Researchers believe the popularity of the zombie fad means people are more than a little unhappy at the moment.
Clemson University professor Sarah Lauro believes that zombies become more popular when citizens are dissatisfied with some aspect of society. Cultural and economic shifts tend to cause a rise in how obsessed people are with the undead.
“We are more interested in the zombie at times when as a culture we feel disempowered,” Lauro told The Associated Press. “And the facts are there that, when we are experiencing economic crises, the vast population is feeling disempowered.”
The English professor added, “Either playing dead themselves … or watching a show like ‘Walking Dead’ provides a great variety of outlets for people.”
Lauro said people began gathering in zombie mobs back in 2003. She said the popularity of these organized appearances grew in popularity during the Iraq war in 2005. Movies such as Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later were also popular during a time of widespread unhappiness.
Stanford University literary scholar Angela Becerra Vidergar believes that the zombie fad has its roots in the fears established during World War II. The threat of nuclear war prompted many to speculate what would happen to society in the wake of such a disaster.
“Zombie plagues are among various different scenarios that have made up the increase in mass-scale disaster stories in the past decades,” Vidergar said. “Zombie horror is, in part, popular in the way other genres of entertainment that provide adventure and violence are popular.”
“However, zombie narratives have a particular set of elements that allow us to tap into those anxieties about the future and how we would address them,” she added.
Even if you don’t agree with theories about the current zombie fad, a lot of people in the United States are really unhappy at the moment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that one in 10 Americans are currently suffering from depression.
In addition to movies, film, and music, this obsession with zombies has influenced the way news organizations report crime. Stories of a “zombie attack” surfaced last year when Ronald Poppo was savagely attacked by 31-year-old Rudy Eugene in Florida. Following this bizarre incident, reports of other so-called “zombie attacks” began to surface.
Professor Lauro told the AP that she doesn’t feel that many people are aware of the statement they are making with their zombie obsession. However, she believes the zombie fad is an allegory for “feeling dead” at various points in our lives.
Do you think the zombie fad is fueled by unhappiness?