All Things Zombies
Written by Donald Hughes, Fall 2013
It seems everywhere you turn around now days there is something about Zombies. They are used in commercial advertising, in major movies, television shows, and books. As we approach Halloween yet again, I am fairly confident to see them out in force.
Although the term, “zombie” is well known as a depiction of a mindless, half dead half alive creature that feasts on brains, the word itself has unknown origins. We know it was used by George Romero in his early films, such as Night of the Living Dead back in the counter-culture days of the ’60s, but where it originated is not really known. There is early reference to the same kind of creatures, often times termed generically as “ghouls” in European folklore, and referenced in works from HG Wells, Poe and even Shelley’s Frankenstein. So, our concept of these mindless wanderers of the night have been around for many decades, if not centuries. Even in Africa, in the mystery of Voodoo, these “zombies” were as a result of magic and hypnotism and was referenced in the 1928 silent film Magic Island by W.B. Seabrook.
For the most part, all works relating zombies to the plot, are of course fictional. After all, would we really see groups of people wandering about, void of feeling and care, mindless in their pursuit of something to feel, taste or experience, following the crowd and unable to make rational decisions, unaware of their surroundings and what is happening in the “real world”, devoid of conscience and desire, influenced by uncontrollable thirst and hunger for stimuli, unable to relate and socialize, nameless and faceless, ghoulish in appearance and dress, lacking in social graces and otherwise half dead, half alive?
Oh, wait…………have you been around lately in our shopping malls, inner-cities, and local high-schools? Have you noticed the influence of cell phone use, texting, and social media? Have you seen the results at the polling booth? Have you witnessed the increase in mass murders? Have you felt the impact of Hollywood and the music culture? Have you cringed at the level of humor and what is socially acceptable now? Have you been in line at the boarding gate of an airport? Have you been stuck in traffic and looked at those in the adjacent cars? Do you work in a cubical office? Have you followed a Bill being debated in Congress? Have you listened to a major news outlet for coverage? Have you purchased a pair of slim jeans? Ate at McDonalds? Shopped at a Wal-Mart?
Yes, Virginia, there are zombies. Most definitely.