The zombie apocalypse is upon us. People said it wouldn’t happen. Sane, rational, reasonable people. But they were wrong. It just didn’t come in the way we were told it would come in the movies. It came, not in the form of ragged reanimated corpses shuffling up and down the city streets crying out for brains, but in the inane dinner party discussion, in the impassioned jabbering of the late-night cocktail hour, in the insipid silence-filler of the office break room at lunchtime. Yes, the zombie apocalypse is here, and it’s far more horrifying than anything George Romero could have ever imagined.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the zombie invasion went from threat to full-on takeover, but we’re in the thick of it now. Where once zombies roamed only in the niche realm of gruesome horror shlock and the warped minds that brought it to the screen, now they’ve chewed through the fleshy bounds of genre film and burst into the mainstream with a bloody spray. With the course we’re on, we’re about eight months away from the first zombie Disney sidekick, and word has it that the cast of How I Met Your Dad will consist mainly of undead characters.
It’s a wasteland out there. Where simply having zombies in something lets it pass as entertainment. Did the love story in the last romantic comedy you saw fail to capture that certain spark you’re looking for? Try this one instead, one of the characters is a zombie. Now the lack of that spark can be chalked up to irony. Did you try to get through a Jane Austen novel, but found it too dry and uneventful? Well lucky for you and your pea-brain, someone “wrote” a rehash of it with a bunch of zombie stuff tossed in, and for only 21 of your dollars this glorified sheaf of toilet paper can fill the void left in you from trying to understand subtle meaningful prose.
The plague is spreading. Rapidly. Just walking down the street earlier this week I encountered several clusters of people—or what may have at some point been people—talking vacantly about how great the latest episode of The Walking Dead was. It’s getting frightening out there. No one who hasn’t been reduced to a barely functional husk with only enough brain power for the most basic motor skills would see an episode of that show and react that way.
It’s getting to the point that I’ve had to start defending myself. At a party this weekend I was cornered by two such creatures. One kept grunting about how much of a badass Carl has become. “You should see him in the graphic novels,” the other kept shouting. I had to break the leg off of a nearby coffee table and cave in both of their skulls to get away. I was chased for blocks by other ghoulish party-goers who wouldn’t stop moaning about how “the show really hits its stride midway through season three, though!” After taking out several more of them they became too overwhelming and I had to hide until dawn in a stairwell.
I made it home, and now I’m holed up here, the doors and windows boarded up, anything that could be used as a weapon within arms’ reach. It’s only a matter of time, though. Before too long I’ll run out of food and have to venture out again. But even more pressing is that the threat looms over me within these very walls. Each time I turn on the television or sit at my computer, looking for brief diversion from the horrors around me, I’m assaulted by more TV shows, movie trailers, articles discussing TV shows and movie trailers, and TV shows discussing other TV shows. And I’m beginning to fear it’s already happening. That I, too, through sheer amount of exposure, am becoming one of them.
Maybe it won’t be so bad. Maybe it’ll be a relief, not to have to fight so hard anymore, to just accept it. To shut down my higher thought processes, and live out the rest of my life and beyond as a mindless drooling zombie fan. It could be worse, I suppose. I could’ve been gotten by the vampire fans.
Photo by Victor Savio via Flickr