Sunday, February 16, 2014
Where Have All the Zombies Gone
Let me clarify that last statement: I don't mean zombies are undead, I mean they're dead: kaput, finished, muertos, finito, skerrrkk. (Drawing finger across neck.)
Oh, yes, there's still the TV show The Walking Dead, but a look at some of the episodes reveals the script writers are on their last wobbly, staggering legs. Last December a fat, jolly zombie in a red suit surprised everyone by coming down the chimney and teaching the true meaning of Christmas. Upcoming episodes will feature zombie-cameos by eighties icon, Mr. T. (If he doesn't actually die first) and a thrill-packed scene in which Daryl must escape a throng of zombies by jumping a tank full of sharks in a motorcycle.
The fact is, we overdid it on zombies. In 1992 alone there were 3,769 zombie films made; I myself was in three of them (Zombie Pajama Party, Zombies, Huh?, and Zombie, Zombie, Who's Got the Zombie) There were Zombie Theme Parks, Zombie Plush Toys, Zombie Breakfast Cereals. We let zombies get out of hand, which is a shame. Zombies became just another way to make a fast buck, but before they got commercialized, they used to mean something.
One day my grandchildren will ask me, "Dr. Martin," (I'm going to make my grandkids call me "Dr. Martin") Dr. Martin, what were zombies?" And I'll sigh, and I'll wipe a tear from my cheek perhaps, and say, "They're something we used to be scared of a long, long time ago." And then I'll raise my laser at the bulbous-headed brain-eating aliens coming over the hill.