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Zombies Invade NPR

More About the Undead in Pop Culture

Above: Bub in George A. Romero's underrated "Day of the Dead"

I just wanted to share my national feature that ran on NPR this morning about zombies and pop culture. It was great to bring the undead to NPR but a bummer that it had to be such a short piece because there actually is a lot to discuss about the current popularity of zombies. Here's a link to an earlier These Days' zombie feature that I did last year and where I had more time to go into the history of the genre and the enduring popularity of the zombie as a horror staple.

One of the comments up at NPR suggests that the rise in zombie popularity occurred after 9/11 and reflected the fear of impending catastrophe. But that's what zombies have always done, they've been the blank canvas to reflect whatever scares us be it racism, disease, or the end of the world. In the interviews that I gathered for the NPR piece (most of which I couldn't use because of the limited length of the feature), Trent Reid noted that zombies reflect that fact that people are currently "in crisis mode." As proof of that, Kevin Workman, an IT architect and one of the XSanguin organizers of the off site zombie bash during this year's Comic-Con, noted that when someone he knew had done a survey asking people what they would do in a zombie invasion, "one in ten had a plan and one in twenty had really good ones." The great debate about what to do in case of a zombie invasion was where would you go? Workman says a lot of initial responses were Costco (because of all the supplies one could find there). But then some people did some research and discovered that the warehouses that supply Costco have even more stuff so survivors of the zombie apocalypse should congregate there instead.

Anyway, my point is that zombies may appear dumb and slow but frequently the films and books focusing on them are quite smart and pointed in their commentary. So I hope you enjoy this NPR feature. And if you don't share my obsession with zombies, then please forgive my attempts to try and convert you. Coming up later this year: "Zombieland." And the godfather of zombies George A. Romero is supposed to have a new undead film out as well, but it is currently known only as "Blank of the Dead." At Comic-Con, fans inquired what Romero's next zombie film might be and the director would only say, “I have a balls out zombie comedy thing.” Hopefully that's what he has currently in the works because that's something I'd love to see.

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