Zombies are everywhere, from movies and games to comics and graphic novels. We love nothing more than watching our world crumble and how people just like us deal with that. If you know me, you will know I am obsessed with the zombie genre. I was watching an episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ the other day and I began to think about why, we are so fascinated with watching how our apocalyptic event would play out.
1. Escapism: After a busy, stressful day in the real world there is nothing that helps me zone out more than watching a bunch of survivor’s battle their way through a post-apocalyptic landscape. It reminds me that the things I am stressed about are not so bad and that the world could be in a much, much worse state than it is.
2. Survival: Could you survive in a Walking Dead like apocalypse? People either think that they would die first or make it to the very end. Personally I think I would kick ass, I have it all planned in my head. My partner and I have a very real escape plan from the city if it were to happen. As humans we have very strong survival instincts that we don’t really need to use in day to day life. Watching this apocalypse play out on our screens engages these senses that we don’t feel every day. It makes us think about what would happen if our world very suddenly crumbled around us and what we would do. What would you do?
3. Back to basics: Modern life is hard; we live in an ever changing, fast paced, capitalist world. You keep up or you get lost in a cloud of misdirection. We are busy, evolving creatures with strict rules and ethics to abide by. Life, no matter how unconventionally lived has its distinct stages to it. In the world of the zombie apocalypse, all this is out the window. All of life’s confusing baggage is essentially gone. There are no distractions, nothing keeping us glued to our smartphones or binge watching Netflix at four in the morning. Humans would have only one, very basic motivation: To survive. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if all of our modern technology and infrastructure was ripped from us? How would we survive if our lives were as hard as our very distant ancestors?
4. Make the rules: Once the government has fallen, the borders have crumbled, money is rendered useless and the majority of the population have dwindled what we are left with is bands of survivors, probably living out of small, basic communities. What we have then is opportunity, opportunity to do things on our own terms, to be in control of our small societies.People that were once powerless now have the chance to have more control over not only themselves but life itself. It brings with it renewed hope that we could do better, that life will eventually be better than before.
Of course (as you will know if you watch The Walking Dead) this rarely goes to plan as power craving maniacs will always find a way to gain control. Even so we would have much more control over our lives. Even with the flesh eating zombies following our every move.
5. Starting again: Have you ever wanted a do –over? To wipe the slate clean and start again? In the zombie apocalypse you are essentially a blank page. You can be whoever you want to be and quite often, the quietest, meekest characters surprise themselves and in some ways become better, stronger people than they were before. On the other hand, the strongest people in reality could prove to be the weakest in the apocalypse. The shy office assistant could become a mass murderer dictator, the car salesmen could become the leader of a huge band of survivors. The opportunities for people to change into something almost unrecognizable are endless.
6. Unlikely relationships: Ever wandered about all those people you walk past every day? The people you sit next to on the bus? In the world of the zombie apocalypse, most of the people you will forge family like bonds with are not going to be the sort of people you would normally mix with. You will forge deep connections with people you would never have even thought about talking to in real life. I have read many stories of strangers tied together by very public, unexpected tragedies. Strangers, that years later have formed deep, emotional relationships with each other.
7. Violence: This is a strange one seeing as most of my reasons have looked at it from a fairly positive view however violence is definitely a reason a lot of us love the zombie apocalypse formula. Unlike other apocalypses from deadly viruses & contagious diseases, the zombie apocalypse does give us the chance to survive. How you ask? By being a cold blooded, violent killer. You won’t survive if you cower in the corner and unless you have an underground steel bunker with a lifetime’s supply of food and water at hand, you’re going to have to kill. Not real people of course (although that might happen) but zombies. Bashing in the heads of walkers will have to become second nature to you. We love to watch this and we love the idea of this because it’s completely dehumanized and almost guilt free, a chance to get up any pent-up anger that may linger in us. For the majority of us, killing is not something we want or need to do (which is good) but in a zombie apocalypse it’s an attribute you need and the better you are at it, the longer you’ll live.
We live in a world that is constantly on, everyone is connected via the internet, everyone is always doing something and nothing is ever off. In the world of the zombie apocalypse, there is no internet, no twitter, no Facebook, no work, no bills, no taxes, no money. There is you, a band of survivors and hopefully at least some of your family just trying to get from day to day. You slay zombies and look for food and shelter. In a way it’s simple and in the world that we live in- simple is something we can only dream of. I would never wish this to happen, in real life it would absolutely suck and the real world of complications would be greatly missed (as would the countless deceased friends and relatives) however it is the perfect form of escapism for us.
These are some very deep reasons as to why we might love this genre. Another reason (for The Walking dead universe in particular) is that it’s just a kick-ass, entertaining and fun concept to watch play out and the characters are awesome.
What is the first thing you would do if a zombie apocalypse broke out?
Stay Strong xoxoxo