...the hectic density of modern life; it stirs fears of plague and anarchy, and the feeling that everything is constantly accelerating. At times, it has the tone and the tempo of panic.
The undead really do keep on coming; they are taking over our bookstores, our movie theatres, our cable channels. Every neighborhood has a zombie or two. Are they what we fear we might become if we let ourselves go—soulless vessels of pure appetite, both ravaged and ravaging? Do they represent our apprehension of what hostility lies behind all those blank faces in the office, at the mall, across the dinner table?
The zombies aren’t like us; they are us, just degraded a little. And what the zombie media splurge may unconsciously express is not just a fear that people might become hostile but a desire to be free of the crowd—to “decrease the surplus population.” Calling on Freud hasn’t been much in vogue in recent years, but asking for a consultation about the zombie obsession—why do we long for what terrifies us, doctor?—might not be a bad idea.
P.S. Shortly after reading the above review, I ran into this link in the NYT: The Zombie Apocalypse:
“I’ve never seen a zombie movie where someone drank from a puddle and died of explosive diarrhea.”
This dude is talking about real zombies here, not the movie kind.
Believe him, most people in a zombie apocalypse would die not from zombie wounds or anything as sexy as that. They’d die, he explained, from the lack of a clean-water supply. And as anyone with even passing familiarity with his books “The Zombie Survival Guide” and “World War Z” knows, the biggest risk in a zombie invasion is fluid loss from all that running.
lectured at various army bases on zombie preparedness. He’s a zombie laureate, our nation’s lone zombie public intellectual, touring everywhere from Long Island to Ireland to Sugar Grove to prepare humans for the coming zombie plague.
Whatever! I do not get the fascination with zombies, vampires, or ghosts! But maybe like Denby wrote, the zombie is us!
P.P.S. And shortly thereafter, I see this in The Atlantic!
How and When Will the World End?
Giant meteors, an expanding sun, the retirement of Barbara Walters, and more
Really? Life is so uninteresting to people that they keep worrying about zombies and end of the world scenarios so much? Or is it that the movies have taken over our imagination to such an extent?
P.P.P.S. Ran across another review of the movie, this one from The Atlantic and not as raving as the earlier one in the New Yorker... but it also does mention that the appeal of Zombies & most post-apocalypse fiction "is the underlying message that we deserve what we get".
And so it goes...