With the popularity of AMC’s show The Walking Dead, there has been a rise in the discussion of zombies in the media. In Chuck Klosterman’s essay My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead, he points out that zombies are an expanding market. 5.3 million people watched the first episode of The Walking Dead on AMC as opposed to the 2.9 million who watched the season 4 premiere of another AMC program, Mad Men. These stats tell how popular zombies are these days and how many people would rather watch a show about zombies. Klosterman discusses why zombies have such strong cultural appeal. According to Klosterman our fascination with zombies is connected to our ambition to delete somebody or any struggles you have in your life. Klosterman suggests that maybe the popularity of zombies may be due to a different metaphor than those discussed by scholars and film critics.
“What if contemporary people are less interested in seeing depictions of their unconscious fears and more attracted to allegories of how their day-to-day existence feels? That would explain why so many people watched that first episode of “The Walking Dead”: They knew they would be able to relate to it.”
The author then goes on to provide examples of how his thesis of life as a zombie may be connected to various aspects of our routine existence. Klosterman claims that a lot of modern life is exactly like slaughtering zombies. Klosterman compares zombie killing to reading and deleting 400 emails or filling out paperwork that generate more paperwork. What he meant by comparing zombie killing to this is the downside of a zombie attack is that the zombies will never stop coming and in life you will never be finished with whatever it is you do. The author also compares zombies to the internet and media noting “all of it comes at us endlessly and if we surrender we will be absorbed.” Klosterman describes this way of thinking as seeing our daily battles manageable by saying, “as long as we keep deleting what’s in front of us, we survive.”
Question 4: what I think the author meant by saying “This is our collective fear projection: that we will be consumed”, is if you surrender to zombies you will be overtaken and absorbed just like with the internet. We fear we will be consumed by the internet. This is true, the internet can take your consciousness away and make you dumber. Although it increases visual literacy skills, it makes you dumber in critical thinking. The more you go on the internet the more you’ll be consumed. I do think that this is a collective fear. Everybody is afraid of being consumed by internet because everyone uses it and knows what it does, some just refuse to admit it.
After reading Why We Crave Horror Movies & My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead, I think both authors kind of disagree with each other on one thing and agree with another. According to King, we like horror movies because of the fun and entertainment that comes from watching them. Another reason why he says we like horror movies is to prove we can. On the other hand, according to Chuck Klosterman we like movies/shows with zombies is because of an entirely different metaphor than those commonly discussed by film critics. People want to feel they can relate to the zombies. Klosterman claims, people can relate to shows with zombies, because most of modern life is exactly like slaughtering zombies. Basically according to King we like horror films for the entertainment, and according to Klosterman we like zombie films because we can relate to them. I think they do agree on one thing. They both agree that people like horror and it is a very popular genre in these times.
The Walking Dead characters: Rick Grimes, and zombie (left to right)