The Zombie Epiphany
I don’t often find the urge to write about zombies, but my hubby just watched World War Z, and I have to say it made an impact on me. We’re big fans of The Walking Dead, for whatever reason I do not know, and so World War Z promised to be fairly entertaining. However, I didn’t just find it entertaining, but a little eye-opening and thought-provoking.
What about zombies is thought-provoking, you might ask? I think on some fundamental level the idea of immortality fascinates us all, and zombies sort of represent that. They represent the kind of living, or unliving as the case may be, for eternity we all fear—a soulless existence based on endless need. Vampires live forever, but they represent a tolerable kind of immortality, if you don’t mind drinking blood and watching reruns of “Friends” for eternity. You get to dress fashionably, the sex is supposedly to die for (tee-hee), and depending on the variation of the vampire tale, you might be strong, fast, or sparkly, or some combination of all three. And you can read minds, too.
Zombies don’t even have minds, just some part of the brain that drives them to eat and eat and eat, and not even good stuff like cookies or pancakes. No, they eat people and animals and sometimes each other if nothing else ambles into their path. Parts of them fall off, too, like fingers and noses, unlike vampires who are ethereally tempting and beautiful. So I think people watch zombie movies because they can safely experience a terrible kind of eternity and feel grateful at the end of the ninety minutes that they don’t have to chomp on their family members or neighbors to get sustenance. Sort of makes going to work on Monday a little less of a chore.
If you’ve ever watched The Walking Dead, you’ve seen what I always thought of as the typical zombie. The Walking Dead variety move slow, so you could probably out-run them, but they tend to lurk in places you’d least expect them and are masters at the surprise attack. One of these zombies is escapable, but when they pack up, they can tear down buildings or tear people apart, like an immense wave of decaying flesh. It’s more than a little terrifying to see a pack of them stumbling along, forwardly mobile eating machines that will munch on anything that can’t escape their numbers.
Even more terrifying were the zombies in World War Z. Being used to the lethargic, fairly low-energy Walking Dead zombies, I was shocked at how predatory and high-energy these zombies were, fiends on caffeine. Once exposed to the virus that caused the zombie-ism, a human would start flailing around like he was being shocked with a cattle prod, then go all crazy and start jumping on others and biting them, making more zombies. These were the fastest undead I’ve ever seen, and they didn’t just run in packs, but flowed like water around their victims. I’d always seen such slow moving creepers that these super-sonic flesh-eaters were a hundred times more frightening.
The most frightening aspect of World War Z, though, was in a scene with Brad Pitt and a zombie that was gnashing its teeth at him threateningly. At one point, I realized, horrified, that the zombie reminded me of…me. To be more exact, me when I’m nagging at my husband. It was a spot on resemblance, but my hubby didn’t seem to notice. I, however, am planning on taking nagging lessons. It’s one thing to be a shrew, but I don’t have to look like a flesh-muncher doing it.
What about you? Do you dig zombies? Have a fave zombie movie? Or do you have another terrifying creature that haunts your dreams? Please do share.