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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What's With All the Zombies Lately?

(c) 2012 by Tom King

But you're not at all what I was expecting.
Seems like zombies are everywhere of late. You can hardly get through a movie preview or an evening's television these days that isn't littered with rotting zombie corpses. So what's the deal?

Zombies are part of what I call the 'get teenage girls to climb into teenage boys' laps in a darkened theater" movie genre. Movie-makers make a fortune on date movies. Chick movies work pretty well for inducing romantic feelings in teenage girls, but they are also expensive to make. You have to have popular adolescent actors and those get kind of expensive. Whereas all you need for zombie movies to get the same effect (trembling teenage female) is a bunch of inexpensive extras in crumbling flesh makeup, wearing clothes from homeless people..

This has been going on for a long time in various forms.  At one time it was sharks eating girls in bikinis or sharks eating girls who were skinny-dipping or sharks eating naked girls lying on surfboards.  Well, you get the theme here.

Then came the acid dripping aliens, swamp monsters and bigfoots, vampires, werewolves and now zombies.
Who knows what will be next?

The vicious monster cycle is nothing more than movie producers with malice and aforethought, providing a powerful tool to help teenage boys get their dates so scared enough, they won't notice they are being groped. It always works for a while until the latest slavering beast becomes passe'.

When the genre succumbs to oversaturation, the movie producers simply move on to a new kind of monster. The moment teenage girls stop being scared by whatever the latest monster is, predatory teenage males stop taking their girls to zombie or vampire flicks or whatever. It can happen almost overnight. Word that sharks are "boring" spreads through the female grapevine like wildfire and almost overnight a horror genre becomes extinct.

No problem, just stick the newly out-dated monster into a can and save him for whenever the genre comes around again.

They kind of messed up with the Twilight series, though.  Girls are so hot for the vampires and werewolves on the screen in Twilight that they often disdain the boys that brung 'em to the theater in the first place. Twilight is kind of a Vampires/chick flick. The male vampire is so much the ultimate in bad boy boyfriends that girls, looking over at the pimply mouth-breather sitting next to them and find the available crop of males pales by comparison. Girls are, after all, not only looking for someone their mothers won't approve of, but also for someone they can change into a good person with the power of their love.  Let's face it, girls. The whole point of dating bad boys is to drive your mother crazy and to change his naughty ways with your love.You know it is.

The pale-faced movie Lotharios of Twilight have been drawing flocks of girls to the theaters lately in packs - often without boyfriends along. There's a reason the boys aren't going along.  I mean, what's the use? The "monsters" in Twilight aren't terribly scary (so girls would notice if her date made a move on her and distracted her from the plot). And that's another problem, there is an actual plot to the thing that girls pay very close attention. Their dates, meanwhile have nothing to do but go to the lobby to get their free popcorn refill.

Finally, no mortal teenage male could ever measure up to a vampire for steamy sensuality. As a guy, your sympathies are with the werewolves anyway. In Twilight, ironically, the werewolves are actually the good boys and they aren't as much fun to date as the ones that will suck out your blood and make you one of the undead. That's puts any girl's hapless "date" in third place. And who wants to be a poor third behind vampires and werewolves. As expensive as first-run movies are and as poor your chances of scoring after two hours of "Twilight", the guys just aren't even trying anymore.  And it's the boyfriends that buy the snack foods upon which theaters depend. Girls in love with vampires, don't chug root beer and throw down jumbo tubs of popcorn. They are too busy dieting - working on that pale, wan, blood-drained look - like Belle on the outside chance they might attract the attention of a sexy teenaged vampire.
It's safe to say zombie movies are making a comeback of late.
I suspect it's teenage boys driving the sudden popularity of the zombie. There's tons of blood and gore, nonstop shooting and zombies jumping out at you in 3D. And zombie's don't make you look bad by comparison. I mean girls don't find zombies particularly attractive and it is vaguely possible that, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, you might even pick up a shotgun and annihilate some zombies to save her life. 

I've noticed, most girls won't go to zombie movies without a boyfriend. And that's good for popcorn sales. I suspect that in some secret meeting of whatever passes for the Illuminati among Hollywood producers, somebody recently stood up and said, "Enough with the vampires already. You're killing concession sales!"

"Yeah, how about zombies this time? Isn't it about time for them again?" suggests another. "And zombie movies are real cheap to make."

I'm just sayin'


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