Do We Really Need Another
Is Brat Pitt’s World War Z the latest installment in a strong horror subgenre, or yet another played-out zzzzzzombie movie that nobody needs?
By Eric Alt
Zombies. They’re everywhere. No, literally – you can’t watch a movie, turn on a TV show, play a video game, open a comic book, or talk to a hipster without hearing about or witnessing some sort of zombie apocalypse. (Which, by the way, is a phrase that is almost as annoying and played out as “I love bacon!”)
Zombies have had crazy overexposure in the past few years, and it doesn’t appear to be letting up. This weekend, for example, World War Z hits theaters. It stars Brad Pitt as a man facing a global infestation of the feral undead. Sounds like a can’t-miss hit, right? But it made us question to whether the zombie-movie subgenre may finally be over. We came out with several zombie-movie pros, and several zombie-movie cons …
PRO: ZOMBIE MOVIES HAVE MEANING!
One of the key reasons the zombie movie is unique among its horror brethren is that it lends itself to endless social and political commentary (without skimping on the blood and guts). Ever since George Romero invented zombies (sorta) in Night of the Living Dead, which doubled as a meditation on racism, and then crafted Dawn of the Dead as a scathing indictment of consumer mall culture, zombie movies have been rife with subtextual brain food that makes them almost endlessly recyclable.
CON: ZOMBIE MOVIES LACK PERSONALITY!
So zombies are a blank slate upon which you can write whatever social or political agenda you have in mind. On the downside, you can’t really have a zombie “villain.” Zombies are faceless waves, like locusts, so you really lose the concept of a “big bad” – something that makes horror movies a lot of fun. Zombies are both unlimited and extremely limited, and they often end up boring no matter how fast or slow they run.