Zombies in Movies : Humans in Reality

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Zombies in Movies : Humans in Reality

Corpse, Rotten meat, intestines etc. These things are disgusting and cause irritation, yet they are the important elements which made the blockbuster movies nowadays. Resident Evil, the Walking Dead are significant representative in the zombie movies category. Even with horrifying scenes of ripping people to shreds, millions of fans all over the world will go to cinemas to watch it. In US, they even have a term zombie economy, making $5.74 billion for the US economy. What makes “zombies” so attractive? What do they seek in these movies? Instant adrenaline rush? Admiring the hot actor/actress in the movie? Or desires that lies deep in their unconscious? Before we could investigate further, we must have basic understanding of zombies.

Zombies are categorize as one of the Undead, commonly define as “the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose.” As for a cinematic definition, the rules for a zombie are “1. If you didn't die first, you aren’t a zombie. 2. Zombies are not cannibals. They do not feed on each other only living flesh. 3. The only way to stop a zombie is a well-placed head shot. (Hammer, icepick, gun, axe, etc.)” These definitions illustrated our perceptions for zombies, the zombies that movies help shaped in our minds. We accepted the fact that zombies are caused by virus & plague, an infectious disease spreading by body fluids and bites. Having that thought in mind is most likely because of the shaping by recent popular movies, such as “Resident Evil”, an apocalyptic outbreak of the “T-virus”, turning everyone into zombies. Without adding the fear-factor of eating living people, zombie is just like a person who wanders emotionlessly, and being dead. So why would we fear this human like creature so much? Well according to the power of Horror: Essay on Abjection, Julia Kristeva had mention that “The Corpse, seen without god, outside of science, it the utmost of abjection. It is death, infecting life.” Like the vampires, zombies are an undead body that is an abject of in-between life and death; it is an utmost of abjection and infectious. This creature creates ambiguity for the concept of life and death, risking our need to maintain a sense of stability. That’s why we fear and repel this creature, to separate ourselves with these monsters, to exclude them from our daily life.

In the majority of recent zombie movies, they usually amplify the fearful tense of the appearance of the zombies and apocalypses, each scene is intense and exciting, and the message is also very straight forward. For example, in Resident Evil 2: the Apocalypse (2004), throughout the movie, we see how the survivor look for shelter and find ways to escape from both the zombies and the sanitization of the Raccoon city by the umbrella corporation. As well as 28 weeks later (2007), focusing on the spread of the infectious virus, the butchering of the livings and escaping of the survivors. These movies fit the fear for abjection that Kristeva had brought up. But there is a very interesting zombie movie in recent years, which did not follow the message brought up from the epic zombie movies.

Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead (2004) is a British zombie comedy. The main character Shaun is man attempting to get some kind of focus in his life as he deals with his girlfriend, his mother and stepfather. At the same time, he has to cope with an apocalyptic uprising of zombies.

Epic zombie movies have a clear cut between the zombies, the infected one and the living ones, and the zombie problem is the ultimate problem that they need to deal with throughout the movie. Unlike them, the zombies in Shaun of the dead are a minor problem, and they are in our everyday life, blurring the line between the living and the undead. Even though the line was blurred, Shaun of the Dead brought out more messages than the epic...
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