Category Archives: zombies

Zombies Zombies Everywhere but What the Heck Comes Next?

Photo by Daniel Hollister; used under Creative Commons Attribution license

What comes after Zombies?

Instead of bemoaning the hyper-abundance of the undead (which would be silly because Zombies are awesome), I thought it would be fun to speculate on what might be slithering our way next coming next.

I’ve been watching Dr. Who recently and -unlike everyone else I know of- the Doctor is perhaps my least favorite part of the experience (we can get into that later).  Personally, I would much prefer if they took their budget, writers, and actors to make something more akin to the Twilight Zone in a franchise unburdened by a character who can not possibly lose.  In particular, I greatly enjoy the monsters and I remember reading an article about showrunner Steve Moffat and the philosophical underpinnings of the fear his monsters inspire.  For me, I like to think about the psychologicaly related to the monsters (the Silence will always be Alzheimers to me for example).
I think nearly every great monster can be related to a psychological issue even if the creator only got there by accident (Werewolves as metaphor for PTSD).  In my opinion, Zombies (and to a lesser extent Vampires) represent unchained id. Even if we laugh at most of Freud’s theories nowadays the tripartate theory of consciousness is still an incredibly valuable metaphor.  Which means we need a standard monster (class) that represents unrestrained superego.
I think we’ve tried it halfheartedly (Zort from the Day the Earth Stood Still remake, Kevin Spacey from Se7en) but the obvious example is aliens, spirits or fey that are here to punish us for our misdeeds.  Zombies and vampires are the horror that lurks within us: that fact that we could have nothing more to us than hunger.  The other obvious side is the horror that comes from transgressing a boundary and being punished for it.  Which, of course, somewhat ignores the reality that there are already innumerable horror stories of revenge and punishment for transgression.  We’ve done it over and over again for a reason.
If you want something that could achieve the same kind of cultural ascendancy of zombies though, I would argue that unrestrained superego is the way to go.  
But what do you think?  Any monsters you think could achieve the kinda of cultural apotheosis enjoyed by the humble, indefatigable zombie?  Sound off in the comments.

(Also, I should point to this great article from io9.com discussing some of the same concepts.)