Zombies in Film and Literature, and the Coming Apocalypse.
As the year comes to a close and, perhaps, the world to an end, I’ve been so dreadfully busy that I haven’t had time to write a shopping list, let alone an Olive Adventure. As (if) we make our way into 2013, Confessions of a Stuffed Olive will return to its usual schedule of random unscheduled randomness. In the meantime, here’s a piece by the awesome Emma Kate, about one of my favourite subjects in the world… zombies.
Zombies in Film and Literature, and the Coming Apocalypse.
by Emma Kate
I am a massive fan of zombie movies. The Resident Evil series, no matter your opinion on their quality, are such kickarse fun that it’s hard not to enjoy them. 28 Days Later and its sequel 28 Weeks Later not only make the zombies scary, but also what happens to humanity after is terrifying. There’s zomedies such as Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland that are still graphic in their violence yet highlight the absurdity within that violence. I have seen bad zombie films, scary ones, funny ones and I enjoy them all. It’s not just because there are so many of them, even with ‘concern about flesh-eating ghouls [being] manifestly evident in today’s popular culture’ (Drezner, 2010. ‘Night of the Living Works’), but because the zombie is so much a part of film culture. ‘According to conservative estimates, more than a third of all zombie films ever made were released in the past decade.’ (Drezner, 2010. ‘Night of the Living Works’) Mostly, it’s because I genuinely enjoy the zombie genre in film.
Conversely, I have not been such a fan of zombie books, especially the horrendous Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but that recently changed with the sublime series Feed by Mira Grant. This wonderful series deals with a zombie apocalypse caused by the mixing of two viruses meant to save us from cancer and the common cold. This mixed virus has infected everyone, meaning the chance to turn into a zombie is ever present, although it usually requires a live virus injection (via bite, for example). One thing that sets this series apart from other zombie novels is that the title Feed has a double meaning. There’s the zombie’s need to feed, and the newsfeed, via the internet. The main characters, George, Shaun and Buffy are bloggers. They present the news in both video and written form about where the zombies are and what is happening. This idea isn’t new either, Director George Romero has said:
‘Is it information or is it opinion and perspective? I wish it were it was pure information. What the Internet’s value is that you have access to information but you also have access to every lunatic that’s out there that wants to throw up a blog. Anybody with a radical idea, if it sounds halfway reasonable, is all of a sudden going to get millions of followers.’
Surviving the Apocalypse.
So, how does one survive the zombie apocalypse?
The CDC put out a social media campaign in 2011 to raise awareness of how to be prepared for a crisis situation, namely that of a zombie apocalypse. The page can be found here.
The best resource they provide is their zombie novella, which can be found here. Here is their description:
“CDC has a fun way of teaching about emergency preparedness. Our graphic novel, ‘Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic’ demonstrates the importance of being prepared in an entertaining way that people of all ages will enjoy. Readers follow Todd, Julie, and their dog Max as a strange new disease begins spreading, turning ordinary people into zombies. Stick around to the end for a surprising twist that will drive home the importance of being prepared for any emergency. Included in the novel is a Preparedness Checklist so that readers can get their family, workplace, or school ready before disaster strikes.”
There is also a series of lessons that can be done in schools for education purposes, including an emergency kit lesson.
The first thing that needs to be done in order to survive the apocalypse is to get together an emergency kit. The list included with the CDC’s zombie novella is quite comprehensive but includes things such as:
- water (1 gallon per person per day)
- food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
- medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
- tools and supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio)
- sanitation and hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels)
- clothing and bedding
- important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate)
- first aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations)
The next step is to make your emergency plan. This includes where you would go and what you would do if zombies appeared. It’s also a good plan if there is another emergency like floods or earthquakes. One needs to ensure that there are multiple ways out of the house, because one needs to make sure that if it’s the fast moving zombies of 28 Days Later or the classic shamblers from Night of the Living Dead, there are alternatives in order to avoid them.
But in all honesty, can one truly survive the zombie apocalypse? I sure hope we can, but whether it’s a virus, or some other source of infection, are any of us safe? The films and books seem to suggest with their endings “that it is not possible to seal oneself off from the immense social problems of our world. The repressed awareness of class antagonisms, family conflicts, and the deadening effects of modern life return with a vengeance.” (Michel, 2007. ‘Life and Death and Something in Between’)
And, of course, we still have to deal with the zombies.
About the Author: Emma Kate
Emma is an avid fan of pop culture, spending many, many hours watching movies and television shows. She has had one piece of short fiction published. She was an Aurealis Awards judge for Fantasy Novel 2011 and is for Horror Novel and Short Story 2012. She reads every night before sleep and sometimes instead of. She lives with her daughter and a horde of cats in Hobart, Tasmania.
You can find Emma Kate’s new blog here.