Thursday, December 6, 2012

Zombies - Social Commentary From The Undead

Welcome Zombie Blog Hoppers! Just click on the image above to see the other blogs participating in this blog hop.

Zombies are more than slowly shuffling dead things. I get bored with the usual slow-moving critters that eat braaaaains! Here are a few unusual zombies that have interested me over the years:

Tombs Of The Blind Dead - Knights of the Templar zombies on horseback. Zombies don't get much more awesome than that.

Fido - Zombies as pets, friends, and servants. This one is a real testament to how poorly human beings treat each other. Beneath the cheery suburban smile is some seriously fucked up shit.

28 Days Later (and 28 Weeks Later) - fast-moving zombies. Plus it's a virus - the rage virus.

Then there are the twisted zombie movies (including the comedies):

Shaun Of The Dead - Sade got some free publicity with this one.

Zombieland - You will never look at Twinkies the same way ever again.

Deadgirl - Sick and twisted with necrophilia thrown in.

The comic and TV show "The Walking Dead" remain popular despite a lackluster second season. And why won't Carl stay in the house?

And this brings me to Braindead (aka Dead/Alive), my favorite zombie movie. When I first met my current husband, I told him if he couldn't sit through this movie, we were not meant to be together. Not only did he sit through it, he loved it! We watch it every year on our anniversary.

There are plenty of others I'm leaving out, but those are my favorites. Zombies are all the rage right now (pardon the pun). Why? They stand in for subjects we'd rather not talk about. Discrimination. The end of the world. The breakdown of the family. Class warfare. Foreseeing the sad end of Hostess. Where will we get our Twinkies now? That was a sign of the upcoming Mayan apocalypse if there ever was one. The zombies themselves aren't usually the focus of the story. The focus is the reaction of the survivors.

The movie American Zombie attracted my attention because it makes similar social commentary that I make in my short story Trailer Trash Zombies. The movie is a mockumentary studying various functioning types of zombies. It treats zombies as if they are a misunderstood and feared segment of the population that deserve political representation, social services, respect, and much more. My short story Trailer Trash Zombies takes a similar point of view. This story is due to appear in the Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2 anthology in 2013. It's about highly-functioning zombies and their experiences. Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite.

I changed six months ago after hooking up with a really hot, tiny little Japanese zombie at an underground zombie bondage rave in Salem. Zombies I had met weren't stupid, numb louts that stumbled around deserted streets moaning to no one in particular and eating any flesh they could get hold of. Most of us were as intelligent as we were when we were alive, although our bodies were a bit worse for wear. We don't drool and moan or squeal for braaains, unless we were making a snot-nosed joke. I'd say the zombie outbreak in Massachusetts started just as summer heat was at its hottest, and the new comet Hawley-Schmidt was discovered streaking across the night sky. I guess we technically weren't zombies although everyone called us zombies for lack of a better word. We were more the walking dead left over from an extra-terrestrial viral outbreak of some sort but we roamed the streets day and night. We talked and fucked and some of us went to work every morning. We even voted. We were just… different.

Once word got out that the dead walked around Salem and Cambridge the hipsters wanted in on the new craze. Lots of humans went to zombie raves when they were lucky enough to find them, which was hard because zombies were so "don't ask, don't tell". They remained as hidden as they could, especially when news got out that another gang of rednecks cornered one and beat it until it was nearly more dead than it already was.

Zombies had a presence in Salem but the witches ran everything and they didn't care for the undead encroaching on their territory so the zombies kept a low profile. That Japanese zombie took a hefty chunk out of my shoulder when we were getting it on in a back room and the damned thing never did heal because my flesh is no longer amongst the living.  Corey and Mike were the only two people in Norwich who knew about my condition, and I thanked them frequently for keeping my secret. The last thing I needed were local vigilantes raiding my apartment and tossing my sorry ass out on the street, after burning everything I owned because they were afraid by merely standing within a few feet of a zombie they'd "catch" it.

The world in general is in the midst of upheaval right now. There are violent protests in the Middle East. There is a world-wide recession. The U. S. is on the verge of civil war. "Dirty Jobs" has been cancelled, and Honey Boo Boo is a celebrity. The Mayan apocalypse is upon us, and some people are actually taking that tripe seriously. I wonder if there are scam artists organizations that for a fee will help you prepare your finances and such for the end of the world so that you may leave something for those who are left behind the way there were for the Rapture that never happened? Zombies are a catalyst for addressing our darkest fears by projecting them onto the living dead. In that sense, they serve a useful function. Think of it this way - zombies perform a useful public service. Through them, we confront our worst fears, and maybe we can find a good way to deal with them.


  1. Stopping by from the blog hop. Wow, zombies on horseback is an idea which would never have occurred to me!
    Some Dark Romantic

  2. Very interesting piece found myself wanting to read more!

  3. Great list, but no mention of Army of Darkness? Some awesome zombie action there, even if they are technically demonic possessions :) Tombs of the Blind Dead sounds awesome!

    Zombie Food to Zombie Fit

  4. "until it was nearly more dead than it already was."

    Now that statement says it all!

  5. Interesting take on zombies. There's a Facebook page called Z Magazine that I "liked." It's the first magazine written by zombies for zombies. The only zombie lifestyle magazine on the market! You may want to submit to one of their editions. As far as "The Walking Dead," season three is way better than season two, and Carl is now a badass instead of a pain-in-the-ass.

  6. I highly recommend the original "Tombs Of The Blind Dead". I believe there are three "Blind Dead" movies, but I prefer the first. It's Spanish. Very creepy movie with a creepy soundtrack.

    Jamie, I love "Army Of Darkness", but I consider the deadites demons and not zombies. I nearly included the movie here but that stayed on my mind.

  7. I'll check out Z Magazine, Jolie. I also agree with you about "The Walking Dead", and Carl now being a badass. Looks like he grew up.

  8. Thanks, Yolanda. That's one of my favorite lines in the story. :)

  9. Thanks, Kathleen. The book "Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2" should come out in a couple of months. It's an antho. I loved writing "Trailer Trash Zombies". I live in the area described in the story, and I had fun messing with it.

  10. 28 Days is one of my faves because of the fast-moving zombies. Great list here.

  11. And you know Twinkies are zombie food ... just sayin.

    Visiting from the Zombie Blog Hop.

    Come and join me for my Countdown to Kitschmas.

  12. Perhaps you'd enjoy France film called 'The Horde' I'd just seen it last night and the zombies are freaky. Fast as hell. Strong as hell. Really cool.

  13. I'm certainly going to have to check out 'Tombs of the Blind Dead' now! If you're looking for a recommendation, watch 'Pontypool' - it's one of my favourites in the genre!


  14. Glad to see all the great comments. Zach, I'll check out "The Horde". And Julianne, "Ponypool" is one cool horror movie. Unusual zombies, too. All done in a radio station. I've seen it several times.