5 Reasons People Love Zombies

Last week I saw Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (as detailed here) and it got me thinking; if Catholics really do drink the blood of the Christ, aren’t they technically vampires? I then thought about zombies, not in a sexual way, more in a “how do these zombie films keep getting made?”. I don’t mean that in an insulting way, but they have been consistent throughout horror films over the last few decades. Vampires have waned and come back, yet zombies refuse to die. Everytime we think they’re dead they rise back up and stumble the earth, like, hmmm, what’s the word I’m looking for here?

“70’s rock band?” nope, that’s not it

But why is that? Why is there a zombie film made almost every month yet there hasn’t been a flesh eating mermaid film made in forever?

the lure
Besides this one

I’m sure you’ve asked yourself that many times. Don’t you wish you could find a well researched and brilliantly written article about the subject? Well until that happens, enjoy this inarticulate blog.

1. Scary

Well this seems obvious but in this modern “every horror film needs to have comedic elements” age it’s easy to forget. Zombies can be very very scary.

Okay maybe not this guy

We can mock zombies and claim that Shaun Of The Dead and their ilk made them not scary any more. But then we can put on a good zombie film and still be terrified. Part of that is down to the “other” nature of them. Film critic Robin Wood describes horror as:

“relationship between normality and the monster”

And it’s this that provides my next point.

2.They’re almost human.

We have two animals to blame for people originally being scared of zombies: not film zombies, actual zombies: ants and dogs. Picture humanity tens of thousands of years ago. When we decided to start towns and permanent dwellings whilst farming animals and the land for food. It cannot be understated what a significant change to humanity this was. We no longer had to spend our entire time in the search for food. We started thinking more, our language and thoughts exploded at a previously unknown rate, we were soon discussing concepts we had no idea how to express. We were coming up with new ideas and discovering new concepts, yet this wasn’t the start of science, this was the start of  superstition. The obvious things we needed to ask questions about was death and the dead. People would have realised there was a correlation between people spending time around decaying bodies and people suffering from sickness. So we started getting rid of the bodies, we burnt them, we buried them etc once we realised this stopped it. But one time a dog wanders upon a shallow grave, it can’t see food but it can sense food so it digs and finds a human hand. It starts to pull the hand up but is then spooked so drops the hand and runs away. Now a person comes across this, he goes to the site where he buried his friend and see’s his hand seemingly rising up from the grave. So he settles on the logical conclusion: this person is back from the dead.

But to understand why this scares us so we need to look at the the ant. Humans like to think of themselves as better than the other species we share the planet with: has any other species come up with ideas as diverse as communism, Harry Potter, and cricket? No, they haven’t!

Yeah that’s right, f*ck you elephants! You’ll never know how to defeat voldemort.


We used to think there was something special about us, we are obviously Top Species (capital T, capital S if you’re taking notes, which I assume you are). We used this rationale to justify animal cruelty for centuries, I mean, we’re obviously better. But then people started asking complex philosophical questions. Questions like: “but what if we’re not”. I mean, there’s no reason why we are Top Species, the cheetah is faster, the rabbit can reproduce quicker, and kittens are cuter. So we used our brains and figured out why we’re better: and our brains decided on the totally not egotistical and self serving: it’s our brains. Our brains allow us to build skyscrapers and cities; huge complex structures that noone else can, because our brains are better. But then we looked at ants, ants don’t make art, they don’t tell jokes or play music. Yet they built huge chambers with ventilation that regulates air quality and temperature. The kind of stuff people need years of formal training to manage and yet the ants manage it perfectly. So what does it say when our building achievements can be matched by the humble ant? Our greatest achievements can be achieved without the need for the part of our brain that makes us human.

And THATS why we fear the zombie. It’s human without the humanity. It represents our biggest fear, that under all our fancy suits and immaculate hair that we are just shambling meat sacks, walking around just fulfilling our basic needs. We’re not scared the bite would turn us into the walking dead, we’re scared we already are.

3. Guilt free deaths.

Related to the above point: when people talk about a zombie apocalypse or play video games what do they focus on? Is it the loss of their friends, hiding out somewhere not sure whether they’ll life or die. Nope, it’s “I would kill them like this”. Killing zombies is like guilt free murder of another human. That says something about the nature of humanity, but I’m too scared of people to ask what that is.

Do this to a zombie: Hero. Do it to Laura in accounts: psychopath

4. Adaptable

Now I don’t mean that zombies are multi-use within the film itself, I mean for for the film-maker and audience. There’s no established backstory for zombies so the writer is free to do whatever they want and play up any real-life fears and prejudices. You want it to be a parasite and talk about the doomed nature of humanity? Sure. You want it to be from nuclear radiation and blame the Soviets? Well, a bit dated but sure! You want it be to about microrobots that go out of control to talk about the dangers of relying on technology? Sure! You want it to be about people being driven to kill and bite because they’re hypnotised by the music of Miley Cyrus? You’re an idiot! But sure, go ahead!


5. Beatable

This is the most important thing. Zombies are slow, plodding creatures who aren’t that strong. With careful planning and organisation we can defeat them, that’s how most zombie stories end; with humanity winning. Sure, a lot of people die but humanity prevails. So there’s a lot of deaths but we still win, so ultimately they’re gory stories of hope. And that’s beautiful.


