Zombies have been around for a long time. But it was not until recently that I
began to notice how prevalent they are in our culture right now. Though not entirely based in reality,
it feels like the extremely graphic in-your-face previews of AMC’s The
Walking Dead violate my screen every few
minutes. When I saw a Progressive
insurance commercial showcase a zombie up close and personal, I knew zombies
had broken into the mainstream.
No longer were zombies reserved for the goth types. They were, unfortunately, for all of us
to gawk at.
Has anyone noticed how zombie mania has creeped into
children’s entertainment? In our
household, I first got whiff of zombies from “Plants vs. Zombies” – a video
game popular among the 10 year old crowd. The screen is innocent and cheery
like Donkey Kong but with green skinned, toothless, stiff jointed, growling,
bug eyed zombies. Then there are children’s
movies such as Disney’s Frankenweenie
and countless children’s books such as Zombiekins by Kevin Bolger. A search for “zombies” in the category of children’s books
on Barnes and Noble’s website alone produces 589 results.
I’ve been puzzled by this freakish fad of zombies because living dead things you would think are scary, and my kids do not even remotely like to be scared. They refuse to walk unaccompanied into a pitch black room or to sleep without a nightlight. Mummies and shrunken heads at the natural history museum gross them out, as does a bloody bug bite on my leg that has been scratched too much, too long. So why do they voluntarily interface with zombies?
I believe it is because zombies are
simply there and they seem harmless enough (at least during the day). My children are not fascinated with zombies. To them,
“Plants vs. Zombies” is a cool game and the villains just happen to be zombies. The villains could be walking kale for
all they care.