While a recent hype for Zack Snyder was building, his zombie flick Army of the dead did not do so well with the public. The walking dead the franchise has three shows and gets a fourth plus three movies. And The last of us is in production for HBO Max. Should the zombie subgenre rest? While a zombie flick always looks like a fun summer blockbuster, viewers seem to tire of the same tale: the zombie pandemic begins, a group of heroes must survive, they must get from point A to point B to accomplish C, some of them die and live long enough to realize that people are more of a threat than the dead.
The zombie subgenre doesn’t seem to be dying anytime soon, as they’re still a major fixture in most horror video games. There’s also at least one big-budget undead movie every two years. Many independent filmmakers will look to zombies as antagonists in low budget horror films, because it is cheap to do that kind of makeup (like in the cult classic of 1981 evil Dead), and there’s always a big crowd calling for a cannibalistic apocalypse. There are several shows about zombies such as The walking dead, The rain, Z Nation, iZOMBIA, and Daybreak to name a few.
The zombie subgenre can be expanded to accommodate any other genre. Zombie comedy movies like the land of zombies have done well enough to become cult classics and even attract enough viewers to get a sequel. Zombie Horror is probably the most popular type of movie to make that includes walking undead. But brain-eating corpses can fit into other genres like psychology, drama, or romance (as seen in Warm bodies). Not only can zombie stories be told with different emotional tones, but the zombies themselves can be changed.
Zombies in The walking dead are very different from those of Second World War Where Train to Busan due to their different speeds, strength and aggressiveness levels. And the zombies in these media works are also even more different from those in low budget movies like the 2015 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin titled Maggie. This zombie flick takes a more realistic take on a global undead apocalypse where zombies aren’t much of a threat than any other highly contagious flu virus, but are still deadly if bitten.
Maggie is a drama about a father trying to save his child from a bite she received and to be with her until the moment she turns around. It is told much like a cancer drama, where illness may be prolonged but death is only a matter of time. At Zack Snyder Army of the dead, after an army-transported zombie breaks containment and attacks the city of Las Vegas, the government quarantines the city. The military plans to deploy a nuclear strike on the city, and a group of mercenaries are hired to collect a large sum of money from a casino before that happens. These two films show just how differently the world could react to a situation like this.
Because zombies have made their way into every other genre, maybe it’s time to take a break from the narrative and finally put it to rest. Even if put to rest for a little while, the zombie subgenre can still respawn. But it would make these types of movies more special if they weren’t shot as often as they are. It seems a lot of people are starting to tire of the subgenre and find themselves rolling their eyes instead of getting excited when a new zombie movie or TV show is announced. It seems many filmmakers are aware of this, as there seems to be pressure for more creative ways to use the living dead.
Although, if there are still some undead stories to be discovered and they still draw millions of viewers, why not continue to explore the subgenre? Because this is such an easy topic to fit into any story that will grab viewers’ attention, the zombie subgenre can be exploited to the point where it’s just about a sad and overused clichÃ©. Filmmakers have to find a new way to tell zombie stories or else they risk killing the subgenre. In the media, zombies represent the idea of ââdeath. Zombies (usually) stalk their prey slowly and steadily in their approach.
They are unstoppable and inescapable, like death itself. The film It follows is an interesting twist on the zombie subgenre, as the Death Virus is not explicitly stated to be a zombie. The walking dead can also be a metaphor for the paranoia people feel about others, especially those who don’t look or act like themselves. Even if Army of the dead was a fun idea, maybe it would have worked better in a world with less zombie media.
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