Zombies are everywhere in popular culture today. However, North American fascination with zombies is not new. Zombie movies were being made as early as the 1930’s, and the modern zombie that inspires shows and films like the Walking Dead, was first seen in George A Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.
Theresa Terasavage is the co-owner of City Lights Bookshop in downtown London. She says that our fascination with zombies has to do with consumption.
“Zombie culture has always been about consumption. And then when you add the cannibalism, the eating of human flesh, well that is the ultimate consumption isn’t it. I think climate change is consuming the earth, capitalism is consuming our resources…zombies are a way of seeing it happen on screen and you get a measure of relief from that.”
Doug Mann is a Media Studies and Sociology professor at Western University. He thinks that zombies may represent a very specific fear for post-secondary students.
“Maybe zombie-ism amongst young people represents a fear that they will never get into the consumer economy, that they will never get full time jobs… working a job that you’re over educated for is just like being a zombie”.
Whether or not you are a zombie fan, it seems clear that zombie culture represents specific societal fears. Watching the occasional zombie move may help us better understand and address those fears.