Z is for Zombies

a-to-z-letters-z I can’t believe the A to Z Challenge is coming to an end. It’s been an interesting experience and I want to thank everyone who took the time to read some of my entries and a big thanks to those that took time to comment.

Zombies seem to be everywhere these days (no not literally, you can put down the crossbow). From AMC’s The Walking Dead to the upcoming movie World War Z they’re on the big screen and small screen. I won’t bore you with a long lecture on the history of the undead in popular culture, especially since I am far from an expert. Personally, I suspect part of our fascination with zombies is our uneasy relationship with death in modern society as well as our fears of disease and sickness. On the one hand we a reluctant to talk about death in our society, we hide it from public view and only reluctantly deal with it in our mourning rituals. We act as if death itself were contagious and that we don’t want to risk drawing attention to ourselves by talking about it. I also think that we fear (and rightly so) infectious disease and its spread. From influenza pandemics to exotic and deadly viruses like Ebola and Coronavirus we fear the rapid, uncontrolable spread of disease that can rob of us family and friends and threaten ourselves.

It’s interesting in recent years that serious organizations like the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have come out with Zombie Preparedness programs. While it is tongue in cheek, it does serve a real purpose in getting people thinking about dealing with the spread of such an outbreak.

Like my passion time travel, I find Zombies a very rich story telling device that can be used in so many ways. From slow zombies to fast zombies and everything in between. While most modern fans of Zombies wouldn’t consider re-animating the dead on purpose to be true zombies, I consider Frankenstein and re-animated zombies found in Voodoo culture like depicted in the movie “The Serpent and the Rainbow” to be direct ancestors to the modern day zombie in fiction.

In 2003 Max Brooks wrote The Zombie Survival Guide which was a very popular guide that discuss both the history of the zombie and also survival techniques. Online I follow a twitter feed called Zombie Training that offers no nonsense practical advice on surviving zombies. More than once I’ve read on of their tweets and thought, that makes perfect sense.

Getting back to the fiction side of things I want to leave you with a couple of references for interesting additions to the genre.

The first is a short Australian film that you can find online called “I Love Sarah Jane” that is heart breaking in more than one way and is only 14 minutes long.

The second is for the trailer for Warm Bodies (2013) that uses Zombies in a way to explore what makes us human. The movie is based on the book by Issac Marion.

The last is a trailer for a film I keep meaning to watch but haven’t seen yet. A Canadian film called Pontypool that looks at language as a virus. It’s based on the book “Pontypool Changes Everthing” by Tony Burgess

What’s your take on Zombies? Love them or hate them?

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