We are prompting discussions with our new ‘opinion piece’ section titled Shock & Cheese and in this first article the discussion is on the zombie genre.
Yes, the Zombie genre “shot its load”. The Masters of Horror TV series episode titled “Clive Barker’s Haeckel’s Tale” directed by John McNaughton showed the Dead doing that on screen. The Zombie genre has been dead for a long time time. The carnivorous dead started by George Romero has always been about the ultimate consumer society be it consuming people or haunting a mall.
The Zombies of “Classic Horror” reflected the time as the term referred to those that “blindly” followed orders be it by signing up to fight a War, doing someone’s evil bidding or working in a sugar cane field.
Today, Zombies are self-made monsters anyone can costume themselves up as and walk about mindlessly. Zombies have lost their precociousness as eating machines and turned into reflections of human characteristics. They scheme, they talk, and they have raucous sex, particularly in Garth Ennis’s comic series “Crossed.” The shown level of violence, depravity and the panorama of the story of that series along with gore has yet to make it into a film. The closest to ‘”Crossed” is The Sadness (2021) revealing human frailty, lust and delight in bashing or inserting things into parts of bodies shown in the subversive Comic series. The Sadness (2021) does it because it makes us cringe, laugh, turn away and look back again. In life, we all look at car wrecks and accidents as we pass them. Self-pleasure can’t be all bad as shown literally in that film.
On the tack of illuminating humans’ frailties, why not have The Ambivalent Dead? Dialogue such as “Oh I don’t know if I want to run that far to get the girl. I mean she is tasty. Running makes me sweat and I have no pores.” Make the zombies create affordable housing before some other mindless creature can’t make up their minds as to how and why to do it.
In its present form yes the Zombie should have retired a long time ago. A form that has reached the end as in a moment from The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) that came from the nadir period of Hammer Studios. The creature was dissolved in acid while giving a finger salute.
By Terry Sherwood
Do you think the zombie genre has lost its shock value?
What is your favourite underrated zombie movie?
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