Tuesday 25 March, 2014
The walking undead are hot right now. According to an article on the site 24/7 Wall Street from last year, the zombie industry is worth billions of dollars. The site estimates there may be as much as $5.74 billion in zombies and that’s likely an understatement.
The article reports that it’s not just about movies – There’s money in zombie TV shows, video games, costumes, books, comics, merchandise and just about anything else that shambles slowly along with arms outstretched moaning, ‘Brains!.’
A History of the Undead in Popular Culture
Zombies have always been a part of the occult literature. They were usually created through voodoo, magic or sometimes extraterrestrials (usually in the B-movie variety). George Romero’s 1968 movie ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ however, changed everything. He invented the zombie apocalypse and zombies were now a horrifying horde.
‘Night of the Living Dead’ wasn’t a hit. It was simply too scary and weird for most people. However, it started a whole new genre – the zombie movie. It was followed by the more popular ‘Dawn of the Dead’ in 1978 and countless zombie movies in the 80s, including ‘C.H.U.D.,’ ‘Night of the Comet,’ ‘Day of the Dead,’ ‘Dead Heat,’ ‘Evil Dead II,’ and don’t forget Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’
Today, we’ve got zombies everywhere, not only in films like ’28 Days Later,’ but in the hit TV series ‘The Walking Dead’ and even in video games like ‘Resident Evil,’ ‘House of the Dead,’ and ‘Dead Rising.’
Why We Love Zombies
What’s with the zombie craze? If you really want to cash in on the zombie marketing, you’ve got to understand why we love zombies. The 24/7 Wall Street article says it’s due to economic hard times. The article quotes zombie genre author Max Brooks as saying that zombies give us a way to deal with anxiety. He says they offer a ‘fictional lens to the real problems of the world.’
If you look at the most popular zombie movies and TV shows, this seems to be true. George Romero has said that images of the Vietnam War were an influence on ‘Night of the Living Dead.’ The film also deals with racial issues. The main character is black and is killed by rednecks at the end. ‘Dawn of the Dead’ is set in a shopping mall and satirizes America’s consumer culture. The hit TV series ‘The Walking Dead’ is full of racial tension and conflicts from the past.
Anxiety may be the cause of our fascination with zombies. Like Japan’s Godzilla, the zombie apocalypse symbolizes science out of control. But there’s a huge difference between zombie hordes and skyscraper smashing monsters. Only scientists and the military can fight Godzilla. With zombies, it’s hand-to-hand combat. Anybody can shoot zombies or hack off their heads with a machete. The zombie apocalypse brings out the hero in us and this gives us hope.
Whether you buy the figures or not, there’s no doubt that there’s money in zombies. What does this mean to you? It might be time for a zombie product. Have a look at www.zombiemart.com for ideas.