I Don't Love Zombies

I ended my zombie Facebook game prematurely. I haven’t seen the season premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead, and I’m not planning to.

You think I love zombies.

You think I want zombie plush dolls, zombie T-shirts, the game of Life for zombies. But, I don’t. And I don’t want to go to the zombie pub-crawl/laser-tag/rock concert, either.

You’ve got it all wrong.

I don’t love zombies. In fact, they scare the ever-living hell out of me. Most scary things scare the ever-living hell out of me. If you ever see me in a haunted house, please help me get to the exit—I assure you I’m too frightened to get there myself. I watch horror movies the same way I watched the scary parts of movies when I was a child. Through my fingers.

But, I understand why you think I love zombies. I talk about them all the time, right? I’m always recommending that you stock up on bottled water and dry goods, destroy your staircase, and start up a cardio routine. I’ve read World War Z more times than anyone else you know; I had the entire The Walking Dead graphic novel series, and read it more than once; I reference Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead in conversation; I once owned a bottle of Iron City beer.

I don’t love zombies.

Okay, you’re probably grumbling, then why the obsession?

When I was little, I used to have blood-freezing nightmares. In these dreams, my father or my baby sister was attacked by alligators. Over and over again I dreamt that people I loved were attacked, bitten, and ultimately, lost to me. I woke crying, screaming, writhing. I used to whisper in my sleeping little sister’s ear, “I would save you. I would save you. I would save you.”

Losing someone I love has always been my greatest fear.

In zombie movies, there is always a character who loses someone incredibly dear to them. A mother, a child, a sibling, a lover. They have to choose between ending the loved one’s life right then, or watching them turn into a zombie. They have to watch them die either way.

This thought paralyzes me with fear. No, with horror. 

Andrea & Amy. From The Walking Dead graphic novel. 
This is my worst nightmare. 

There are other reasons that zombie mythology fascinates me. I think they symbolize an awareness of humanity’s all-consuming, annihilating influence on the planet. We are the plague of locusts.

This was perhaps most eloquently illustrated in George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead. The zombies return to the mall, because being a consumer is all they remember of their past life. The bikers steal from the zombies, because even in the apocalypse, mankind has a drive to take, and take, and take.

Yes, I’ve analyzed Dawn of the Dead.

No, I don’t love zombies.

But I do love vampires. Especially ridiculously hot Irish ones, like this. 


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