The Zombie Apocalypse lingers on
Turn off the zombie films and put down the post apocalyptic books —there’s plenty of gore happening in the real world.
Last May’s Miami zombie attack brought attention to a slew of other events that are straight out of the most graphic horror films and urban fantasy books. During the same month, a New Jersey man stabbed himself 50 times and hurled pieces of his own flesh and intestines at a S.W.A.T. Team before they were able to subdue him. A few weeks prior, a Louisiana man bit a chunk the size of a quarter out of a man’s face. A crazed New Haven woman jacked a wig from a store, and when confronted by the shop owner, bit a chunk from his arm and spit it in his face. In June, zombies invaded Miami once again when a 21-year-old man freaked out and tried to bite police officers.
Each of the suspects was believed to have taken bath salts.
While few, if any, noteworthy zombie films or post apocalyptic books point to hallucinogens as the source of an undead outbreak, the idea is entirely plausible. In fact, more so than even the most realistic zombie apocalypse works, from The Walking Dead and Dawn of the Dead to Zombieland and The Crazies (okay, ‘realistic’ may be a stretch, but you get the meaning). Either way, the incidents are more horrifying than what we’ve seen in the scariest horror movies.
While violent crimes occur in this country every day, what makes these attacks so horrific is their randomness. Except for the Louisiana man, whose victim was his ex-wife’s new husband, the acts were unwarranted and inflicted upon victims who’d never met their attackers. These attacks show that the “zombies” lost all control of their senses and were somehow transformed into hollow, soulless shells of human beings.
Are these events a true sign of the zombie apocalypse? Did the attackers read one too many science fiction and fantasy books and let them inspire their own neuroses?
Zombies have existed since 1818, when Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein gained notoriety, and became truly popular when George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was released in 1968. Over the last few decades, they’ve literally invaded pop culture with horror films like Evil Dead, Dead Alive, Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later. Series of urban fantasy books like Living With the Dead and apocalyptic books such as Dying to Live, The Host and The Zombie Survival Guide are finally taking attention away from bestselling paranormal romance books like Twilight, Fallen and Vampire Academy.
The fascination is turning into an obsession—the term “zombie apocalypse” has trended hard among search engines for almost two weeks. Even the CDC is in on the action, shamelessly promoting their guide to apocalypse preparedness. Does this mean it really is time to get that apocalypse survival guide together, learn hand-to-hand combat and book your room at a zombie safe house? Will the collective hysteria manifest a self-fulfilling prophecy for our country as a whole? Were the Mayans right to end their calendar on December 21, 2012 and was Nostradamus on point with his end-of-the-world predictions?
Only time will tell. In the meantime, distributors are liquidating bath salts at bargain basement prices, online retailers are raking in a fortune selling apocalypse supplies, and authors and filmmakers are rushing to release their latest zombie apocalypse projects while the market is ripe. Either way, it’s the end of the world as we know it.