So I've been Twittering like a bitch lately.
Someone (Neil Gaiman
or William Gibson
- forget who) asked why zombies had become so common recently in film & fiction.
My answer was this:
Zombies represent an innate fear of overpopulation.
Which of course is a Twitter answer.
To E X P A N D ...
The zombie represents mindless servitude when singular, in most cases. But zombie plagues represent a fear that the world is incapable of sustaining itself, specifically the human population. The numbers grow daily, the resources deplete. What recourse but cannibalism.
More interestingly, and perhaps something that Charlie Brooker put his finger on with Dead Set
(which I wasn't particularly enchanted by) is the fear that the world is slowly being filled with mindless hordes, all with only one thing on their minds: to consume.
Dawn of The Dead
definitely emphasized this. Romero knew what he was about from day 1 with zombies.
Zombie porn is something else, though.
Expecting zombie ninjas and plush cuddly zombies to be a staple of kidlife very soon (if it isn't already).
I know that zombie variants have them as either slow-moving mindless ex-humans or frantic high-octane eating machines. But I personally feel the idea of the slow-moving hordes is pretty close to what humanity is. The recent riots in London and elsewhere perhaps underline the second type (like you'd find in 28 Days Later
). But the slow encroachment of mindless consumption is something that we have been subject to for the past 7 decades, more or less. We wouldn't have a world recession if we all hadn't been borrowing money we could never afford to pay back. Fair enough, the banks are mostly to blame, and of course, real estate brokers. But if we hadn't WANTED that oversized house SO VERY BADLY - en masse, like house-hunting zombies - the banks wouldn't have had the ability to speculate on our borrowing in a housing boom, would they?
Our egotistical love of "the finer things" - all things that we have invented solely for the purpose of WANTING, not NEEDING - has rendered us cannibalistic, with inevitable outcomes. Like looting riots. Blame parents and teachers all you want. If we didn't WANT something, we'd be very unlikely to steal it. Our frivolous wants have eaten us alive, slowly, leaving us mere wanting machines.
Our love of the zombie as a fictional device comes from the fact that it is a mirror. But a mirror where we see everyone's reflection but our own.
We are our own personal zombies.