Though they may not be part of the silver screen favorites, zombies are hugely popular right now. Since the 1930s when “White Zombie” was released, introducing the concept of the walking undead to film viewers everywhere, zombies have been a staple in horror films and stories all over the world.
Anyone would have to admit that there is something creepy about a lifeless body, no longer in possession of a soul, wandering around in search of human flesh to feast upon. Something as unnatural as an undead person, covered in wounds and decay, lumbering slowly toward you with relentless hunger to eat your brains is a pretty scary idea, no matter how ridiculous it might sound to your rational mind. This is certainly where the fascination began that has lead to today’s zombie craze.
It is said that zombies were originally part of Haitian folklore in which a voodoo master would call forth the dead to do his bidding. The first few movies in the 1930’s and 1940’s used this idea to create their eerie atmospheres, but it didn’t take long for others to begin adapting these mindless creatures to their own whims and plans.
Obviously, George Romero did not invent zombies, but he is certainly responsible for creating most of the mythology that surrounds them today. It was his 1968 feature film “Night of the Living Dead” that set the rules. If you want to kill them, you have to destroy their brains by shooting them in the head, or decapitating them and removing their brain. If you get bitten by a zombie, you are infected and you become a zombie. Romero came up with these tenets of zombie existence and now they are seen as the simple facts of the genre. Check out the picture above. It is an example of zombie Halloween costumes that can be used to help win all of those costume contests!
Many believe there is a lot more to the premise of undead masses slowly overtaking the able-bodied living than just a mere twisted horror experience. These vacant, stumbling beings are a perfect canvas on which to portray the fears of the people. There is no limit to the number of concepts you can pin to the zombie’s tattered persona. The movies of the 1950’s showed that zombies were created as a result of nuclear radiation. In the following three decades the issues were mostly about pollution in some form. Currently it seems that disease is the main concern of the world. Zombies are so versatile and can be used in many different ways without any difficulties at all in making the adaptations. This is one aspect of the creatures in particular that the more dedicated fans seem to appreciate a great deal.
With this understanding in mind, Romero has been able to use the zombie genre to make some amazing social commentaries about socio-political and socio-economic events of the world, which adds an incredible depth to his movies that has often been overlooked by those who view them only as horror films. The ability to make such important observations or statements using this medium is one of Romero’s true gifts. It has earned him millions of fans all over the world, some of whom are so devoted to his original ideas regarding zombies in the first movie, that they will argue over whether a zombie should have the ability to speak or whether they need brains rather than just fresh flesh to sustain them.
Every Halloween fan knows that everybody loves zombies! Zombie props are a big part of decorating every year.
Regardless of the reasons, zombie zealots as well as fans who just love the idea of the undead walking amongst them have become common place. In the last several years they have even begun to organize huge Zombie Walks in many major cities. During these events people dress up like zombies and walk, or shuffle, down the streets or through malls in true zombie fashion. The first Zombie walk was said to be very small, with only a handful of people attending, but nine years later, they have grown to include several hundred.
Zombie victims will also place themselves somewhere along the route, dressed in plain, easily ripped clothing. They bear a certain mark that the zombies can recognize, and when they are spotted, the zombies will attack them. While the victim continues the scream beneath the pile of attacking zombies, they will rip his clothes and apply quick makeup to his face. Then, as the zombies move on, the victim will rise and join them.
These walks are quite a sight to behold, but they are even more fun if you participate!