The nurse escapes the house to find this same thing happening all over her previously peaceful suburban street. She drives away from (and over some) zombies. Alas, there is no where to go. Everywhere she drives in her city there are zombies attacking the remnant of the humans.
A man tries to steal her car causing her to crash it. When she revives she is staring down the barrel of Ving Rhames‘ shotgun. Rhames is a cop so she hooks up with him. (By the way, it is precisely for situations like this that I am for personal gun rights.) As they travel they hook up with others who tell of the widespread catastrophe.
The zombies are everywhere.
The decide to go to the nearby mall hoping to lock the zombies out. The mall has clothes, food (Starbucks, etc), weapons (sports equipment, etc), and places to sleep (display beds, etc). It’s a good plan. But no matter how safe they seem to be inside they will ultimately run out of food or the zombies will end up finding a way in.
I don’t count zombie movies as horror films because unlike horror films zombies are out in the open. You can see your enemy. You know there is no way out. It’s not about surviving the Bogey Man. It’s about overcoming impossible odds with just your wits and your resources and your muscles.
The ultimate man movie!
Never mind the 20 evil cowboys at the OK Corral! In zombie flicks you get the same odd-stacked-against-you situation but on steroids. How about 1000 cowboys at the corral? How about if the cowboys bite you then you join their team? How about all the townsfolk don’t just watch on as you fight but they are against you too; there is no safe place for you.
Never mind the 100 evil terrorists that Iron Man has to escape from (and kill). How about after he does kill them there are an unlimited number of terrorists waiting for him in every town he goes to? And if they get you it’s a fate worse than death!
There is no explanation for the zombies. There is no rationalizing with them. There will be no surrender. No discussion. No Geneva convention. Kill or be killed.
Zombie films appeal to men in the same way that all action flicks do but the consequences are ratcheted up a notch – and by “notch” I mean “a million times more notches” or “millinotches (c)” as I like to say. They give us a way to ask the questions all men, deep down, want to know about themselves:
Could I protect those who are with me?
Could I overcome these odds?
Do I have it in me to go on when all hope is lost?
Zombie films give men the fodder they need for their most beloved fantasies – hero fantasies.
When I dream, I dream of protecting people, saving lives, being the hero. I don’t dream of butterflies, humming birds and tacos. (Well, tacos are sometimes in my hero dreams…)
I want to be the hero. I want to see the world in black and white – good verses evil. I want to join the side of good and help it win against all the odds. In this way, zombie movies appeal to me in the same way that Christianity does. (Left Behind, anyone?) Consider all the apocalyptic teachings of the Bible – the Horsemen, Armageddon, devils verses angels! It’s frakkin’ awesome!
That’s why a good Christian boy like me loves zombie movies: it reminds me of the coming apocalypse and lets me play it out over and again… without actually being there yet.
Besides, it’s all fake. Duh.
(Never mind that last sentance! In case of a zombie attack, I have already set up defenses at my place and stocked up on food for months. So if the zombies attack make your way here. Bring your guns and ammo.)