I started understanding why the US enjoyed zombie movies so much after I had watched about fifty or so.
Monsters are the symbols for that which we fear. Pop psych, sure, but there it is.
Zombies, when stripped of their fictional trappings, represent a fear of losing control, losing cohesiveness, and losing loved ones as they deceptively switch over from Trusted Beloved to Mindless Primitive. Zombies represent betrayal, not only of loved ones and friends, but of society itself. When a character is killed by zombies, that’s bad, but when they come back, that’s the horror of being a zombie. That’s the betrayal. When society breaks down and people kill each other over a bunker full of canned corn, that’s the horror, that’s the betrayal.
But why is that so triggering in the US? Why is that so popular in the US? Why is that so… juicy?
The United States of America’s very DNA contains the answer to this question. Since its inception and right up to present day, the US has been a luxurious silken bed for those who sincerely believe that everyone around them is out to get them. And if they aren’t out to get them — they will be soon, invisibly, once the zombie virus reaches their brains.
And in the United States, these folks pile up about themselves in paranoid fervor the only solution they have been taught will work.
“Guns. Lots and lots of guns.”
These are not being stockpiled for hunting animals. They are being stockpiled because “when the shit hits the fan, we’re gonna need these guns.” (For people)
They are not being stockpiled to help stop a virus from a meteor crater, or to dissipate an evil cloud, or to deactivate robots. They are not being stockpiled to help people avoid catching a disease or or advance a space program capable of deflecting an asteroid. They are not being stockpiled to curtail a global AI or reverse the effects of greenhouse gases on a planetary ecology.
The purpose behind these is to be able to stop an enemy that is intimately close, that is ferocious enough to require that much force, and whose betrayal is so utterly completely that they are beyond reason.
In monster terms… zombies.
The United States has cultivated the exact environment designed for people to shoot each other to death, and zombies are exactly the clay that fills that crack.
We like zombie movies because the only answers we know how to give are the answers needed by zombie movies. Zombie movies cater specifically perfectly to that hunger.
Understanding that this is the United States of America’s primary Love Language should help us all move forward in handcrafting entertainment that exploits it.