The concept of zombies roaming the Earth has become a type of cultural icon in our society. Many people find movies, series and books centered around the invasion of zombies fascinating. The new show, “The Walking Dead,” and popular campus competition, Human vs. Zombies, both prove that the idea of the living dead has huge panache right now.
Tim Delaney, associate professor of sociology at Oswego, and an expert on popular culture in TV and film, said that the Zombie phenomenon has been around since the “Night of the Living Dead” was released in 1968. “This is when people started to learn about voodoo and the concept of being able to bring someone back to life after they have died,” Delaney said. “We have always been told that when you’re dead, you’re dead, so this was a fascinating concept to us.”
Delaney said he has seen a huge increase in video games with zombie storylines and shows like “Beavis and Butthead,” which recently came back on the air, that incorporate zombies into their plotlines.
Delaney said that the Human vs. Zombies competition has become so popular at Oswego because it gives students a chance to create friendships over a common interest. Zombies are a huge part of popular culture, which means it has become big locally, Delaney said. Oswego is no exception to that, he added.
Many people never tire of the zombie apocalypse because of the individual’s ability to relate to the situation; they put themselves in the position of the zombie hunter or even the zombie.
“If guys have to be dead to be dominant, they’ll do it,” Delaney said. He also explained that zombies appeal more to men because they are by nature more aggressive. “We like seeing blood and guts, not a romantic movie about the forbidden love between a girl and a vampire.”
American Movie Classic’s critically-acclaimed new series, “The Walking Dead,” delivered its strongest telecast for any drama in basic cable history against adults ages 18-49, shattering a basic cable record of 10 years, according to AMC.com.
On Oct. 25 AMC President Charlie Collier announced that the series will be renewed for a third season, according to AMC.com.
The public’s increasing interest with zombies allowed the network to expand the new show, delighting viewers and participates of the series. “We are pleased to announce the ‘dead’ shall live,” Collier said on AMC.com.
“The Walking Dead” captures the on-going drama following a zombie apocalypse. The series, now on its second season, follows a group of survivors, led by Georgia Sherriff Rick Grimes, who are traveling in search of a safe and secure home.
This fascination with the living dead has not only captivated TV buffs but college campuses, as well. Students and faculty at Oswego State have seen an increase in the annual Human vs. Zombies competition run by the Story Tellers’ Guild. Jack Carmody, vice president of the Guild, said it is a well-known game played at other colleges, as well.
“We usually have 100 something players, sometimes over 200,” Carmody said. “People love playing and if they aren’t, most other students find it fun to watch.”
The week-long competition starts with humans and a few zombies and throughout the week, the zombies spread and the humans do their best to survive. Human vs. Zombies is similar to a game of tag Carmody said, but instead the humans get to use nerf guns to tag the zombies.