By now you’ve all heard the story about the Florida man who was shot dead by police after he was spotted eating a homeless man’s face. There’s really no other way to describe that story. That is exactly what happened.
The face-eater was recently identified by police, and I made the mistake of actually googling the man’s name, only to see the after-picture of the face he ate. It’s a good thing I ate dinner already.
Anyway, as soon as this story came out a couple of weeks ago, the first thought that came into everybody’s head was “zombies.”
I saw Facebook posts talking about the zombie apocalypse, and heck, even the article I posted makes a reference to the word zombie. And that’s the BBC.
Police allege that when they initially told the man to stop, he growled at them. So that only exacerbates the zombie metaphor. But what surprises me most is not that people made the connection between face-eating cannibals to zombies — that is expected — but that people are actually excited about it. I see people posting about how zombies are taking over the world, and ending the sentences with exclamation marks. Why are people actually embracing zombies?
Zombies have always been a popular topic of pop culture. George A. Romero made one of the first zombie horror movies in 1968 called Night of the Living Dead. He went on to make several other sequels, the latest coming as recent as three years ago.
As for as more recent mainstream zombie movies, you have 2002’s 28 Days Later (a sequel came out in 2007), 2004’s Dawn of the Dead (actually a remake of a Romero movie), 2004’s Shaun of the Dead (a parody of zombie movies), 2007’s I am Legend (based on a book written in 1954), and 2009’s Zombieland.
All of those movies found either critical or mainstream success, and helped popularize zombies to today’s generation. Additionally, you have a new television show, The Walking Dead, based on a graphic novel, and an upcoming 2013 zombie movie World War Z, which is starring Brad freaking Pitt.
Get the picture here? It doesn’t take a sleuth to determine why zombies have become so popular lately. Not only have they been force-fed to us via motion pictures, but they’ve actually been good motion pictures.
But when you look at these movies, and these TV shows, I think I finally understand why people have subconsciously begun to look at a potential zombie apocalypse in a favorable light. It’s because in all of these movies, it comes down to the basic battle of human versus zombie.
And in nearly all of the cases, the humans prevail.
The movies don’t end with the zombies reigning supreme, and then that’s it. It’s a story of survival, success, adventure and epic battles of defending your territory. In these movies, heroes are formed, bravery is showcased, and the guy always gets the girl. In a zombie movie, Jesse Eisenberg manages to hook up with Emma Stone.
If that alone is not proof that absolutely anything can happen when zombies are around, then I don’t know what is.
After seeing these movies, who wouldn’t want the opportunity of being the one who saves mankind, and then hook up with a hot redhead? Sounds pretty damn good to me.
But that’s a problem. People have become naive. In reality, if zombies really did invade our planet, I’m pretty sure they would overpower us in about a week. What chance do we really have? You can’t kill them because they’re already dead. And they don’t even have to kill you in return; all it takes is a single bite, and they’ve won. In some movies, all it even takes is a simple case of blood to blood contact. It’s like H.I.V.
What some brave filmmaker needs to do is step forward and create a zombie movie that portrays zombies in a more realistic manner. They need to convey the violence, suffering, and catastrophic events that would truly transpire.
Only then will people stop welcoming, and actually start fearing, the prospect of an oncoming zombie apocalypse. It’s really the only rational response.
And I’m not going to lie. When I watch movies where it’s humans versus zombies… I root for the zombies.
They’re better than us.