My name is Renee, and I’m addicted to The Walking Dead. I’m not sure when it happened. I don’t usually like zombie fiction, and still haven’t read a book about zombies, but somehow I find myself quite eager to watch this show. So eager that when the show went on whatever the fuck that break in the middle of the season was, I almost cried about it.
I used to ask people how they could read zombie fiction. I didn’t understand the appeal. I mean, they’re zombies. How interesting could that be? They don’t think or anything. Plus, they’re slow as shit, which makes them easy to kill. As my addiction flourished (I suspect it has a lot to do with Daryl), I realized why people like zombie fiction. Actually, there are a few reasons. Yes, more than just one.
The first: Apocalypse—duh!
Judging by the number of “crazy” websites out there, full of lunatics predicting the apocalypse, I’d say humanity is pretty obsessed with just how and when this world will end. If you think about all the damn bio-terrorism shit out there, zombies don’t seem so far-fetched. To be honest, of all the ways the world could end, a zombie apocalypse probably has the highest survival rate. Just saying. Sun crashing into the earth = barbecued everything. Zombie plague = Bubba, get yer bow, we’re goin huntin. We enjoy stories about zombies because we’re subconsciously preparing for the battle we’ve been told is going to come at some point. The enemy you know is easier to beat than the one that you’re all “What the fuck is happening here? Jim! What is wrong with you? Jim, why are you—ah, my brain! Maaaaaaa” So, we read about them to make a plan. I think this is smart.
The murderer inside all of us
Who has never wanted to drive a machete through another human’s head? Come on, are you saying it’s just me? Even if you’re going to deny your homicidal rage, the idea that zombie stories depict being able to shoot another person, or lop off his head, when just an hour before you were bandaging that dog bite on his arm, and be applauded for it is well…cool.
If not for the decaying body and brain eating, being a zombie would be the ultimate escape. You don’t have to worry about morality, laws, or even showering. You’re just existing. Zombie fiction represents the ultimate in escapism. Plus, don’t you wonder how the bastards just keep going and going unless you literally obliterate their brain? Fascinating.
Fear: It turns our crank
Face it, we kind of like being scared. And what’s scarier than being eaten alive by Grandma? Nothing. That’s what.
They’re kind of cool.
They’re human, but not quite. Almost alive, but mostly dead. You can rip their torso in half, and zombies keep going. That’s kind of awesome. We don’t know if they can think or feel. They look like they can’t, but who really knows? They can’t communicate much more than, “Your brain is tasty” so we can’t know unless we trap a real zombie and study him. And wouldn’t it be cool to trap a zombie? Of course, you’d have to cut off his arms, yank his teeth, remove his jaw and chain him up, but after that, he’d be the coolest pet ever.
This is the main reason I think many horror fans like zombies. They’re true monsters. They don’t fall in love with their victims. They don’t experience remorse or regret (as far as we know). They reproduce like rabbits. One little nibble and you’re zombified. They don’t have a special monster code, and they don’t try to deny what they are. Zombies have a single purpose and a single goal. They want to eat you. That’s it. And they’ll shuffle along forever if that’s how long it takes to get you to sit down to dinner.