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Will the Zombie Apocalypse Ever End?

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Image by Scott Beale

Zombies are  a common movie and entertainment theme, from the TV series Walking Dead to regular movies like Shaun of the Dead.  Now that Arnold Schwarzenegger will make his zombie movie debut in Maggie, I am wondering if the zombie apocalypse will ever end.

You know Hollywood has jumped the shark when 65 year old Arnold Schwarzenegger is the hero of the next big zombie movie.

It’s not that I dislike zombie stories.  The Walking Dead is one of my favorite TV shows ever. Warm Bodies has a new take on zombies (and Romeo and Juliet), people could be revived by love.  Zombieland was fricking hilarious! I even liked World War Z. Not as much as Max Brooks’ original story, but it was much better than anticipated.

Yet the zombie apocalypse is a tired card when it comes to storytelling. It’s popularity is joined by the vampire craze, both of which highlight human concerns played out in the extreme; eating our own, seduction, sexual tension, environmental abuses, etc.

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The apocalypse as a storytelling method provides clean drastic canvases for authors. I know, because Exodus takes place in a post apocalyptic United States.  When you have a clean slate, you can world build and wrestle with ideas, concepts, character development and other critical story arcs.

The zombie version of the apocalypse is pretty limiting, though. It’s always about survival in the face of impossible odds, and watching your friends turn into cannibalistic undead freaks from hell. Sounds like Facebook!

All jokes aside, as cool as it is to watch/read a good zombie story, in the literary sense, the zombie apocalypse story has been told. Now we’re just dealing with new wrinkles.  I may pass on Maggie and other new zombie stories, but eagerly await the next season of The Walking Dead.

What do you think about the zombie trend?

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  • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

    I think it’s an interesting phenomenon – a sign of the times, if you will. If we can make light of the end of the world then we’re really not worried about humanity shooting its amalgamated itself in the foot, right?

    As for Walking Dead, I don’t know I can come back to it after this season. “We’re going to war. Wait, NOW! Oh, wait. NOW! Hang on. Wait. OK, it’s over.” Heh :)

    • geofflivingston

      It is something we are wrestling with indirectly. I think the environmental crisis is the gnawing gnat that is triggering this fear, and rightly so.

  • http://joshuawilner.com/ Josh

    I miss the good old days when a three hour tour led to being shipwrecked and all the great tales that came from it. The castaways got to hang out with the Harlem Globetrotters and Scooby Doo, now that is something.

    Or good old tales about how two families merge into one and we get to see them in all sorts of hilarious adventures, not to mention the love story between Sam and Alice, the unsung heroes.

    It is kind of disappointing to see how much attention is focused on writing and rewriting the same story sixteen different ways. We tend to jump on fads and then ride them into the ground.

    • geofflivingston

      I agree. I think we are seeing that this week with the second White House blow up movie of the year. There is little that is new, but hey, we get three more Star Wars movies (oh boy).

    • http://gearboxmagazine.com/ Brian Driggs

      Preach it.

      Beyond the zombie shark jumping, we’ve got how many reboots of the Spiderman franchise in the last five years – three? And now it seems every Marvel or DC superhero needs at least three solo installments. If only every reboot were as brilliant as the Star Trek and Bond films, right?

      I’m apprehensive of the upcoming Star Wars trilogy. There’s a dozen ways it could go, but execution will be everything. If we can’t get Joss Whedon at the helm, at least keep Michael Bay in a galaxy far, far, away (with or without life support, I’m good either way).

  • Krista Giuffi

    I admit I’m a sucker for the zombie genre, but after a while, it becomes emotionally draining. Seriously, how many times can Alice fight the Umbrella Corporation and
    the zombie apocalypse, again? And George Romero drives it home with each of his movies that there is no real hope in the end, just the illusion of temporary safety.

    I agree with Margie, after this last season of The Walking Dean, I don’t
    know if I can muster of the will to go through that roller coaster again. It boils down to my take on the whole post-apocalyptic world. I don’t know if I would want to live in a world bent on survival and distrust with no hope in sight—it makes being a mindless flesh-devouring creature all the more attractive somehow.

    • geofflivingston

      George Romero was the man. Nothing can ever compare to the incredible work that he did.

      As to Walking Dead, wow, so tough. And you really want the Governor to get it, and it keeps going and going and going. I agree, but I think I am hooked!

  • http://richardrbecker.com/ Rich Becker

    It’s only as tired as the story and the storyteller. While I haven’t seen it yet, World War Z felt tired before it came out (despite being a solid book, read years ago). I immediately felt like they put too much effort into redefining what zombies are.

    I was recently pleasantly surprised by an indie zombie flick called The Battery. But it really wasn’t a zombie movie despite having zombies. I still enjoy The Walking Dead too. But aside from those, the genre has taken a beating by people who want to jump on the bandwagon that looks easy but really isn’t easy at all.

    • geofflivingston

      I think that’s pretty insightful actually. A great storyteller can breathe life into the genre, which is much more difficult than it appears. And yes, Hollywood is killing it! I loved Brooks original novel, and the Pitt movie failed to capture the utter desperation of the text.

  • http://www.dknewmedia.com/ Marty Thompson

    The zombie narrative keeps rolling on because it works. By that, I mean that it helps sell advertising. And this sorry state of affairs is the mechanism that has helped to destroy creativity in the visual arts.

    • geofflivingston

      I can’t disagree withyou. It’s getting to be quite a bore.

  • susancellura

    Similar to Marjorie’s comment, it is another element in people being desensitized to pain, suffering, killing, murder, etc. What used to be scary is now funny or worse, “normal”, in today’s world.

    • geofflivingston

      Which is scary in its ownright, no doubt! We will see very negative repercussions for this.

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