What Are the “Zombie Apocalypse” Movies Actually Telling Us?
Op-Ed by Janet Phelan
The “Zombie Apocalypse” movies present a scenario in which part of the human race has morphed into flesh-consuming predators. It falls upon the unaltered, those still ostensibly human and non-predator, to restore the world and its people back to “normality,” back to a situation wherein predatory and altered humans are either extinguished or changed back to humans.
Often the genesis of alteration from human to flesh-eating zombie is ascribed to an act of science-gone-wrong, as in the case of the film, I Am Legend. At the outset of this 2007 film, we see a clip of an interview with a well-intentioned scientist, whose efforts at genetic manipulation, intending to cure cancer, end up causing the zombie outbreak.
Besides providing fast-paced entertainment and an adrenaline rush, what do the Zombie Apocalypse movies actually reveal? They present us with a world where the human population has been divided in two—predator and prey—and prey must find a way both to survive and to return the world back to a semblance of normality.
Subtly, the situations presented in these movies more and more resemble contemporary Western society. No, we don’t experience hordes of fanged and grunting zombies, blood dripping from their mouths, eating our neighbors and friends as we flee for our lives. Not exactly, anyway. The predation is not so apparent.
What we see in our world, rather, is the devastation of individuals through far more “acceptable” mechanisms, specifically through the legal system. We see courts approving the taking of children as guinea pigs for pharmaceutical experiments, over the protests of loving parents. We see the colleagues of these family court judges, probate court judges, approving the taking of our elderly parents and their placement under the control of financially predatory and medically negligent guardians. We see divorce court judges consistently awarding custody of small children to sexual predators. And we see whistleblowers and journalists such as John Kiriakou jailed and Julian Assange confined and threatened for speaking out.
Victims of these proceedings often see their life savings drained as they try to seek justice. At the end of the day, the attorneys and judges are enriched and the citizen is not only impoverished but often left emotionally scarred by the loss of the loved one.
And that’s just the courts. Through less visible processes, American citizens are being placed into experimental weapons research programs, involving painful and often lethal deployments of biological weapons, directed energy weapons and chemical weapons testing. On being placed without notice or consent into these programs, the victims report little success in disengaging from them. Many human test subjects are also forced into homelessness, experiencing not only property loss but also loss of legal rights. In other words, they end up in yet another prey group.
Human beings are thought to be at the top of the food chain. As intelligent predators, we have been able, through the millennia, to develop defences and weapons to subdue other predator species, such as jaguars and wolves. With this accomplished, it appears that human predator tendencies have now been funnelled in the direction of preying on other people—whether for financial gain, organ harvesting or advanced weapons testing.
The Zombie Apocalypse movies afford us a stripped down view of a humanity split in two—predator and prey. Society and law are intended to provide a buffer and protection from the basest instincts of humans, to elevate man onto a level playing field, so that humans with predatory tendencies do not gobble up their neighbors—in pursuit of property, out of envy, racial or religious hatred or merely out of blood lust.
This buffer has clearly been disabled. Human trafficking through predator courts, in conjunction with scientific-military imperatives, has emerged as the replacement system. The level playing field, also known as “liberty and justice for all,” is the façade under which the predators accomplish their aims. In this light, the Zombie Apocalypse films provide insight into and a metaphor for a world in which there are only two groups—the Eaters and the Eaten.
Unlike the depictions in these movies, however, in real life the predator walks among us, undetected. His teeth do not drip blood. He accomplishes his human harvest through deception. He is a “professional”—a doctor, a lawyer, a police officer, a social worker, even a human rights worker—and often achieves high office, thus laying claim to our respect while he plunders our lives.
At the conclusion of the film Daybreakers, a hardy band of survivors stake this claim—”We Can Change You Back!” they declare to the predatory vampire population. The survivors have indeed developed a scientific method to turn the vampires back into humans. In our world, as grassroots human rights organizations proliferate and tools to control predation are debated, tried and often then discarded, the question that emerges is “How?”
How are we going to return to a level playing field? How are we going to reinstate justice and liberty in a world that is predator controlled? And is this a question solely for philosophers and theologians? Or, in a world saturated in fluoride, radio waves and chem-trails (all of which may affect brain function and therefore impact the seat of morality—empathy and conscience), is this a question for science?
I haven’t found the answers. But I think these questions need to be asked and asked until they are on the lips of every human being, that is, every potential prey.
(*) Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking , EXILE. Her articles previously appeared in such mainstream venues as the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, etc. In 2004, Janet “jumped ship” and now exclusively writes for independent media. She is also the author of two collections of poetry—The Hitler Poems and Held Captive. She resides abroad. You can follow her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012703457651