Friday, November 19, 2010

Restless Rantings on Reanimation

Zombies… what's with them?

Why is it that an entire generation of male earthlings is untiringly fixated on them?

Sure, there are plenty of zombie movies, comics, novels, TV shows, and even a song or three that we could blame (see Re: Your Brains), but those aren't the source of the fascination; they are the product, the natural outpouring of the perplexing heart of man. Modern zombie pop culture is the overflow of what the male human mind (and to a lesser extent, the female mind) is already thinking about, of what we are already talking to each other about, of what, deep down, we kind of wish were true…

And again, I ask why?

I think I have the answer…

Although zombies were around before the 60's, George Romero's catalytic and genre-defining film, Night of the Living Dead, launched the decomposing, brain-chomping undead into the mainstream. Romero followed his taboo-shattering film with Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, and other movies, some with "dead" in the title, and others without. Continuing in Romero's tradition, other cinematic examples like Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy, Re-animator, the Omega Man, the Serpent and the Rainbow, Pet Cemetery, and 28 Days Later, have provided men (and, to a lesser degree, women) an outlet, albeit an imaginary one, for our… to put it nicely, aggression... and to put it bluntly, our desire to shoot, stab, bludgeon, main, dismember, decapitate, blow up, evicerate, or otherwise kill other humans.

This twisted subconscious (and oftentimes conscious) longing of ours has been even more fully realized in the genre of video games. There are several excellent examples of this, but none more archetypal than the Resident Evil series (originally titled Biohazard in Japan), which has spawned an entire movie franchise as well. And that brings me back to film.

In addition to the numerous zombie flicks which are strictly horror genre, there are also the less serious ones. Most notably, Weekend at Bernie's (and the completely unbelievable sequel), Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, and Shaun of the Dead. These films blend our macabre fascination with the undead and our need for laughter. A lurid cocktail of humor, violence, and death; a comedy-zombie movie goes down much easier and leaves less of bitter aftertaste. The morbidity is balanced out by the mirth, and voila, we get to indulge our appetite for unbridled gore without that lingering inner gray cloud of gloom.

But, is this a bunch of hooey, a load of hogwash, a crock of… well, you know? Is the zombie phenomenon just a random, morally-neutral craze with no nefarious causative roots within the depths of the depraved human psyche? Or is it truly an insidious aftermath of the innate and implacable ill-will of our kind? Well… who knows?

So, what is the point? Why are you reading this instead of watching Miranda Sings or satisfying your appetite for autotune with the schmoyoho bro's? That, my friend, is a question you must answer for yourself. It is my job to provide you with near useless trivia, and your job to appropriate it.

That's right, I just ended this blog without actually ending it. Unresolved is how I roll.

Why don't you leave a comment as to how you think this should have ended? What are your thoughts on the modern zombie phenomenon?

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