So I have a confession to make: even though I’m a huge horror fan… I hate zombies. And not just recently, either. Their over-exposure is certainly good reason to hate them, but I’ve never liked the things. Or, actually… Let me clarify that. It’s not the zombies that I hate so much. It’s the zombie apocalypse that leaves me cold. I mean, I get it. The zombie apocalypse is really all about civilization’s fear of barbarism, of losing all our advancements and accomplishments to the mindless animals within, covered in a sickly-sweet candy coating of contagious disease phobia. So yeah, I get it. I just don’t care.
I also hate self-referential nerd fiction. You know what I’m talking about: genre fiction that uses the “rules” (read: cliches) of its own genre as some kind of meta-textual in-joke. It makes an easy play to the audience’s suspicion that they’re smarter than their entertainment, while using the wink-wink nudge-nudge as an excuse to engage in the same bad writing it’s supposedly lampooning (see: 90% of Joss Whedon’s everything).
And yet… I really enjoyed Zombieland. Maybe it’s because it’s cleverly-filmed, or because the character writing is so strong. Maybe it’s that Bill Murray sequence. Or maybe the zombie clown…
But for whatever reason… I like that movie in spite of its being an astoundingly self-referential dork film about the zombie apocalypse.
Similarly, I’m not much of a Cranberries fan. But I do really dig their song “Zombie.” Which, much like zombie movies, isn’t actually about zombies. But at least there are no smarmy in-jokes.
BONUS ZOMBIE: Here’s the one zombie apocalypse moment in all the history of the genre that I can honestly say I love without reservation.