Why Are Zombies So Popular?


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Why are zombies so popular? Blame the recession, disease pandemic, terrorists, and general unhappiness:

Zombies thrive in popular culture during times of recession, epidemic and general unhappiness. Traditional threats to U.S. security may have waned, but nontraditional threats assault us constantly. Concerns about terrorism have not abated since 9/11, and cyberattacks have now emerged as a new anxiety. Drug-resistant pandemics have been a staple of local news hysteria since the H1N1 virus swept the globe in 2009. Scientists continue to warn about the dangers that climate change poses to our planet. And if the financial crisis taught us anything, it is that contagion is endemic to the global market system.

Zombies are the perfect metaphor for these threats. As with pandemics and financial crises, they are not open to negotiation. As with terrorism in all its forms, even a small outbreak has the potential to wreak massive carnage.

Daniel W. Drezner of The Wall Street Journal explains: Link


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Zombie films are a kind of catch-all genre, catering to a variety of fears and desires. There's good, old fashioned self-loathing; humanity is messy and depraved so sod the lot and let 'em rot. There's the fear for the status quo from terrorists to communists. Fear of science or "Evil Corporations" run amok. Interpretations vary widely depending upon which film is being considered. "Zombieland" (fun) obviously is a very different story from "I Am Legend" (very serious). "I Am Legend" (scientists goof up really big) differs greatly from the film it is largely based on, "The Omega Man" (The hippies/commies are coming).

To me, the most powerful desire behind the fascination with zombieism is the desire to be free from the trappings of modern society: overcrowding, traffic jams, office jobs, apartment buildings, overreaching government, constant noise, and on and on... A zombiefied world is a world in which a person can cut loose and break stuff for a while and then find a sufficiently well defended fortress with a well-stocked kitchen and live out his days in relative simplicity.

So it's the multi-purpose nature of the genre that makes it so popular, I think. At least that's my two cents. :-)
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you can fight them without alienating large segments of your audience.

This. There's a marketplace reason why the Red Dawn; remake poses North Korea as the invader. Even though it's a ridiculous premise, there's no loss of sales as a result.
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This guy is confusing George Romero's reason from making the Dead movies with why we like them. Yes, Dawn of the Dead is a statement about rampant consumerism. Land of the dead is about a police state in the wake of a perceived terrorist threat. This doesn't equate to why they are popular. I think the Zombie genre lost popularity because the sequels to the first 2 dead movies sucked so bad that they were replaced by Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Kruegar. When that well dried up, darker horror themes came back and Zombies were part of that resurgence. Geeks like me enjoy Zombie movies for simple reasons like, really cool gore effects, gritty non-hollywood storytelling, and the idea that only we are prepared for this upcoming threat because we stockpiled on tactical bacon, katana swords, and red bull so that when all the jocks are dead we can finally get the courage to ask out Sally Perkins from english class. It's really that simple.
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