Zombies have overreached the saturation point in pop culture, and that’s too bad. More and more, we focus on the monster and ignore the meaning. They really are the definitive example of the outsider. But they’re much more than that. They are the things that plague us, stalk us. Things we try to keep buried, but refuse to stay underground.
Zombies are of course a metaphor – a stand in for those who feel isolated, dead inside, shunned, feared, lost. A representation of horrors and fears of our own making, and those thrust upon us by forces difficult to fight.
Night of the Living Dead is the 1968 classic zombie horror film. The ending is shocking – and it’s not because of the zombies. It’s a reflection of the times, things much more real and visceral and horrifying than movie monsters.
Dellamorte Dellamore (or Cemetery Man) is another film in which zombies represent the things we can’t get rid of, the things that come back again and again to haunt us…. It’s enough make a man crazy, and he just might reach a point at which the monsters are everything and everywhere. (I love this film. I will talk about it much more at another time.)
Some while ago, I wrote a zombie short, Undone. It’s a different aspect of the metaphor of the zombie – how we hold on to love, the things we refuse to see, the things we cannot see, and just how far we’ll go to protect what’s ours.
It’s a story I hope to share with you one day.