying
If you take the species at the top of the food chain and make them:
- Undying (bar the occasional decapitation exception)
- Ugly as hell (because they’re…dying…but not?)
- Built to consume every other living thing in sight with untold rage
Then you end up with something that’s terrifying. Often swarming in packs or somehow hiding in some out-of-sight corner, the zombie is a fantastic fright for all because what’s more terrifying than your fellow human, who is no longer a human at all…
While conventional weapons do end up being used, it’s when the wacky stuff starts being thrown around that it becomes interesting!
Vinyl records as deathly frisbees, make-shift flamethrowers and anything sharp piercing any slow-groaning piece of dead meat, the weapons become a key part of any good zombie series as the idea of surviving an outbreak due to the likes of a very sharp waffle cone is just hilarious!
Look At All Those Weird Zombies
Maybe it’s how gory they are.
Zombies run around around all limbless and crazy-eyed, groaning either from pain or hunger (because who knows what they’re thinking to be honest).
And depending on the story they tell, the zombies can end up also being crazy mutant beasts that somehow gain mass because…story?
I don’t know. Magic probably, because you know zombies are crazy-real.
Anyway you get all these towering beast-things; long-clawed-and-somehow-very-fast undead and sometimes the really wild “LOOK! A PLANK OF NAILS FOR HIS ARMS” zombie that just really mixes all the flavours together for a bloody good time.
The Border Argument
Where in the world is safe?
Whenever a story tells us of the coming of the dead, sometimes the location is mentioned while they fill us in via backstory as to the outcome of other countries.
With that in mind, it’s always nice when little old New Zealand often escapes unscathed, us being too far away for the outbreak to reach. But then sometimes we’re also where it started as our smaller area makes it easier to spread.
So the border argument is always fun because who would fall first and who would fall last?
And who wouldn’t fall at all?
At its core, what really pulls people in to a good zombie story is survival. The thing that’s driven humankind through millennia to come out as the Alpha species; the thing that’s buried right at the bottom of our base instincts is to survive.
Zombie stories never have situations that benefit the protagonist. Under-resourced, outnumbered and in some ways outgunned, they are pushed to the edge with how to survive, often placed in situations that humankind thinks they’ll never have to confront.
It’s here where a series will draw upon the hopes of everyone, roping them into an area of storytelling where you pray on every blessed thing you have wishing that they somehow survive the swarm of dead setting upon them.
Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re here taking over all your media. Whether it be in your next favourite game, TV show or movie, it’s clear that the undead are here to stay.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.