Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Theory About Zombie Movies

This must be Embarassing Confession Day for me. First the whloe Bill Richardson thing, now this: I saw Dawn of the Dead for the first time the other night. Yeah. I know. Embarassing. In my defense, I have seen Night of the Living Dead and love it. Now I love Dawn of the Dead, too, and love it equally.

Okay, so I'm sure most of you are pretty familar with the theory surrounding zombie flicks, especially Dawn of the Dead, what with its shoppoing mall setting - capitalism and consumerism make zombies out of all of us, the indiscriminate flesh eating of zombies is a metaphor for the equal-opportunity brutality of the state, humankind - in particular American humankind - has become so homogenized and dulled to sensation as to be like a horde of mindless zombies, etc. I would like to add a new aspect to this satisfying and hearty stew of cultural theory: Early zombie movies seemed much cheesier when they came out because something akin to a zombie outbreak seemed so implausible. Today, these old movies have a new resonance, and there is a popular crop of modern zombie movies, because the current state of our world lends to the zombie flick a new plausibility that renders it so much more harrowing. AIDS, bioterrorism, bird flu, SARS and drug-resistant disease make the possibility of a fast-spreading, indiscriminate plague a much realer possibility than in 1978. Government manipulation of information - a hallmark of the zombie flick (telling people it's all okay, downplaying the seriousness of the disaster, etc.) obviously has a serious relevance to any resident of Bush-era America, who has repeatedly been told that it's NOT all okay when it is (Iraq and WMDs) and that it is all okay when it's not (September 11).

And shit, is there any greater evidence that there is no more room in hell (the voodoo theory of zombies that Peter conveys in Dawn of the Dead) than the Bush administration?

1 comment:

R2B2 said...

Totally dead on. You're also forgetting that zombie movies strike a chord nowadays because people are gitting more and more stoopids.

I saw Dawn of the Dead when I was 12 at a slumber party. I think we watched Bachelor Party afterward.