I tried this week, I really did. I know the whole zombie craze is really popular, but I just don’t get it. Why is it everywhere? What is the attraction? And why do people think all their zombie references are funny? They’re not very funny even if you try to explain the jokes again. See? Still not funny. What’s the point? This week I tried to immerse myself in zombie movies, tv shows and books. And guess what?
I’ve mentioned before how much I hate all the body parts I have to see around Halloween time and that I feel skin is very important because it keeps all the gross stuff inside. I assumed that alone explained my aversion to all-things-zombie, but I think it’s more than that.
Since a lot of my friends really like The Walking Dead, I figured that would be the place to start. I thought that the opening scene without any background music was very effective at building suspense. It was different but kind of cool. But then a zombie child appeared and was shot in the head and I heard myself saying out loud, “Oh, this isn’t going to happen.” I couldn’t even make it past the opening credits of the first episode.
So then I thought if I watched a “documentary” about zombies I would at least understand why people are so fascinated with them. But I couldn’t actually watch it because they kept showing zombies and zombies are gross to watch. And the zombies were eating body parts and body parts are gross to watch.
I tried looking away and just listening to the show but I couldn’t because everything about it was so silly. They intervied “zombie experts” who talked about their work in the “Zombie Research Society” with a totally straight face. I began to suspect that many of the people who get into the whole zombie apocalypse thing are survivalist fanatics who aren’t satisfied with everyday disaster preparation. But that doesn’t explain all my friends who are into it and who aren’t the least bit Dwight Schrutey.
I realized that my biggest problem with my first two attempts is that I’m not comfortable watching violence so I decided to try something more tame. Mummy, I’m a Zombie (the sequel to Daddy, I’m a Zombie) was less violent but far too annoying to watch for more than three minutes, so I decided to watch one of the earliest movies in the genre. White Zombie was just what you would expect of a B-grade movie from 1932 but it was much more tolerable to watch than any of the others I tried. They didn’t need to resort to cheap brain-eating stunts because they had Those Zombie Eyes!
I also decided to finally read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – a book I’d skipped when my book club read it because it seemed so dumb. I mean, maybe it would be a little bit funny if it were a short excerpt on McSweeney’s or something, but a whole book? Most of the text was taken directly from the original novel except for the zombie parts inserted periodically. I haven’t liked any of the other books that tried adding gimmicks to Pride and Prejudice and I really didn’t like this one. It was nice that this version gave the Bennet girls some actual skills beyond needlepoint and piano playing, but couldn’t that be done some other way? Why zombies? Why?
So although I made some effort, I just don’t see any way for me to understand the attraction to zombie stories (unless maybe they come out with a K Drama version). I guess it’s just like other differences people face – politics, religion, Girl Scout cookie flavors. I can disagree without being disagreeable. I can love the zombie lovers and hate the zombies.
But just to be clear, I really, really hate zombies.