At heart, there is something that cuts across many zombie, vampire, and science fiction movies.
There is a certain genre. Let’s call it “paranoid fiction” where, at the heart of things, everybody or nearly everybody has some secret thing that is spreading. Some times people are vampires. Sometimes they are being turned into zombies. Sometimes aliens are replacing everybody.
I’ve been reflecting on the idea that people who suffer from this disease often times claim to enjoy it. And that however the disease travels, it’s always super contagious. And usually there is some nasty side to it all. (At the end you find out the aliens are gross and icky; the vampires or zombies in some sense eat others to survive, etc.)
I think that these three facts speak to the heart of the appeal of these stories. We suspect that there is some symbolic truth in them. We don’t believe that their are physical zombies, hopefully. We know that the real problem is not actual aliens.
But we fear that we’ll turn into zombies of the soul. We fear that we’ll become alien to all that is good in the world. There is even a sub-genre built around monsters trying to reclaim their souls. (Consider, for example, Spike or Angel from the awesome “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” series.)
In the end, it’s about our own recognition that we have something special. It’s about our recognition that life has this tendency to crush the specialness out of us. And we know that once we’ve had that special-ness crushed out of us, we will only be half alive. We will only live by crushing the life out of others.
I fear that maybe I do this already. How often do we tell people to “grow up” when we really mean “Let go of your special-ness”? Whenever I judge somebody for living in a way that holds on to his dreams, what I’m really doing is trying to eat them like a zombie, trying to suck thier blood like a vampire, trying to replace them like an alien.
In these movies and stories and books redemption is almost always found in a like-minded community. The last few survivors find each other and band together. They take a stand.
And this is so true. We need God to save us from the Zombies, but God knows that we need each other, like minded individuals. He leads us to each other when we’re brave enough to let Him.
How is your battle against the zombies going? Who are the vampires in your life? To what extent have you already succumbed to the aliens? How will you get your special-ness back?