*A to Z Blog Challenge - O for Options*
In zombie films and books, there aren't a lot of options that ensure survival. The zombies are out to kill you, but so are other survivors. What are you supposed to do?
This is another notion I explore in my book Undead Obsessed, and I'll give you a little example of what it takes to survive.
From Chapter 15:
THE GREATEST CHANCE OF SURVIVAL humans have in zombie films happens when they learn to work together. Even the zombies have figured out how to do it—whether they realize it or not—and their ability to gather in mass numbers to surround and take down their prey works to their benefit. When the humans in the film figure out how to do this, they are also successful.
Zombies are us. They are the embodiment of what we fear the most, of becoming mindless corpses hell-bent on destroying humanity. And the most frightening part of this is that we could turn into a zombie without realizing it’s happening. We may claim we want to do the best for the world and our fellow humans, but we all have prejudices, we all have hate. We may not act on those feelings for fear of getting in trouble, but if there weren’t consequences, if we could shut our fears off, what would we be capable of? Society and its rules keep a lot of people in check. It keeps us from reverting to our primal stages, from spiraling into chaos. But what zombie films show is the collapse of rules and civilization, what happens when we are no longer afraid. And it’s not pretty. It’s destructive and gory—and not only from the perspective of the zombies. The survivors don’t act any better, often being just as destructive and gory as the undead they are trying so hard to kill.
Zombies force us to look at ourselves, each other, and at society and ask the question: what does it mean to be human? The answer that zombie films give is not exactly uplifting and full of promise. They basically tell us that to be able to fix the problems we created, we have to come to the brink of extinction. We have to lose everything and rebuild from scratch. But even then there is no guarantee things will change. The zombie apocalyptic world is still full of those hungry for power, corruption, and greed. Until those are taken care of, the world will continue to spiral into chaos and regress into primitivity.
Thankfully, in the real world, even though we have our problems and issues and seem intent on destroying each other, we have the capacity to pull together under crisis. The multitude of natural disasters—tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc.—that have left people homeless and hungry has brought together others that are willing to help and support. Bombings and mass killings tragically impact communities and societies, but they also bring people together in a show of emotional support.