Talk about brain food! Why do we currently love zombies so much?
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The way I see it is that an individual zombie is, of course, only mildly scary. You have to look at them as a collective. Zombies are a force. It’s because they’e pervasive, unrelenting, and inevitable. There’s no real hope of truly defeating them, unlike most traditional monsters. Even though you survive an encounter, it never ends, there will always be more zombies waiting for you. Another thing about zombies is kind of exactly what you said: they aren’t characters. They have no emotion, no motivation. They’re not evil and they’re not out to get you for personal reasons, they’re just hungry, so there’s no chance they’ll ever just stop, because killing you is their only defining characteristic. They’ll never become distracted or bored and they’ll never succumb to mercy. There’s absolutely nothing else they’d rather do besides kill you. Additionally, zombies aren’t a typical monster in another way. They were once human beings themselves, sometimes even human beings we knew and loved. But at any time, anyone you know, including yourself, could become the monster. There aren’t many monsters that force you to address the issue of yourself becoming a monster too. In short, no one is afraid of a bucket of water, but a tsunami is a force of nature to be reckoned with and, just like zombies, they can’t be defeated. You can only survive them.