A Decade of Zombies IV: Epidemic Rooted in Society
This is Part IV of a series titled ‘A Decade of Zombies.’ Part III is here.
“Most people would rather die than think.”
– Bertrand Russell
The “infection” is a social commentary. When Peter Jackson released King Kong, the reference to the giant ape coming from a place called Skull Island traces its roots back to one of the Australian director’s earlier films, Dead / Alive where a strain of disease that can only be carried by a specific type of monkey causes the zombification of a small town. Although this formula of an unknown tropical disease is more akin to the Haitian roots of zombies, the “infected” of the past 10 years arise more from biological experiments or environmental issues rooted back towards man’s greed. Just take a look at all the Resident Evil titles. Likewise with the House of the Dead shooter series in the arcades, of how horror has its roots embedded in science.
There is a scene in the first episode of Dead Set where an Infected is looking through a TV station camera showing the Big Brother safehouse, drooling over the warm bodies of the remaining housemates. This is the other side of the zombie culture, of being stripped of higher functions as society satiates their “hunger for the media.” The opening credits of Shaun of the Dead as well parody regular people going about their business mindlessly without much meaning.
Beyond the blood, gore and fanfare, society has played one of the biggest practical jokes on itself by showing that the parallel between today’s living and the walking dead have very little difference.
In the alternate ending of I Am Legend, Will Smith realizes that the world order has changed, making him the last human, as it is considered to be quite “normal” to be Infected.
In the recent Zombieland (2009), a young boy develops a list of unconditional rules to follow in order to stay alive. It is in this frame of mind that we put this commentary to a close as we see that if we go back to the basics of survival, all you need is a little discipline, cardio, and to an extent, plants (Plants vs Zombies 2009) in order to live.