With the popularity of Twilight and its successors (Shiver, Evernight, etc.), there's been an awful lot of talk about "teams" lately. Not just "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob", but "Team Werewolf" and "Team Vampire." I enjoy a select few vampire/werewolf stories, but truth be told, I was never a huge fan of monsters. If I had to pick a team, it would probably be Team Zombie. And I wasn't always into zombies.
I was just reminded of my love of zombies while watching an episode The Big Bang Theory in which Sheldon mentions Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. I saw the video when I was 12 and, despite the choreographed dance moves that Sheldon finds "implausible," it scared the life out of me. Suddenly it occurred to me that no zombie since has scared me quite as much.
After that, it was difficult for me to find a zombie movie or novel that I really enjoyed. I've always enjoyed horror movies, but even the most frightening ones generally fail to scare me. I guess I've seen it all. Still, I slowly started to warm up to the zombie sub-genre, especially after reading this book:
If you haven't read it, it's about a girl who lives in a futuristic, dystopian world that is ravaged by zombies. It's right up there with Harry Potter in the sense that once I got started, I absolutely could not put it down. I've read so many books at this point that it's difficult to find books like that anymore.
Still, I mostly steered clear of the genre until one night about six months ago when I had the freakiest dream ever. I was trapped in the church I went to in junior high...and surrounded by zombies. Never in my life have I been so frightened. When I woke up, I immediately downloaded the first season of The Walking Dead from On Demand. The rest...well, I guess it's history.
Over the next few months, I started writing a zombie story of my own and I even went and picked up this gem from the bookstore as "research."
And everything it does have. So why are people so fascinated by zombies? Just like other monsters, they are unnatural. People aren't supposed to come back from the dead, just like the snack bar I work at isn't supposed to run out of popcorn. So what do I do when someone orders popcorn and I open up the popcorn machine and it's empty? The same thing I'd do if a zombie was coming for me: Panic!
Matt Mogk also explains that zombies (and the idea of a zombie apocalypse) are the monsters of our new age. The age where people slowly gravitate toward a belief in science as opposed to one of faith, and many scientists believe a zombie virus is plausible. But as someone who does have faith in a God many people seem to be steering away from, I find this even more frightening. Humans, according to Christian tradition, are life forms superior to all others in the universe. We are intelligent enough to build civilizations covering a pretty big portion of an entire planet. Whether you believe we managed to do this because we were granted the ability by a divine creator or because we are the product of evolution and survival of the fittest, zombies aren't supposed to upstage us. And the idea that they might...well, that's pretty frightening.