Around a decade ago many of us were operating under the belief that the zombie craze had run its course. As it so often does, time proved us the fool, with major media adaptions of the zombie idea just as popular as ever. Now firmly planted in our zeitgeist as a cultural mainstay, the success of zombies as a concept is curious, and without an endpoint in sight.
While many contributing factors make zombies so influential in modern media, the basis of their inclusion tends to revolve around one central idea; guilt-free violence. Zombies are not really considered people, so there is a lot of potential for how they can be used. While they wear the shell of humans, which raises some interesting developments when it comes to loved ones, zombies are by and large regarded as target practice. There’s no deprogramming of zombie ideology possible, and they can’t be cured. These former humans are the walking dead, it’s kill or be killed, and that makes them perfect marks. Take out a thousand humans and you’re one of history’s worst monsters. Kill a thousand zombies, and you’re a hero for the ages.
The other side of the zombie equation comes from the flexibility of the media. Though horror is the traditional mainstay, it’s also possible to stretch the idea out to much broader horizons. One such illustration of this idea in action could be found in the slot games available at Vegasoo Casino. On this website, titles like Book of Dead leverage our cultural appreciation of the zombie topic to great success. Using the zombie theme as a vehicle to express something instantly recognisable to the masses, games like this have gone on to become some of interactive media’s biggest hits.
Even within film, the way we look at zombies has expanded far beyond the early styles of Romero’s breakout hits, with this also having an impact on Bollywood as noted by the Hindustan Times back in 2013. For a modern illustration of this idea, Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead combined classic zombie violence with daring heists to create a fresh take on an ever-rotting concept. Seeing enormous success on home-streaming services, Army of the Dead has already promised two prequels, with untold future potential.
For a slightly more dated example, one of the biggest drivers of the diversification of zombie media could be found in the success of Shaun of the Dead. Released in 2004 by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, this comic take on the classic formula gave new life to zombie movies, showing just how far popular zombie films could be stretched.
In the 2020s, zombies are so popular as to essentially become a theme in and of themselves. A fixture in film, television, books, gaming and everything else you could think of, the success and variety available in zombie media shows no signs of slowing down. Though there is the possibility that they’ll overstay their welcome for some of us, for many others, we can’t wait to see how the genre evolves next.