Zombies are boring now. They’ve been done. Old news. I am no longer afraid of a zombie apocalypse, because everyone has a plan. Not only will we survive it, we’ll crush it.
Zombies have already said everything they, as a horror monster, say about our fears and our culture – our panic about communicable infection, our overwhelming terror about the slow, creeping inevitability of death. Or have they?
Recently I watched two things that did zombies completely differently. Cockneys vs Zombies was a fairly simple zombie uprising tale set in London’s East End, whereas In The Flesh was about what happens after the zombies have been ‘cured’.
Both were surprisingly good, and In The Flesh, at least, was deeper than a lot of modern zombie fiction is.
So, In Cockneys vs Zombies the zombies are blatently a stand in for ur concern about the riots, and the growing chance of civil unrest as the British Government removes aid from the most needy and slowly dismantles our rights. It’s pretty good. Not great – a lot of the acting is sub-par (which is a shame and a surprise as it has a number of British Institutions taking roles) and the story is barely there, but it’s fun and has that certain feel to it that only low-budget British films can do. (aside from queueing, we’re also very good at low budget, indie horror flicks). It’s sad, funny, dark and the zombies are proper slow, stupid zombies that are only scary in large numbers.
Also, there’s a part where a zombie toddler is thrown into an advertising billboard.
In The Flesh is a completely different proposition. In the Flesh is a short drama on BBC Three (a wasteland filled with terrible shows, with the occasional oasis of brilliance) about a post undead-rising, where a cure has been found for the ‘rotters’. Tensions are high in the village of Roarton, and without going into spoilers, the show makes it very clear by the end of the first episode just how far the HVF (A militia group who defended Roarton when the zombies were rabid) is willing to go.
It’s about zombies, yes, but it’s also about hate, grief, and the nature of humanity. It uses zombies as a metaphor for the condition of those we neglect, hate and mistreat in our society, and goes into detail about how ineffective government laws are agaisnt preventing murder and torture of those we see as not belonging. It can be uncomfortable viewing at times, but it is very, very good. If you can grab it, you should watch it.
So, two shows that do zombies. One of them classic, one of them more unusual and interesting, but both of them prove one thing to me.
Zombies aren’t dead yet.