But none of that is important. Do you know why? Because there’s only one thing that matters in my life now: there’s a movie about flesh eating mermaids called The Lure, and it’s a musical! I have to see that!

Why We Love….London Calling

22nd December 2002 is possibly the most important day in my life from a music listening perspective. The day Joe Strummer died. Some of you may be aware that The Clash are one of my favourite bands, and I’m not alone in that respect, they were widely called The Only Band That Mattered and they’re good enough that that name doesn’t seem like hyperbole. Which makes me feel even more guilty about what I’m about to say, I didn’t know who The Clash were when Strummer died, in fact his death was what made me a fan of the band. Not in a hipster-ish “I only bands who were underground so I wait for members to die” kind of way, don’t worry. I was sitting at home one day flipping through the music channels when he died, I know this as London Calling played on Q (I think), and it was labeled “London Calling – The Clash. Joe Strummer R.I.P”. For some reason it was the first time I had paid much attention to that song, and something clicked in my head about how good it is. Then I went through to another channel and they played Should I Stay Or Should I Go? I was amazed. How can one band perform two songs that sounded so different? Then the triangle of triumph was complete when a channel played Rock The Casbah. It was at that point I knew I needed to find out more about this band, so, Boxing Day, 2002 I went to The Shop Formally Known As Sounds Perfect and brought what would turn out to be one of my favourite albums of all time: London Calling. To those of you who haven’t listened to this album: you’re less of a person and you should fix that immediately. Since then I’ve heard the other albums they’ve made, and whilst they’re all good, they’re no London Calling. I think part of that is because of the experimentation shown on this album. Very few albums have as many different genres on show here: almost every song sounds different from the next, with some punk, some ska, some lounge, some R&B, some reggae, some jazz etc. In terms of styles the album is just a hodgepodge of different styles and clashes that combine to form something truly wonderful, in much the same way as London (specifically, Camden). This album is, still today, the sound of London in much the same way that It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back is the sound of New York. It’s not just the music, it’s also the lyrics. The album is not just good (in my opinion, whilst Sum41 may have named their album as such, this album is the true All Killer, No Filler album), lyrically this album is a masterpiece, covering the issues that needed to be covered right now. From unemployment through to racial conflict, drug use and the responsibilities of adulthood. Guns Of Brixton (a.k.a: the song that launched a thousand basslines, seriously, this has to be the most punk song which you could use as the backdrop for a hip hop song) has one of the intense opening lines of a song:

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

The fact that such brutal lyrics were laid against one of the best bass backdrops in music history opened the casual listeners minds up to the situation. The trouble with a lot of punk music is it’s preaching to the already converted. If the Sex Pistols were singing to people who were punks, it was The Clash that turned these people punk in the first place. The Clash are like Bob Dylan in that they have influenced outside of their genre. The best way to gauge a bands influence is via tribute albums. Yes, The Ramones tribute album does seem to have a wide variety of bands (Metallica, RHCP, Rob Zombie etc) the only true completely strange one to see is U2. The Clash, however, on Burning London have not only the expected ones (No Doubt, Rancid, Mighty Mighty Bosstones) they also have some you’d never have expected (Ice Cube, Moby). If a band can lay claim to have influenced bands as diverse as that, they must truly be something special.

Now onto my favourite part of this album, how it was released. Now, the band had had trouble with their record label prior to this. CBS had refused to release the bands debut album in the US, released singles the band didn’t want, and asked them to clean up their sound. The issues for this album came from the band wanting to release a double album, the record label refused because they were assholes. They did, however, allow them to release a free single with the album. So the band put a free single with the album, it was just a single that contained a lot of B-sides, in fact, almost an entire albums worth of B-sides. Since the deal was that the single would be free with the album, this meant that the (now) double album would be released at the same price as a normal album. The band won as they got to release the album as it was intended, the fans won as they didn’t have to pay more, and the record company lost, which is exactly how it should be.

So yeah, that’s why I love this band, and why this album is one of the most important pieces of music I’ve ever heard. And why it makes me feel even worse that it took the death of the singer to realise how amazingly talented this band is. People can keep their 1959 plane crash, for me, 22nd December 2002 is the real day the music died, and the day it was reborn, out of the fire like a phoenix, into my head, and into my heart.

Like if you enjoy

  • Rancid
  • Green Day
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Rage Against The Machine

After this, check out

  • Chimes Of Freedom: The Songs Of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years Of Amnesty International. A 4 disc tribute album to Bob Dylan, only one song is featured more than once, and every song was recorded specifically for the album. Dylan is one of the select few artists you could do this with, especially with the amount of talent on show: This is the only album where MCR, The Gaslight Anthem, Rise Against and Bad Religion sit alongside Mick Hucknall, Miley Cyrus, Bryan Ferry, Natasha Bedingfield, Sting and Adele.
  • Heartattack. I knew I had to put a modern punk compilation on here. Was going to put one of the Punk-O-Rama albums on here but then realised I listen to the songs from here a lot more. Featuring a bonus disc of new songs to celebrate Burning Heart records, this album features some truly fantastic songs.