Saturday, 28 February 2009

I Heart Zombies!

It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark. There he is, shuffling towards you. A vaguely comical appearance, but there's nothing funny about him. He is dead but he is walking, and he is walking towards you with only the hunger for your flesh and brains driving him on. He is soaked with blood, most of it spewing from his gaping wounds. His jaw is hanging from his skull only by a stubborn bit of sinew, the tongue dangling from this unnatural cavity in his head. His ankle is broken at a viscerally nauseating angle, yet still he walks on it and you can hear it cracking every time he puts weight on it. It closes in. You're cornered. There's nowhere to go now. He gets closer, you can see your whitened reflection in his cold, dead eyes… you're paralyzed.

It's a rather unsettling thought, but deep down, every gamer wonders about what they would do to survive the Zombie Apocalypse that is definitely going to happen one day, when they terrorise y'alls neighbourhood. We all know we would probably just defecate ourselves out of fear and hope the smell scares the zombies away. But we dream of heroics, of saving our loved ones and guiding them to safety. A rather noble thought, and one not too dissimilar to other dreams of heroics, such as saving the beautiful lady from some form of danger and being rewarded with a kiss or a quick go on her breasts and then being giving three million pounds by her rich Father. But what's more appealing to us in the zombie scenario, is the chance for bloody violence in a completely righteous form. "They're dead anyway," you'll say, "but they're trying to kill us. It's self defense and it's euthanasia, we might as well enjoy ourselves if we can. Someone get me a chainsaw."

There's a blood lust in us all, a primal state of mind that makes us violent, that makes us beat each other up and sometimes makes us kill each other. Primates do it, and so do we; it's instinct. However, we (I'd like to think) have morals, and we know killing another is a most reprehensible crime. We do like to see films and games with bloodletting content, though. Think about this: it's weird that horror films are so mainstream. We revel in being scared and some of us actually like to see gory stuff in horror films. It's the part of us that slows down for car crashes, it's the part of us that crowds around a fight, the reason hangings and executions drew a crowd. The fascination in us all of all things morbid and macabre. And, truly, what is more macabre than a reanimated and cannibalistic corpse? Let's not analyse, but merely accept the fact that we're all pretty damn morbid, some more than others, obviously. In this respect, zombies are awesome. Whether they're the slow variety from the classic Night of the Living Dead and Resident Evil, or the fast-running motherfuckers from 28 Days Later and Left 4 Dead.

No mere mortal can resist the appeal of zombies, and when we go to bed at night we should all thank all those wonderful men and women who give us zombie films and zombie games, for they are preparing you for when grizzly ghouls from every tomb are closing in to seal your doom.

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