Watching zombie movies and TV shows growing up didn’t actually prepare us for the current COVID-19 pandemic. The living dead have been said to devour brains and turn others into zombies – but that’s just one story. Zombie tales of an apocalyptic nature are endless and zombie lore has remained a prevalent piece of pop culture for decades of debauchery. George Romero, this one’s for you! By definition, a zombie is a “will-less and speechless human held to have died and been supernaturally reanimated” or “a person held to resemble the socalled walking dead especially,” and as an example – an automaton. Life often imitates art and vice-versa. Sometimes society is chock-full of almost braindead “automatons” and/or “zombielike” residents on Planet Earth. But that’s another story.
Doomsday prepping is a thing.
Survivalists live and breath among us. Zombie hunters, not so much (sorry Twinkie-loving zombie butt-kicking anti-hero Tallahassee played by Woody Harrelson in “Zombieland.”) In the real world, or through a reasonable facsimile – the pandemic does not include an unruly mob of the walking dead – or does it? And it’s a good thing too. Could you imagine a plague turning everybody into soulless, belligerent, stinky, smelling, flesh-tearing monstrosities hell-bent on wrecking havoc in an otherwise civilized society? Oh wait, isn’t that happening right now? Again, that’s another topic to tackle in another editorial. It used to be on Halloween little kiddies would slap on some special effects make-up, put on their parents’worn and torn outdated clothes and hit the streets sliding/shuffling their feet – while attempting to recreate Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” moves. Heck, adults do it too. Zombies are almost a beloved creature of habit.
The zombie is a universally accepted monster, if you will. When one thinks of the word “zombie” a stereotypical prototype is constructed in one’s mind. Zombies have consumed us – pun intended. There are probably some southern Albertans who have picked out the perfect bug-out shelter or fortress to ward off the hordes in a fictional end of the world scenario. This pandemic, at its start, had many wanting to run to the hills and seek shelter to wait out the storm.
There’s an old “Twilight Zone” episode entitled, “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.” The episode is described online as – “On a peaceful suburban street, strange occurrences and mysterious people stoke the residents’ paranoia to a disastrous intensity.” In short, it’s a story about a bunch of neighbours who are terrified of imaginary monsters coming to destroy all of humanity, when in fact it’s the residents of Maple Street turning on one another and becoming these socalled “monsters.” Sound familiar? Little Green Men are another topic that get people creeped out globally. The out of this world notion of beings from space coming to Earth to probe or zap us into oblivion is frightening for some residents of this deflating bouncing beach ball. And for good reason. Nobody wants to get vapourized or our bodies used as a petri-dish for interstellar scientists from a galaxy far, far away. But, some Earthlings may want to be beamed-up “Star Trek”-style – here’s looking at you Trekkies.
Collectively, humans have been bombarded with a plethora of problems that have affected our way of life in extreme ways with the COVID-19 pandemic. Sure, there’s no actual zombie plaguecarriers crawling around in search of our thought organs hidden deep inside our bone helmets. But, many of us have been preparing for that outcome since we were teenagers through our boob tubes and big screen cinemas.
Today’s pandemic is more terrifying than anything we could ever imagine, really. Yes, it could be worse and it’s not World War III or its after-effects (you know – eventual nuclear bomb annihilation). Some people on Earth have lived through more horrors and atrocities than one can fathom. A zombie infestation is not one of them, yet.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Perhaps it’s time for all of southern Albertans to start watching, reviewing, learning from zombie entertainment. It could mean the difference between life and death when society is in the throws of a zombie no-holds-barred cage death match. Like the comic book store Frog brothers tell Sam in “The Lost Boys” – these are not just horror comics about vampires – they could save Sam’s life against the undead nocturnal habitants of a fictional Santa Carla. Even though this editorial isn’t about vampires, the sentiment is the same. Use zombie material to persevere when the going gets tough – fictionally, of course.