“It was Zombie-leavable!” – A Horror fan’s declaration of sanity
Here’s a sad, but equally true fact – I am infatuated with zombies.
And yes, the picture below is me made up as one.
A metaphor for the industrial collide of people wanting to be the same, perhaps. A metaphor for the burned out student, sleepwalking to class in yesterday’s beer-drenched jacket, with his eyes glued to his phone…more likely. That, or I just like the idea of people being eaten up. By society, maybe. By others, more accurately, and despite my efforts into trying to create some cliché poetic reason for my fascination with the living dead, I honestly can’t sincerely say there’s something meaningful behind this fascination. Some people just like things that make them uncomfortable, in a good way.
Some people enjoy romantic sob-fests, with handsome protagonists with promises of everlasting love to the woman he fell in love with during their two hours train ride together.
Other people, like myself, prefer watching those people getting killed by a man with a chainsaw.
Now, I am no person of violence. I’m a pacifist (believe it or not), who besides watching films that use fake blood in excessive amounts, enjoy long walks on the beach and reading poetry, though apparently, according to certain people, loving the films that I do might be a potential threat to a country’s safety.
Since Columbine, the light that has been put on violent films has been a dark and morbid one (no pun intended), a light that shines as harshly at violent films as it does on metal music and video games, all of them being the center of the media’s ‘blame game’. It often appears that with brutality or violence that lacks any evident political or religious reason, the media are left with the question of who to’ blame’ for it. Their answer in many cases? Violent entertainment.
Now, I will not point a finger at anyone for inspiring the horrible acts of violence that have been going on these past few years, with school shootings as the main point of concern in this situation, but I will say that ‘blaming’ an industry with the intention of merely entertaining their audiences might be a bit….well, ironic. In many cases, the news media might want to turn their finger pointing to themselves instead...they are, after all, a conveyer of a saturated truth more than anything else these days.
The horror/thriller industry is not an educator. It is not meant to teach us about how to live our lives, how to think or how to act. It’s not meant to give us ‘ideas’ or create an image of what is right and what is wrong, or how the world really is. It is, in many ways, just like the cliché romantic comedies - they're simply here to entertain. Just like most of us know we will not meet ‘Mr Right’ on a Ferris wheel and live together happily ever after, we know we won’t find ourselves needing to know how to use a chainsaw in case of a zombie apocalypse.
However, after watching our daily dose of news, we might find ourselves thinking of the possibility of never finding love in this horrible world or having to consider locking ourselves into our homes and sleeping with a gun underneath out pillow.
Films are there to give us an escape from reality. Most films, especially horrors, do not have as an objective to give their audience ‘ideas’ on how to pursue their lives. They are there for you to sit back, relax, and watch something that has nothing to do with you or your life and, hopefully, never will.
You’ll never meet Ryan Gosling. And you’ll never have to escape a hoard of zombies chasing you. But whichever you might prefer, both are fun to get indulged in. You could be Ryan Gosling’s wife or you could be an apocalypse survivor who saved the world. Or you could be both.
For 120 minutes or more you can escape reality and all its gruesome realities. You have the privilege to find delight in a world of make-believe magic before you turn your television back to the news to hear about the rising crime waves, the murders, war and terrorism.
And yes, there are those few individuals that might be influenced by a horror film to do bad things, or a video game for that matter, but it's not about the film in that case, rather his or hers state of mind. They would find inspiration elsewhere, whether it be a book or even the news. But not everyone who sees an ad for Volvo goes out and gets one, right? How can it be fair to blame wrongdoings that clearly are caused by something deeper on something as shallow as a fictional film?
Whenever I watch horror films, I never feel like doing the things I just witnessed, and I can assure you I'm a fully functioning person. And horror films have been a massive part of my life ever since I saw The Exorcist when I was 13. In some ways, horror films leave me with a peaceful sensation, a gratitude of sorts, that my life is as good as it is. Is there anything that has influenced how I live my life it's not horror films, but the daily dose of fear I get from reading the news every day. I don't double check my locks because I'm afraid Michael Myers will break in, but because I'm afraid of everything real that's out in the world.
So, after this rambling of an apparently violent and insane individual I can proudly say that after watching the last episode of The Walking Dead I raised my apparently violent arms in the air and shouted “THAT WAS ZOMBIE-LEAVABLE!” before snuggling back into bed and, secretly, reading Shakespeare.
First published on my old blog Horrific News.