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Offbeat – 13 April 2012

Lately zombies seem to have lost their shine. It’s hard to be brooding, sensitive and attractive to teenage girls, who ought to know better, in the vampire-nouveau kind of way when you are a couple of days on the smelly side of rigor mortis.

I have been playing a zombie game slightly – which means about fourteen minutes into a half an hour to an hour game as I have to restart because I keep getting killed. It’s a present from my wife. She knows I have been wanting to play it for a couple of years and she knows what excites me.
The characters I have been killing don’t look very rotten or chewed on, but I know they are zombies because the only way I can get them to lie down and stay still is with head shots. That’s a dead giveaway. That and the title ‘Resident Evil IV’.
As they don’t seem to have been bitten, I assume these are the created types of zombies. If you are completely in the dark here, in fiction zombies can be created by artificial substances, infection by a brain parasite or infection by a virus. You probably didn’t want to know that, but now you do.
Zombies were immensely popular a couple of years back and a couple of decades before that. I suppose the popularity of the meme is due to the fact that everyone around the hero is weird and extremely hostile. There seems to be enough validation in that to be able to strike a chord. It’s probably a subconscious thing from childhood.
Lately zombies seem to have lost their shine. It’s hard to be brooding, sensitive and attractive to teenage girls, who ought to know better, in the vampire-nouveau kind of way when you are a couple of days on the wrong side of rigor mortis. That sort of dead flesh just isn’t salable to teenagers, even though they buy just about anything.
Zombie-lit is still about though. It’s always post apocalyptic and inevitably involves escape to and survival in some part of the woods, with enough weaponry to make a street gang drool and enough tins of baked beans to go into deep depression for a couple of years. It is interesting to note that zombies are never found in deserts. They probably dry out and get creaky. Why do the zombie apocalypse survivors always head for the woods? Why not just go to the desert and hang out a net to trap moisture?
Zombie apocalypse stories are fun to read, but surviving a zombie apocalypse doesn’t appeal to me. I considered digging a deep hole in the back yard and stocking it for the long haul, but the thought of all those tins of baked beans and sardines put me off the idea altogether.
Now that zombies are out of fashion and Twilight seems to have come to the end of its run, film producers will probably be hard pressed for reasons to get back to nature in the woods. My suggestion is that they look at the news a bit harder and consider the nuclear apocalypse scenario.
Nuclear fears are making a huge resurgence. It seems as if everybody either has or wants them and, with the internet and e-mail, everyone can figure out how to make them, as long as they don’t get hit by a custom virus.
It’s the perfect scenario for the enterprising producer. Instead of zombies, we can watch mobs of cancerous humans with nothing to lose, attacking small fortified homesteads in the hopes of finding two years worth of baked beans. And instead of the sensitive, brooding vampires, we can have sensitive, brooding teenagers with glow-in-the-dark radiation sickness. The werewolves can be genetic mutations. It all fits comfortably.
I know this will be extremely insensitive to Europeans who lived in the nuclear firing line, and the Japanese, who actually experienced nuclear weapons, but it can’t be much worse than dis-respectable politicians on the news who are trying hard to get nuclear capability, and politicians who have become respectable because they already have nuclear capability.
Perhaps it doesn’t have to be a movie. Maybe it could be a reality show.
If you take a hard look at what I just wrote, you will probably spot the fact that I am not being entirely flippant. Believing that the end of the Cold War spelled the end of nuclear weapons is nothing but naivety. It’s a case of Pandora’s Box. The knowledge is out there. All it took was a new bunch of enemies

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