- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
Oh Hubert, you and your atomic monsters!”
For instance, in the 1950’s the fears and concerns that people had were about communism, atomic bombs, and the unknown effects of radiation.
Popular horror movies produced back then mirrored that anxiety by having mutant giant ants in movies like “Them” or mutant giant people with “The Amazing Colossal Man” and “50 Ft Woman”. Subtle hints of communism in movies such as ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or “Invasion USA” with implied scary possibilities.
The 1960’s and 70’s introduced a whole new era of horror with intense graphic gore to scare the audiences. Returning Vietnam veterans, with war horrors fresh in their minds from a war lasting years, brought descriptions and images back to general population.
Special effects artist Tom Savini has been quoted that war casualties were often used as a basis for his special effects in movies. Also changing social and moral standards gave rise to guilt and fears amplified in movies such as the Exorcist.
In the 1980’s, with the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, especially around the time that actor Rock Hudson died from AIDS complications, produced fears and concerns with “tainted blood” that possibly generated the resurgence of the vampire era. Novels such as Anne Rice’s “Interview with a Vampire”, originally published in 1976, became a huge bestseller and the whole goth/vampire scene exploded in popularity.
Eventually the horrors moved to suburbia as parents moved into somewhat seclusion from the modern world. Now fears about what could go wrong in this new environment drove movies such as Poltergeist, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street making it the standard of shock fare.
But today, it seems that Zombies are the current “scare du jour”. Zombies seem to be shuffling around everywhere!
Even the Krell household this year for Christmas received the gifts of the “Walking Dead” series, Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes and Zombies, and various other Zombie media to add to the already acquired “World War Z” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”.
In fact, when researching this post I asked questions at the local bookstore about the Zombie phenomenon and the bookstore person responded with a “It’s out of control! Zombies are getting into everything!”
I expected the bookstore employee to suddenly produce a baseball bat for the occasion!
So that got me wondering about what this could possibly mean as far as the anxieties of society today?
Is it just a coincidence? Just a circumstance of some good zombie stories showing up at the same time causing this zombie popularity? I don’t think it is.
So here are some of my thoughts as to what may be causing the “Zombie Nation” effect…
The popularity is a direct reflection of the popularity of certain shooter type video games. Video games have become more popular than movies, making substantially more in profits. Shooter type games lend themselves to needing prey that cannot generate sympathy of any sort. Zombies fit that criteria perfectly. Who can argue about having to shoot something that is trying to eat you? and looks and smells bad to boot.
The general population has anxiety and fear about the collapse of institutions, structure, and civility around them. This produces thoughts about self survival in situations where it’s becoming every person for himself.
Increasing concerns about such things as genetic modifications of basic items as the things we eat, creates a fear of a mass single catastrophe where everything breaks down to complete chaos.
Often conversations about zombies quickly become an assessment of your own chances in the “Zombie Apocalypse”. Would you have what it takes to survive? Where would you go? What would you take with you?
It becomes a test of your abilities under hardship, your capability to think under extreme conditions. Just a mental test of “Do you have what it takes?”
The population is becoming de-humanized as a way to isolate emotional pain and suffering. As more and more of the “lesser classes” of society are falling victim to lost jobs, lost homes, or loss of health care, it’s a coping mechanism to “Zombify” the victims to decrease the feeling of helplessness that you are feeling.
Because you cannot do anything to help those “victims”, you draw in to a tighter emotional circle or shell for survival. Those on the outside become the non-humans or zombies that you cannot feel for because emotions would lessen YOUR chance of survival.
Well, those are my theories and thoughts as to it all. But really who knows what’s driving the popularity of all these creatures in their quest for more “bwains”?
Maybe we’ve just run out of enemies in books and movies that can be universally hated. At least that’s the reason that I’m hoping for.
But until the true reason is discovered, remember….”Always double tap”
Originally published here on December 28, 2010.