*Warning: scrolling down will expose you to graphic photos of the zombies to which I owe the onset of my absurdly irrational fear. Read on with caution.
Yes, blogosphere, it’s true. While others reserve their (perhaps unspoken, but undeniable) end-of-the world, doom and gloom theories for nightmares involving, I don’t know, nuclear war or global warming – something as plausible as alien invasion, even – time and time again I unfailingly choose zombies. For reasons unbeknownst to me, my painfully vivid visions of global destruction always include a graphic scene of one of my friends – undead in this case, obviously – launching his decaying figure in my general direction before I go all Rick Grimes on his ass with a crowbar. Well, in the good nightmares. In many instances I wake up in a cold sweat, frantically checking to ensure all my appendages are intact and bite-free because, moments before in dreamland, my Dad or sister, grey-eyed and ravenous, had lunged at me from behind and…well, I’ll spare you the graphic details. [insert any given Walking Dead attack scene here]
Jeez. That’s what I get for breaking curfew all those years.
Oh, hey Dad.
“Why zombies?” you might ask. “Why pick the most illogical, improbable scenario – and probably one of the most gruesome – to embody the fears of your demise?” Valid question, blogosphere.
I could go into a long, drawn out analysis of my childhood woes and their possible influence on my worrisome daydreams of death-by-zombies. I could try to assemble a timeline documenting the escalation of my distress. A fancy one with bullet points and arrows, theories and deductions. But, no. I’m pretty sure I can chalk it up to one thing. Television.
There once was a time before zombies ever posed a nightmarish threat, fantasized or otherwise, to society. Our go-to zombie flicks and Halloween costumes were non-existent. There was no Zombie Survival Guide, Abraham Lincoln was just a regular president, and Pride and Prejudice remained untarnished and zombie-free. One could go about his or her business worrying about ordinary, legitimate apocalyptic travesties, such as a massive, world-encompassing natural disaster or a lethal airborne pathogen. Or the human race just simply destroying itself. No zombies. But then a few writers and filmmakers got wind of some gnarly Voodoo legends over in Africa and Haiti, and Poof! Enter the undead, forever changing American horror culture and the nightmares of its followers, myself included.
I should clarify: I was never – and still am not – a horror buff. Let’s face it, while I carried them around in my backpack to seem hardcore to my peers, those Goosebumps books were a little much for me, and Are You Afraid of the Dark was completely out of the question. The slumber parties I hosted did not include ghost stories or Ouija Boards. Basically, after experiencing the terror that is The Exorcist, I figured I was good for life. I was perfectly fine staying at home watching Hallmark movies with my mom rather than accompany my friends to the latest box office nail-biter. I am not brave. The number of scary films I have endured willingly without trickery or coercion is exactly zero.
Yes, yes I am, actually. Thanks for asking.
So when The Walking Dead hit the scene and the zombies returned to the spotlight, I feigned disappointment at my inability to afford cable and carried on unfazed. That is, until I stumbled upon the realization that the show’s protagonist was none other than Andrew Lincoln. Oh you know, that beautiful specimen from Love Actually. Thus prompted my thought process: Love Actually –> heartwarming romance –> Andrew Lincoln –> yes please –> Walking Dead –> heartwarming zombie romance? Mmmk. I can work with that.
And oh, dear blogosphere, it all spiraled downward from there. Sure, there was some romance. Sure, Mr. Lincoln played a handsome, heroic, order-restoring, zombie killing machine in a sheriff’s uniform. And, yes, the mildly stimulating plot line held my interest well enough. But the zombies. Heavens. There should have been a disclaimer: Oh, hey viewer, if you enjoy the luxury of sound sleeping and pleasant, zombie-free dreams, watching this program is probably a bad idea. Just saying. Maybe change the channel. Okay, back to the show.
But it was too late. I was hooked. And since my husband had also developed an affinity for the show, there was no turning back. Every Sunday night we got our weekly dose of gore, and, like clockwork, that night I could expect a recap as soon as I drifted into dreamland. Only this time I would be the main character. Oh boy.
As time went on, I became accustomed to my nighttime battles with the undead. I suppose it became second nature to associate fear with zombies, so, upon any mention of an impending apocalypse, my mind continues to instinctively produce images of barren fields, abandoned cars and homes, and flocks of walkers migrating from one rotting corpse to the next. Sigh. Why can’t I imagine the end of the world as some sort of peaceful occurrence instigated by a higher power who transports us safely from the earth’s demise to Heaven or its equivalent? I mean, at the very least, couldn’t I picture something that takes me out quickly rather than forcing me to live in fear until I am inevitably devoured alive before awaking (assuming there is something left of me to awake after the feast) to shuffle about, slowly deteriorating, until someone smashes my head in or blows my brains out, ending it all for good?
You tell me, blogosphere. What’s a girl to do? I suppose the damage is done. My absurd fear of the zombie apocalypse will continue. And as for the dreams? Well at least I can say my subconscious self is a bad ass, at least half the time. Because, chances are, if there ever actually was a zombie apocalypse, I’m pretty sure not even my copy of the Zombie Survival Guide (Yes, I own it. Yes, I’ve read it.) would save me. I’d probably end up looking like this girl:
She looks like she used to be cute, though, right?