that’s not a monster, that’s a metaphor

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.

4 thoughts on “that’s not a monster, that’s a metaphor

  1. Exactly – the ultimate horror of groupthink!

    Yes, that’s probably why monsters have always been popular – sort of a ‘there but for the grace’ thing, eh? Coupled with a secret desire to be the monster – the ones to wreak havoc on society.


  2. Oh, I hope you do share it!

    Like you, I think zombies have sadly passed their sell-by in the current pop-culture swing, and that’s such a shame, because they can indeed represent so much. Are they – particularly in the current climate – an expression of fear at assimilation, or the effect of homogeneous, mindless cultural decline? I think the ‘zombie apocalypse’ thing is quite possibly a rallying cry to-cum-romanticised perception of a stand against globalisation and mediocrity, but then – like vampires, werewolves, and all the other stock creatures of horror – the wonderful thing about zombies is that they are so equipped to take our projections.


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