Nerd Rant: Zombies. They should just stay dead.

Nerd Rant: Zombies. They should just stay dead.

By: Andrea Cole

This is going to get me a lot of flack, but I’m just going to come out and say it. I am SO over zombies! Sure they are fun occasionally, but for heaven’s sake, they really should be left for dead for a little while, people! The worldwide obsession with the undead has gotten just about as out of control as any zombie plague.


Now, I’m not going to say that zombies have no place in our pantheon of horror. They do. But right now the zombie is so ubiquitous that, to me, it appears that they have been reduced to nothing more than a crutch for lazy writers hoping to cash in on a fad rather than come up with a story that had a truly interesting villain. When in doubt, add some zombies! Heck, even DC got into the zombie action with their “Blackest Night” arc, turning favorite heroes in to the undead. Marvel did it too with their Marvel Zombies series. Then there are the video games: the million and one Resident Evil games (and movies!), zombie game modes in the Call of Duty series, and on and on.

Occasionally you do find a zombie movie, game, or TV show that shows true imagination. George A. Romero and Night of the Living Dead brought zombies into the mainstream, Shaun of the Dead went on a the romantic comedy route, 28 Days Later introduces the now ubiquitous “infected” and “fast zombie”, and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is still burning up the dance floor to this day.

From the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response

From the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response

However, I’d love to be able to walk into a store and not be bombarded by zombie variants of household items, clothing, or books. I understand using the tools you have to reach the audience you need. I’m a marketer; I do that all the time. But it’s getting to be a bit much. Even the CDC had to resort to a zombie apocalypse in order to get the nation to pay attention to what they should have on hand in the case of a real (non-zombie) emergency. You can find their graphic novel here.

Aoi no Ue - Character from The Tale of Genji who suffers episodes of spirit possession

Aoi no Ue – Character from The Tale of Genji who suffers episodes of spirit possession

Ultimately, what is going here is that with the constant influx of zombies we are becoming immune to their … charms. So what I’m asking for is to let the dead rest in peace for a bit. Or maybe bring them back as something else. Vampires are good. Ghosts are fun. How about a vengeful ghoul? Then there are the horror stories from around the world that are still untapped. Ever read a Japanese ghost story? Talk about creepy! Even the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, had several scary moments where jealous lovers use their disembodied spirits to possess and ultimately kill others. Then there’s the wacky idea of going back to the roots of the zombie mythos, where a zombie used to be a “soulless corpse said to have been revived by witchcraft.” (OED) That’s something I’d see! A villain with a mind of it’s own. Because really, nothing is scarier than what a fellow human can dream up to inflict absolute terror and pain in another.

So what do you think? Are zombies overplayed and need some time in the penalty box (or coffin)?