What is it about zombie films which capture people’s imagination?

I am a fan of zombie films, and there are quite a few people who like films which revolve around the concept of zombies. A film about space travel or time travel preys upon people’s desire to travel in space or back in time. What is it about zombie films? Do zombies represent our view of other people? Some films concentrate on the fear aspect e.g. 28 Days Later or Resident Evil whilst other films have more of a comedy aspect e.g. Shawn of the Dead. So, its not all to do with adrenalin and fear.

Chosen Answer:

I reckon that on a psychological level there may be something to do with the pleasure of hypothetically hurting people we know; obviously we don’t do it in our daily lives, but everyone sometimes feels really aggressive and wants to let out our anger on people we know.
In Shaun of the Dead, he kills zombies who were people he knew. Although I love the film, and I don’t scrutinise every film I watch, I always think it’s interesting that people enjoy watching someone kill people he knows, though of course the film manages to justify it because these people have lost their ‘human-ness’ and Shaun kills them out of defence.
But I think that, primarily, watching zombie films is a way of releasing aggression, like a computer game, on people we hypothetically know, though in an acceptable way, because they’re ‘inhuman’ and dangerous.

Maybe I’m reading into this a bit too much.
by: Georgia L
on: 6th December 06

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7 Responses to What is it about zombie films which capture people’s imagination?

  1. monkeymanelvis says:

    Basically zombie films came about because of the Cold War. The US were afraid of the faceless masses of communism and zombie films reflect this.
    Around the same time Russia made a lot of films about Dracula, Frankenstein etc where one wealthy person (or monster) harms lots of innocents.

    These days people like zombie films because the original cold war era ones were so good. Also zombies are a cool baddie that anyone can dress up as for Halloween. Mmm… brains…

    Anyway Shawn of the Dead rocks.

  2. David D says:

    I love zombie movies, but not because of the zombies. I am just fascinated with the idea of human civilisation crumbling and people trying to survive, I think it invokes the primeval part of us and shows we need to work together to survive, like we have for thousands of years.

  3. Melok says:

    I’m with David D on this one. The thought of civilsation crumbling and living with only your own intelligence and the many abandonded cars, boats, motorcycles, shops, buildings etc at your own disposal. The material world becomes essentially yours. Flesh eating zombies notwithstanding. Of couse you may stumble upon your zombie infected boss from work, or the zombie bully you knew at school so you know where to aim your gun!

  4. txc142 says:

    its getting your head round the fact all rational thought emotional feeling and responses are gone and void and theres just a certain hunger for living flesh and blood, kind of like when you return home drunk and eat the cats food coz it so damn good

  5. Jacqueline M says:

    Possibly because we do have Zombies in this counrty, they`re found at the palace of westminster and are known as POLITICIANS.
    The head zombie Is called Tony Blair

  6. contemplating_monkey says:

    ooh – good question!

    I love a good zombie film, in particular Dawn of the Dead. In Zack Snyder’s re-make, there is a quote (it may be in the original as well) – “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth!!”

    I think that sums up maybe 80% of the genre’s appeal for me – the fact that when the zombies attack, we somehow know that it is our fault; that we could have avoided this fate had we lived better, less decadent lives.

    Which leaves the other 20% – the futility of consumerism. Brilliant!

  7. Georgia L says:

    I reckon that on a psychological level there may be something to do with the pleasure of hypothetically hurting people we know; obviously we don’t do it in our daily lives, but everyone sometimes feels really aggressive and wants to let out our anger on people we know.
    In Shaun of the Dead, he kills zombies who were people he knew. Although I love the film, and I don’t scrutinise every film I watch, I always think it’s interesting that people enjoy watching someone kill people he knows, though of course the film manages to justify it because these people have lost their ‘human-ness’ and Shaun kills them out of defence.
    But I think that, primarily, watching zombie films is a way of releasing aggression, like a computer game, on people we hypothetically know, though in an acceptable way, because they’re ‘inhuman’ and dangerous.

    Maybe I’m reading into this a bit too much.

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