The Undead Truth About Zombies
The Original Zombie: Mind Control
Originally, the term "zombie" referred to an animated corpse brought back by magic. It comes from the many places that have beliefs in zombies that are tied to superstition. For example, the most well known is in Haiti. There, the zonbi are created when living people are given psychoactive drugs that leave them in the power of a bokor. The victim is put into a death like state and then seem to be reanimated (usually after being buried) and emerge in a demented fix.
Why don't they ever really wake up? Part of it is the drugs but some argue that the fact that the "zombie" actually believe they died and should be dead also helps play a role. Furthermore, the surrounding culture provides the victim expectations that they unconsciously succumb to in their weakened state.
Zombies Today: Popular Culture and Disease
Nowadays, if you take someone off the street and ask them what a zombie is, their first response isn't going to have anything to do with Haiti. Zombies are all over the media, with movies like Night of the Living Dead and television shows like The Walking Dead. With these and other references in mind, the first thing that comes to mind are flesh eating, brain-dead victims of an epidemic.
They're discolored, they're drooling blood, they're mindless, and they're after you. Shuffling footsteps, groans, and bloodshot eyes have captured movie, literature, and video game audiences for decades.
Still, consider what I said above, which was a very brief example of the original definition of a zombie but still broad enough to cover most of my bases. If this is what a zombie is, then is our new age definition accurate at all? This change is even more severe than what I talked about in my hub about the definitions of a vampire.
Why do you like zombies?
What makes zombies so fun to watch?
Why do People Like Vampires?
- A Brief Vampire Narrative: From Darkness to Light
Yet another monster that is popular in the media but has also changed drastically over the years in terms of what defines it.
What's With the Makeover?
While the original definition of a zombie is interesting and has been used in film, it is not what makes the profit. The new age hordes of cannibals are really where it's at. Why? What makes them so popular?
Here are some of the major theories out there:
1. Scary Dead Things
Ever had a scary zombie dream? I've had tons. The idea of being eaten alive or even chased by hordes of flesh eating dead people is terrifying enough to get people to gather and watch.Not only that, but the idea of becoming a zombie is also intriguing. People are fascinated with being frightened and love a good scare.
2. The Fight to Survive
That desire to live and keep going despite the odds is the only thing driving any zombie story. Eyes widen in anticipation as audiences witness their group of uninfected persons run across the screen to safety...or their inevitable demise.
3. Uber Gross
Of course, the basic fascination comes down to seeing what the zombies are going to look like or do next. Maybe one will be missing a leg or an arm...or all limbs. Each new zombie film brings something new to the table that audiences just have to see to quench that blood-lust.
Another theory is that some people are just paranoid and this whole zombie thing just kind of feeds that. Survival is all about M.E. and keeping away from anyone else since you know joining a big group could lead to infection. Still, this is the least believable since the popularity of zombie movies in the box office suggests that any paranoid nutcase would be too afraid to show up at a crowded theater.
5. Being a Loner Isn't So Bad
Yet, the idea of living according to your own rules and surviving an apocalypse is still intriguing. Yeah, there's some paranoia still involved but you get a chance to be a hero by saving someone else's life and you can do whatever you want.
Undead and Inhuman
Once someone becomes a zombie, they are no longer human. Still, in bringing this scenario to light, many questions about humanity and even morality come to light in the media that ask questions such as "how far can and should science go" and "where is the line drawn between what's human and what isn't?" There are many reasons why people are fascinated with the zombie of the media today. Most probably don't know why and don't even think about it. All that's for sure is that even with the vampire craze the zombies are here to stay and haunt our dreams for probably even more decades to come.
© 2011 LisaKoski