Ever since George A. Romero’s infamous Dead trilogy graced the film industry from the late 60s, the zombie film has been omnipresent on our screens. The noughties saw an invasion of zombie film series, such as Resident Evil, 28 Days Later and Rec, which helped to popularize the flesh eating, brain-dead monsters.
The much-loved genre has branched out into video games (Left 4 Dead, Dead Island, Call of Duty Zombies), is holding its own in literature (World War Z, Warm Bodies), and has one of the most popular TV shows in America (The Walking Dead). So, like us, you may be wondering if this is the peak of the zombie; is it going to fizzle and die or will it continue to dominate the media for another decade?
Unfortunately, it seems that the genre relies heavily on remakes and adaptations; this year’s main zombie flicks (World War Z and Warm Bodies) are both adaptations and film-makers are seemingly clinging to the success and legend of George A. Romero, as there are multiple remakes of his original Dead trilogy and his sci-fi horror The Crazies. In addition, he has attempted to revitalize his series with the uninspired and disappointing Land, Diary and Survival of the Dead.
Many of these films adhere to traditional and safe stories about a zombie apocalypse and the subsequent survival of civilians amongst aggressive militaries and unhelpful governments. Whilst such plots are what helped to popularize the genre, they are getting tiresome and samey.
However, amongst the masses of similar horrors come a select few comedies which parody the zombie, featuring similar themes that are presented in refreshing, humorous ways. Films such as Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland inject life into the genre, with their emphasis on going to the pub and zombiefied celebrities; we hope the comedy-horror continues.
This year in zombies isn’t all bad, though, as World War Z appears to approach its zombie pandemic on a world-wide basis, which is rarely seen. In addition, Warm Bodies romanticises the zombie, which, at first, prompted groans from Twilight haters, but by not taking its self too seriously, it has been very well received.
If this year’s films are anything to go by, the zombie genre appears to be venturing into more innovative territories, which is very welcome. We’re sure that there will still be plenty of the traditional zombie horrors, though. With the presence of The Walking Dead and novels, we think, and hope, that the zombie film will remain strong for the foreseeable future.