kill the undead

I am tired of zombies.

No, fortunately, I am not besieged by walking corpses (anymore), but I have reached and breached my saturation point with the resurgence of the zombie in popular culture. That I have just learned about the existence of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is partly responsible for this, but the feeling has been growing for some time.

Now, that book may be hilariously awesome and my criticism isn't directly aimed at it. But reading the title did force my brain to state, unequivocally, that no, everything is not better with zombies in it. As I'm one of the subliterate few who've never actually read Pride and Prejudice, I grant that it's entirely likely that it IS better with zombies in it, but I try to make a point of not allowing contradictory specificities to get in the way of a good sweeping generalization.

I understand the horrible appeal of the zombie. What is more frightening than a mindless, inexorable killing machine which goes beyond mere murder and threatens to turn the victim into another rotting, ravenous abomination? Creepy. The enemy that can't be reasoned with, threatened, or even defeated. Certain death. Scary stuff.

I also understand the usefulness of the zombie as a blank slate for cultural commentary. First, the zombies were the Communists, coming to enslave us all into their hive-mind, arms outstretched, desirous of devouring our free, capitalist individuality. Then the post-modernists had their way with the trope and the zombie became, ha ha! reversal!, the very television-saturated, consumerist breathwasters who epitomize the American Way. As they say on The Internet, I see what you did there. Ultimately the zombie can stand in for any enemy which cannot be understood or communicated with and which seeks nothing but our total destruction.

My nascent rejectionism has nothing to do with that, though. Mythical monsters are only useful as commentary on our fellow humans after all.

It's the sheer, ever increasing volume of zombie-related material. Why does the world need even one more zombie story? Is the next zombie movie going to be somehow scarier, or funnier, or more clever than the scores which have come before? Isn't it telling that the most major innovation in recent zombie history is depicting them as fast runners instead of foot-dragging lurchers? Is this all we've got?

The modern cultural consumer is well known to want "the same, but different" across all media and all genres. I suppose I can't fault our pop artisans for putting food on the table by giving the audience what it desires. But I, I am tired of it, in the same way I've long been tired of cop/doctor/lawyer/family drama TV shows.

The undead are over, and I'm signing the Do Not Resuscitate order.

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