There’s no denying that Jessica Robinson has an obsession with zombies, and that said obsession is shared by people of many ages in many parts of the world … myself included.
Proof of her obsession can be found in the time and effort that obviously went into research for, and writing of her book, “Undead Obsessed: Finding Meaning in Zombies.” My reading of the book, however, left my own obsession unsated … which is not necessarily the fault of the book … obsessions, after all, can be very, VERY personal matters.
Robinson traces the start of her obsession with viewing George Romero’s 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead,” filmed just a few hours’ drive west of the movie theater in Pennsylvania where my own obsession was launched by watching the same film. Yet, in spite of the importance she places upon such films – she begins the first chapter of her book with the line, “Zombie films serve as a great lens to examine concerns society has about modern science.” – most of the ensuing examination relies upon a surprisingly limited repertoire of films, and a television series.
And that’s a shame, because much of what she cites is used to address another obsession of hers … “our fears of science and what could happen if science gets out of hand.” And while that is a good discussion in and of itself, little or no attention is paid to films that address the fun of zombies … yes, the FUN.
True, Robinson does refer briefly to films such as “Zombieland” and “Warm Bodies” that manage to find the humor of life in a zombie apocalypse … but those references are selective and address our fear of science, and authority, and so on. I can’t help but wonder why a host of funny/campy/silly films – from “Juan of the Dead” to Fido,” from “Redneck Zombies” to “Poultrygeist,” from “Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies to (my all-time favorite) “Shaun of the Dead” – were left out of the mix.
What if zombie films not only stoke the fires of our fear of science, and our resentment of authority … what if they also tickle our funny bone? I really, really, REALLY wish Robinson could have spent more time on the fun of zombies, and less time on long, detailed and (for me) numbing descriptions of the science and technology of zombie/virus transmission.
Perhaps Robinson will again tackle zombies in a book, and MAYBE have a little FUN … I will keep an eye out for it, and I most certainly WILL read it.
ADDED NOTE: Undead Obsessed: Finding Meaning in Zombies was added to my virtual bookshelf as a free Early Reviewers Copy from librarything.com
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