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Zombies and Truth

John on September 29, 2006 at 9:48 am

TCS has an excellent review of a new Zombie-novel which explores one of my favorite themes: Monsters as the good guys in disguise. I’ve written about this with regard to fembots, with regard to Japanese horror films, and with regard to the TV show LOST. Anyway, here’s a sample of the review:

As is always the case in great horror, the monsters are distorted, funhouse-mirror versions of what we fear in our selves. Our lack of faith is the twisted lens through which the dead seem monstrous.

In an era in which medicine, nutrition, hygiene, exercise, and plastic surgery allow ordinary people to retain fragments of youth for decades, the very notion of death comes to seem obscene – a spiteful abomination that does not know its place. Pity the plight of the aging Baby Boomer: you got that master’s degree, saved your money, worked out four times a week, and lost twenty pounds; you did everything that anyone could possibly expect to prolong your health and vitality, and still that traitorous body of yours is shutting down! You have only known a world that would give you anything you wanted if you were smart enough and hard-working enough; how dare the world change the terms of the agreement by robbing you of your vitality and energy and – worst of all – your mental faculties! More primitive societies must confront the tragedy of death and suffering daily; in the affluent West, death and suffering are freakish abominations that clash with our leisurely lives and delicate preferences. The commonplace of human frailty now seems unendurable, intrusive, and alien – like a horror movie monster. As we cannot defeat death, we once turned to religion and philosophy to teach us how to embrace our inner zombie. But too many Westerners have become like the villain of P.D. James’ Death in Holy Orders, who states that he has no need of religion because football fulfills all his spiritual needs. And if you dislike football, pick another palliative: antioxidants; the power of positive thinking; the immortality of a cool MySpace page. These are feeble sticks with which to beat back the zombie apocalypse.


The indignation that energizes World War Z is the indignation of a truth denied, of a human need left unfulfilled for too long. Such indignation is the essence of the ur-horror story: implacable forces arise to impose a pitiless judgment upon arrogant man for neglecting and belittling the fundamental rules of life.

Thanks to SeeDubya at JunkYardBlog for the hat tip.

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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