Basement Films: They’re Coming to Get You, Barbara

Sean Strain

Twilight and other works of fiction that have cashed in on the vampire craze may have put the final nail in the coffin of vampire fiction (pun pretty much intended as I am a real Pungeon Master). Sure, there are still some works continuing about the blood-sucking fiends, such as that show, Vampire Diaries, and that other Twilight movie creeping around the corner, but the general public seems done with it all. Now they seem to have latched onto a new monster; one that has bit more rigor mortis in progress.

Zombie fiction has been creeping in popularity in recent years, with some help from books like The Zombie Survival Guide and such movies as 28 Days Later. Perhaps the real catalyst for the popularity was Zombieland. I mean not long after it came out, our school has that new Zombie Club, while other teenagers are organizing zombie tag games at the water front. What do vampire fans have for fun, Team Edward and Team Jacob turf wars?

I remember though I’ve always had an interest in zombies. I remember being nine years old and watching The Return of the Living Dead 2, a zombie film that takes place within Louisville (though it’s really obvious not shot in Louisville). After some teenagers release a government created virus that reanimates the dead on our fair town, the military promptly blows up the city. I cried a lot as I imagined being devoured by the undead or nuked by the army.

I am not really sure why society itself has become attracted to zombies. Maybe it’s just a pop culture trend that will wear itself  just like vampires. Though I can speak for myself why I have been for some years now. After overcoming my trauma at a young age, I began to watch other zombie movies such as Dead/Alive and reading books like World War Z. Zombies seem to represent the finality of death. Yes, they are reanimated corpses, but the personality and intelligence of the being they once were has been wiped, leaving a walking husk with only the most primal drives. They are walking symbols of what eventually awaits all beings with their decomposing bodies and how it is the fate no one can escape (and taxes, as Benjamine Franklin said).

Perhaps it’s pretty morbid, but death in general has been a theme in fiction since the creation of the written word and even persists to the modern day. The main motivation of the villain in Harry Potter, Voldemort, is to essentially overcome death and achieve immortality. Death is the unknown; it is something we are fascinated and repulsed by. Yet, this could be looking too deeply into the subject and myself. Zombies could be simply fun because plowing through hordes of the undead is just fun. I very well may just like to be pretentious.