With the success of such films as “Shaun of The Dead” and “Zombieland” the zombie sub-genre has become absolutely monstrous in size when it comes to popularity. Recently we saw the same kind of success in the realm of vampires with the success of the “Twilight” franchise, let us hope that our beloved zombies do not end up getting the sparkle treatment as well but honestly that may not be very far off.
Zombies have become a major part of modern day pop culture no longer confined to the horror films they called home to for so many decades; zombies are popping up everywhere you can possibly think. Who could have imagined that one day they would turn on their television and see zombies featured in mainstream advertisement campaigns? Videogames, books, music, film, comics, television, and all the major forms of media are being over run with the walking dead with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. I for one never thought I would see the day where zombies were mainstream, and all though I welcome this sudden burst of zombie media it also scares me at the same time because let’s face it once something starts to become mass produced its only a matter of time before it loses its flavor and becomes another cookie cutter method for people to cash in on whatever the current craze may be.
Companies like Ford, Kellogg, and most recently Frito-Lay all have released zombie inspired ad campaigns for their products. Frito-Lay with their newest Doritos ad was even aired during The Super bowl, yes ladies and gentlemen its official the living dead invaded The Super bowl, which is as mainstream as one can get.
Videogame culture was quick to jump on the recent zombie band wagon, while we have always had titles like “Resident Evil” for the most part zombie inspired titles were few and far between at one time. Now it seems every major shooter franchise includes a zombie mode, and many other genres such as Rockstar’s open word western adventure “Red Dead Redemption” have now included zombie related modes for fans of the dead to plow through. Not to mention the birth of many new zombie titles as well including “Left 4 Dead” and the “Dead Rising” franchise, a zombie game series that recreates the vibe set by George Romero’s classic film “Dawn of The Dead”. Who at one time also tried their luck in the gaming world with a PC title called “City of The Dead”, unfortunately due to poor overall quality it would quickly become forgotten and most likely buried next to copes of the E.T. videogame.
The book community has also been over ran with zombie media, everything from survival guides like the Max Brooks title “The Zombie Survival Guide “to the retelling of classic literature using zombies for a twist like in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, and also your basic wave of new zombie fiction my personal favorite also coming from Max Brooks with his mind blowing book “War World Z”.
With zombies popping up everywhere, what does this mean for the genre in long terms? That is where I become worried with the huge success of The Walking Dead being transformed from graphic novel to a television show that has generated staggering ratings this invasion is not going to end anytime soon. Will we see zombies get the romantic make over soon like vampires? We just might after all it has been played around with in various indie films already. Films like “American Zombie” and “Fido” have already tweaked the zombie formula to make people to take a second look at the walking corpses and to reminder they were once just like you and me. Some films have already touched on zombies and love with David Gebroe’s “Zombie Honeymoon” a film that explores how far one will go to be with the one they love even after they join the ranks of the walking dead.
While this sudden burst of zombie media has produced some truly unique takes on the genre like “The Book of Zombie” it is only a matter of time before we are over ran with endless uninspired and pushed out the door zombie projects. When the king of zombies releases back to back zombie films that feel like they were quickly made to cash in on the craze you have to stop and ask yourself is it worth having a genre you love get mainstream attention? You may get endless media from your subgenre of choice but at the same time it will start to change and mold itself to better fit with mainstream needs leaving the diehard fans in the cold begging to return to the way things once were. How far away are we from zombie shaped spaghettios and Saturday morning cartoons? Will there ever be a day where one can honestly scream “There’s a zombie in my soup!? Let’s hope things die down before we get to that point but it is a very real future to sit back and consider as zombies continue to march higher up the pop culture food chain.