TED Conversations

Mary Vidaurri

This conversation is closed.

Zombies in America: Why are they so popular now?

Recent years portray a resurgence of zombies in America's pop culture, one that had remained primarily dormant since Romero's "Night of the Living Dead". Now we have "The Walking Dead" and a steady release of zombie films, but what makes them so different from the rest of the B-grade slasher films, why do we embrace the walking corpse?

The zombies we know and love today differ drastically from their Haitian roots, where a man was killed by a bokor, then revived, enslaved and used primarily for manual labor. Not trace of cannibalism, but man's fear of having no say in his actions is still apparent.

Tracing back to the first zombie film "White Zombie in 1932, it was not greatly received, but is now a cult classic. Why?

Then there is Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" 1968, It also received intial bad reviews. The graphic scenes were shocking to the audience and yet it was one of the most profitable films and now greatly acclaimed, why?

Was the film symbolic of violence in Vietnam/ critique of American society in the 60's or reflect the turmoil of Americans each day not knowing if the bomb was going to drop?

Which parallels back to us 2013, what is the cause now? Could it be more political tension like in the 60's or could it be a spiritual aspect we connect to?

Whatever your viewpoint, there is something which drives millions of Americans to the theaters, do we actually believe in possible zombie outbreak, I doubt it. But there are people preparing for such an event, again why?

I'd love to see your opinion on the subject, and if you'll spot some of the other parallels in history.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jul 26 2013: Perhaps it's just me, but I think it lies somewhere in the belief that a zombie outbreak isn't all that far-fetched. As you said, there are people who're actually preparing for such a scenario. If you look at it in entertainment alone (film, TV, video-games etc.), you can take it that there have been many different speculations behind what could cause such an event — artificial science, mutated genetics, parasites, a newly-formed or undiscovered disease etc. are often the most common.

    Since a lot of it is often portrayed to do with environmental or man-made causes (as opposed to supernatural enigmas and such), I think we are more inclined to think the idea of zombies isn't really out of touch with what surrounds us in reality. The thought of that alone is both frightening and intriguing, so zombies have become a huge topic of interest nowadays. Naturally, this will also be reflected in our entertainment.

    My two cents.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.