Zombies can’t die: What is the fascination surrounding the dead?


Brayden Gregory

A collection of big name zombie titles from the last two years.

by Brayden Gregory, Editor-in-Chief

With the 2022 Oscars, the category fan favorite film consisted of five movies: Tick, Tick … Boom, Minamata, Cinderella, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Army of the Dead.

The winning film was Army of the Dead, the first zombie movie to live through the awards at the Oscars.

What makes us so fascinated by zombies?


Though a distinct origin isn’t know, Historians believe that the idea of a zombie can be traced all the way back to the Ancient Greeks due to their fear of the undead. Archaeologists have uncovered graves, where they found bodies having heavy weights or stones pinning the bodies in hopes to prevent reanimation.

Zombie folklore is believed to have began in Haiti, possibly originating in the 17th century when West African slaves were brought in to work on Haiti’s sugar cane plantations. Brutal conditions left the slaves longing for freedom. According to some reports, the life—or rather afterlife—of a zombie represented the horrific plight of slavery.

But why do people care? 

The zombie genre in pop culture can be dated back to the 1932 release of White Zombie. Though the depiction of what a zombie was loose and very simplistic, this set the stage for future zombie releases in pop culture.

COD zombies has been releasing with almost every Call of Duty game since World at War. So far there has been 10+ release titles of varying zombie survival games. (Brayden Gregeory)

Ever since then, zombies have been a big hit.

Just in the last two years 15 mainstream TV series and movies have been created. As well as 13 mainstream video games have also been made.

The most popular TV series is, The Walking Dead and has been airing since 2010 and is approaching its conclusion this summer.

Though the main show is joining the dead, The Walking Dead Universe is resurrecting. Beyond The Walking Dead, AMC has produced a two-season show called, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, a seven-season show that is still airing called, Fear The Walking Dead, a talk show called, The Talking Dead, a trilogy of movies that plans to continue the story of The Walking Dead, two spin off shows that will focus on certain Walking Dead characters and their development, and another series that has a collection of episodes that explains the origin and or background of the characters.

The biggest Zombie movies series is George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead Series.

  1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  2. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  3. Day of the Dead (1985)
  4. Land of the Dead (2005)
  5. Diary of the Dead (2007)
  6. Survival of the Dead (2009)

This series of movies isn’t just the most famous of them all, but these movies changed the way zombies were interpreted in media. George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead  film revolutionized zombies from menacing and mythic servants à la Halperin to the cannibalistic harbingers of the apocalypse that trudge across screens today.

Guts and Gore  

Society is in love with violence and horror. Video games, media, haunted houses and more all help feed these desires.

Violence grabs the attention of the viewers and fills them with adrenaline and craving for more. One study by Craig Kennedy, professor of special education and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. The study looked at the minds of mice to see how the mammalian brain processes different feelings. “Research in mice suggests that the mammalian brain processes aggressive, violent behavior the same way as it does other rewards,” said Kennedy.

These violent actions aren’t the only thing that grabs the attention of viewers. People enjoy watching their greatest fears come to life in a fictional story, Paul Bloom, a psychologist at Yale University. Bloom’s theory is that fictional tragedy and imaginary horrors help prepare people for real life by delivering moral truisms.

To walk among the dead

People are fascinated by the idea of an apocalypse. Guessing what and how the world ends is a thrill that many people seek to explore. A zombie apocalypse is a thrilling variation of an apocalypse. People enjoy the thrill to see if they could survive battling against the restless dead. Taking them out before they rip your flesh off your body. It prompts many questions that people want to put to its limits. Will I be able to out last the dead? Will the fight to save humanity test morals and what is left of humanity? Can we cure this pandemic and return to normal?

All questions we want to know. The Walking Dead helps allow many of these people to see what they want to experience. A group of individuals working together to try and save humanity while battling the moral obligations in order to keep humanity alive. That is why The Walking Dead has been one of the most important shows in zombie media.