Sunday, January 15, 2012

An estimated 3,000 people dressed as zombies took to the streets of Brighton one day last year.. It's the latest proof, if any was needed, that the undead are really on the march - culturally at least. Nearly 10,000 people have paraded in Mexico City dressed as zombies in what organisers claim is the biggest "zombie walk" ever held. Evidently the zombie craze is mostly down to video games, children playing them despite the 18-certificate. Zombie video games are a niche market which makes millions of dollars a year and consumes millions of hours of youngsters' leisure time. But it's not just games. Ever-growing legions of the undead have been appearing on TV and cinema screens: the blockbuster series like ‘The Walking Dead’ or ‘Dead Set’ or of Brad Pitt's latest zombie movie ‘World War which is why Mexico claims the biggest zombie walk and why three thousand people in zombie costumes turned up to amble, shamble and groan their way through Brighton’s city centre and along the sea front. But some media critics and cultural commentators have begun to wonder whether this explosion of zombie enthusiasm is, as well as a bit of fun, an expression of something else. So what might the current zombie craze, this mass of rotting flesh, tell us about the world we're living in now? Paul Gilding Author and former Greenpeace CEO said "Zombies are incredibly popular, the growth is phenomenal - not only are they in films, TV shows and fan productions on You Tube, but there's a vast growth in books, with zombie survival guides selling very, very well on Amazon. You even see small garden ornaments dressed as zombies - zombie garden gnomes!" In fact, Winchester is soon to become the first university in the UK to offer a study module devoted entirely to zombies. A Dr Leaning said "We're living through the hardest economic times in most young people's memories. Maybe zombies speak to austerity Britain in a way other monsters don't." Nick Pearce, director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, is a man who spends much of his time reflecting on the interplay of democracy, economy and citizenship says, "Even before the global economic crisis we saw unskilled young men finding it much harder to get a foothold in the labour market and since the crisis there has been a rocketing of youth unemployment. There is something in the idea that if you can't see a future, if you don't have a sense of progress for yourself personally, then you are stuck in the present tense, and this would lend itself to the notion of a kind of recurrent nightmare of repeatedly being a living-dead." Some of Brighton's 'un-dead' said they dressed as zombies just for fun

Paul Gilding believes that something more profound might lie behind the recent boom in zombie culture. He suggested, this is why the anti-capitalist protesters on Wall Street and elsewhere have sometimes dressed in zombie costumes to underline their point. "The system is eating itself alive," he said. "The idea that we can have infinite growth on a finite planet is just not physically possible." So have zombies really been rising in such numbers in recent years because they're a metaphor for our times? Whatever the reason there is most definitely a zombie craze.

The current Guinness world record is held by Asbury Park in the US, where 4,093 zombies marched in 2010. Zombie walks have grown in popularity worldwide in recent years. A group in Brisbane in Australia has also laid claim to the record after massing 8,000 zombies last month. Apart from Mexico elsewhere in Latin America, Lima in Peru, Santiago in Chile and Sao Paulo in Brazil have all staged zombie walks last year.

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