I love them.
I loved them ever since I saw my first zombie shamble across my television screen in Night of the Living Dead. Hell, I remember falling in love with zombies when I heard a radio commercial for Return of the Living Dead on the radio. There was something about that one actor moaning "Brraaaaaains" that really tickled me as a kid.
Since then I try to seek out interesting movies or literature on the subject on the undead.
So what makes me so fascinated with the zombie genre?A few things actually.
Romero is the grandaddy of all zombie movies and brought zombies into the main stream. He created his own mythology and his slow moving, flesh hungry undead are what we're most familiar with. Romero created such a mysterious mythology that other film makers were able to take the concept and run with it...literally if you look at the Dawn of the Dead Remake. We now have fast zombies like in Dawn of the Dead Remake, the infected in 28 Days Later, the genetically enhanced zombies from Resident Evil, and the domesticated docile zombies in Fido among other countless brands of zombies. Each brand was created in a different way (disease, terrorism, God getting pissed, all of the above, etc). The zombie can be reinvented over and over each time with a different twist or mythos. Even if you hate fast zombies or don't consider the infected really zombies just turn around and BAM there's another zombie movie that may be suited for your taste! As a writer or a director, its a creative subject with endless possibilities. As a viewer, it never gets old.
A great example of this epic destruction is Max Brooks amazing novel World War Z.
What is so fascinating about this novel is its not all about the flesh eating zombie folks. Its about the crumbling of civilization on a global scale. He goes into depth about what would happen geographically, politically, and socially if the Zombie Apocalypse came. A zombie isn't just a pesky menace like a werewolf or vampire. While vampires and werewolves are capable of spreading their "infection" to others, they are still in control of their conscious thought. So even if the vampires or werewolves were evil, they still are in control of who they kill or turn. Zombies are mindless killing machines acting only on instinct. One zombie can destroy the whole world. We're not just concerned about a few plucky victims running for safety, we're worried that the entire planet is doomed. A serial killer is scary but the complete end of the world as we know it is terrifying. Not only is it the end of the world but if you get caught by one of these guys you will die AND be forced to become something horrifying. A scary guy like Michael Myers makes me jump. Zombies haunt me for a while afterwards.
The zombie genre is one I can easily play in. Its a fantastic "What if" story that really does make you think. What if the end came? What if the dead walks again? What if my grandma tried to eat me? What would I do? My husband and I spend a good deal of long car trips playing the "How to survive the zombie Apocalypse" game. Its like playing a game of Stratego....very bloody and decayed Stratego. We sit and wonder where the safe zones would be in our city, what we would bring, where we would loot (yes, I said loot), and other survival tactics. For the most part I have to say we have a pretty good contingency plan for the rising of the dead.
Can't help lovin' that man 'o mine.
Zombies capture my imagination. They fascinate and frighten me all at once. They make me think about my own morality and will to survive. And of course you can kill them in several different entertaining ways. And while I love all types of horror from slasher to ghost, zombies tend to be on the top of my list.