After chomping through a Walking Dead marathon this week, I started to consider why zombie stuff is so appealing to people. It's almost become a subgenre in its own right, a multimedia nightmare. There's zombie movies, zombie novels, zombie TV shows....
They all pay tribute, in a way, to George A. Romero, who still flogs the zombie theme to this day even though he's a gray old man, but they also kind of rip him off. The Walking Dead is a walking rip-off, stealing from nearly all zombie stories, waking up in an abandoned hospital, the isolated farmhouse, the relentless murder and gore.
It makes me think....what the fuck? What is the appeal of this shit? I'm not even sure why I like it --and I'm a horror geek from way back, but all criticisms aside, I can say I do like it. For all it's faults, The Walking Dead works.
But why? Part of it...a big part of it, I think, is the idea of murder without guilt. Not to get all psychological on you, but I do think that deep within all of us is this murderous little spark. We're civilized beings, of course, these impulses bred and conditioned out of us for the most part, but still...there is that spark. You know what I'm talking about. You've felt it too.
Guilt goes a long way to keeping this little seed of murder in check. Not only internal guilt, but the punishment we would receive. If it weren't for that, I think many of us would line up for a chance to blast away at a crowd with a shotgun. I mean, not every day. Not as a thing. But just once...when it was really necessary.
Like when those zombies are coming. You can kill them and not feel bad. Shoot em right between the eyes. Indeed, it's a good thing. Those motherfuckers will eat you to the bone. So just stand there in all your click, click, boom glory, shoot them till you run out of ammo.
And don't feel bad. Feel good! You're doing the world a favor.
It sounds horrible, indulging this impulse, but the good news is that you can do it. And you don't have to become a Nazi or join a death squad or go to Syria or anything. You can do it without harming a single person. You can blow on that little murderous spark, watch it cherry up and then cool, safe in your hand and NOT starting a wildfire of death.
All you have to do is watch your favorite zombie show.