Why do I like zombies?
People ask me this sometimes. It’s a reasonable question. What’s the appeal of watching flesh-eating monsters devour people? Is the fact that I enjoy zombie movies/books/video games/TV shows etc. indicative of some form of mental illness?
Possibly, but that’s neither here nor there. I actually have thought about this quite a bit. The conclusion I have come to is that zombies are versatile. This is going to sound weird, heck, it still sounds weird to me, but you really can use zombies to tell just about any story you want.
Think about it. You’ve got straight-up zombie horror…
Zombies as social metaphor…
Zombie comedy (or “Zomedy” if you prefer)…
Epic zombie survival stories…
And even zombie romantic comedy…
See what I’m getting at here? Zombies can be anything. They can be scary, they can be funny, they can be a metaphor for the ways we live our lives.
Case in point: Warm Bodies. I’m writing this mere minutes after finishing the movie, based on a book by Seattle-based author Isaac Marion. It was a great book, I really loved it.
Not to be childish or anything, but people who think it’s nothing more than just “Twilight with zombies” are big fat stupid idiots. This book is remarkably moving. It’s an exploration of what makes us human and of how, deep down, all of us just want to be loved.
Most zombie stories are, unsurprisingly, pretty grim. Many of them end with most, if not all, of the primary characters being dead (or undead, as the case may be). Things don’t turn out very well for most people in a zombie story.
Without giving too much away, Warm Bodies is different. It’s a really encouraging and uplifting story. Yes, it is occasionally gruesome, but ultimately I found it to be a really inspirational story.
Allow me to blow your mind:
From Warm Bodies, page 113:
“There’s no benchmark for how life’s ‘supposed’ to happen…There is no ideal world for you to wait around for. The world is just what it is now, and it’s up to you how you respond to it.”
Have you ever had that feeling where you feel like something was written exactly for you? Where you encounter something written by someone you don’t know and will probably never meet, and yet it’s like they’re talking to you directly? And you find it at the exact moment in your life when you need it most?
Warm Bodies came to me at exactly the moment in my life when I needed that message the most. I read the book last year, and I needed that message then. I still need it now. I missed the movie when it was in theaters, and only finished it about an hour ago (around 9 pm on Saturday, October 05, 2013).
And just like the book, the movie came to me exactly when I really needed it. It came to me with another very important message, one that I need more than ever with so much uncertainty in my life.
And that message is that everything is going to be okay.
It’s not a message you’d expect to get from a zombie movie, but it’s there, loud and clear.
Warm Bodies, the book and the movie, encapsulate everything zombie stories are capable of being. They’re gory, scary, funny, thought-provoking, and ultimately very moving.
And it is never an unwelcome reminder that everything is going to be okay.
So go out there and give somebody a hug. Because as Zombieland reminds us, without other people, you might as well be a zombie.
And, seriously, everybody likes hugs.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go read Warm Bodies again. And you should too. Seriously, it’s only 241 pages.