Zombies, necromorphs, the walking dead, the dearly un-departed, voodoo men, the ‘infected’, dubstep fans. That guy from Miami.

A writer/producer’s greatest aid, and their worst nightmare.

I suppose the divide between hate and love for those that walk amongst the living is scarily even. On one end of the zombie spectrum, you have an army/horde of creatures who have tasted death, and have refused it’s full meal. Soldiers, animals, that will never tire, never complain, who ‘live’ for the next meal.

On the other, you have a bunch of shambling buffoons who smell like your grandmother.

Yeah, and everybody says vampires are uncool nowadays.

Surprisingly, zombies have managed to somewhat weather through the s**t-storm that horror failed to predict. It’s only been recently that zombies have progressed backwards, and even that’s putting harshly. Instead of being mocked directly, like most horror elements, it’s more about the SITUATIONS they’re put into.

Everyone likes a zombie, you may say you don’t, but come on, who doesn’t appreciate the idea of a zombie. Something so vile even hell is like ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that.’ a loved one, ready to be embraced by an ecstatic family member, and ready to sinks it’s teeth into aforementioned member’s shoulder

‘Oh sweet Marie, after all these years you’ve come ba…’(This is proceeded with screams and crunching, and… other… noises)

But for every pro, there is a con. Zombies don’t really have a place in horror. They serve too many different role, depending on the film, video game, book, etc.

However the biggest problem when it comes to zombies, for all their roles and variations, the trouble with zombies is: What do you you do with them? Wha… where do they go, I mean…

Look at it this way: Your writing a screenplay for a movie, or a book, you’ve set you undead creations loose on your fictional world and then what?

‘Well, you tell the story of the survivors, and how the…’

At that point, it is not about the zombies is it? You’re telling a horror story, sure, but the more focus you give your ‘survivors’ personality, depth, the zombies are out the window. They are now a trial, an obstacle to be overcome in the apocalypse. Whereas in something like, say, Left 4 Dead (I know they’re ‘The Infected, I’ll get to that) The survivors past and personality is hinted at, but it isn’t the main theme. The zombies and the world they inhabit are. If it was about the survivors, it would be a less-than-entertaining video game, wouldn’t it?

It’s more akin to ‘The Walking Dead’ at the point, which is about as much a comic book about zombies than ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is about bird hunting.

‘But zombies still feature predominantly in ‘The Walking Dead’. It’s even named after them!’

True, I suppose, but did you really keep reading after the first volume to see the zombies? Not to say that The Walking Dead is bad, its amazing, but as Rick would put it:

And this leads us back to the original argument: Zombies are just another piece in the puzzle, but they don’t fit anywhere. It’s always fun to unleash the horde, but at that point, it’s difficult to use them in any way that’s interesting. You have a pile of corpses, nowhere to put ‘em.

So then you ask yourself, if you don’t use them, then what’s the point of having them? Well, I suppose the best thing to do is to accept the inevitable: zombies are not able to support themselves as an element of horror on their own, so just make sure they do good in movies that don’t really focus on them. Evil Dead had zombie-type possessed, The Walking Dead is going strong. Zombies, however bad it may seem, are still popular.

As long as their in the corner of your eye, and not chomping on your neck.

If you want to explore the topic a little more, I’d really suggest you check out this episode of Extra Credits, a usually video game oriented show that had a little debate on zombies themselves. It’s worth it, trust me.