I was never a massive fan of horror movies when I was younger. But recently I’ve become infected, so to speak, with a love of most things zombie. Which is why I’m particularly excited about the fact that Season 4 of The Walking Dead is about to start. It looks like it should be epic.
What’s interesting is how many facets of popular culture the zombie meme has, again, infected. The Walking Dead is, as I’m sure you know, adapted from an incredible comic book series. I’ve read about 5 of the collected editions (there are 19 and counting) and seeing as it’s been going for 10 years now, it will probably take me a while to get up to date.
Another brilliant arm of this zombie infestation is the book World War Z, which was made into an OK movie by Brad Pitt. Whether or not you have seen the film, I would recommend reading the book. It’s a fascinating view of what might happen if some sort of zombie apocalypse broke out, in terms of how governments would react.
The movie, as was always likely, blended a lot of the story together and also came up with a slightly happier ending than the novel. It also had to skip entire chunks of the book, simply because, despite being relatively short and eminently readable, the scope of the novel was immense.
What’s fascinating about all of these iterations is that they use an entirely unreal world to look at the real issues we all face. Pollution, racism, sex, politics – they all crop up; The Walking Dead was designed as a “zombie movie that never ends” in order to look at culture through the ‘lens of a postapocalyptic saga’.
Setting these stories in worlds where people come back from the dead creates an air of fiction that enables these, at first glance, shallow pop cultural creations to look much deeper than they might otherwise. It’s what the best fantasy and science fiction has always done, and I’m just looking forward to these books, shows, comics and movies (there’s talk of World War Z 2) continuing to do so, at least as long as the plots remain fresher than the characters.